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Thread: Full-Drive 3

  1. #1

    Full-Drive 3

    I've been a Full-Drive and Full-Drive II user in the past, including the various FDII and Mosfet incarnations.

    So when I got the email from Fulltone that an FD3 was in the works, I figured it would be useful, and ordered one. It came early this morning, so I logged some time with it, and figured I'd file the tone report here. My pedal board is all true-bypass, and cabled with PRS cables exclusively. It's a little smaller than the older FDs, so it's a bit easier to get on a crowded board (I have loads of room, so not an issue for me). It's built to the same standards as the old ones, and is a nice creamsicle orange color that looks brighter in the pic. below.

    What's nice about this one is that the boost and the OD circuits operate 100% independently. So you can engage the boost circuit without engaging the OD. You couldn't do this with the previous models. The boost circuit also incorporates a variable limiter, a nice feature.

    The OD has two modes, one like the early 90s Full-Drives (a colored tube-screamer type circuit), and one that's more transparent sounding. There is a toggle for this. There's also a toggle for having the OD before the boost, or after the boost. Very thoughtful. It runs on a standard 9V battery or power supply with center pin negative. You can also run it at 18 volts, which is what I do to increase the headroom a little bit.

    How does it sound? Very nice! Each OD mode is what you'd expect from this style of pedal, a very tightly grained overdrive that works well with my HX/DA, the 90s mode being a little more mid-forward, and the modern mode being more open. I like them both. The boost, to me, is the unexpected star of the show. I like it with the buckers on my A-V coil-tapped especially, and it's great for adding a little bit of clarity and warmth there. Just adding 3 db or so of boost makes for some nice richness, and the boost is very transparent

    Both modes add nice color. Why would I put a pedal in front of the HX/DA, which let's face it, is a phenomenal amp with a killer overdrive? First, I like to play around with coloration in front of an amp. Sometimes I want a slightly different texture, too. Second, I like to put overdrive in front of certain modulation or delay pedals from time to time.

    Bottom line: this has a fat and warm sound, and it'll have some cool uses in my work. And having a clean boost that operates independently means one less pedal on the board. I really didn't want to turn the boost off.

    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  2. #2
    Senior Member Woundtight's Avatar
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    Nice. How do you like it compared to the PlimSoul? Different animals I know, but which one sounds better, which one is more useful to you?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Woundtight View Post
    Nice. How do you like it compared to the PlimSoul? Different animals I know, but which one sounds better, which one is more useful to you?
    OD tone for OD tone, I might find the Plimsoul a touch more useful with the HX/DA (I'll have to do a lot more playing around with the FD3 to know for sure), but just going on past FDs, I've preferred the Plimsoul slightly with British style amps to the older Fulldrives on lower gain settings, which is how I run an OD into a good amp.

    But all that changes with the Clean Boost on the FD3. This is a very nice clean boost, and the limiter means you can dial in your dynamics and feel if you feel the urge to do so. I like what this clean boost does for split coil tones quite a lot, and because I like to use my guitar's volume control to control gain, this gives me even more options for that "edge of breakup" tone. It also adds a bit of sparkle, and the limiter uses a nice sounding germanium transistor.

    Also, on the occasions when I run my guitar direct into a software modeler, I generally like to use a mild OD pedal in front of the direct box. It seems to add additional analog something-or-other that's hard to put into words. Past FDs have worked well for this, and so has the Plimsoul.

    So to me this isn't either/or. Each has its charms.

    I'm also a big fan of the Robin Trower OD that Fulltone makes, and I'd say the FD3 is a bit closer to that tone than to the Plimsoul's tone, or even the FDII tone (this is in the 90s setting). I think the Trower OD was modeled on Trower's original early Fulldrive, though he uses both in his chain. I don't currently have a Trower pedal, so I'm going strictly by memory here.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 11-08-2013 at 04:26 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  4. #4
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. I dig Fulltone stuff. Didn't even know this was coming out.
    Plank Owner

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    Thanks for the review. I dig Fulltone stuff. Didn't even know this was coming out.
    I think they had me on their mailing list. They offered the first group of units to the mailing list on a pre-order basis about a month and a half ago.

    They'll be in stores soon I think.

    I like this pedal. As with all Fulltone stuff, it's musically useful, as opposed to "cool, but where would I use it?" that I find with some pedals. It's got a nice, smooth sound typical of their FD series, and it can get compressed and fat. Definitely different from, say, the OCD, Plimsoul, etc.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  6. #6
    I know it's creepy to post twice in a row on my own thread, but upon further review, I think I prefer to power the pedal with 9 volts instead of 18.

