• VintageFX Colordrive review

    It was long a mystery what overdrive pedal David used 70’s but now we know that his secret weapon was the classic Colorsound Powerboost. The pedal has slowly regained recognition for its awesome tone and several clones have appeared in recent years. I recently got my hands on a Colordrive from Vintage FX.

    Introduced in 1968 the Colorsound Powerboost soon became a favorite among many British guitarists for its powerful tone. The pedal was originally designed as a volume booster although many preferred to crank the gain and use it as an overdrive unit. The pedal is considered to be the first real overdrive pedal and a predecessor to the Tube Screamer and later the Tube Driver. In an era when one only had treble boosters and fuzz pedals the Powerboost gave the guitarist a whole new range of tones.

    David was first seen using the pedal in early 1972 while premiering Eclipse – the suite that one year later would be released as Dark Side of the Moon. The pedal was David’s main overdrive/booster on Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and Animals, mainly used as an overdrive on songs like Time, Money, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Have a Cigar, Sheep and Pigs. The pedal was later replaced by Pete Cornish version the ST2 and in 1994 by the Tube Driver.

    The first thing you notice about the Colordrive is the size. The pedal is housed a sturdy box similar to TRex pedals, about 1/3 of the huge Colorsounds (I’m always scared that I’ll stomp right through the fragile aluminum box on my old Colorsound). Originally the Powerboost only had three knobs: volume, treble and bass (the volume being basically a gain control). Like the current Colorsound reissue, the Colordrive features a master volume that allows you to use the pedal as a clean booster with about 30dB volume boost. The circuit is based on the Solasound (later Colorsound) schematic dated June 1971 with three BC109 silicon transistors and minor tweaks to make the pedal cleaner. The pedal is dead silent although a slight hiss appears when you max the treble, but you never really do that anyway. The pedal has a 9V adapter output for Boss adapters or similar but I strongly recommend 9V carbon batteries for a warmer and smoother tone (it really makes a difference!). And yes, the pedal has a true bypass switch.

    Compared to the Colorsound, the Colordrive has a much wider clean range. On vintage style low output single coils (I tested the pedal with Fender CS69 neck/middle and Duncan SSL5 bridge) you can turn the gain up to 2-3:00 before it breaks, while the Colorsound starts to distort around 12:00. The treble and bass controls are also a bit more versatile acting more like passive EQ controls rather than boosters, as they do on the Colorsound (in essence, you can adjust the treble without it affecting the amount of gain). The overall tone is brighter than the Colorsound with a much more defined character and dynamics, which makes this pedal an excellent clean booster that really brings out the full potential of your pickups and amp and even smaller transistor combos at low volume (ideal for getting a bit more tone when you play at home). It’s also perfect for boosting that Big Muff for a tighter more compressed lead tone. The Colorsound is darker and warmer and lack the fine dynamics on clean settings but, in my opinion, it has a much better overdrive tone. Still, with the treble rolled off a bit both on the Colordrive and your amp, you can get great sounding overdrive ideal for that Dark Side and Animals stuff. For WYWH, or more recent tones for that matter, I prefer the Colorsound.

    So, to sum it up. I feel that, although very similar to the Colorsound, these pedals are more like two cousins than identical twins. The Colordrive works much better as a clean volume booster than the Colorsound. The pedal fits nicely on the pedal board and the 9V adapter output is handy if you’re fed up with replacing dying batteries. Personally I’d like the pedal slightly warmer, which I think would also make the overdrive tones work better, but it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a powerful transparent clean booster that works on both tube amps and smaller combos I recommend the Colordrive. I also want to add that Vintage FX offers fast shipping and excellent customer service. Check out their site and full range of pedals.

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41 Responsesso far.

  1. Brandon says:

    how close can it get to the slightly overdriven guitar sounds from shine on you crazy diamond?

