[review] RR Amplifiers Fat Drive (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.

RR Amps

RR Amps is a Dutch 1-man operation. Remco Ranschaert has been around for a couple of years and started out building rack gear (loopers, switchers), midi-controllers and full rigs. He expanded and started working on his own amp and has now his 1st pedal out, the Fat Drive.RR Amplifiers Fat Drive

Fat Drive

I’m not going to beat around the bush, the Fat Drive is based on the much-loved Klon Centaur.  It isn’t a direct clone though as RR Amps took the original circuit and made some changes.  As with the Klon, the Fat Drive comes in a BIG box. It’s not really pedalboard real estate friendly but, and you can trust me on this, you won’t mind once you have heard it! The Fat Drive has 3 controls. The Level and Gain controls don’t need an explanation. The Level has a massive amount of headroom and even with the gain at 0, it WILL kick your amp seriously in the nuts.  The Gain control kicks in at about 8:00 with a touch of crunch and it will get to a reasonable amount of gain near the end of the dial. This is not a high gain pedal, plenty for classic rock. The Treble control is not a typical tone control but works really well fine tuning the pedal to fit your amp.

The pedal in use

Anybody who has had the pleasure to try an original Klon knows that it is an outstanding boost pedal. Put it in front of a cooking Marshall and you are in for some serious fun. The only downside for many people is that the Klon is very picky about the amp when you want to use it as an overdrive.  It works with some, not so much with others.

The changes made in the Fat Drive are to address this and I must say that it has worked. You can now run it into a clean amp and get a great overdrive tone.  It’s still not very fond of the cleanest of the clean amps, think Twin/Hiwatt, but does its magic with lower wattage amps and many others.  I have tried the Fat Drive with a bunch of amps now and it really sounds great. You can get a great range of overdriven tones and I particularly liked it for classic rock with a LP or on low gain with my telecaster.

For most people though, a Klon is all about boosting an already overdriven amp, or another pedal, and the Fat Drive does not disappoint.  It’s been a while since I got to try a Klon but the Fat Drive reminded me of all the good I heard back then. As usual, I started off with the controls at 12:00 and the volume boost was impressive! I think the Fat Drive has a bit more gain on tap than the original. Once you start playing this pedal you discover what this is all about. Dynamics, feel, dynamics, big tone and did I mention dynamics yet? Even with a lot of output and some gain on tap, you can dial back with your volume control to get clean tones. Not just on low gain amp settings but also when you have a high gain tone going, boost it with the Fat Drive and then dial back to clean things up. The Treble control has its neutral position at 12:00 so you can add or subtract high end.  It works great to push the amp and still let it cut through the mix.  Whatever setting you choose, the awesome dynamics of this pedal will get you, you can leave it on at all times and get amazing tones with the controls on your guitar.

What can I say? I got this pedal to review and it’s not going back.  I happily paid for it out of my own pocket. I’m building a board that is going to be straightforward for a blues/bluesrock gig and the Fat Drive will have a prominent place on it. Unless you want to shell out a lot of money for a 2nd hand Klon, the Fat Drive is the way to go if you are looking for a killer boost and a great overdrive pedal. The build quality is fantastic and you can get a huge range of tones. Yes, it is big but so will be the grin on your face!

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