    It's got more headroom with 18, but it sounds a little juicier and warmer with 9. And heck, the whole point of a distortion pedal is to distort! So who cares about headroom?
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  7. #7
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Good to know. While I do not use dirt pedals I am fascinated by them.
    Plank Owner

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    They also make a bass drive pedal with independent boost and OD...and it's really nice and quiet. 3 different types of OD...great dirt without loosing the Bottom end.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    Good to know. While I do not use dirt pedals I am fascinated by them.
    It's not just the dirt. The boost section is one of the best I've tried.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  10. #10
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    It's not just the dirt. The boost section is one of the best I've tried.
    I guess I should have clarified.

    I am fascinated by those too!
    Plank Owner

  11. #11
    Member prsrocker1988's Avatar
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    Interesting! I like Fulltone gear.

    My setup is a completely clean Blackface Fender amp (usually a Super Reverb) and using various OD/Boost/Distortion pedals for the grind.

    My favorite Fulltone has to be the OCD. I have the polarizing version 4. I do have a PlimSoul that I like and a FD2 Mosfet that is great. The OCD is just in your face and more brighter. I have other pedals to bring mids into the Blackface smiley-face EQ amp and then I just use the OCD for the main dirt. To me the Plim is almost a cross between the FD and OCD. It does that hard clipping raunch but has that midrangey characteristic. For me I like some mids, but not a lot. I like a really flat EQ sound but not scooped, either.

    That said I'm very interested in a FD3. I don't have the funds right now but I'm kinda hoping they'll be available in stores soon and won't be gone by the time I can get one.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by prsrocker1988 View Post
    Interesting! I like Fulltone gear.

    My setup is a completely clean Blackface Fender amp (usually a Super Reverb) and using various OD/Boost/Distortion pedals for the grind.

    My favorite Fulltone has to be the OCD. I have the polarizing version 4. I do have a PlimSoul that I like and a FD2 Mosfet that is great. The OCD is just in your face and more brighter. I have other pedals to bring mids into the Blackface smiley-face EQ amp and then I just use the OCD for the main dirt. To me the Plim is almost a cross between the FD and OCD. It does that hard clipping raunch but has that midrangey characteristic. For me I like some mids, but not a lot. I like a really flat EQ sound but not scooped, either.

    That said I'm very interested in a FD3. I don't have the funds right now but I'm kinda hoping they'll be available in stores soon and won't be gone by the time I can get one.
    I'm a fan of the OCD as well, with the right amp. I think it's at its best with Fender or Dumble style amps, though it certainly works with others. The PlimSoul is a great pedal with just about any amp. The FD Mosfet is a great pedal. I'm not sure there's a big enough difference between that and the FD3 in terms of the OD section to make a change; where the FD3 comes into its own, IMHO, is the separate boost. But the Fulltone site says they're going to come out with a mini-pedal of just the boost and limiter section, so that's not a bad way to go if you already have the FDII.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  13. #13
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    Great review

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    What's nice about this one is that the boost and the OD circuits operate 100% independently. So you can engage the boost circuit without engaging the OD...The boost circuit also incorporates a variable limiter...
    That was the reason I dumped my FD2. The pedal had a maximum gain, despite the tease of having a 'boost', meaning, if you set the output of the the OD channel to 75%, the boost could only take you to the equivalent of 100% of output. So if you set the OD output at 100%, the boost did nothing. My TS-9 and EP Booster did a better job of that task. But the sound of the FD2 was really good, so fixing this logistical issue is a big deal.

    Great read and review. Thanks Les!
    + '01 Custom 24 + '11 DGT Standard (Mr. Clean) + '09 SE One + Super Dallas + Stealth 2x12+

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    That was the reason I dumped my FD2. The pedal had a maximum gain, despite the tease of having a 'boost', meaning, if you set the output of the the OD channel to 75%, the boost could only take you to the equivalent of 100% of output. So if you set the OD output at 100%, the boost did nothing. My TS-9 and EP Booster did a better job of that task. But the sound of the FD2 was really good, so fixing this logistical issue is a big deal.

    Great read and review. Thanks Les!
    The nice thing is that with this one you can set the order of the boost pre-OD or post-OD, so if you do it post-OD you get the volume boost, instead of just feeding the OD with more level. Pretty slick!

    I use the boost post-OD, too, but I set the output low on both sides of the pedal because I don't use as much gain as most modern players.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 11-12-2013 at 04:04 PM.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

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