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Let's talk OD/Distortion pedal "Feel" ...


Silver Supporting Member
So ... with your many purchases of OD pedals ...
What pedals have the most amp-like, tube-like feel in your opinion?

Now mind you .. I, for one, have had many great sounding OD/Distortion pedals,,,
but very feel possess that elusive tube-amp feel or touch ...

It's true that sometimes an amp's overdrive channel doesn't sound as good as a great quality pedal,
but it still usually maintains that natural touch or feel ... which, IMO, helps to facilitate expession easier...
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Sadly, I feel that no pedal ever really duplicates the feel of amp breakup...
Although, I am sure it's completely psychological.


If talking "feel", the way I set my Zendrive so far is the best, most amplike (I think...at least most "touch" sensitive) feel of any pedal I own.

Klon also is up there just a hair under. OCD is close also (but ALL depend on setting them carefully and using ears, and the guitar volume a little)

So far (I just started using it) my Ethos isn't AS good at that, but I may just have missed the fine adjustment of the gain.

When talking about amp "feel" and "touch", I find a few things constant...

- Low to Med gain. High gain, I've never had an OD or Dist pedal do amp-like when set to higher gains.

- Have to set it VERY carefully. I tend to have the guitar (say a strat just for reference) vol between 8-9. Then while playing, (hammer-on pulloff) adjust the gain listening for that "sweet spot"...very slowly. With the above mentioned OD's (the ZD also I have preset the tone and voice to my normal start point, after adjusting gain go back and fine tune, then re-finetune the gain once more) there is a point where if I hammer on harder I hear grit, softer it sounds very clean...but that sweet spot is like a "jump" to that sound.

Then I adjust tone, and repeat...after that I use the guitar volume, this time playing with plectrum or RH also, not trilling, and do the final adjust.

Many pedals get that feel, when set really carefully, it takes a LOT of patience the first 20 times, after that it starts getting faster and eaiser. Many pedals it turns out the sweet spot on gain is around 09:05 (kidding about the exactness, but is is between 9 and 10, usually more towards the 9...but depending on tone, guitar vol, which are hard to set accurately, the gain ends up at different places each time, but still ballpark.)


It's so subjective........some amps are designed to have great OD, others are designed for clean headroom.

Of the pedals i've tried into a clean amp, the OCD is still one of the best, but I haven't tried that many because i'm very happy with my amp's dirty sound. (JCM 800)

But for situations where I can't let the amp unwind, I dig the OCD.


Silver Supporting Member
For me it is the Death by Audio Interstellar Overdriver the Master Volume version. It has 2 knobs, Master Volume and Gain. The more Gain you use the less amp like it sounds but even at that it still sounds very amp like. If you go the other way and turn the volume up and gain down it sounds like an amp at high volumes, but at bedroom levels.

When I first was using it I had it on its own power supply and it was very noisy, I now power it from a DC Brick and for waht ever reason it is amazingly quiet. Infact its the quietest pedal I may have ever used (weird).

Not for everybody though. It has a slightly aggresive feel to it and maybe even a little unbalanced. I am not sure what I mean by unbalanced but thats the word that comes to mind. It cleans up real nice with the guitar volume.

The thing I like about it the most is when playing lead it seems to retain my Fender Black Face tone but when playing rythm it leans towards a more Marshall/Gibson beefy tone.

Guinness Lad

Senior Member
I like my Ethos. On the clean channel with the mids set higher then the treble and bass you can get a great pushed amp sound, great for clean, fat, solos.

I always thought the OCD was good for this, too bad they can't get the eq set properly (cut the added bass!).


I used to love 59 Deluxe's natural overdrive tone but it was not a versatile amp so I use pedal to get overdrive and most of them are not really amp like sound but sometimes it works better in live situation. OCD is very much like amp like overdrive to my ear but it makes my Fender Twin Reverb to sound like Marshall which is not a bad thing.


My favorites thus far are the COT50 and OCD.
Both are very touch sensitive, respond great w/pick attack changes.
.....thats running on a clean amp w/El84s


Silver Supporting Member
I dig the feel of my Blackstone Appliances Mosfet OD. It definitly behaves like an amp as far as I'm concerned.

I'm using it into a clean Swart AST.


Silver Supporting Member
I am a big fan of the ocd ver.4. But not sure if its the right pedal for you Joseph, you seem to play with a cleaner sound in your videos and the ocd is a distortion pedal. Maybe try a bb preamp, it is a GREAT "more" pedal and can get you lots of overdrive too if set correctly.


Gold Supporting Member
I really like the Fuchs Plush Xtreme I'm using. Having two channels, I can set one for thick OD and one for mild. Works very nicely with the Working Dog amp, which has wonderful clean tones.

I didn't like the Lovepedal ProValve I had before it. It came on like a ton of bricks and neither subtle distortion nor mild boost were part of it's repertoire.


Silver Supporting Member
I am a big fan of the ocd ver.4. But not sure if its the right pedal for you Joseph, you seem to play with a cleaner sound in your videos and the ocd is a distortion pedal. Maybe try a bb preamp, it is a GREAT "more" pedal and can get you lots of overdrive too if set correctly.

Have tried two other versions of the OCD 1st & 3rd) ...
How does this differ from the others (very curious?)

Trebor Renkluaf

I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse?
BJF Baby Blue is on my list. Even with the gain full up (or close to it) I can back my guitars volume down and/or play soft and it cleans up.


Silver Supporting Member
Cornish SS-3
Lovepedal COT50 handwired one-knob version
Anything Germanium based (more or less)


Of those that I've tried my favs currently are:

Zendrive - If money is not tight
Bad Monkey - If money is tight (No I'm not kidding. Recorded with one today and it was VERY VERY good.)

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