Guitar Gear Review: Revv G4 Preamp

New preamp pedal day! (Not actually new today, or new at all–it’s used–but we’ll just pretend.)

It’s a Revv G4 preamp. And it is a weapon of mass destruction. For anyone unaware of its existence, it’s a modern, very high-gain preamp with three modes and a ton of tweakability. But make no mistake. This is a preamp, not just a distortion pedal. Running into the front of the amp is disappointing at best. It really needs to take over the duties of the amplifier’s preamp section to sound like I believe it should. Going into the front end, it’s dull and underwhelming. Running into the effects return, it’s a fire-breathing monster.

All that being said, I can’t overstate its clarity and note definition. It has this interesting presence in the bass–and it has all the bass I could ever want–where any residual resonance happening with your low E string will be heard. I think it will end up making me a better player because of it. It’s not flubby or obnoxious; it’s just amplifying what the instrument is giving it in a way I don’t think I’ve experienced before. All in all, I think the knobs make exactly the changes they’re supposed to change independently of each other. I needed to cut mids just a bit yesterday, and when I did, I noticed that the highs could shine through a little more, and the bass presence was as I just described.

I had some trepidation about bypassing my beloved preamp tubes in favor of a transistorized box, but it responds just the same way. There’s a ton of dynamics in here, and rolling back the volume cleans up exceptionally well. I had already gotten over my mental block telling me that getting my gain from pedals is bad, but I had never gone direct to the effects return before.

The only problem is switching back to the going-into-frontend setup for cleans and the older-school boosted-Plexi tones I had been playing with recently, but I solved that with a Saturnworks looper. Boosted Plexi is not what the G4 is supposed to do. I think it could do it with a lot of tweaking, but then my hands wouldn’t spontaneously break into Megadeth and Pantera riffs. I can’t imagine anything musical happening if I were unsatisfied with the level of gain this pedal can provide.

I should also write a brief note on my impressions of the aggression switch. I don’t know if I agree with the naming. In its middle position, you get what you get, and that’s a modern, high-gain distortion with plenty of gain and tweakability. In the blue mode, it both fattens up and tightens up, adding a bit of a boost on top of what it gives in the middle setting. With red, there’s a definite increase in gain, but it gets a little fizzier and looser-feeling, with maybe a bit of a shift into the upper mids.

I’m surprised I haven’t seen Revv discussed more frequently because I think this is going to be a game-changer for me.

Special thanks to SDUGF Member MisterWhizzy for this great review.