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Akai Variwah and G-Drive

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Peter McFerrin, Jun 21, 2002.


  1. As some of y'all know, I'm a big fan of Akai stompboxes; my Tune Lock and Intelliphase aren't leaving my signal chain anytime soon.

    I'd like to get an envelope filter, a wah, and a distortion/fuzz, for my John Wetton-wannabe excursions. The Variwah has pedal wah, envelope filter, and auto-wah modes, in an aluminum-cased stompbox with true bypass. The G-Drive has 6-band graphic EQs before and after the distortion stage, and is also true-bypass.

    Does anyone here have any experience with either of them? I'm already buying tons of gear this summer ( :rolleyes: ) but these look incredibly sweet. Plus, they're dirt-cheap: $80 for the G-Drive and $50 for the Variwah, both from Musician's Friend (I can trust MF for stompboxes).

    FWIW, most of the Harmony Central reviews I've read of the Variwah have been from tone-deaf vintage-whore guitar players, so I discount their opinions straight off. The G-Drive is too new for much of a review buildup.
     
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    the Akai Deep Impact would probably please you.

    You're right, AKAI pedals rule. I love my Unibass hi-octaver. No other box can produce such a sound.
     
  3. pudgefactor

    pudgefactor

    Mar 28, 2002
    Boston
    I messed around with the Variawah and Impact at a guitar store recently. The Deep Impact is very
    cool if you want synth sounds. I also tried the Variawah and thought it sucked. The sounds was
    soft, the wah of full was very mild. Didn't like it at all.
     
  4. Did you try the auto-wah and envelope filter settings? Those are what I'm more interested in. FWIW, I don't like super-chewy wacked-out envelope sounds; my preference is more toward subtle Tony Levin-esque sounds.

    Did the pedal on the Variwah feel solid? Some reviewers on H-C complained that it was plastic, which might not be that bad (the expression pedals on most multieffects units are plastic), especially in light of the fact that most guitarists are used to using Crybaby-style wahs with needlessly heavy pedals.
     
  5. pudgefactor

    pudgefactor

    Mar 28, 2002
    Boston
    I mostly tried out the autowah cause that was what I was looking for. The wah sounds were
    subtle even on a high setting. I was looking for
    a more pronounced wah, so I felt it was weak.
    The pedal is light and plastic, but built enough so that it isn't cheesy. The big problem I had was I
    thought the volume of the pedal was low and I couldn't get it any higher. No volume boosting.
     
  6. I'd stay away from the g-drive unless you plan to leave it on all the time, or if you hook it up to an external true bypass loop.

    A friend of mine got one and there's a significant signal drop/delay when you first engage the pedal.
    He returned it in exchange for another, and the second one had the same problem. I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty sure true bypass pedals shouldn't take that long to engage.

    BTW, I tried the pedal with battery, and with ac adapter... same lag - like changing banks on a really cheap multieffect pedal... totally ruins any clean/overdriven song dynamics. and you can't compensate by hitting the switch a second earlier, as the signal drops when it's in the middle of going from pedal off to on.
     
  7. That's very useful to know. Thanks, Tragicmagic--I guess I'll save my money for a BassDrive or a Deep Fryer.