    [Depends on what amp and pickups you have but as I said I don’t recommend the Colordrive as an overdrive simply because it doesn’t have enough gain. You could however use it to boost the gain stage of your amp of combine it with another booster/overdrive. David used the Colorsound Powerboost on the album and the Tube Driver on PULSE and in 2006. Similar sounding pedals would be the original Colorsound, ThroBak Overdriveboost and the Boss BD2. All of these have a bright transparent tone and a glassy overdrive. – Bjorn]

  2. Brandon says:

    hey bjorn, what would be the most reccomended settings for this pedal?
    for animals, wish your were here, and dark side of the moon.

    [As I point out in the review, the Colordrive is a great clean booster but doesn’t work that well as an overdrive. For that I’d go for the original Colorsound or the excellent ThroBak. I recommend a warm, punchy clean boost for your fuzz and Muff tones. Try this: volume slightly above unity level, bass 1:00, treble 10:00, gain 2:00. – Bjorn]

  3. David says:

    Hi Bjorn, was curious would a power boost not work correctly with a solid state rectifier? im using a fender amp , this one linked below. 65 Twin Custom 15, it says its all tube but it lists a solid state rectifier..so i wondered how the boost would fair with it, thanks

    http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=2173000010

    [It’s a tube amp. The Powerboost should work although I haven’t tried it with this particular amp. My overall experience with Fender though is that they’re a bit too bright for the Powerboost, which is very bright in its own. To be sure I think I’d rather go for a Boss BD2 Robert Keeley model or a Fulltone OCD, which will give you very similar tones but these goes better with brighter amps. – Bjorn]

  4. Sebastien says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    After your review about the electronic orange Vibe, what about telling us a word about the Banana Boost? Did you have the chance to try one? I can’t find any review out there, not souns clip, no video…. I’m really curious about that one, compared to the Throbak overdriver that you seem to have adopted…

    Regards,

    Sebastien

    [Haven’t tried it. – Bjorn]

  5. Evel1 says:

    I do, that I have had it a little while now, I cannot see myself ever removing it from my board. I am still in shock that you did, I understand why, and I am sure the new Reeves is that good that you can probably do without it…still shocked though.

    This pedal, alone as a boost to my Blues Deville sounds incredible, and it only get better with a Muff or even a Rat in front of it. I am glad that I have both the PB and the TD, simular, but still very different to me. I am only using the PB as a clean boost, but holy crap, treble at 2, bass at 3, and drive at 7 (just barely cranked up) and the (side) master at 3…you can barely stand within 10 feet of my amp. Unreal boosting! I wonder how much my amp can take?? :)

    Thanks for all of your rav reviews of this pedal. Now I find myself singing it’s praises.

    The only draw back, there is no external power supply port, and I refuse to drill a hole in the bottom of it to use my Vodoo Labs 9 volt clip tab. I just have to remember to unplug my patch cables when I close my board up!! Yes, at times, I am that lazy. ;)

    Current favs are my CS3, SUF-CWM, CS PB, CE2, CP2 (Soundtank), and Carbon Copy. Very happy…that and the Custom Shop 69/SSL-5!! For the first time in 20 years, actually first time ever, I am so totally in love with “my” sound!!

    I made the list for the next run of 73′ RH at SUF, after that, the Reeves 50 is on the list.

    Perhaps I should now think about learning how to play?? ;)

    This site has been of great value to me during this quest. Thanks again Bjorn for all of your hard work.

    [Glad you’ve found your tone! That’s what it’s all about :) I still love the old CPB but as I said I need different tones for Airbag but I still use it in the studio and for my Floyd tones. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  6. Evel1 says:

    Well, I took the plunge. I figured that I wasted more than enough time trying to find a suitable clone. I broke down and ordered an actual Power Boost from Macaris!! I weighed the options between the Overdriver (and found a couple of good deals on them), but decided that if I didn’t go with the “original” I would regret it. Now maybe I can get some piece of mind.

    I gave serious consideration to the Prescription Electronics “RX Overdrive”, having seen only one mention of it here, and a small click on there site.

    Again, knowing that I would REALLY hates me-self if I didn’t get the original. Wonder how it will sound through my Fender Blues DeVille (4X10 speaker variant).

