Last month we finally released the Plexi Drive Mini pedal, a pedal that has travelled an interesting path to get to its destination, and one we are all very fond of at Wampler. The idea of simply making mini versions of our own pedals is not something that Brian likes to do unless he can do something different, add some special sauce, cook it just the way he likes it – that’s always been his core philosophy. The story of how this pedal came to be reflects that.
Now the Plexi Drive circuit is definitely one of Brian’s classics. It’s been around in various forms over the years and is definitely one of our most loved sounds. Over the years Brian has refined that sound, and the current Plexi Drive Deluxe offered the most up to date take on this sound until now.
The idea of a Mini Plexi Drive pedal has been kicked around for a few years, the idea of making miniature versions of full size pedals is not exactly rocket surgery, but it was May 2019 when this project really took off. One of our team was visiting the guys at That Pedal Show as they were preparing for the filming of a new GigRig product (“The Wetter Box”) and he noted that Dan was using the regular Plexi Drive pedal. Later that month, the two bumped into each other again at a Joey Landreth gig and they got into a long conversation (possibly over a pint of Ale or two) over the idea of a Plexi Drive Mini and how awesome it would be if a Mid boost switch could be added.
Well that got Brian’s mind going. He thought about it and decided what would really work well is if he could somehow emulate the circuit and tonal differences of running a Klon style circuit into the Plexi drive circuit. Even more challenging, could he do it into a circuit housed in a mini style enclosure ?
The answer was yes, yes he could, and so the circuit for Plexi Drive Mini was born. Now originally we had planned to bring this pedal out in March 2020 but the world suddenly got very distracted and utterly flipped on its head. So fast forward to November 2020 and here we are – the pedal officially launched on the 20th (despite being leaked to the press early…ahem…and causing much amusing denial of its knowledge on social media even when videos were being released) and reaction has been terrific.
We wanted the aesthetic design to feel respectful of our previous plexi pedals, but also to bring the look and feel up to date a little. So we changed the way we treated the primary colors, mixed around the classic flag graphic a little, and came up with a new logo that sets out the ambitions of this little pedal. Hard edged, classic tones. The white finish goes great on a pedalboard, it stands out and looks superb under different color lights.
The arrival of this pedal shouldn’t have been a great surprise to anyone who follows our social media either – we had been dropping hints for a couple of months as more and more pictures of a small white toy Austin Mini with a union jack roof, echoing the design of the Plexi Drive but, well and also being a Mini, kept popping up behind pedals etc., peaking out more and more as the release got closer….well you get the idea. It was certainly not the biggest secret in the world despite my comic denials on social media.
So how does the pedal sound? Well I’m kinda biased…Before I give you my views, take a look at Brian’s video where he “blind tests” the pedal against his favorite Plexi Style Amp.
Pretty impressive, huh ? It absolutely nails that Marshall in a box tone for me, and without wasting any space on your pedalboard at all. The range of gain on this pedal is the most usable for me – It goes from lovely low and dirty light gain settings that give you that ‘60s sounding blues snarl, up to full on Angus young territory, and then pushes it beyond via a bit of ‘British Metal’ inspired goodness. The Tone control as ever gives you the perfect settings to, well shape your tone, and the two independent boost switches are so very darn useful. For me this gets me closest to the tones I need for classic heavy blues and rock all the way up to modern prog and metal sounds in one single pedal.
The Bass boost is an awesome feature for a gigging musician, allowing you to “simulate” the response from different Cab setups and essentially cut out the bass if you need more of the mids to sing through. The Mid Boost button is an all new boost circuit that tries to give you the equivalence of a klon style boost into this pedal. This can boost you to extreme levels of gain when everything is maxed out, have no doubt – things can get very loud! This pedal delivers such a beautifully crisp rhythm sound, belting out powerful low end and a tight mid end, and it also screams and wails at the top end just like you want it to.
Stacked with other pedals – well i’m probably going to sound like a broken record here, but of course this plays nicely with other pedals. Throw a Tumnus or a Clarksdale (or both) into this and you get some outrageously rich tones. Boost it with an Ego and you can get some really nice subtle harmonics, and a cutting tone with huge sustain. It just plays nicely with everything.
Again, it’s not really fair or balanced to just take my word for it, I clearly love this pedal because it covers so much territory in such a small footprint, so for balance why not take a look at these videos and hear it in action for yourself…I think the pedal speaks for itself. In the words of the mighty AC/DC, for those about to rock, we salute you!