[review] T-Rex Diva Drive (by LordRiffenstein)

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


T-Rex Engineering has been around for a long time, making high quality pedals and accessories that can be found on pedalboards all over the world. In 2014 they launched a new range of smaller pedals. As usual with T-Rex, these pedals have a couple of extra features for you to explore.

Diva Drive

A smaller form and packed with features, what’s not to like about? Build quality is excellent as usual. The pedal feels solid, the controls have a good feel. The pedal is based on a circuit using the JRC4558 op amp. Yes, like MANY other drive pedals out there, but the Diva Drive has some extra tricks up it’s sleeve. You get the typical gain-tone-volume controls but also a mix control. On the side of the pedal, there is also a 3-way toggle switch.

T-Rex Diva DriveIn use

The 1st time I plugged this pedal in, I thought it sounded ok but nothing special, an overdriven tone liked I have heard many times. I played around with it but it didn’t really inspire me. A couple of days later, I plugged it in again and started twisting controls like a mad man. The 3-way toggle on the side has a big impact on the tone of the pedal, it works together closely with the tone control.

After a good testing session, I realized that this is a very versatile pedal. To get the desired result, I started with setting the gain and volume and then the 3-way toggle. The Normal setting might be on the bright side for some applications, the mid adds a nice mid push and the fat is really that. After choosing one of these 3, you can dial in the tone with the tone control. On its own, the tone control doesn’t have a huge range but together with the 3-way, it does cover a lot of ground. Finally, you can play around with the mix control for some extra tones.

The Diva Drive does not have a huge amount of gain but it can deliver anything from a clean boost to a classic rock tone. You can run the gain fairly high and use the mix control to get back some clarity. With the 3-way set in Normal, it does a nice transparent boost but will also get you a plexi-style percussive OD tone. The Mid setting on the 3-way is awesome for lead playing and fattening up single coils.  The Fat setting not only gives extra low end but it also makes your high end smoother. I was able to dial in fantastic low gain blues tones in this setting that let my ES335 sing beautifully.

In a pedal-world overflown by JRC4558-based pedals, you need to do something special to stand out. I think T-Rex actually delivered a Swiss army pedal with the Diva Drive.  It won’t do metal-type gain but it has enough kick to boost an overdrive amp into that territory. Besides that, there’s a LOT to like about this pedal and a lot of tones you can find in it. Don’t think of it as a set-and-forget pedal, do yourself a favour and spend some time in dialing in this pedal and you will discover it can do a whole lotta tones.

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