    Has anyone messed with the RX Overdrive(r) yet?? Opinions?

    [Hope you’ll be pleased with the Colorsound! Never tried the RX my self… – Bjorn]

  7. Stan says:

    Hey Bjorn, I bought this pedal but am having a few problems.

    Just wondering if you had any ideas for the treble and bass controls. On my Fender Blues Deluxe, with all eq at noon, I seem to either get very bassy responses with mid cuts or extreme treble when i tweak the controls.

    Thanks in advance.

    [Most Fenders are slightly brighter than other amps like Hiwatts etc so you might need to roll off the treble on the pedal a bit. I don’t have it anymore, so I can’t give you any specific settings but I think you just need to find the balance between the two controls. Keep in mind that the more you increase the gain, the more you need to adjust especially the treble. – Bjorn]

  8. Evel1 says:

    Has anyone here messed with the Home Brewed Electronics Power Screamer? You check out some demos of it at YouTube or proguitarshop’s website. I have spent the last two weeks here reading about the CPB, TD, and the BD-2. I have tried the generic BD-2, and really liked it. I’ve heard the Keeley mod, and loved it; however, I think I may have solved my personal mystery with the power screamer. It is within the BD-2 Mod and colordrive price range. Check out and let me know what your thoughts are.

    My gear varies. I have the Relic Gilmour, 2 MIM Strats, and a Wolfgang. For amps I have the 5150 combo (2X12), a Marshall Class 5 tuber, and solid state Crate half-stack. My personal fav is the new Marshall. They all vary (greatly) in tonal quality. Pedals are the BYOC LB (Rams Head), which is fab, Rat II, CS3, CE2 (which is priceless for rounded it all out), and my second favorite pedal, the Effector 13 “Torn’s Peaker.”

    I am hoping that the Power Screamer is that “missing element”, we’ll see.

    Thoughts, feedback, or any recommendations?

    [Never tried this one myself but judging by some of the YouTube clips it sounds like a very versatile pedal somewhere between a Tube Driver and a Tube Screamer with options for volume boost, mid range boost and scooped mids with lots of compression in each mode. Perhaps a better alternative on smaller amps than the Tube Driver. – Bjorn]

  9. Eric says:

    Excellent review and website, Bjorn! I bought this pedal since it was the cheapest of the Colorsound “clones” and it just arrived yesterday. I agree with everything you said about the pedal, although I’ve never owned any other Colorsound clones to compare it to.

    I haven’t had much time to play around with it, but I noticed something odd compared to the TS808-style overdrive pedals I’m used to. When I turn the Gain up to about 4:30ish to get some overdrive, the distorted/overdriven sound doesn’t sustain very long. Let me explain: when I use my TS808, Rat, or Large Beaver and play a single power chord, the volume slowly fades away but the distorted sound doesn’t really change (it just gets quieter–think Pete Townsend). When I try to use the Colordrive as an overdrive pedal and play that same chord, I get an abrupt overdriven sound that disappears almost immediately, then the volume slowly tapers off but the distorted sound doesn’t sustain during the entire time like all my other OD/Distortion pedals. This happens even at max volume on my guitar (American Strat with Custom Shop ’54 pickups). I haven’t been able to turn up my amp volume very high yet, though.

    Do you know if this is normal or should I contact Dave? I love the clean boost and tone of the pedal, but I’m not sure what to think about the lack of “distortion sustain,” for lack of a better term. Any owner’s comments would be appreciated!

    [That’s pretty much the nature of the pedal. The Colordrive was designed as a clean booster and although it can produce overdrive sounds at extreme settings it shouldn’t be confused for an overdrive pedal. A Big Muff has lots of sustain and pedals like RAT and TS has a boosted mid range, which adds a lot of sustain. – Bjorn]

  10. Stanley says:

    Hi Bjorn, great article!

    Just wondering, as you said, the Colordrive has a wider clean sweep. Do both pedals have round about the same amount of gain when cranked completely?

    Cheers.

