Updated: Jun 2, 2020
#HudsonElectronics are a UK based company that are gaining a great reputation for well-built, wonderful sounding pedals with a slight twist. The #Broadcast has garnered an almost cult following and the #Sidecar is also a marvellous offering.
How's the build quality?
Just amazing - take a look.
The Sidecar is beautifully built with point to point wiring as you can see in the picture. You can also see the operational amplifier (Op Amp) as a small silver disc near the centre of the board and there's also a germanium diode in there responsible for the clipping duties. Now this isn't just any old diode, although it is old, it's specially selected New Old Stock - often referred to as NOS. The germanium ensures softer clipping than silicon and performs beautifully.
What kind of pedal is it?
A modern take on an 808.
Now an 808 style overdrive refers to the original #TubeScreamer (TS) variety overdrive pedals, which some people love and some people hate - a real Marmite pedal. But those who hate them often aren't using them quite right. Partnered with a slightly pushed tube amp, they will push those valves into harmonic bliss, creating more compression, overdrive and sustain. They also have a mid hump which helps push the guitar out of the band mix in a very useful way. A TS can even be used to tighten up the low end of a seriously pushed amp and is commonly used in this way for metal, or used with drive on minimum and volume up high as a boost pedal, and the pedal does all of this incredibly well. Now, if you partner a TS up with a totally clean solid state or digital amp, I can understand the lack of enthusiasm, but this wasn't what they were invented for.
Now, if you've tried a TS before and not enjoyed it, don't let that put you off trying modern variations as many of them try to resolve the small limitations that were inherent in the originals, like the mid hump. Now I'm a big fan of those characteristic mids combined with a single coil loaded strat or tele, but this can also lead to humbuckers sounding a little nasal at times. The Sidecar is one of those modern takes on the TS circuit that circumnavigates these possible issues whilst still maintaining the positive aspects that the pedals are loved for. It is a pedal that will please just about everyone.
The drive and level controls are just as you'd expect but the secret of this pedal is the two band shelving EQ. The bass shelves at 85hz and the treble at 8800hz and is based on a Studer console Bandaxall style equaliser. Don't concern yourself though that there is no 'mid' control here as the two controls that are there will more than have you covered.
With the tone controls at noon, the eq curve is relatively flat so if you want a typical mid-hump, just reduce the level of the lows and highs and there you go. However, if you aren't a fan of those mids, then Hudson's Sidecar has you covered, and that's the wonderful thing about this pedal. Apart from the amazing tone and awe-inspiring build quality, the fact that it is so versatile is a serious bonus.
It is great sounding, very dynamic pedal, responding well to different picking techniques. So if you play with your fingers, this will reward you in spades. It flatters the highs and feels just wonderful to play. I almost shy away from calling this pedal a dirt box, it just seems too ineloquent a term for this refined version of an 808 TS.
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