Sinvertek Drive N5 review

Need a dirty channel for your clean amp? Take 5 with this superlative distortion pedal

Sinvertek Drive N5 review
(Image: © Future)

Guitar World Verdict

A super-tweakable distortion pedal that offers a wide variety of drive tones and actually fulfills the promise of an extra gain channel for your amp.


  • +

    Comprehensive gain structure.

  • +

    Does both US and British drive styles.

  • +

    The mode select switch is a formidable weapon.


  • -

    Could be too much bottom-end for some amps.

  • -

    On that note, you might want to check out Sinvertek's new Drive N5+.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Countless drive pedals purport to cram valve amp sound and dynamics into a stompbox, but results vary widely. 

You may be skeptical of similar claims from Sinvertek - the company behind the TG Best Buy-winning Fluid Time MK II analog delay - that the Drive N5 acts as a ‘tube amp overdrive channel’, but this feature-rammed stompbox is one of the few that actually delivers on its promise.

The Drive N5 is an evolution of Sinvertek’s original Distortion No. 5, which met considerable acclaim thanks to its ability to mould itself to the frequency response of any amp via a four-band EQ and bevy of switches. 

There's a ridiculous amount of gain on offer

The Drive N5 sweetens the formula with an improved dynamic response when you roll back your guitar’s volume knob, and an expanded range on every control.

There’s a ridiculous level of gain on offer, which you can tailor to sound more American or British using the three-way midrange selector switch, and if you fancy more definition, the top-end switch allows you to increase the pick attack on the high-end. 

The pièce de résistance is the mode select switch, which you can set so that hitting the footswitch adds a volume bump, gain boost or both: one stomp activates the boost and a double-tap bypasses the pedal. It’s a killer feature for a stompbox this size and does away with the need for an additional pedal for solos. 

It’s hard to say that any pedal is the ultimate drive, but the N5 is such a straightforward route to great tone that it genuinely does add an extra distortion channel to any clean amp. High 5!


(Image credit: Future)
  • PRICE: $149, £165
  • TYPE: Overdrive/distortion pedal
  • CONTROLS: Volume, gain, mid, treble, bass, presence, midrange switch, top-end switch
  • SOCKETS: Input, output, power
  • BYPASS: True bypass
  • POWER: 9V power supply only

For more information, head to Sinvertek.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.