    [The Colorsound has slightly more gain and the warmer character makes it more suited as an overdrive pedal compared to the Colordrive. – Bjorn]

  11. Kevin says:

    Hey Bjorn (and readers)

    two questions regarding the pedals that are mentioned above. I am looking for a nice transparant boost for my bc108 sunface and was wondering if the Colorsound and Colordrive are the pedals for the job? And if yes, which one in particular?

    I am also a big Rat fan and instead of using an EQ to have some more tonal control over it I was wondering if a Colorsound/drive could also furfill this purpose.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

    [Sorry for my late reply Kevin. If by transparent you mean that it doesn’t colour the tone and doesn’t distort, then the Colordrive is the one. It’s loud, transparent and doesn’t break up until you go past 2:00 o’clock on the gain. The Colorsound is very similar but slightly warmer and distorts more easily. You could also go with a Keeley modified Boss BD-2, which has a very similar tone as the two mentioned but allows a more natural breakup and can easily produce Tube Driver tones. The BD-2 seems to work better on smaller rigs as well. I wouldn’t recommend a Colorsound or Colordrive on small solid state amps played at low volume at home. – Bjorn]

  12. Johnnie Floyd says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    off topic, but I have a question… is it ok to put a wah pedal after all your other effects, at the end of the pedal chain, just before the amp? just curious?

    [There’s no strict rules when you’re experimenting with pedals. Only guidelines. The “normal” way would be to place the wah first in your chain because it sounds more natural with the distortions after it. The exeption is with old fuzz units. Thir cirquit interferes with the wah and cause a strange oscillating tone and the wha should be placed after it. Hendrix had his wah in many different positions with various results. Try a couple of setups, experiment and listen… :) – Bjorn]

  13. Ruben says:

    Hello,

    Tanks for the review! I orderes a colordrive last week and cant wait to get it! I hope it will sound great with my Big Muff.
    Regarding Big Muffs: What do you think about the Big Muff Pi with Tone Wicker? Woth a try or just crap like other new muffs?

    Thanks,
    Ruben

    (I´ve only tried the Tone Wicker very briefly. Sounded OK but I recommend that you try it yourself… I really can´t say. It features a couple of the most popular tone mods. – Bjorn)

  14. Jae says:

    TQuay, you answered my questions about the Fist. I thank you for it. I’d like to hear about any experiences, good or bad, anybody has had with the Trobak Overdrive Boost. But all the posts I’ve read about the customer service at Vintage FX makes it look like I’ll be contacting them soon.

    Jae

  15. TQuay says:

    Thanks for your reply Bjorn,

    The crunching and popping sound happens when the on/off button is stomped or if the connecting cables shift even a touch (I don’t have a velcroed pedal board yet). It is not usually constant (but can be) but occurs when first turned on or shifting like I said above. I’ve been playing through a Fender ’65 Twin Reverb Reissue 85 watt so it should be an appropriate pedal. It can be ear splitting no matter what the volume. My friend is a recording engineer and was aghast to think of the sound it could make to the audience at a gig and tested the pedal carefully himself. Like Spinal Tap without being funny.

    For the pedal to have problems out of the box, to send it back twice with long delays saying they “couldn’t find anything wrong” and have the pedal returned a second time”refused” by the US Postal service unopened just for asking for a refund is pretty poor customer service. It still has the same popping/crunching sounds with different amps and pedals in the line up. For $195 plus postage three times I get no refund nor a pedal that works. I’ll have to send it a third time-except to someone competant. I appologize for adding any negative feedback to you fantastic site but if Absolutely Analog can’t stand behind their products they shouldn’t manufacture them. Your readers should be warned!
    Now that Macaris is producing the orange version again I hope to get one of those someday. Thanks,

    [Hm… Very sorry to hear this but it sounds like there’s something very wrong with the pedal indeed. If you should consider a new powerboost, I definitely recommend the original from Macaris. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  16. TQuay says:

