The Somnus Amp Distortion is an adaptation of the Sobbat DB-01 Drive Breaker, a somewhat obscure pedal from Japan that was originally released in 1995.
It’s perhaps best known for its association with The Edge, who first started using it during the recording of All That You Can’t Leave Behind where it featured most prominently on the song “New York”. According to his guitar tech Dallas Schoo, he also used it on the outro solo for “Until the End of the World” during the Elevation and Vertigo tours, and it has been spotted in the live rig as of the 360 tour.
Sobbat has released three followup versions of the Drive Breaker called the DB-2, DB-3 and DB-4. None of these have been traced to our knowledge, but they don’t seem to be drastically different from the original, which is still by far the most famous and is still produced along with its successors.
The Somnus is based on the first version, and is a direct adaptation except for the addition of a clipping diode switch. The original unit uses one diode in each direction for clipping, but we’ve added options for two diodes or LEDs.