Aclam is making some pretty bold claims for its new Dr Robert overdrive pedal, a recreation of The Beatle’s “favourite” Vox UL730 amp. If even half of them hold up, this effect could get you damn close to those late ’60s Fab Four tones.
Based on the sound of the Vox UL730 amps favoured by the Beatles, the Dr Robert boutique overdrive has a lot to live up to. Aclam are so confident of the sound quality that they’ve gone as far as recruiting Klaus Voormann, the artist behind the Revolver LP, to design the pedal’s artwork.
I grew up listening to this album on repeat and it has some great guitar tones that transfixed me from an early age. The Dr Robert is based on the Normal channel of the Vox tube/solid-state hybrid amp and has controls for gain, volume and mids, the latter controlling both midrange and saturation.
Aside from the bypass foot switch that engages the effect, the second footwitch is labelled ‘Mach Schau!’ and adds more saturation (it has its own independent volume control). Sounds useful for when you need to drive your car harder, as it were.
The original Vox UL730 came out in 1966 and had a solid state preamp, which kept pretty clean. This was partnered with a valve power output section based on the EL84 tube to give that archetypal ‘Beatles tone’ from the Revolver album. The amp was originally designed by the legendary Vox engineer Dick Denney.
Dr Robert has a charge pump circuit which takes the 9V DC from the battery or power supply and converts it to 18V DC. Coupled with a custom FET design, this should help get you the tone associated with those old late ’60s Vox hybrid amps.
You can hear a snippet of the Dr Robert in action in the video below. To my ear, it sounds pretty close and it’ll be interesting to see what players make of it. If you head to the company’s site about the pedal from the link below, you will find some suggested settings to help you get the tones from Revolver and Sgt Pepper. All you need now is a Fender George Harrison Rosewood Telecaster, some LSD and an 8-track recording setup!
RRP – TBC due our April 2