Origin Effects RD Compact Hot Rod review

The RevivalDRIVE Compact with extra heat for that modded amp sound

Origin Effects RD Compact Hot Rod
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

The existing RevivalDRIVEs are great pedals, but if you yearn for something a little hotter, this one pushes classic amp sound that extra mile.

Pros

  • +

    Compact size.

  • +

    User interface.

  • +

    Authentic hot-rodded valve amp sound.

  • +

    Post-Drive EQ options.

  • +

    Blend knob.

Cons

  • -

    Nothing of note.

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Anyone who liked the idea of Origin’s original larger-format RevivalDRIVE pedals but not the price, or just wanted a simpler and smaller version more suited to pedalboard use, was well served by the RevivalDRIVE Compact

Its reduced, easily navigated set of controls kept the core sound, while losing some of the more nuanced parameter adjustments. Now the family line has been expanded with the RD Compact Hot Rod, which is basically the RevivalDRIVE Compact’s evil twin… 

Where the original Compact offers its take on vintage amp sounds, this new iteration takes its inspiration from amp techs of the '70s and '80s, who modified classic amps for more gain and sustain – think modded Marshalls, Randall Smith’s modified Fender Princetons mutating into the first Boogie amps, or Ken Fischer’s Trainwreck take on the AC30.

There are the expected Gain and Output knobs here, but a lot of the dialled-in character comes from the More/Pres knob, which, by altering negative feedback in the emulated amp circuit, affects not just the presence and brightness but how it transitions into break-up.

Origin Effects RD Compact Hot Rod

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

Juxtaposing this with the Gain and the very effective High- and Low-end adjustment knobs, calls up a range of dynamically playable tones that totally reinforce the pedal’s claims of recreating the entire signal path of a modified valve amp, including the all-important preamp gain staging.

Maxed out, there are some full-thrash Marshall-type sounds that could strip the paint off your walls, but there’s plenty of lower gain subtlety, too. However, while the main thrust here is modified Plexi, this is more than a MIAB pedal, as there are authentically enhanced Vox- and Fender-based flavours to be had.

A Post-Drive EQ section sets the pedal up perfectly for whatever you’re plugging into, whether used as a standard overdrive into your amp or as a preamp feeding some speaker emulation. While a 100 per cent effect sound may satisfy your needs, you can also roll back the Blend knob to progressively add clean guitar signal – something it does really organically, making sure that what the pedal is providing melds seamlessly with the sound of your own amp.

Specs

  • PRICE: $390 / £320
  • ORIGIN: UK
  • TYPE: Analogue amp simulation/Drive pedal 
  • FEATURES: Buffered bypass, silent switching, all-analogue transistor circuitry, tone-shaping Post-Drive EQ 
  • CONTROLS: Output, Highs, Lows, Gain, Blend, More Presence, Post Drive EQ switch (Power amp/EQ1- brighter amps/EQ2- darker amps), Post Drive EQ adjust, Bypass footswitch 
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output 
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 100mA  
  • DIMENSIONS: 65 (w) x 138 (d) x 60 mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Origin Effects (opens in new tab)

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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.