Looking for a good OD, and tried a few today.

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by burner, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. burner

    burner Member

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    I've used and tried a lot of different overdrives over the years but I always keep coming back to the Boss SD-1

    While I ceratainly will not rule out something new but I have yet to find anything that sounds as good to me.

    Today I demoed several drives and walked away without buying anything.
    I demoed the following:

    -Fulltone 500-something (grey box)
    This was a good sounding box but I found the distortion to be the most usefull side of it and I'm not looking for distortion.
    The boost side was okay...similar to the FatBoost in ways.
    A little too much going on with this one for someone just looking for a nice overdrive sound.

    -Fulltone Fulldrive 2 mosfet
    This one had many options..."Compcut,MF,Vintage" but I only found the "Comp cut" anywhere near the sound I'm going after.
    The gain was smooth enough but semed to have a compressed element that interfered with the dynamics of the guitar's knob sometimes.
    On the CompCut setting the drive was reduced but it was the best setting for me.the boost was useable.

    -Diamond J-drive MK3
    I don't even know where to start with this one...
    I have heard sound clips and read rave reviews about it but I didn't find anything I could live with insofar as a standalone drive.
    The drive was very very smooth but almost too compressed on every setting.
    The bright switch could have used a little more 'brightness',IMO.
    It seemed reasonably dynamic but there was always a compressed element to the drive.The clean boost was useable but the salesman told me "it would blend the direct signal with the overdrive signal ala-SparkleDrive" but I did not find that to be the case.

    -Fulltone Fat boost 2 (I think that was the name...red box 2 kobs/2 tiny knobs)
    The tone of this one actually sounded kind of good to me, but I found the drive to be too scratchy and not as smooth as a regular ol' Tubescreamer

    -Xotic AC Booster
    It was clear enough but the gain didn't quite get me there.

    -Zvex Box of Rock
    Not a bad sound at all but it didn't seem anywhere near as dynamic as I had hoped which was a serious bummer.
    Through the demo amp it had a cranked Marshall-in-a-box type sound which isn't a bad thing but not what I'm looking for in a drive.
    the harmonic content of this pedal was off the scale!

    -Zvex Box of Metal
    Although intended for a heavy metal sound, I was frankly most impressed with the Zvex Box of Metal.It had a good 'scooped' death metal sound and cranking the mid control up also had a very useable hi-gain crunch.
    The built in noise gate seems like a good idea but I found it mostly unuseable other than on fast Pantera type rythyms.Even then, it sounded best set at the hoghest threshold setting.Set otherwise it would cut off your notes or interfere drastically with harmonics.
    Note: I am in the market for a pedal that produces this kind of sound and the BOM is certainly a contender for that at this point.

    The demo amp I used was a NIB Fuchs Blackjack21 which was the best amp...and only tube amp.... the very small shop had.
    I plat Strats but the closest thing I could find in the store was a Parker F30
    I suspect running the aforementioned drives through my rig would yield different results but as it stands I wasn't overly impressed with any of them. (other than the BOM)

    I play maple necked Strats through a Twin reissue
    I use a clean straight-into-amp sound a lot and I'm wanting a drive that will give me the same sound BUT...with more gain and smooth drive.
    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I want it to sound just like the Twin but with drive.

    Honestly I don't know why I'm so drawn to the SD-1 because it does alter the sound but I do like the dynamics and the smoothness of the gain structure is good.....not the best, but useable
    It does seem to give me drive while still retaining some of the classic Strat "Bell" sound.I guess that's what I'm shooting for.
    the pedals I tried today didn't do that as well as I'd hoped.
    I want to be able to have the pedal on and it still sound like a straight clean Twin with my volume rolled off, then get a great leasd sound by turning up.
    Is that too much to ask?

    Should I stick with the SD-1 and call it good, or is there something that I will like better for what I'm going after? Surely there is...

    I really wanted to try out the VL SparkleDrive but they were out of stock.
    I don't know if that is something I could live with but by the description it is basically "a hopped up Tubescreamer that allows you to blend a clean signal with it". That sounds like something that could work for me since the SD-1 and Tubescreamer are sort of similar

    Another thing I've been looking at is the Clark Gainster.
    I won't have an oppourtunity to try one so it would be a blind purchase.
    Any thought on these?

