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Sparkle Drive compared to SFT???

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by andyjingram, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. Sorry- another pedal comparison thread!

    My issue is that I can try out and buy a Sparkle Drive next week if I like. An SFT won't be in stock anywhere for another couple of weeks, and I will be out of town by that point, meaning that I would either have to trek a long way just to try it out, or it may be out again by the time I'm back in London.

    So what I would like to know from those who have tried both is- Is the general consensus that the SFT is better for 'my-amp-is-a-bit-too-loud' overdrive, and if so, are we talking 'hold out for possibly ages or get an expensive train ticket and pay half as much again in the strore to get it' better, or would I be splitting hairs when it comes to basically buying a quality, subtle overdrive pedal. Pleaser bear in mind that while it is time for a good quality pedal, money is still a painful subject!

    For musical context, I'm looking for a subtle 'hair' on the tone for classic blues-rock through my very clean, clear amp, with a P-bass.

    Thanks guys, Andy
  2. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    Either would be a good choice. I've not tried the Sparkle Drive but I do have a BB Preamp which is like a Sparkle Drive with a 2-band EQ instead of a blend control, which I find more useful - so add that to your list of considerations!

    I have the SFT, BB and VT Bass. Each have their own merits and I can never decide what's best, although this week I think I prefer the sound of the SFT or BB boosting into the VT!

    Or order from Tonefactor in the US, if you don't like it flip it for what you paid for it, you'll get your money back since they're in demand.
  3. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    To share what I put on BC ;)

    SFT will be better than the Sparkle Drive (a Tube Screamer with a blend) especially if you're using it as an amp sim or hair sim tongue.gif

    Personally the SFT is the most tube amp like pedal around, I used one in the studio for my dirty tone and it so responsive, it might take a little getting use to depending on your technique but you need to treat it like the bassists in the 70's treated their tube amps.

    The SFT can be 100% clean with the gain rolled off and still has plenty of volume on tap so you can just use it as a 2 band eq with that ampegy sound.

    Like I say just bare in mind it's design is to be as amp like as possible even down the eq so if you want to increase bass but it's getting muddy cranking the bass knob, reduce the treble all the controls are very interactive.

    Hope this helps
  4. Gaetano Paul

    Gaetano Paul

    Nov 25, 2009
    Sarasota, FL
    SFT? could you clarify, I am unsure what that is.
  5. I'm interested in these two pedals also, so I'm looking forward to the responses. Dannybuoy, I think I've read where the SFT and VT are voiced pretty similar. Do you find this to be true, and what is your opinions on running both?

    The Sparkle drive, from what I've read, retains a lot of low end due to the clean blend, of course. My question on the SD is, when the clean blend is turned off so that the signal is fully saturated, does the pedal still retain the low end? I love the tubescreamer tone for bass, but my TS-9 tend to kidnap the low end some.
  6. That would be the Catalinbread overdrive.
  7. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    The SFT has a sound of it's own and can boost low end. Sparkle drive is more passive...if you are slamming it with lows, it will retain them, but at the expense of the overdrive (because you have to use the clean) and it's overdrive side does not retain low end like a Xotic BB overdrive (which can add low end).
    I've found that in a loud band overdrives can disappear when blended, so I wind up using them at a higher saturation, and the sparkle drive Needs to be pushed into that. For bass it's great as a final boost w/ added dirt, but by itself...in truth...it's a guitar pedal. The SFT has much more growling bass overdrive "on tap". At least that's how these have worked for me playing an active bass into a VT into a solid state amp.
  8. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    I have a Tech 21 BDDI which I'm getting fed up with so I'm thinking of getting something else to replace it. So I've been thinking of the VT with Xotic RC Booster in front of it. Or would the BB preamp be better?