    To All Gilmour Fans,

    WARNING!! DO NOT buy anything from Absolutely Analog!!! They are a bunch of bums! I purchased their Fist Pedal last fall which made a crunching and popping noise that would split your eardrums no matter what volume the amp was at. I went to school in Europe and came back this spring to mail it back to them hardly used. I heard nothing for weeks and then, with my prodding, they sent it back with the same problems intact. I sent it back again at $5-7 USD each time and they refused it since I asked for my money back the second time I had to ship it back. For $195 plus shipping three times it is not worth it but I couldn’t find a Coloursound that was affordable but I wish I had followed the advice from this website and had been more patient and ordered a real one from Macaris in London. Now I have a crappy clone that will blow your ears off if you touch the connectors or hit the on/off button. Absolutely Analog will be soon Absolutely out of business. With regrets,

    [I’m not sure what you mean by crunching and popping noise. Does this occur when you engage the pedal or does the pedal sound crunchy, like a broken speaker, when you play through it? Keep in mind that this is not a normal overdrive pedal like a Tube Screamer or similar. The Colorsound Powerboost or the many clones is very very loud and designed to be used on clean tube amps. It can be a challenge getting this to work properly on solid states and smaller rigs. In that case you’re better off with a Tube Screamer, BD-2 or similar. The silicon transistors also makes the pedal fairly bright and when you max the overdrive control the pedal can sound like a broken speaker rather than the smooth, warm overdrive heard on Shine On, Pigs etc… Some amps can handle the pedal while others can’t. Sorry to hear that you didn’t get the proper customer service… – Bjorn]

  17. Dean says:

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks to Hugo who posted above, I contacted Dave at Vintage FX and he sent out a couple of different tapered pots to try out in my colordrive, and one of them was perfect. It now transitions much more smoothly into overdrive and makes getting that great OD sound that this pedal does so much easier.

    I couldn’t recommend this pedal and Vintage FX service (even after sale) highly enough.

    [Couldn’t agree more! – Bjorn]

  18. Orjan says:

    OFF TOPIC!

    Hey Bjørn did you know that David and Jeff Beck shared the stage on the 4th?

    Must have been awesome to watch!

    [Yeah! I was just about to write a post on the blog :) – Bjorn]

  19. Nic says:

    Bjorn,

    Due to your last review of the London Fuzz, I now have one on the way (time to make some more room on the ol’ pedalboard!)

    I had another question regarding attenuators actually that is a bit off topic here. My 50 watt amp has been perfect for years, but I am moving soon and volume will be an issue. I’d like to stay away from buying another “quieter” amp and was looking into buying Weber’s Mini Mass. As far as tone goes, and not just Gilmour’s, but in general, how much tone is coming from the actual volume of the amp and how much is coming from the tubes being pushed? Since I will still be pushing the tubes, just soaking them first before they hit the speakers, can I expect the same creamy-ness that I get with my Swollen Pickle + Tube Driver + Cranked Clean Amp or is is the simple fact that VOLUME is a massive part of the tone?

    Thanks and sorry to post an outside question on your Colordrive review. GREAT review! Thanks as always! We’d all be lost without you!

    [I have very litt experience with attenuators but the idea is that they don’t change the character of the amp. I’m not 100% sure how it works but in general, the tone you get from a tube amp in particular is a mix between many things but mainly volume, tubes and speakers. Volume makes the tubes hotter and you’ll get more warmth, compression and in some cases, overdrive. Loud volume will also make make the speakers more dynamic and a part of your tone. A tube amp is much more organic and “alive” than a solidstate. Again, I’m no expert on this so ask your local dealer or on a forum like the gear page. – Bjorn]

  20. Timo says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    I can’t seem to understand how gilmour may have used his powerboost in the similar way he uses tubedrivers. As the pedal has no master volume (I say master volume to avoid confusion, old amps for example have only volume control, like you pointed out, those are basically “gain”) but only volume.

    When you crank the volume (gain) and you don’t have additional volume you’ll get an enormous boost..This huge boost can be tamed down with master volume. And gilmour didn’t had the additional volume control before working with PC. How he then matched the volume difference between clean amp and the powerboost with gain up.

