- Volume knob
- Gain knob
- Treble knob
- Mid knob
- Bass knob
- Power LED
- 12AX7 tube
- AC power cord
The pedal is about as standard as any overdrive pedal, despite it having a 12AX7 inside adding tubey goodness to the sound. Pedals that use real preamp tubes tend to put out a lot of juice and this one is no exception. You really need to play with the Volume and Gain knobs to get a unity gain setting that sounds good. Since it has a preamp tube in side, you can also tweak the voicing by simply replacing the tube with a different brand tube. If you want to have less gain on tap you can also use a 12AT7 or 12AU7 in place the the 12AX7. With the right settings, this pedal can do clean boosting, overdriving, or super saturated distortion.
One odd thing is that the LED only turns on to let you know you have power. There isn't an LED (at least in the one I owned) that turned on and off with the pedal.
As with all overdrive/distortion pedals, there is a symbiotic nature between the pedal and the amp you are playing it through (not to mention the guitar, the pickups, etc). No pedal works well with all amps. I've tried this pedal on a bunch of different amps. It sounds better with some than others, but it never sounded bad. You need to adjust the Mids and Treble in order to keep them from getting to bright and metallic sounding. With the right amp this pedal sounds exactly like a second tube channel on the amp. Big, fat, and just right.
These were well made, we designed pedals. It's a shame that SIB appears to be no longer making pedals. The guitar community lost something special.
If you're looking for a pedal The downside would be the size (almost the size of a shoebox), but if it works with your amp that would be a small price to pay for the amazing, juicy tones this pedal can produce.
The SIB! Varidrive is a real tube overdrive pedal that has a real 12AX7 tube at it's core. There is a new, two channel version of the Varidrive, but this review is for the original single channel model. The pedal comes in a super heavy duty casing to protect the fragile insides, and has 1/4" connections for your input and output. It can be powered using a standard power cord. This isn't rack mountable in any way...
The make up of the SIB! Varidrive is quite easy to understand. The parameters you'll find here include knobs for drive, volume, and bass, middle, and treble EQ controls. That's all there is to it here, so even those with limited experience should be able to get by as there's nothing out of the ordinary happening here at all. I haven't had a need for the manual for the Varidrive.
The tone of the SIB! Varidrive is fantastic! It's up there with some of the best sounding tube overdrive pedals that I've used, and there are quite a lot of them out there these days. It's got this super warm, analog quality that is hard to reproduce without actual tubes being at play as they are here. It's the perfect pedal for super fat rhythm or lead guitar parts, and should definitely be considered an overdrive more than anything else.
The SIB! Varidrive is a tube overdrive pedal that everyone interested in overdrive pedals should check out as it's really that good. I don't own this pedal myself and have just used it in the recording studio, so I can't really comment on price here but I can't imagine that it would be too cheap. Either way, if you want a true tube overdrive pedal with an incredible sound, Varidrive is for you!