Dolphin’s Sound is a newly born firm set in Florence, Tuscany; the land where Dante Alighieri lived and home of Italian Renaissance. After a year and a half, this new enterprise officially launched its first line of stamp boxes.
Through many tests, flagship productions, customized products and signatures, it finally reached a steady production and that is why this article will focus on the description of the Purgatorio Overdrive, which is part of a line of pedals called “Dante’s Trilogy”.
Unlike the last line of pedals, design of which took its inspiration from the statues in Piazza della Signoria, this new one takes it to the next level. Its graphic, made with oven-fire painted material, and its classic transparent knobs, which at first sight may seem too showy, are the features in the cap of this new device.
The led is characterized by an inner bulb that lights up a plexiglass base which works with the power led of the pedal. The setting of the product described may look simple, but it is worth trying it.
It also important to mention that on the underlying internal base of the device are exposed its signature and serialization, which are typical of a “Custom” pedal.
Its color is yellow chassis, stove enameled, and it is made of light aluminum. For a pedal, it is important to have a certain kind of lightness and good quality sound as part of its features. It can be an advantage for guitarists who travel or have back problems.
Obviously, there are many different opinions about how much a pedal should weight, which is an issue nowadays often discussed than 20 or 30 years ago.
By disassembling the pedal, the first thing that catches our attention is the PCB industry with Dolphin’s Sound signature. There are not breadboards, the sheet section is clean, reliable and well- made, that is an additional asset to its durability, which lasts even under its maximum thrust.
Through a transparent plastic separator, the plexyglass bar is detached from the PCB. This guarantees that its durability under a great foot pressure.
The battery box has a short cable that leaves a lot of space for the battery, which tends to move freely inside the box. This problem can be solved by adding depth of sponge or rubber. However, by doing so, there will not be enough space for the power supply. Besides from people who can do without it, this could be annoyance for those who use it constantly.
By testing the potentiometers, it can be easily seen that there is not a free play. As a matter of fact, one can feel its weight, while turning the knob. This confirms that potentiometers made of metal are better than those made of low quality material.
Its components are housed without bending or scratching them. It was built with precision, as expected from a Boutique pedal.
Furthermore, it is a must to focus also on the description of the mechanical TrueByPass. It is the best system, and the most used too, that gives a clean sound without using any other electrical devices.
The sound spectrum of the pedal is not similar as an overdrive Hi-Gain and it can cover a certain number of genres that do not include high-pitched sounds. Its dynamic tone is useful for people who paly rock music, but it has not high amount of gain. It has just a pure overdrive.
The pedal was tested by playing two guitars, a Vigier Bumblefoot and a Fender Lonestar Stratocaster, both wired to a Hughes and Kettner 25th Anniversary. Moreover, the cables that were used were made by Linfaudio factory. They were copper cables with a low durability, capacity and 100% real shielding, to get the best audio-based sound and low noise.
Single coil guitars
The overdrive of the Fender Lonestar gives great responses to the single coils. It has sound precision and its dynamic is custom-made designed.
The response given is based on different gain levels, which are here described:
- Gain 1-3 – When the general sound thickens, more harmonies can be felt inside of it. The dynamic response of the amplifier is better and its tone more dynamic, present and a little bit dirtier.
- Gain 4-7 – The sound distortion is more present in a compound form. The single coil has not a great sound precision, particularly with chords in first position. However, by just using a pick, the rock vintage tune displayed allows a change from a clean sound full of harmonies to a crunch.
- Gain 7-10 – This is the hard rock level. The sound excursion is at its limits and the compression and pedal boost can be felt. The body is sound is shrilling and full of twang.
As mentioned before, the response given is based on different levels of gain:
- Gain 1-3 – By using the Humbucker, the gain threshold is very different. On these levels, it can be seen that the sound is dirtied and reaches directly the threshold between a saturation and lite crunch. This will lead to a full and clear sound. Furthermore, by using the potentiometer, middle-high frequencies can be emphasized.
- Gain 4-7 – With this gain, we are facing an extreme rock sound, which is similar to the one played by Led Zeppelin, but it can be also appreciated it fully by using a booster. The result achieved will be a complete spectrum of the sound and a great opening with a light compression. It is a funny and good combination with a well displayed Cream style made by the pedal.
- Gain 7-10 – Here we are on the threshold of hard rock. On this level, the sound is similar to the one made by AC/DC and Deep Purple, reaching also heavy metal tones. However, it does not go further because the gain level does not allow a displaying of more extreme tonalities.
After rehearsing, by playing with a Fender and a Vigier, here are the key points of this pedal tone:
- Great opening;
- Great sound;
- Good tone controls.
Contrary to other pedal controls, the characteristic of the latter mentioned before has a different setting. When used to its maximum, the tone controls do not display a shrilling sound. The same thing can be said for the potentiometer that reaches the maximum excursion, thus making the sound less hollow. Obviously, the response given differs from guitar to guitar.
By using the Stratocaster, it was preferred a set the controls on gain level 4, whereas the Vigier was set on flat mode.
Nothing to say about the potentiometer volume. If the sound is low, there are not frequency losses or unsolicited compressions.
During the rehearsals, a surprising fact was the boost given by Purgatorio pedal to the combo crunch channel by giving a major compression without dirtying or overcrowding the sound.
This device is the perfect example that sometimes buying a product made in Italy is still better than purchasing a foreigner brand.
The street price of the Ibanez TS9 is, as the Purgatorio, around 150 euros. However, only Purgatorio is a TrueByPass, whereas Tubescreamer is not. As matter of fact, it is an industrial product, while Purgatorio is a hand-made one. To obtain a great sound by using the Tubescreamer, some Keeley adjustments are needed. By contrast, Purgatorio does not need any of it.
Of course, it is the buyers’ choice to spend 200 euros for a modified Ibanez or they can spend 50 euros less to buy a professional Dolphin’s pedal, which does not need any adjustments. Purgatorio settings are high level standards.
It can be said that the main difference between the two pedals is that the TS9 has more gains and a variety of middle-high frequencies that make the sound more shrilling than the Purgatorio does.
- Market price above the average
- The led lightens the pedal
- A second control of equalization would have made it perfect
- It could be helpful to have a clipping control to obtain more gain
Manufacturer: Dolphin’s Sound
Pedal model: Purgatorio
Price : 150 euros
Written By Antonio Cangiano
Translation (ITA-ENG) made by Alba Ciliberti -> For Contact