We had seen teaser images of both pedals prior to NAMM and for the RevivalDRIVE I wasn’t sure if it was just a different colourway, but it was pretty obvious that the smaller of the new pedals was most likely some sort of Tremolo variant - and we now of course have confirmation that it’s actually based on a 1962 Fender Deluxe Brownface combo amp.
I was of course a big fan of the RevivalDRIVE when it first came out and was one of the first to snap it up and write a fairly detailed overview - the Custom version with the essential £99 footswitch, and which brings the price to the £658 mark. This is still only my current 2nd most expensive pedal with the Eventide H9 Max coming in at £700 with my two Barn3 add-ons - to make it more practically usable. I will likely be getting the Chase Bliss Audio / Benson Amps Automatone PreAmp MKII this year - which is at $749, and will likely translate to £749 here in the UK - which will become my then priciest pedal. However much I like the new Hot Rod version I’m not sure I can justify two such pricey drive pedals in the same year - we’ll see.
The new RevivalDRIVE Hot Rod looks and functions identically to the original, but has been wired somewhat differently for more gain and body - to bring forth the slamming sounds of the 70’s and 80’s in particular - including the Hot Rodded / Modded Plexi’s and JCM800’s, Soldano SLO100’s and MESA/Boogie MKI’s, There’s just a lot more gain and distortion onboard too. It’s a great sounding pedal for sure and yes I still want one, but it needs to join the queue behind several other wishlist targets, some carried over from last year - like the Automatone PreAmp MKII.
The RevivalTREM is a somewhat simpler proposition than the larger Drive pedal - and its 5 knobs, 3 switches and Adjustment screw are far more self explanatory. The top 3 knobs are the Drive circuit - Output, Tone and Drive, while the central larger knobs cover Intensity and Speed for the Tremolo component - with 2-way Shape toggle, and 3-way Speed Multiplier toggle - you then have the core global Revival style EQ settings we are used to - PowerAmp/EQ1/EQ2 - accompanied by the usual Adjustment / EQ-shift screw. Both the Drive and Tremolo have separate footswitches to activate those elements.
There seems to be a real appetite for vintage Fender amps these days - with Mad Professor also releasing its Super Black Blackface style drive pedal and a variety of other drive pedals recently available based on Blackface, Blondeface, Brownface, Deluxes, Princetons, Supers, Tweeds, Vibratones and the like! Personally I like my Trem a little more fully featured but this pedal is really not that different a concept to Crazy Tube Circuits’ Killer V Vibra-Drive; while I can totally see the appeal of the simplicity and purity of this tone. The new RevivalTREM is priced at £360 and should be available next month, while the Custom version of the RevivalDRIVE Hot Rod will be £585 plus £89 for the footswitch (£684) - surely owners of the original warrant some sort of discount! :)
I think maybe longer term I might well see my way to acquiring the Hot Rod - but as mentioned, it is very unlikely to be this year.