Tone Report Weekly 195 - Page 54

GEAR SPOTLIGHT SOUTHAMPTON FIFTH GEAR OVERDRIVE REVIEW BY NICK RAMBO STREET PRICE $129.00 I’ve played lots of overdrive pedals. Too many, probably. Now, that probably sounds braggadocious—but facts are facts. I’ve written about my pedalwhoring in a couple of past issues of Tone Report, but of all the pedals that have been shuffled in and out of my house in small cardboard boxes, overdrives have been the most frequent variety. I’m a bit of an OD addict. I say all this to drive home a specific point: where drive pedals are concerned, it takes a lot to surprise me. 54 GEAR SPOTLIGHT // I mean, sure—many of the drive pedals I’ve had the good fortune of trying out have been interesting at the very least, but rarely does one make me reconsider how I many gain pedals I actually need. Which is where I’d like to introduce you to the Fifth Gear from Ontario’s very own Southampton Pedals—SP for short. VROOM VROOM The marketing copy for the Fifth Gear reads that it “is potentially the only drive pedal you need.” Big talk, but the pedal comes in a tall 1590BS Southampton Fifth Gear Overdrive enclosure—so it stands up. And honestly, after a few days with the Fifth Gear, I continue to be impressed by just how satisfying it is to play. I can’t say that it’s the most dynamic drive I’ve ever played, but it’s certainly up there on the list. The volume knob cleanup— which can easily go from a subtle clang to a meaty grind—is remarkable, to say the least. And the combination of controls really helps with that. The Fifth Gear is in its second iteration. The first version was a mini-