• DryBell The Engine review

    Overdrive is probably the trickiest of the pedals and effects. For me at least. I’m constantly searching for that something special and whatever that is, seem to change depending on what amp and guitar I use and in what mood I’m in. My latest addition is the Engine from DryBell. Here’s my review. 

    The Engine is a two channel pedal, with an overdrive and booster, which you can combine either up or down stream. Perhaps not your typical David Gilmour pedal, but  it’s an incredibly versatile pedal and definitely one that can handle Gilmour’s unique tones as well. 

    David Gilmour is known for his pristine clean tones and creamy overdrives. It’s a bit of Hiwatt and Fender combined, with a Tube Driver, or several actually, for more grit. All of these components have strong ties to the very early generation of Marshall amps and the Engine fits right in there. 

    The overdrive side of the pedal is based on the early 70s Marshall Plexi that just about every rocker used in the 70s. There’s the typical gain, tone and volume controls and a very handy mids control, allowing you to either scoop or boost the mids depending on what amp you’re using. 

    The booster is basically DryBell’s Unit 67, with a Rangemaster boost, boosting the upper mids, a two band EQ (bass and treble) and a volume boost. 

    I’m a huge fan of those early Marshall tones. Compared to the overwhelming JCM and the more modern models, the so-called Plexi amps, the JTMs and Super Leads, are to my ears, much more musical and timeless sounding. The Engine captures every nuance and characteristic of these amps, with an impressive accuracy. 

    It really feels like I’m playing a real tube amp. It’s got that natural compression and it responds incredibly well to my picking, whether I pick gently or really dig into it. One thing I often miss in Marshall modelled pedals is that they either lack the low end or that the mids are either too low or too high. The Engine is perfectly balanced, with that low end chug and the mids right where they should be, without sounding boxy or hollow. 

    The booster is basically your classic Rangemaster, which was the secret tool British guitarists used in the late 60s and early 70s to get more gain from their Marshall and Vox amps. Page, Iommi, Bolan etc they all used this elusive pedal. Adding a bit of boost to the overdrive takes it over the edge and turns it into a full blown distortion, which is just what you need to be able to cut through during your solos. 

    David Gilmour relies on his Tube Drivers, which tonewise are very close to a Fender Bassman and Marshall JTM. The Engine is fully capable of nailing those tones and again, the booster, makes it ideal for everything from clean boost to warm overdrive and distortion. 

    If I were to put my finger on something, then it would be that I miss the compressor from the Unit 67. Since they already featured the booster and EQ, they should also have included the compressor, which would have made the Engine the ultimate compressor, EQ, booster, overdrive pedal. For me at least. Still, this is no doubt one of the finest pedals I’ve played in a long time. Much like their Vibe Machine and Unit 67

    See DryBell for more details. 

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9 Responsesso far.

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Bjorn, as with other folks, your site has been a most excellent resource for me, for several years. Today I’m here to ask: Could comment on the EHX Hot Wax compared to DryBell’s The Engine? You’ve favorably reviewed both. They’re feature-wise similar, in that both have booster and overdrive sections. They differ too, for example The Engine allows you to select the effect’s order; the Hot Wax has a blend control. But, how do do they compare, sound-wise, for Gilmour tones? Thanks in advance!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for your kind words Dave! The Engine is modelled after a late 60s Marshall Plexi and the boost is emulating a treble boost, boosting the upper mid range. The Hot Wax is very close to the Tube Driver, with the Hot Tubes transparent booster. They cover much of the same ground but the Hot Wax has less gain and mid range, while the Engine is typically Marshall, although more classic than the modern metal Marshall. For David’s tones I guess I’d go for the Hot Wax.

  2. David says:

    I have one coming in tomorrow for the weekend! It sounds perfect for me to try and get the early Marshall and Hi-Watt base tone flavor from my Revv D20, which seems more Fender blackface ish to my ears. I take it this would work well after my rams head and Russian muff pedals for the awesome muff solo tones? Thank you Bjorn!

  3. Walter H. says:

    Hello Bjorn & Happy New Year 2021 to you and yours, hope all is well…
    I just added another Overdrive too! A Pettyjohn Gold. This is the original model and I won it on an EBay auction, brand new and at half price! It is best described as a Marshall in a box with superb EQ and Mid Control galore. You can also get 36 volts inside with 18 volts in and get headroom for days. It’s got a bunch of power and crunch and is very touch sensitive. There are two internal toggle switches to adjust Headroom amount or add an Orange Drop Capacitor for a more Vintage tone. Any experience with it or any Pettyjohn pedals? I’m partial as they are made in Sisters Oregon a bit North East of me. It is surprising how many pedal companies are in OR. and Andy does the Tone Report from Portland OR too.
    If I may ask one more? Boss DC 2W Dimension pedal. Any experience with it. I’m getting more interested after each demo I hear. Any experience with it?
    Thanks for All You Do for All of Us!
    God Bless.
    Walter H. ?

  4. Adrian says:

    My first post here, Bjorn, but I’ve been a casual visitor of your site during the last year. Just wanted to say that your playing, and your composition, in this review’s video are simply outstanding – you’re a star:-)

  5. Ian Oakshott says:

    Nice review Bjorn. The Engine is at the top of my list as far as pedals go. This stacked with my unit 67 will cover pretty much all of my gain needs. For me I think you hit it on the head, Fender cleans with Marshall drive. Through my fender style amps this will get me there without lugging two amps to rehearsal!!

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