The Silvertop seems to occupy a unique place among its DVK siblings. The other three pedals in DVK’s range (the Mrs, the Hair Ball and the Goldtop) come across as specialised for individual songs, solos and effect, not as ‘set and forget/use all night’ kinds of pedals. If anything, their sheer variety of sound will prompt you to set them differently for each song and experiment with various permutations of their two effects. The Silvertop seems like it’s trying to become number 1 on your pedal board, and isn’t shy to admit it.
DIGGIN’ THE VIBE
The Silvertop features vibe and overdrive effects which are selectable individually or together. You can also switch around their routing so either one can feed into the other. Controls include rate, depth and a classic/vibrato switch on the vibe side, and drive, level and tone controls on the overdrive side. The vibe section also includes a tiny LED which flashes in time with the rate control, a handy visual reminder if you need to change it before the next song. You can also plug an expression pedal in to vary the vibrato rate.
Like all DVK pedals, the Silvertop operates on a 9v DC power supply only — no batteries. As DVK says in the very helpful manual, ‘We don’t want the landfills to be any fuller of little lead deposits than they already are.”
TONE A LA MODE
The chorus/vibrato mode sounds great for faux organ sounds and swirly psychedelic stuff. Set it to vibrato mode, crank up the depth and keep the rate at around 9 o’clock for a cool Pink Floyd Breathe type tone, or switch to chorus mode, crank both controls all the way up, flip to your neck pickup and go into Stevie Ray Vaughan Cold Shot territory. Like the Goldtop, the chorus is more a vintage, earthy variety than the overly shiny, synthetic-type of chorus popular in the 80s, and it reacts spectacularly with the overdrive section.
The overdrive is a unique little beast. It’s based on the popular TS-type circuit but has been tweaked to offer a wider tonal pallet, ranging from almost clean boost to a chunky crunch that stops short of full-on distortion. Still, it pushes out more than enough sustain for anyone whose tonal requirements don’t include terms like ‘brvtal’ and ‘necro.’ At low gain settings it gives everything a nice Stones-y sparkle, while higher levels sound full and thick with great dynamic range. You can really hear each little variation in picking intensity and legato trickery. If you’re running a valve amp, push the level control up for some killer higher gain grind. I found that the tone control remained musical even at the highest reaches of its travel; no mean feat considering how harsh some overdrive and distortion pedals become at this type of setting.
Step on both overdrive and vibe at the same time and the tone toughens up considerably, regardless of whether the chorus/vibe is set to an exaggerated or subtle sound. It’s quite surprising how aggressive the pedal becomes when you crank up the gain and stomp on the chorus mode. Switching the order of the two effects introduces a subtle difference which you’ll hear more distinctly at higher gain levels. Chorus before overdrive is a little looser and grittier, whereas chorus after overdrive sounds tougher and more defined. Ditto for the vibrato.
THREE OF A PERFECT PAIR
The Silvertop, in contrast to its DVK stablemates, is the kind of pedal that you could happily throw into a gig bag and base your whole live sound on. That’s a big call, and it doesn’t apply if you’re in a country or metal band, but for blues, rock and punk players, the Silvertop makes itself quite valuable.
Price: RRP $299
Phone: (03) 9555 8081
By Peter Hodgson