Review: Elektron Analog Drive Pedal

(Image credit: Elektron)


If you’ve been playing electric guitar for a while and you crave distorted tones in all their various colors and styles, you’ve probably already amassed a decent collection of overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals.

For the most crazed connoisseurs of crunch, the Elektron Analog Drive, which offers eight different types of distortion in a single pedal, may be the last and only distortion pedal they’ll ever need.

Covering the gamut from clean boost and overdrive to fuzz and high-gain mayhem, the Elektron Analog Drive is a fully professional-quality distortion effects unit featuring a 100 percent analog signal path, three-band EQ with sweepable midrange, 100 user preset slots, MIDI In/Out, and much more.

Inside its relatively oversized housing, which occupies about the same real estate on a pedal board as three or four standard-size stomp boxes, the Elektron Analog Drive boasts eight completely independent overdrive/distortion circuits, each with its own distinctive textural character. A large rotary dial manually selects Clean Boost, Mid Drive, Dirty Drive, Big Distortion, Focused Distortion, Harmonic Fuzz, High Gain and Thick Gain settings.

Gain and Level controls allow users to further sculpt the distortion texture and character, and Low, Mid Frequency, Mid and High EQ controls provide a useful range of tone-tweaking possibilities.

Users can manually scroll through the 100 presets using the rotary Preset knob or the up and down footswitches, or they can select any desired preset using a MIDI controller connected to the unit’s MIDI In. Program change and controller can also be transmitted via the MIDI Out. The pedal also includes separate 1/4-inch expression pedal jacks for manually controlling gain and midrange settings.

While the eight different distortion circuits in the Elektron Analog Drive provide a full variety of overdrive, distortion and fuzz effects and textures, each of the circuits perfectly complement the tone of the guitar and amp rig by preserving its natural character. To get the most out of its wide tonal range, I found the pedal sounded best through an amp dialed just below the brink of overdrive. While each setting has its own distinct personality, it improves what is already there instead of completely overwhelming the tone with its own sonic stamp.

Even the EQ section is perfectly tuned to an ideal range that sounds good no matter where the knobs are set. Clarity and note definition remains excellent even at the most distorted fuzz and high-gain settings, and the tones all have a professional-quality sheen that actually improves the sound, dynamics and performance of most rigs.


• Eight independent analog distortion circuits provide the gamut of tones from clean boost and overdrive to fuzz and high-gain distortion.

• Guitarists can scroll through the 100 user presets using the footswitches or rotary preset knob or select any desired preset with an external MIDI controller.

Offering eight incredible sounding and very useful distortion circuits, the Elektron Analog Drive is a distortion connoisseur’s dream that truly does it all and does dirt very well.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.