Empress Germ Drive

Even though this pedal looks like a bathroom from the 1960’s, we love it. This germanium drive gives you a sweet and luscious drive sound, even at high gain levels. This one can be a hard one to find, but if you do, it is certainly worth picking up.

External Control: None
Cost: $

HornFX Review

Interface:  4/5
Has the standard four knob setup of many drive pedals: Gain, Output (volume), Treble, and Bass. The tonal manipulation knobs work excellently.

Versatility: 4/5
This pedal is especially good at producing just the tiniest bit of push to give your sound that slight edge. However, if you are looking for some more intense dirt to add to your sound, that can be achieved beautifully as well.

Tonal Reproduction: 4/5
The pedal reproduces tone beautifully throughout the whole spectrum of gain intensity. The EQ knobs allow you to shape your tone intuitively and with ease.

Complexity: Simple

Complexity: Simple

Live application: 4/5
This is a great overdrive pedal to use in your setup if you are looking for a wide range of drive sounds. The Germ Drive can be used for subtle drive as well as intense distorted face melting.

InterfaceVersatilityTonal ReproductionLive ApplicationTotal Score

Product Information

Input Impedance - 1M
Output Impedance - 2.2k
Frequency Response (-3dB) - 20Hz - 20kHz
Power Input Voltage - 9V DC (Negative tip)
Power Input Connector - 2.1mm barrel connector (Negative tip)
Power Consumption - ~ 35mA
Enclosure Material - Die Cast Aluminum
Input connector - 1/4" Jack
Output connector - 1/4" Jack
Height (Enclosure only) - 1.5"
Height (including controls) - 2"
Length - 4.5"
Width - 2.5"
Weight - 0.5 lbs

  • All Analog Signal Path - no digitals in here!

  • Natural Break-up - Stays true to your original tone.

  • Cleans up well - Seamlessly clean up your sound by rolling back your volume knob.

  • Dynamic - Responds well to your dynamics like a tube preamp

  • Sustain - Good sustain with warm, tube-like overdrive

  • EQ - Hi shelf and low shelf EQs let you tweak your sound.

  • Bass - Works great on bass!

  • True Bypass - The Empress Germ Drive employs true bypass, so you can be sure that it's not affecting the signal when disengaged.

  • Small Size - The enclosure measures approximately 4.5" by 2.5" by 1.5", which is delightfully small when considering all the features packed into this unit.

Product info from the Empress website