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Supro 1305 Drive pedal
A Supro - just in a much smaller box


by Phil O'Keefe



Many tone-savvy guitarists know that the secret to a great-sounding overdrive lies not just in the preamp; the power amp sections of many classic amplifiers contribute significantly to their grit and grind. But while there has been a big increase in the number of "amp in a box" style overdrives in the past few years, many overdrive pedals still primarily emulate or function as a preamp.

 

Not this one. Supro set out to recreate the sound of their own legendary amps with the Supro 1305 Drive pedal. Let's take a look at what makes it different than most other overdrives.





What You Need To Know

  • Supro didn't just focus on creating a preamp drive circuit; rather, they have recreated the circuitry of a Class A amp from end to end -the preamp, phase inverter and output sections, including an actual output transformer that provides magnetic saturation.

  • Housed in a blue anodized brushed aluminum housing measuring 3.2" W x 3.2" H x 4.9" L, the Supro 1305 Drive weighs 1.1 pounds.

  • There are four controls on the top of the 1305 Drive - three knobs and a two-position toggle switch. The knobs are the same design as the ones you'll find on the Supro Comet amplifier, with a mirrored silver insert and small position markers that can be tricky to see.

 

  • Volume controls the overall output level, and there's a ton of it on tap to satisfy your boost needs.

  • The Gain control sets the amount of gain in the pedal's preamp section, which in turn drives the power amp section higher. You can go from clean to full-out saturation, depending on the setting of this knob. The circuit uses no clipping diodes.  

  • The Tone control sets the cutoff frequency for the pedal's passive low pass filter. This occurs at the output of the circuit's "preamp section." When up full this knob has no effect, while turning it counter-clockwise rolls off increasingly more treble.

  • The Transformer toggle switch selects between two different output transformer coil taps, and has a significant effect on the sound. In the Bold setting the pedal offers greater headroom and punch, with more midrange emphasis. In the Rich mode, the sound is more compressed and overdrives more easily, with a bit more bass and treble.

  • The Supro 1305 Drive mainly uses surface mount components in its circuitry, and because the battery has its own separate compartment, you're probably thinking you'll never need to open up the pedal. Doing so requires removing two screws from the bottom of the top, and two more from the top of the bottom.




  • Inside you'll not only find the output transformer, but also a single trim pot. Hmm…maybe there is a reason to open the pedal after all, as it sets the minimum gain amount when using an expression pedal with the 1305 Drive.



  • Wait a minute - an expression pedal with a dirt pedal? Yes - the Drive has a 1/4" TRS expression pedal jack. This lets you adjust the amount of Gain with your foot on the fly, with the internal trim control setting the minimum gain point (heel down) and the gain knob itself setting the maximum gain.

  • The switching on the Supro 1305 Drive is true bypass and uses a click-free switch.

  • A red LED illuminates when the pedal is active.

  • The input and output jacks are top-mounted, which helps keep your pedalboard layout nice and compact.




  • The Power jack is mounted next to the I/O jacks, and uses the industry-standard 5.5mm x 2.1mm center-negative barrel style connector. The Supro 1305 Drive can run on anything from 9-18V DC, with higher voltages providing more headroom. No power supply is included but the pedal does come with a 9V battery loaded into its side-mount battery compartment. Current draw is less than 20 mA.
  • The Supro 1305 Drive comes with four rubber feet that you can attach if you want to, as well as a Supro sticker.

  • The 1305 Drive is covered by a one year limited warranty.




Limitations

  • The range of the Tone control is a bit limited, and its passive design does not allow for the amount of tonal adjustment that you get from some pedals with active EQ circuits.




Conclusions

Looking for something a bit different from your overdrive? Do your tastes lean towards the unique, with strong raunchy, rebellious and raw tendencies? Do you love the classic sound of Supro amps? Supro has done an admirable job of delivering all of that in this compact pedal. While it's not going to sound exactly like the more complex circuits in the tube-driven Supro amps, it does do a very good job of conveying that flavor and delivering some of the raw and raucous tones for which they're famous.  The tone control isn't the most powerful one you'll come across, but it gets the job done - try pairing the 1305 Drive with an external graphic EQ pedal if you want to explore more dramatic EQ shadings.

 

The heart of this pedal is all about amp simulation - particularly the output distortion that makes a small tube amp so much fun to play through. You can get some of that same fun from this pedal, and the built-in transformer is more than just a gimmick because it really adds to the unique character of this very Supro-flavored pedal. If you can't afford one of their amps, this is the next best thing - and if you do have one of their amps, you'll want one too - using this along with a Supro Comet is like adding a second channel to the amp, and the fact that this pedal holds its own alongside that amp speaks volumes about just how good it is. It's well worth finding an opportunity to give one a try. -HC-

 

If you have questions or comments about this review, or want to discuss the Supro 1305 Drive pedal, be sure to check out THIS THREAD in the Effects forum right here on Harmony Central!


Resources

Supro 1305 Drive pedal ($300 MSRP, $219.99 "street")

Supro's product web page    


You can purchase the Supro 1305 Drive from:

Sweetwater  

Guitar Center    

Musician's Friend    













__________________________________________________

 




Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.  

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