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Overdrive

Review: Revv G2 Overdrive

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The Revv G2 is the newest pedal offering from Revv Amplification, and completes the pedal trifecta that is the Revv G Series. Although it was originally designed to deliver all the tone of the Revv 120 Generator Amp’s green crunch channel, through the course of its development the G2 ended up being able to do so much more. The G2 works equally well as both a boost pedal, and as an amp-in-a-box. As a boost pedal, the G2 is more versatile than the average green box, due to its 3 band EQ, however the G2 really shines when treated more like an amp channel. According to Revv’s president and head designer, Dan Trudeau, the G2 completes the company’s vision for a modular rig solution. The idea here is that with all 3 G Series pedals, you can assemble a rig that has all of the sounds of a tube amp, without the actual tube amp. The thing about the G Series, however, is that each pedal is so versatile that you could construct your entire rig around just one of them! The lowest gain of the bunch, the G2 is your best bet if you are looking for a crisp and chimey starting tone. In many ways, Revv is venturing into uncharted territory with the G2 pedal, as more than anything it is a standalone amp modeler. While there are plenty of high gain distortion pedals that are made to also behave like amp channels (such as the G3, G4, Freidman BE-OD, Abasi Pathos, etc.), the G2 is not really dirt box in the same way, but more a thing of its own. 

Features

Volume: controls the overall output level. There is a serious amount of headroom here, way more than most pedals that are currently on the market. Although true that in recent years pedal manufacturers have been incorporating increasing amounts of headroom in their pedals, Revv still leads the pack on this one. As a boost pedal, this means that the G2 can seriously drive the front end of your amp, but it also means that the G2 functions quite well as an amp channel/amp modeler. We experimented with placing our G Series pedals directly in front of interfaces and mixers, in both live and studio contexts, and were surprised to discover how usable these pedals are on their own. Our favorite way of running the G2 is towards the end of the signal chain, so as to treat it like an amp, and so as to fully benefit from the volume control’s huge range.

Bass: controls the amount of bass. Unlike the bass control on many pedals, this knob is usable in every position, thanks to the detail with which the filter has been designed. Lower settings result in chimier, Vox-y tones, while higher settings allow you to achieve the fullness associated with Fender cleans. At full tilt, the bass control does not force overwhelming amounts of woof into the signal, but rather causes the bass frequencies to blossom evenly and smoothly. 

Middle: controls the amount of middle frequencies. Mids controls seem to be the newest hot thing on pedals these days. Whether you chalk that up to progressive metal’s current surge in popularity, the emergence of scores of new boutique tube amp manufacturers, or simply a general realization amongst guitar players that most of their instrument occupies what we regard as the ‘middle frequencies,’ is up to you. The middle control on the Revv G2 behaves very much like that of an amp’s mids control. Turn the knob all the way down for a scooped tone, and turn it all the way up for some mids-forward honk. This is the knob that really helps you to fine tune the amp-like quality of the pedal’s sound.

Treble: controls the amount of treble frequencies. Unlike the treble controls that you are probably used to seeing on pedals, this one has a significant effect on the overall character of the tone, in a way that feels more nuanced than usual. This knob could have been named ‘chime’ and it would have made perfect sense, given how the quality of the pedal’s sound morphs from Marshall-y, to Fender-y, to Vox-y, with a turn of the knob. Like the others, this knob is very sensitive, so a little tweaking goes a long way.

Gain: allows you to dial in anywhere from no gain, to the lower, more vintage end of high gain. Functional at every position, this knob’s lower settings offer a variety of low gain sounds, while the medium settings deliver slightly driven, bluesy crunch sounds, and the higher settings get you the smooth saturation of an unboosted plexi. Regardless of the gain setting, the G2 retains clarity across the board, and remains responsive not only to the pedals you put in front of it, but to your technique as well.

As a final note on the character and quality of the Revv G2’s gain, we want to mention that this pedal tracks very well. This is something that we also mentioned when reviewing the G3, and something that continues to be a defining characteristic of Revv’s pedals. The G2 does not ever sound digital, but rather responds as one would expect a nice tube amp to. Does this mean that owning a G2 is the same as owning a 120 watt Revv Generator? Of course not. But it will get you much closer than pretty much anything else currently available.

Drive Switch: allows you to toggle between three different channels. If you are familiar with the Aggression switch on the G3 and G4 pedals, then you already know how this one works, as it is basically the same thing. In ascending order of gain levels the channels are: off, blue, and red. In the most general terms, one could think of the blue and red channels as rhythm and lead, respectively, and you could do a lot worse than sticking to that relatively traditional approach. Perhaps more useful however, is to think of each channel in terms of gain potential and compression. Don’t be confused by the labeling, the off position does not mean that the pedal is off, but simply that neither the blue or red channels are engaged. In many ways though, the off channel is the most versatile. From shiny clean, to bright and chimey, to quacky and just a tad crunchy, this channel is a nice option for some bare-bones amp tones without much compression. The blue channel introduces a bit more gain as well as a noticeable amount of compression. This channel provides some of the lower gain sounds that you would associate with a tubescreamer-boosted clean amp. The red channel provides the highest amount of gain, as well as a corresponding increase in compression. This channel on its own sounds kind of like an unboosted plexi. The red channel is crisp and saturated in that slightly squishy, vintage-y way. The extra dose of compression is great for leads, while boosting the G2 with another pedal will easily put you into hard rock/early metal territory. 

Spectrographic Analysis

Telecaster Style Guitar [Maple Fingerboard, Dimarzio D-Activator Humbucker (bridge position)] – Cable – Scarlett 2i2 Interface – MacBook Pro 15” 2012 – Logic Pro X.

Powered by a grounded Voodoo Labs Pedal Power unit via 9V input.

No pedal in signal path

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Revv G2 Bypassed, placed between Guitar and Interface

Not much signal loss or frequency gouging here. Basically what you would expect from a true bypass pedal.

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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Off; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Noon; Volume: Full]*
A very natural and present saturation is on display here. Notice how the graph shows how true to the original signal the effected signal is.

*Note that these settings will be mimicked (controls at noon, level at full), when possible, in all of our distortion, overdrive, and fuzz reviews, in the interest of developing a standard that facilitates both comparison and understanding of the inherent tonal qualities of each pedal.

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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Blue; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Noon; Volume: Full]
Notice the slight increase in saturation across the board, and the subtle increase in presence of the mid frequencies when the Blue channel is engaged.

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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Red; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Noon; Volume: Full]
Here on the Red channel, we can see that the tide of saturation has risen ever so slightly so that the blanket of gain is slightly thicker, and so that there is an increase in activity in the upper frequencies.

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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Off; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: 0; Volume: Full]
Here we have the Revv G2 at its lowest gain setting. The saturation is present but more of the original dynamic contour is preserved.

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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Blue; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: 0; Volume: Full]
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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Red; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: 0; Volume: Full]
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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Off; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Full; Volume: Full]
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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Blue; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Full; Volume: Full]
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Revv G2 ON [Drive: Red; Bass: Noon; Middle: Noon; Treble: Noon; Gain: Full; Volume: Full]
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Conclusion

The final piece of Revv’s pedal trifecta is as useful as it is impressive. Whether you are interested in extremely portable low gain amp modeling, or you just want one of the most versatile boost pedals currently available, the Revv G2 is worth checking out.

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