Dirt Review – Acoustic Imaginearing Quantum Drive

Manufacturer: Acoustic Imaginearing
Model:Quantum Drive

MSRP/Paid: $235/$170
New/Used/Loan: New
Battery: Yes
Power Supply: Yes
Size: 4 3/4″ x 2 1/3″ x 3 3/4″ deep (Aprox including Jacks and knobs)
Available from:Dealers/Direct

From the maker:

Take the leap!

Introducing the QuantumDrive Overdrive/Distortion pedal.
The first and only pedal to use the principals of quantum mechanics tunneling!

Use the Overdrive and QuantumDrive channels independently or chained together!

The Overdrive channel gives everything from subtle sweetening to TS-style drive to heavy crunch, all while retaining your playing dynamics.

The Quantum Drive channel gives an over-the-top unique distortion rich in dynamic harmonic content – after all it’s based on quantum physics!

Initial thoughts:

I occasionally stumble through the wilds of the internet with only a handful of search terms in hand and spend a dark and dreary afternoon exploring to see what I can find. This is one of those pedals that came on to my radar this way, and I bought it totally on the quantum physics marketing and Tony Levin comments from their site.

I filed it away figuring I would get to it eventually, but then stumbled on the manufacturer selling a few below retail on e-bay. As luck would have it I was flush that day and in it came. I spent a bit of time with it right when I got it, and then set it aside for awhile as I worked on other things (nose picking, general nonsense… etc). I’ve been in a little bit of a purging mood, but swore to myself I wouldn’t get rid of things I had yet to do a review of.  So I buckled down… ;)

Video Overview

Samples

Note: Headphones or good speakers required. Bass samples!

Active J

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Mix

P Bass

Position Sample
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Bonus

5 String 1:
5 String 2:
5 String 3:

Picture Gallery

Construction and cosmetic concerns:

The looks of the pedal are definitely eye-catching. On close inspection, the cover graphic is a print of some kind that has been fixed to the top of the box. It seems like it would be pretty durable, but I do have an edge that is a little ‘loose’. I’m sure it will be fine unless someone decides to claw at it. Everything is well attached and clearly labeled.  The embedded foam on the bottom is a nice touch, but doesn’t make a very good surface to attach Velcro, if that is your preferred method of pedal board attachment.   Internally everything is solid, but the battery clip attached to the lid itself is a little against the grain.  It’s never happened to me, but I have strange visions of opening a case like this a little too forcefully and detaching the battery cable from the rest of the circuit.  These days, I’ve taken to removing the battery, wrapping the connectors with electrical tape, and using a power tap anyway.   There is a mysterious purple tape/foam protecting the circuit from the cover that is also used between the pots and the circuit board.  I’m a bit of a foam hater because I’ve handled some old boxes that used the stuff and can only pray that modern foam is more resilient.  All in all though, the effect is well constructed using high quality parts and doesn’t feel cheap.

Conclusion:

This is one of those effects that I really wanted to like, but ended up walking away a little disappointed.  The overdrive side does a decent tubescreamer impression, but to my ear leaves a little bit wanting.  The Qdrive side is definitely much more sonically interesting and has a lot of character to it, but ultimately ends up being a sound that I don’t like very much.  It reminds me of the bubbling gas pockets of Dagobah, and strikes my ears as a bit silly.  Its characteristic is of a fuzz and filter combined, but both on settings that I don’t like very much.  There is a lot of utility here, because each side can be used independently or combined.  This aspect should give it a little bump of versatility over a pedal like the Battering Ram, but leaves my mouth a little dry when setup next to each other.  So despite its flexible controls I’m not really sure I’d call it more versatile.

I like the humor and the ideas behind this pedal, but ultimately I find it less fun than other pedals in its class.

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or let me know

Note: A rating of 5 = acceptable and should considered a good basic score

Sound Category: Versatile, Overdrive, Burble Fuzz
Versatility: 8
Sound: 5
Value: 4
Overall: 6