ToneCandy Pedals Review
  by Adam Hunt

ToneCandy Sweet Drive
ToneCandy Sweet Drive First up is ToneCandy's aptly-named Sweet Drive. Mike Marino's goal was to create a pedal that sounds as good at gigging volumes as it does at small room volumes. "That's my problem with TubeScreamers," he says, "They only really sound good when amps are really cranked. I think Stevie Ray Vaughan knew that."

Using the best electronics available, including SwitchCraft input and output jacks, a SwitchCraft on/off switch, true hardwire bypass, a Hammond-cast aluminum shell and back, all metal pots and military-style building techniques, the Sweet Drive is a three stage overdrive unit that allows the player to independently adjust each of the FET-based gain stages.

The Sweet Drive is aimed at players who are looking for a pedal that will take them from purring blues sounds, with its lower gain settings, to classic rock-level overdrive sounds when things really get cooking. With my Michael Dolan-made Strat, I fired up my trusty Princeton Reverb, set all of the Sweet Drive's controls at 12 o'clock and hoped for the best. The tone from the amp was fat, incredibly smooth, organic and extremely touch-sensitive, if a little on the dark side. Turning up the Tone knob to about 5 o'clock cleaned things up quite a bit, but interestingly enough it seemed to act more like a wet/dry knob on an effects loop rather than just a standard Tone knob. The guitar and amp's natural sounds became a little more apparent as the tone knob was turned up, but the Sweet Drive's original signal was still present and supportive.

Switching to a humbucker-equipped Guild Bluesbird, the pedal really came to life. The Sweet Drive churned out sticky sweet, tubelike tones somewhat reminiscent of Mesa's "blue" settings from their V-Twin pedal, only smoother and more refined. Kicking up the pedal's Intensity setting, it was easy to move into Billy Gibbons land with plenty of greasy goodness. This is definitely a pedal for those who don't have any need for ultra-saturated distortion—someone who is looking for something more akin to a totally dimed Gibson GA-40 rather than a Krank Revolution.

Buy if...
you are looking for a flexible pedal that will go from greasy blues to classic rock tones.
Skip if...
you are looking to maximize your face melting fire power.

Rating... 5.0

See The Entire Review On The Premier Guitar Website
ToneCandy Red Hot
I'm going to go out on a limb on this one and say throw away your Marshall Guv'nor pedal now. After playing Tone Candy's Red Hot, you'll never go back. The Red Hot is more naturalistic, had less clipping, is more articulate, but still retains that "stack in a box" feel and sound. In a lot of ways the Red Hot picks up where the Sweet Drive leaves off. The Red Hot's overall vibe is a little more modern in its voicing than the Sweet Drive's and has more top-end sizzle than its milder-mannered cousin.

Like the Sweet Drive, the Red Hot retains ToneCandy's touch sensitivity and cleans up remarkably well when you lighten up on your attack or lower your guitar's volume. While the dirt never quite goes away, the Red Hot is definitely the more rock-oriented of the two pedals. Unlike a Marshall Guv'nor, the Red Hot doesn't get muddy or sputter when the gain setting is rolled back down. Although the Red Hot lacks the "deep" feature found on the GV-2 version, chances are you'll never miss it.

Buy if...
rock and roll is the name of your game.
Skip if...
you think Greg Ginn is the first and last name in tone.

Rating... 5.0

The Final Mojo
Each of the ToneCandy’s pedals is made of the finest parts available. Mike Marino is a passionate player and road tests his prototypes on stage for months prior to finalizing his designs, and I think this technology-meetsreal- world approach gives ToneCandy pedals an edge in a somewhat glutted market.