    (This is a difficult question because we simply don’t know for sure. It’s confirmed that David used the Colorsound as an overdrive unit in the 70s. The pedal might have been modified and the early Cornish boards did have a volume pedal but again, I’m not sure. If you look at the Tube Drivers in his present board they’re too set to boost the volume, both clean and as overdrive. The Colorsound was mainly used in the same way as the Tube Driver set to overdrive. – Bjorn]

  21. Pete says:

    Interesting to see what else is available. I recently acquired a Throbak Overdrive Boost. This is something you should really consider checking out. Both Si AND Ge transistors modeled after the PB. It’s really scary how well I can dial in Gilmour sounds.

    Also thanks for the Sun Face recommendation. I’m getting the DSOTM sound going for now and will be trekking into the Wall next year.

    Thanks again!

    [The Throbak is based on the CPB but it’s a different pedal all together I think. Great tone though. – Bjorn]

  22. Joe says:

    Bjorn,
    Mine currently have the stock knobs he was shipping them with. Metal silver knobs. I got pics up on the forum.

    [Ah! I see :) – Bjorn]

  23. Filip says:

    There is better sound with 9V carbon battery, because new 9V carbon battery has about 10 – 10,5V. Best way to get sound with adapter like battery is build your own with 10V output.

    At least, perfect review, Bjorn!

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  24. Joe says:

    After seeing the black knobs like on your’s and others. I emailed Dave at vintageFX and he’s sending me a set for nothing!! You just can’t beat his service.

    [Great guy! What colours did yours have? – Bjorn]

  25. Dmitry says:

    Great article, Bjorn!

    Rock on!

    Best,
    Dmitry

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

  26. Eric says:

    Hey Bjorn, this is slightly off topic but I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the Option 5 Destination Rotation pedal. I’ve heard really good things. Another thing I want to know is, if I get a rotating speaker/vibe pedal do I need a phaser for Gilmour’s stuff or can I do the same thing with either one or the Electric Mistress I have? Thanks a lot in advance.

    [I haven’t heard about the Option 5 before actually. I need to check it out. Rotating speaker sims, UniVibes, phaser and flangers are different effects although you can get similar sounds from some of them. I’d say that a UniVibe can be replaced by a phaser but not the other way around. A Mistress can replicate fairly convincing rotary sounds but you can’t use it as a phaser or UniVibe, or vice versa. Ideally I’d get at least a flanger or rotary sim and a phaser or a UniVibe. – Bjorn]

  27. Joe says:

    Riis,
    Glad you finally picked one of these up. The clean boost this thing does is like no other isn’t it!? Just one of those pedals I can’t see myself leaving too far off the board.

    [Agree! Great booster! – Bjorn]

  28. Ken says:

    Bjorn, emailed Dave at VintageFX and got back to me the same day! Just ordered Color Drive and can’t wait. Also painting an orange version for me…. Why not look like a $400- boutique pedal;) Dave customer service is top notch! Thanks to you…might be moving out of my home and sleeping on my Reeves Custom 50PS. STOP RECOMMENDING PEDALS

    Shine On!
    Ken

    [LOL! Well, perhaps I need to go undercover on some special witness protection program one day… :) – Bjorn]

  29. Giulio says:

    HomeBrew Electronics Uno Mos …do it Better

    The Uno Mos is a Mosfet Pre-amp. Capable of up to 25db of gain. Uno may also be used as a buffer. The Uno Mos is agreat clean boost or crank the gain to drive any amp into saturation.

    For video and samples.

    Cheers !!

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  30. Nic says:

    Bjorn, Thank you once again for an in depth and extremely useful piece! I am always happy to get on my homepage (Gilmourish) and find a new piece!

    This actually brought to mind a great question about the Gilmour tone / tone in general that I have never thought to ask.. When Gilmour is using a booster (in my case it is an 808 Tube Screamer reissue and a Tube Driver), how much of the dirt, gain, distortion, fuzz, whatever you want to call it, of his tone is coming from the pedal and how much is coming from the tubes in his amps? I understand the boosting purpose and that Hiwatts have headroom for days, but is he breaking up the amp at all with the booster or simply increasing the volume?