    Assuming all the units I tried today come highly recommended, maybe I'm just bat-crap crazy.

    Anyway I'm open to suggestions and sorry for rambling.
    Cheers!

    EDIT to add:
    I have also tried the Crowther Hotcake and I liked it but I really didn't get to run it through all it's paces well enough to be completely sold.
    I also have an original Bixonic Expandora (3 knob) on the way but I don't expect results from it and I didn't really buy it for a good "overdrive" sound....just to monkey around with.
    .
     
  2. lifeinsong

    lifeinsong Member

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    Menatone pedals work very well with Fender amps...Red Snapper or Blue Collar. Another great OD pedal that might work for ya is the Xotic BB Preamp.
     
  3. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    I'd check out a Barber LTD. The one that I use is really transparent in that the sound of the amp comes through while the pedal itself adds drive. The silver is lower gain than the other LTD's. Definitely worth checking out. I had a sparkle drive and think that the Barber sounds better.
     
  4. burner

    burner Member

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    The sound clips I've heard of the Barber LTD sound pretty good but it's often hard to tell from the manufacturer's clips.

    Ditto for the Red Snapper.

    I've only heard a couple of clips of the Clark Gainster and it sounded a little too gritty to me.


    I've also been looking at the MJM BluesDevil and the Lovepedal Super 6

    The Super 6 has me particularly intrigued because it's based on the "blackface" sound which should work very well with a Twin, one would think.
    I am concerned that it might not have quite enough gain though.

    If anyone has sound clip linkage to the above pedals, that would be outstanding!

    Discuss....
     
  5. orogeny

    orogeny Supporting Member

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    For smooth. . . try a boss od3. Used .. . . less than 60 bucks.

    For more transparent, but grittier, a Timmy. . . for sure.

    For smooth and transparent, with just some bass roll-off, nothing is smoother than the King of Tone.
     
  6. 205

    205 Senior Member

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    yep, if you like the SD-1 you'll really like the OD-3
     
  7. burner

    burner Member

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    The Diamond drive uses the Burr Brown OPA2134 opamp.
    I wonder if simply switching that out for a 4558 would yield good results?
    The reason I mention it is that I tried that OP-amp in one of my SD-1s and while it seemed very smooth it was also overly compressed in comparison the the 4558.
    Then again why should I buy a $220+ drive only to have to change the 'chip'?
     
  8. Dan-o

    Dan-o Member

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    +1 on the Barber...I just got done playing mine for the last hour or so...Silver DOES NOT have less GAIN it has a very FLAT EQ...which is why its sounds "clear" as someone put it...they are only 99 bucks on sale from Dave Barber direct-& just an fyi...if you want COMPLETELY FLAT then you need the Barber Ltd SR which is only 125...GREAT PEDALS...CLARITY n more CLARITY !!
     
  9. burner

    burner Member

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    Yikes! the KOT is going for $450
    I'm not looking to spend that much...is it really necessary?

    I'll check them out
    I like the SD-1 by default but I'm always looking for something 'better'.
     
  10. silencer eleven

    silencer eleven Member

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    i would try a zendrive, i got one and have never looked back. top notch in every aspect, i would try that or some of the lovepedal stuff.

    Jordan
     
  11. orogeny

    orogeny Supporting Member

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    450 is too much. Get on the list and forget you ordered it. You'll end up with two pedals for 235 bucks.

    For smooooooooth, def. check out the od3. . . . bass BOOST in that one, if you like it. . . I could actually spend the rest of my life with just that pedal. . . excellent from low gain to angus. . .
     
  12. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    I am also a fan of the good ol sd-1..Though they can be a little noisy. For about the same coin, a bad monkey is even better...The sparkle drive is better than both of those though, i always go back to it. It sounds great into a clean fender amp especially.
     
  13. MikeMcK

    MikeMcK Member

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    I think you answered your own question right here. BTW, I'm in the same boat with the SD-1. Maybe it's my choice of amp, tubes, picks, and style, but I just love the way this thing sounds.
     
  14. burner

    burner Member

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    Yep the Sparkledrive is definitely on my list I just haven't got to try one yet.
    Can you compre/contrast it to the SD-1 and others you've tried?

    You're probably right but I have to belive there is something better...don't I? :rotflmao
     

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