JHS Hard Drive

Most overdrive and distortion pedals are based on pre-existing circuits if not downright clones of stompboxes that have stood the test of time. That can’t be said for the JHS Hard Drive, a high gain distortion publicized by the brand as their first attempt “at a full-blown and respectable modern distortion pedal that is not based on a previous circuit or classic topology.”

With its peculiar cascaded gain stages and a hard limiting circuit, followed by a class AB amplifier section, the Hard Drive combines tons of gain with the tweakability granted by a parametric midrange EQ, that allows to boost or cut a sweepable mid-frequency. This allows the creation of a variety of tones from mid-scooped (great for metal) to high-mid-boosted (great for solos) or other ones with bassier, warmer or brighter mids depending on your sonic needs.

The Hard Drive is the product of an extended experimentation that lasted years, and because of this is also the final design of the company’s former head engineer, Cliff Smith, who finalized its prototype a few weeks before he passed away in 2021.