    Like a lot of others out there, I can’t afford a 100 watt Hiwatt so I can’t really imagine what they sound like in front of me cranked up. I am using a 50 watt with tones of head room, but as a run, I like to set whichever booster I am using to a level that will push the amp louder, but not add any natural break up from the amp itself, which of course forces me to turn the amp volume down just a bit to get the sound I need. Even with all the help in the world from your site and it’s easy to to read manual on the Gilmour tone, I sometimes still think I’ll never be able to get the sound he does. Jealous.

    Thanks in advance for the added extra help and keep the great work coming!

    PS: Two other side notes… The advice to change the 12ax7 to a 12au7 in the Tube Driver… can’t thank you enough! The other is that I cannot stop listening to Identity! If Airbag comes to America, you have a place to stay in my hometown. Love the music! Keep it up and thanks again!

    [Thanks! Glad you like our album! Regarding overdrive… David has his amps all clean and uses his two Tube Drivers for both clean volume boost and overdrive (on is set clean, the other for a warm overdrive). The pedals doesn’t make the amp break up but since the amp is a tube amp, the pedals and tubes will interact with each other and the louder you play and the more gain you push into the amp, the more the tube will compress the tone. A lot of people will say that a tube amp is redundant unless you use the tubes for natural overdrive but solid state amp won’t respond to your overdrives and distortions but leave you with a much more neutral tone. – Bjorn]

  31. John Cardona says:

    Hi, Bjorn, great work as always

    I’m a little bit confused. The colorsound was used by David as an overdrive or as a booster?, you said in other articules that in Dark side, he used the fuzze face as the main overdrive and that he started using the colorsound as a booster for live performance after the release of the Dark Side. Is that way it is or did i get it wrong?

    Right now i’m using a fuzze face (GT-10) boosted whit the colorsound (line 6 DM-4) for the sound of my “Money” cover, and the truth is that i like it. It’s not the best equipment but is all i have (in south america everything is so so so so expensive), Could you give some tips please?,

    Keep working this way

    [Well, the truth is that this site is under constant upgrade and I’m always adding new info once it’s confirmed (I see that I need to update some article regarding this matter). It hasn’t been easy to tell just what David used for overdrives on Dark Side of the Moon because there are both very little info available from those sessions and the little we have are conflicting. I can say with 99% certainty that David used the Colorsound for overdrive tones on Dark Side. We know he used it on WYWH and Animals, but if you listen to the guitar channel on the original quadrophonic mix of the album, which just recently came to my attention, you can clearly hear that rhythms on Time and Money is no fuzz, but an overdrive and the only overdrive he used at the time was the Colorsound. We now also have pictures from 1972, the pre-Dark Side tour, confirming this. On Dark Side, WYWH and Animals, the pedal was mainly used as an overdrive but the tours he used it both as an overdrive and a booster. Kind of like he uses the two Tube Drivers today but in those days he only had one pedal. Hope this made sense. – Bjorn]

  32. Timo says:

    Thanks for the review and your wonderfull site!

    One thing boggles my mind. You say master volume in this pedal allows you to play louder? In my mind this is like a master volume you would find in a normal amp.

    I think allows you to get distortion with lower volume ie using the master volume to lower the overall volume you can crank the gain and get distortion. Without master volume it’s like always on 10. (To be honest this pedal would be on 11..as it’s very very loud) So it’s kinda difficult to use in a same way one can use basic od pedals because if u want it to distort it will be loud as hell. And therefore I wonder how gilmour used his powerboost when it was standalone pedal not a part of PC board. Perhaps it was always on and then he stacked the fuzzface with it. Master volume was added when he started using cornish board i guess.

    Take care!

    [It’s a bit misleading to call it master volume. It’s rather just a volume control. The original Powerboost had only three controls – bass, treble and volume but the volume was really just a gain control. The new Colorsound reissues still label the gain as volume but there’s a second volume, which they misleadingly call master volume. The Colordrive features this as well, but they call the original volume gain. See? David used his old Colorsound just like the Tube Driver. – Bjorn]

  33. Hugo says:

    I can’t say much about your comparison vs the colorsound, but I’m absolutely agree with you in your review about the colordrive by itself.

