GAS is a bad disease … And if you also put oriental footpegs that only a 15-year-old would have been a dream for quality, even at a dinner price in a pizzeria … we are fried!
Considering that they also respect the new fashion of being small, we can’t even try to resist with the excuse that we don’t have space on the pedal… For those who want to resist, of course! ????
Well, this time we will not talk about oriental effects, but about the product of a company based in the USA, born only in 2012, which designs and manufactures mainly WiFi audio receivers, the Xvive: https://www.xviveaudio.com.
Made in the USA then? No, “designed in the USA, made in China” says the packaging. Is it a problem? For me no. Given the price, then.
Let’s open the package …
Inside the package (beautiful, with the signature of Thomas Blug himself) we find the pedal, pleasantly wrapped in a nice thick protective plastic, an information leaflet and a strip of adhesive velcro in case you want to fix it to the pedal board.
The pedal is enclosed in a beautiful metal box, small size (the Hammond standard, in die-cast aluminum, 1590 series, IP54, 92.6 x 38.5 x 31mm), painted in matt and rough black, also signed by Thomas Blug , in white. Nice solid, resistant, gives a feeling of quality as soon as you pick it up. Only the potentiometers might not seem up to par at first glance, but I don’t think they can cause problems over time.
The power supply is the standard one, 9V with central negative, the standard par excellence. Unlike other pedals, however, here there is no possibility to power it by battery. The FET circuitry it is made of does not leave room for a battery slot. Not bad for me, I hate having to unscrew the screws of an effect to change the drums, especially during rehearsals or a live session. You might as well use an external connector to attach a 9V battery externally, if you really don’t like mains power.
There are 3 potentiometers, the classic volume, tone and drive, while there is, always on the front, a two-position switch, which allows you to have extra bass on command.
Obviously the activation button is of the true-by-pass type, as in today’s best effects.
The Xvive O1 Tube Squasher is a not too aggressive, compact overdrive with a sound all its own. Not being excessively distorted it manages to be very dynamic, and lowering the volume with the guitar potentiometer the sound becomes nice clean.
Clearly don’t expect distortions from the packed JCM 800 or much less metal. The Xvive O1 Tube Squasher isn’t for that, but it should be a classic tube screamer style overdrive, nothing more.
It has a particular timbre, which I would define squat and compact. It’s not bad in and of itself, but it doesn’t excite me. Ok, from the photo you can see the red pedal on the right with which I inevitably compared it, which inevitably (it costs new about 5 to 10 times more, depending on how much you pay for the Tube Squasher, so it is difficult to make comparisons).
The thing I like is that not being too distorted it is dynamic enough to clean the sound with the volume of the guitar. However, it will be the timbre or what do I know, the notes are in any case a little mixed and compressed, the distortion, although not exasperated, dirties the notes and compresses them in a way that does not make me cry for a miracle, indeed, it almost makes me want to move on. This is accentuated more with the switch in the position where the bass is accentuated.
Use? Well, it’s good for anything, to ripple a clean amp, to boost a sound both before and after distortion, to be used as a tube screamer through and through. But it doesn’t excel at anything, or at least it didn’t impress me very much.
The Xvive O1 Tube Squasher is the pedal from Thomas Blug’s signature series that convinced me the least (the others will receive their review in the next few days).
Of course, at 27 euros, I certainly don’t regret it. It is also clear that it is not comparable with the one on the right, which costs around 230 euros new.
Would I recommend it? Would I buy it back? Well, used in good condition or new to what I paid for it, maybe yes, but no more. On the market you can find even better (not at 27 euros, mind you!), So maybe I would wait, save a little and look for something else.
Published on musicanza.it on: 02/04/2020.