In many respects, the 1981 DRV No3 distortion pedal really is an improvement on its inspiration: the ProCo RAT. Don’t believe us?
Well, that’s hardly surprising. 1981 Inventions certainly aren’t the first company to attempt to recreate the classic Fuzz of the ProCo RAT. From the Wampler Ratsbane to the Mooer Black Secret, countless companies have tried their hand at recreating this timeless sound, and, while many are great pedals, none were good enough to top the RAT.
With its gain at the low end, 1981 Inventions’ DRV No3 is pretty indistinguishable from the RAT. They’ll both give you a beautiful fuzzy distortion, though the 1981 will add a pretty serious boost to the sound. From there, the differences start to get more noticeable.
Now we all love the RAT, but there’s one thing we have to start admitting to ourselves; at higher-end gain settings, the RAT starts to lose it. It’s not exactly a bad sound, but the Fuzz definitely begins to overpower the guitar, breaking up the signal in a way that’s less than ideal.
This is where the DRV No3 really excels.
1981 Inventions have built a RAT clone that can really cope with that more powerful sound and the result is pretty great. While there are better distortion pedals out there, the fact that the DRV No3 can retain its RAT-like qualities without breaking up too much is pretty incredible.
As with all pedals, this comes down to a combination of your own personal taste and what you can afford.
In terms of price, the RAT will cost you between $90 and $115, which is pretty reasonable, whereas the DRV No3 can cost upwards of $250.
Is the 1981 pedal really an improvement? And if so is it really worth that much more?
Only you can make that decision, so make sure to check out both pedals here on Tonepedia to decide for yourself which you prefer.