    This pedal is just amazing as a booster for a muff and as a heavy overdrive for Have A cigar in those live version of late 70’s I think..

    It can be modified to break up early, just contact Dave of VintageFx and he will help. I didn’t do the mod..I just love this pedal..

  34. William says:

    Great Bjorn, maybe you could do some clips with it.

  35. Dave says:

    Any chance to hear it or to see a demo video ?

    [I’ve tried to make a clip but it’s not an easy pedal to document… at least not with my limited equipment. The boost tones are impossible to record for obvious reasons because the pedal doesn’t alter the tone, only boost it. To get an idea of the overdrive tones just listen to the rhythms on Time and Money from Dark Side. That bright, almost fuzz-like tone is dead on the Colordrive. – Bjorn]

  36. Phil says:

    Awsome, informative review as always, a great read too. I am pleased you agree the old coloursound is better, I was hoping you would. Theres something strangely appealing about that old orange box, maybe its outragious looks lol!
    I will be going into London in the near future as I only live about 20 miles away, and Macari’s is on my list of places to visit lol!

    [Thanks! Personally I prefer the Colorsound but only because I mostly use it for mild overdrives. The Colordrive is a much better clean booster. Have a nice trip to London and Denmark Street! – Bjorn]

  37. Jae says:

    Great timing Bjorn! I’ve been thinking about this pedal for a few months. I’ve just been waiting for someone to post a comparison/review. But I’m still not sold on it. Have you ever tried Absolutely Analog’s Fist? I was really impressed with your review of the Green Russian.
    Thanks again for all your work,
    Jae

    [The Fist is based on the original Colorsound without the master volume. The pedal is much more an overdrive unit and not that much a booster like the Colorsound reissue and the Colordrive. – Bjorn]

  38. Alex says:

    Excellent and informative article. Might have to test drive one of these beautiful yellow rock boxes! P.S. I’m finally getting the Custom Shop 69s installed in my Strat, Bjorn. Thanks for all your advice on my Gilmourish rig. It’s given my band’s music the amazing tone it deserves to be delivered with! Our MySpace is http://myspace.com/doomsdayarsenal, but the tones on our demo isn’t very representative of the sound now. Thanks for this site and its amazing insights into gear, tone, and playing!

    [Thanks for your kind words and the link! I’ll check it out. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  39. John Hortatsos says:

    Hello Bjorn! Great review. After reading your reviews on MJM’s London Fuzz – I now own both the London Fuzz I and London Fuzz II. Thanks for helping me build my Gilmour Rig!!!! Gotta question – I also own Fulltone’s “Full Drive II” – which I love. How do you compare this “Colordrive” to the “Full Drive II”? – both are overdrive pedals – would you reccomend having both to achieve Gilmours overdrive tones? Thanks!

    [I don’t have that much experience with the Fulltone but it’s different modes makes it sound like a mix between a Tube Screamer and a Tube Driver. Better suited for David’s present tones I guess and a great companion to a Colordrive. – Bjorn]

  40. I love the original very much!
    I use it as a overdrive mild tone, and sometimes as a booster. We can get a coolvintage overdrive from it. It’s more open… and can turn even a cheap Muff into a monster ;-)

    I got a humble home record clip in my myspace (Ensaio II): American Fender with CS 54’s, Colorsound PB, Univibe, Analog delay, Peavey Classic 30 combo (sadly, with stock valves at the time) and some plate reverb simulator on the final mix.

  41. Hi! I love the Colorsound so much that I wish to own two or three!
    The master volume is a great improvement! The sound is fantastic and very pure. Turns a Big Muff into a monster!

    Hear a humble home demo in my myspace (Ensaio II): American Fender with CS 54’s, Coloursound PB, Analog delay, Peavey Classic 30 (with stock valves :-( ) and a plate reverb simulator on the mix.

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