Hermida Audio Pedals: Zendrive, Mosferatu and Distortion

Here we go…..

As I gather up boutique pedals, I find that some fit me great and are definitely better that originals, and others just seem to do relatively the same thing as previous models. The purpose of this post is to compare the different dirts of Hermida Audio for those of you looking for a reference.

A note on all: Hermida Audio has built a great collection of pedals. You can find his products at hermidaaudio.com.
All 3 of these pedals have the same controls: Volume, Gain, Tone, and Voice. Volume increases Volume, Gain increases gain/distortion, Tone will change the tone from Bass to Trebly tones- but does so BEFORE going into the gain circuit (pre-distortion), while the voice knob affects the midrange AFTER the gain circuit (post distortion). At 12, the mids are (to my ears) perfect flat. More than 12 and you get a mid hump- in the upper ranges, below 12 you get a flat to slightly scooped EQ.

The Players:

Hermida Zendrive (previous post: HERE): This a smooth ‘wannabe’ Dumble-ish overdrive. I have heard various comparisons from Tubescreamer-ish to blah blah blah— the thing is this overdrive is very pure sounding and very transparent. It lets your tone through and you can hear you guitar and amp’s flavors. It has a slight “snap crackle pop” in the background of the drive which is that ‘amp fuzz’ noise. This may sound crazy, but once you hear it, you know. Its very sweet sounding. I think this can reach some distorted sounds in its high gain. I keep it as a Bluesy/light drive with the gain at 10:30 which gives a nice power chord crunch and texture. However, when I roll down the volume knob it cleans up nicely to a very light dirty sparkle. I love this as my main Overdrive (until the Tim arrives– from what I hear ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Hermida Mosferatu: The High-gain version of the Zen. A touch darker (normal for higher gain) than the Zen, but same sound, just … more gain. It is not quite as transparent or dynamic, but again, that has to do to the high gain. It is a very open pedal considering the gain control. I would say if the Zendrive goes from 1-10 on the gain, the Mos goes from 6-16 on the same scale.

Hermida Distortion: BRAND NEW PEDAL!!! Only out for a few months andย  I have one! After playing this awhile, it has a slight remembrance of a modded DS1- mostly the Analogman vintage-type mod. BUT IT IS NOT A DS1! It has all the distortion, but WOW, it is the most transparent of the three pedals. I does not have that “Dumble” sound which makes it sound more smooth, fluid and clean/sterile. I cannot stress this enough– if I ever say (from now til eternity) that a pedal does NOT color my tone, it will be compared to this pedal. The Mos and the Zen both have a slight coloring, which I only noticed in a direct A-B comparison. Very good pedal.

Decision time:

Again, I needed a light OD that could be versatile enough to get some distortion. Thus the Zendrive was my choice. I wanted another pedal for Lead boosts, or for a stacked drive and I bought the Mosferatu for that purpose. It sounded too much like the Zen for me as I prefer a different tonal palate when I go to a solo as I do a lot to emphasize dynamics in my own playing. I used the Mosferatu several Sundays (3) and then went back to my Analogman DS1. Once I received the Distortion, I put the AM DS1 back into my gear shelf (on the “To Keep” side).

I generally had the settings- Volume: unity on all (all other notations in clock hours):
Zen: gain: 2 , tone: 1, voice: 2
Mos: gain: 2, tone: 11ish, voice: about 11- 11:30
Distortion: gain: 2:30, tone: 11ish, voice: flat at 12.

This isn’t me, but compares the 3 pedals. Sorry… its in Spanish, but you can clearly see what pedals he points to. If you really want to know what he said at a certain point, comment me and I’ll comment back with my gringo-spanish translation. (I do live in Puerto Rico and am semi (mas o menos) fluent)

New edit: this post linked by Hermida himself: http://hermidaaudio.com/wp/reviews

8 Responses

  1. Man… that Microphone did not like the bass notes— aka, power chords. BLAH.
    hehe.. at one point it sounded like i was playing guitar hero and screwed up!

  2. Hey, liking the review and for future comparisons could you play the clean tone before each pedal or something, or play a little clean riff, then again with the pedal on sorta thing

  3. chad–

    you da boss. Will do!
    Thanks for the critique!

  4. finally, you got your video uploaded! ๐Ÿ™‚

    good stuff! btw, you mentioned that the tone knob affects signal coming in and the voice is sort of a mids control. did you get that from a manual or schematics of some sort? reason i am asking is that I tried to experiment last night and i think i am hearing it the other way around. I did a post about it here: http://odnalor.org/wp/2009/02/04/zendrives-voice-knob.html

    sorry for the shameless plug for my site, i just really want to demystify the purpose of the voice knob!

  5. Rhoy— thats what we gear geeks do— geek out on our buddy’s sites.

    I got that info from this site (looking for it) where they take apart the pedals and give the schematics (piracy at some points) which came up when I did a search like: Zendrive Voice knob Function or something.
    They guy had taken apart the Zen and explained that the tone was going in BEFORE the gain, and the voice shaped the Gain hump.
    When I looked at the schematics and tried to follow them on my Zen through all the goop, it made sense to me.
    (for those that don’t know, Hermida Audio- like most boutique makers- covers some of his vital “secret parts” in an epoxy-ish goo to prevent people from copying his design/piracy prevention)

  6. Hey Lespaulplayerdoctor,

    thanks for posting the video and i enjoyed the post. The mosferatu is a fantastic pedal and so is the zendrive.


  7. hey Larry … just wanted to let you know (if you haven’t already) that your video was referred to in one of the posts @ tgp.


  8. Wow, nice… or… crap.
    Not a great vid, but hope it helps someone out! Thanks for pointing that out Rhoy!

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