At first glance, the Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive doesn’t look much different from the rest of the herd. But dig deeper and you’ll find this is not just another overdrive pedal.
For controls the Riverside features quite an array: multistage Drive knob with a Low/High Gain toggle; output Level knob; Normal/Mid Push switch; Bass, Middle, and Treble EQ; three-position Presence switch; true-bypass (via relay) On/Off footswitch; and Favorite footswitch.
Connections are made via mono 1/4″ input and output jacks and TRS 1/4″ jacks for external Boost footswitch and expression pedal. Power is via a standard 9-volt DC input jack with either the included AC power supply or pedalboard power supply (no internal battery option). As with other Strymons, certain features – like Noise Reduction Threshold, Bypass Mode Selection, Boost Mode, and Expression Pedal Mode – are accessed by holding down multiple switches simultaneously and manipulating controls.
The Riverside was tested with a couple of 1×12 tube combos and both single-coil- and humbucker-equipped guitars.
The Riverside delivers a very musical overtone-saturated overdrive, thick with layers of complicated tube amp-like harmonics while remaining remarkably articulate even in the highest gain/drive settings. It responds nicely to pick attack and guitar volume changes, cleaning up easily with no loss to clarity or losing high-end sparkle.
The Riverside’s EQ circuit is well-voiced, offering up optimal post-drive tone control without over-coloring its transparent characteristics. The pre-drive midrange boost Push switch is ideal for a smooth bump to the midrange and a bit more percussive overdrive. The Favorite switch is another great go-to – just hold it down for a few seconds and it saves all current settings, including the noise reduction.
The Strymon Riverside is an easy-to-use high-quality overdrive with a useful set of controls. Best of all, it sports a very musical overdrive tone, rich with complex overtones.
This article originally appeared in VG July 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.