A new brand, a new pedal, and four seasonal takes on drive pedals start now with Autumn.
One of my favorite aspects of running this blog is that I can cover new and upcoming brands that most of you probably wouldn’t otherwise find. Sure, I do review Fender, PRS, Walrus, Strymon, and other big name brands too. But helping to get pedals from Summer School Electronics, Fish Circuits, and others out into the world is always a joy. Up next in that series of new companies we have Fox River Devices, who are currently running a kickstarter for their seasonal overdrive series.
This line of pedals focuses on taking some familiar drive circuits, but putting their own spin on them to match each seasonal weather change, and how it might affect your playing. For example, the Autumn pedal we will discuss here has the most versatility in terms of overdrive “color”. Based on the changing colors, weather, and temperatures of the fall, it does a little bit of everything. Meanwhile, the gain stage that will launch for spring will be transparent, crisp, and light to match the weather themes. See what Fox River Devices is going for here?
My initial reaction upon plugging it in was that it doesn’t work quite like other overdrives/distortions I’ve played before. It didn’t immediately smack me in the face, as there wasn’t this huge volume or gain increase, even with the knobs near noon. Instead, it took a lot of carefully setting the knobs to coax out different sounds.
The Autumn drive is versatile for sure, but just not in the way you think. You really need to crank both the gain and volume knobs to attain those high gain sounds. Otherwise, you get a pedal that adds more color and depth to your tone, without volume or overdrive really breaking through the mix. Essentially, I found that I couldn’t rely on this as a sort of boost or traditional low drive pedal that adds sparkle. It will add sparkle, but only once you move that volume knob all the way up. The darkness knob adds a nice bass presence and is almost RAT-like in its ability to filter high end. Using it in conjunction with the volume knob opens up a lot of possibilities for adding that shine and shimmer back to your drive sound.
The reason I harp on this unique gain and volume structure is because I think people will plug it in expecting it to be like another RAT, Tube Screamer, or other pedals. And it isn’t quite that simple. You gotta dig around a bit, but there are some awesome sounds hidden in this box!
Because this is a kickstarter campaign, it appears you can’t just scroll to a website and hit the purchase button. So pricing is a bit vague, however it seems it if you support the endeavor at $100 or more, you end up with at least one of the seasonal drive series. If you donate $300 though, you get all four pedals, which seems like a steal to me. Anyway you slice it, it seems more affordable now than ever to grab one of these handmade drive pedals or secure a future seasonal flavor that is more to your liking.
Overall, I enjoy the Autumn, but feel it takes a bit of time to dial in without quite as much of the versatility I’d like to see. Perhaps I’m also just not as attuned to dialing in asymmetrical clipping overdrives like this. I’m curious to see what the winter shapes up as, hopefully crushing and brutal and dark, before a lighter, more transparent spring? Still, for just over $100 per donation, this is no doubt an incredible value to get your hands on a Fox River Devices pedal.
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