  9. alirazz


    Jun 30, 2009
    Chambana, IL
    I would say either BB -> RC or BB -> VT
  10. irvinz


    Nov 23, 2006
    has too much gas
    im gonna throw in the barber ltd sr into the loops as well. especially if you are looking for some 'hair'
  11. alirazz


    Jun 30, 2009
    Chambana, IL
    Ok, I don't think this question is worth opening a new thread for so I'm just gonna ask it here.
    How does the xotic bb compare to the ts9? Can it do the same tones but with better bass response?
    I've been looking at tube screamers recently and I've narrowed it down to the xotic bb and Keeley's TS9DX 4x2
  12. irvinz


    Nov 23, 2006
    has too much gas
    bb has more gain on tap. and really transparent. nothing like the ts9 which has huge colour to it. i guess mainly due to the mid hump.
  13. I've never tried a SFT, but I've got a Sparkle Drive. It does a fairly decent job of lighter overdrive sounds, but it doesn't seem like the Sparkle Drive can go as smooth as the SFT does in this video, for example.

    I sent my Sparkle Drive to Keeley for modding and it's well worth the money. It can still do some lighter overdrive, but now it has twice the gain available (not that I'll ever use it) and better low frequency response. Sidenote: When I play Jaco's Slang, I use my Keeley Sparkle Drive to get the distortion sound he uses... check this vid (he kicks it on at 2:04).

    Here's some clips if it'll help!

    Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive - Light Drive
    Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive - Full Gain Blend
    Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive - Full Wet Gain
    Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive - Gritty

    Keeley Mod Sparkle Drive - Light Drive
    Keeley Mod Sparkle Drive - Full Gain Blend
    Keeley Mod Sparkle Drive - Full Wet Gain

    I'll add another pedal to the mix as well... Have you thought about a Way Huge Pork Loin? I picked one up recently (sorry, no clips yet :meh:) because it's a lighter overdrive and I was specifically looking for what you described. They bill it as a "British" overdrive I think. It seems simple, but it's actually very dialable... besides the controls on the front, there are three on the inside. I've been very happy with it! Just a thought. :)

    Edit: Pork Loin and Hartke VXL Bass Attack clips added from below...

    Way Huge Pork Loin - Various Drive settings

    Hartke Bass Attack - Various Gain Settings

  14. Crap. Now I want a SFT. :rollno: lol

  15. 5sg, the Sparkle Drive sounds are okay but your clean tone is crazy! What's your recording chain like?
  16. Agreed... I've picked up a couple overdrives since the Sparkle Drive that I like better, but man for a few specific uses, the post-mod Keeley version is KILLER. My one gripe is that it's still a little cold. :)

    Those particular clips were recorded with my Modulus Quantum 5 > Sparkle Drive > computer via Line6 Toneport UX1 (now called the Pod Studio). I don't use the amp/cab models in the software (Podfarm), all I use is the "Modern" preamp (flat EQ), a little compression. What you're hearing is all Quantum. ;)


    P.S. Let me see if I can whip up a clip of the Pork Loin...
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Does your Modulus have EMG's? The sound reminds me of Kai Eckhart's tone with his Modulus. Very distinctive.

    What a huge difference with the Keeley mod!!!!
  18. Man, thanks for the compliment! However, my Q5 has Bartolini soapbars with an Aguilar OBP-3 preamp. :bassist:

    I agree about the difference... I was amazed at how much more open the Sparkle Drive was!

    Okay, here's a clip of the Pork Loin... sorry for the delay! This one was recorded with my USA Jazz V > Pork Loin > Toneport UX1. I started out with my clean tone again, then progressively more drive with the Loin.

    Maybe still not quite what the andyjingram might be looking for, but I like it better than the Sparkle Drive. It's warmer (especially through a live rig) and the Curve control is cool... you can adjust the "corners" of the waveform. Smoother with the Curve control up, dial Curve back and it gets a little more crunchy.

    Way Huge Pork Loin - Various Drive settings

  19. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Though I know they call the BB a preamp it's more of a distortion pedal isn't it? So If I use the VT drive then I don't really need the BB do I?

  20. loopee

    loopee Supporting Member

    May 12, 2009
    Surrey, B.C. Canada
    Pork Loin....hmmmm I was thinking about that one too...

  21. Primary

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