Kernom Ridge Augmented Analog Overdrive Pedal review

Is this the most versatile analog overdrive pedal ever built? A new approach to clipping circuits aims to offer all the drive sounds you need in a single stompbox

Kernom Ridge
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

A truly chameleon-like overdrive pedal that can provide everything from clean boost upwards, the Ridge gives you a massive range of options in shaping your sound and has practical facilities for onstage use.

Pros

  • +

    One pedal with many different overdrive sounds.

  • +

    Really robust build.

  • +

    Flexible EQ options.

  • +

    MIDI functions.

  • +

    Expression pedal morphing between sounds.

Cons

  • -

    Power adaptor not supplied.

  • -

    Slight footswitch lag.

  • -

    Not particularly compact.

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There is a type of overdrive pedal that delivers variations on its voice via a switchable selection of clipping options – and this certainly offers versatility. But the Kernom Ridge goes further by delivering its clipping options via a rotary Mood knob, the actual overdrive voice being determined by the knob’s position. 

The new technology behind this, ‘analog morphing core’, is said to control the non-linear elements of the clipping stage, changing their threshold in real-time. Kernom says the Mood knob is roughly divided into five segments, running from a clean and open sound through transparent overdrive, a more coloured overdrive and high gain, to ‘almost fuzz’. 

We found that those descriptions are accurate, but it’s not a totally seamless shift through them as there’s a distinct jump from the first to the second segment. Generally, though, it’s a smooth gradation along the knob’s travel, allowing extensive nuance in choosing your overdrive’s character.

All the controls are highly interactive, including Volume and Drive working in conjunction with the Mood knob and a trio of knobs offering comprehensive tonal sculpting and shading. Pre Tone adjusts the EQ before the signal hits the circuitry and has a big influence on the nature of the drive, perhaps by making your bottom-end a bit leaner.

Kernom Ridge

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

Post Tone adjusts the output EQ to set things up for the rest of the chain and is great for getting the sound to sit right with your amp, while Mid has influence on the overall drive character – turn it left to scoop the midrange, while right gives you more presence.

The upshot of all this control is that the Ridge is an extremely versatile pedal that not only gives you the opportunity to dial in a huge range of original drive tones but can also accurately mimic just about any drive pedal.

You can quickly save a dialled-in sound to one internal preset, recalled by the Preset footswitch, so you can have instant access to two drive variations – which can actually be morphed between if you plug in an expression pedal. Via MIDI, you get access to 128 presets and continuous control over parameters.

Specs

  • PRICE: $299 / £269
  • ORIGIN: France
  • TYPE: Overdrive pedal 
  • FEATURES: True bypass with relay, 1 onboard preset (128 accessible via MIDI), High (Punishing) Voltage mode, expression pedal capability
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Mid, Mood, Drive, Post Tone, Pre Tone, Bypass footswitch, Preset footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output, standard EXP pedal input, MIDI In, MIDI Out
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 250mA minimum (300mA recommended)
  • DIMENSIONS: 164 (w) x 112(d) x 52mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Kernom

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Trevor Curwen

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.