So, with my purchase of the JCM900 I needed a boost. Did a bit of trawling and found Guitar Guitar have Akai pedals on sale at the moment, with the Drive 3 Overdrive down from £71 to £29! So, that's what I went for.
Minor hiccup with getting it as they sent the Distortion rather than the Overdrive, but excellent customer service as I contacted them Tuesday morning about it and by lunchtime the correct pedal had been dispatched and the courier would be collecting other one on delivery Wednesday, saving me a trip to the post office. Excellent service there
On to the pedal itself. Well, it's built like a tank as you'd expect for a £70+ pedal. Has the usual level, tone and drive controls, plus a 3-way toggle for the modes: warm, boost or scream. From what I can make out these roughly equate to a blues overdrive, SD1 and a TS808 tube screamer respectively. Now, here's where things get interesting. Also in the box were two additional micochips. On the back there's a panel that allows you to access the drive chip and swap it for one of the other two included, meaning you have 9 different OD tone options from this! I'm looking forward to messing about with these later, but for now I've stuck with the factory chip which is the same JRC4558 as the TS808/TS9's.
So, how does it sound? Pretty damn good is the answer. I'm sure Plezz will chime in with his thoughts later, but it did exactly what I wanted and tightened the hell out of the Marshall. Unsurprisingly we liked the scream mode the best. Doesn't sound to my ears like it colours the tone, aside from the alterations of the tone control to dial in the best sound from it. We tried a few settings but eventually settled on level on max, drive on about 1 and tone set somewhere
We did try it through the 5153 too, though although it sounded good I'm not sure if it was an improvement or just sounding better because with the level maxed it was giving a volume increase. Either way I didn't have a way of switching it in and out, which buggered up my clean channel, so I left it running through the Marshall that definitely needs it.
Much fun will be had with this, and for all you UK types all I'll say is: BUY ONE! Akai Drive 3 Overdrive
It's £29 for fuck's sake, you could probably Ebay it for more
Actually I preferred the 5153 with the akai in front, gave it a bit more snarl. And the screamer mod was definitely the best mode, the other 2 settings just made everything woolier. Would be interesting to see what the other chips do, and if they give it moar gain or not. Seems like a great idea to allow you to mod the pedal yourself. So yeah for the money it's an awesome pedal.
Oh yeah and the tone dial seemed to do naff all. I literally had it from 0-10 with no discernable difference in tone.