The CKK Lunar Drive is not an easy pedal for me to review. It’s a budget-friendly emulation of a natural, nuanced amp-like drive. I come from a background of, and preference for, fuzz pedals, and only came to own my first distortion pedal by accident a couple of weeks ago. So when I was met with this unassuming low gain, edge-of-breakup drive with artwork that’s deceptively reminiscent of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness-style Smashing Pumpkins, I didn’t really know what to think.
The CKK Lunar Drive Review
The company are quite upfront with their aim for the Lunar Drive achieving a classic vintage tube warmth and a smooth overdrive, evoking the tone of the fabled near-mythical Dumble amplifiers (which are not only in triple digit scarcity but fetch upwards of £35,000 second hand). This is certainly a lofty height to shoot for with a £75 pedal, but for those of us who aren’t willing to spend over a year’s salary on an amp it may be a good alternative.
The build quality is the only obvious giveaway of this pedal’s price tag, primarily the clunky switch and the plastic LED casing. They aren’t flimsy by any stretch and they work, but they do feel cheap. However, it’s easier to live with lower grade components than low quality audio.
However, the CKK Lunar Drive is appropriately heavy and the control knobs feel fine so it’s hardly a budget package. Treble, Bass, Volume, and Drive controls are on offer, alongside a three way selector, which takes you between symmetric, silicon-style and asymmetric clipping, very slightly altering the characteristics of the overdrive.
The usability of the two band EQ is particularly surprising, with decent tones to be found even at the extremes of both controls due to them both being honed in on a narrow band of frequencies. Let’s get this straight: this box is not here to completely reshape your sound. That’s no bad thing.
Chords on my trusty Jazzmaster come out warm and lively through both pickups with the gain at 9’o’clock, adding just a touch of heat. It starts to break up around 12 adding body and depth, and upping the Drive further to around 3 o’clock finds a naturally saturated gain, ensuring that leads and riffs on the bridge pickup had sustain and smoothness.
‘Amplike’ is an apt description on CKK‘s part. If I could play a single bluesy-rock lick with skill it would sound great through this thing.
Summing up the CKK Electronic Lunar Drive
The CKK Electronic Lunar Drive tripped me up for a while, as it’s not a pedal that adapts to your tone (or just completely engulfs it like a fuzz pedal does); it’s an unapologetic and classic sound. For lack of a better example, the Lunar Drive reminds me of the intro of ‘Summer of 69’ by Bryan Adams, terminally overplayed as it is. It sounds big and rich with surprisingly low gain.
Sure, it doesn’t feel exactly like an actual Marshall stack, but for £75 and an absence of back pain, why does it need to?
Red Dog Music is the UK’s friendliest musical instrument and pro-audio dealer. Between our 5000 square foot Edinburgh shop filled with an incredible range of products, and our London showroom in Clapham specialising in high-end instruments, dj and pro-audio, Red Dog Music has you covered from north to south and from performance to playback.