Low gain drive picks

dpgreek

Member
Messages
9,557
I am on the hunt for a low gain overdrive and want the driven sound to be as transparent as possible. I play humbuckers into British voiced amp. My sound with some dirt on it...so no mid humps or low end loss. I also would like the gain to be a little more compressed and tight than hairy/gritty. Of the list below, in some of you give your experience:

Barbershop Millenium
Barber Gain Changer (had and liked)
RC Booster
Rockett Blue Note
Walrus Mayflower (edited) or Messner
Greer Lightspeed

Dont like Timmy. Had several times and I dont like the dirt style on it.
 
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T Dizz

Member
Messages
21,668
I heard some folks say the DOD 250 isn't transparent, but I've had the opposite experience with mine. I get a nice boosted Marshall tone from it through my Peavey Classic 20 and Marshall cab. It enhances what I already like about my tone.
 

Mick_Braun

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,097
Wondering if you might add the Mayflower to your Walrus selection. Considered more transparent than the Voyager, I believe. I like mine a lot.
 

hacker

Member
Messages
1,171
I think Barber does low gain the best-tone pump, gain changer, LTD are all good at that
I still like the Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive as well-although some people don't like that "sound on sound" thing when the clean signal is mixed in too much
 

mdmack

Member
Messages
572
IMO the RC and the Lightspeed are the best 2 on that list by far. I might be a little biased, because both of them are on my board, but the RC has been there for around 6 or 7 years without leaving, and the Lightspeed for the past 2 or 3 years without leaving. They are both VERY good at what they do. I would consider the lightspeed to definatly have more gain than the RC, but the RC does not have much gain at all it is just a really good boost where the Lightspeed is definately an OD. The Voyager is not very transparent and was a little to nasaly to my ears, Gain Chainger was good (I would not consider it "transparent" compared to the lightspeed and RC) but just didnt have the "it" factor to my ears. I have not tried the others so I cannot speak for them, but I do not think you would be dissapointed with a lightspeed or an RC ESPECIALLY if you play single coils into an AC style amp.
 

WhoJamFan

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,605
I just got a Tree of Life Big Blue Overdrive, which is a Colorsound Overdriver clone for well under $100 shipped. Normal MXR phase 90 size enclosure, nice parts and build-true bypass.
This really excels at clean through low gain 1st up to noon on the drive, medium through musical fuzz from noon on.
Bass and Treble controls work great, plenty of volume available on tap.
Worth a shot, especially at the price point.
 

Redrum

Member
Messages
1,964
+1 on the Lightspeed. Still have my Gain Changer, but wouldn't call it transparent. It definitely does a great low gain tone though.

I've been hooked on the Greer Lightspeed since I got it. It's pretty transparent and has the ability to add just the right amount of grit, without excessive mid boosting, to my signal. Great results with my single coil guitars, especially my Tele. Also getting a nice singing tone from my 335 and even my Reverend Slingshot Custom with P90's sounds great with it. The Lightspeed reacts well to the guitar volumes and truly has a an amp like character and response.

The one thing the LS doesn't do is the mid-boosted Tubescreamer kind of tone, so it you're after that OD tone, I'd look elsewhere.
 

dpgreek

Member
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9,557
maybe I'm not sayin it right...but I don't like when the dirt is all flubby and all over the place.... I like it more focused
 

DaveKS

Member
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16,705
maybe I'm not sayin it right...but I don't like when the dirt is all flubby and all over the place.... I like it more focused

Ok, no blackface or JTM on the edge of crunch sag, more like a HiWatt or Musicman power section when they start to growl at you, just without the ear bleeding volume.
 

taken

Member
Messages
152
maybe I'm not sayin it right...but I don't like when the dirt is all flubby and all over the place.... I like it more focused

The flubby, saturated low end is one of my favourite qualities of the Barbershop Millennium. But if that's not your thing, I would cross that one off your list.
 

sonofiam

Member
Messages
1,105
Best low gain overdrive I've ever used is the Barber LTD. Since you've had the Gain Changer you know what the gain structure would feel like. The Xotic BB in the lower gain range would get you closer to more of a compressed drive.
 

dpgreek

Member
Messages
9,557
I did some more trial and error and am liking Lightspeed, Mayflower and even thought Wessex was good but too pricey. May even wait on Barber GCX
 
Messages
905
Feel like a broken record now, but I'm going to say again that my BB Preamp MB has now become my favorite low-mid gain drive AND clean boost. The drive stays nice and tight and can get compressed when you crank your guitar's volume knob. It can be transparent if you want it to be, you just have to fiddle around with the EQ. I actually think it's better than just being "transparent", because you might find that either a drive billed as such may not sound as good as you think. The good thing about the BB Preamp MB is that it has such a versatile EQ which you can use to make it sound transparent...or better.

Other than that, I'd suggest anything with lots of EQ options, preferably three knobs. I've found that drive pedals billed as "just more of your base tone" sometimes sound more out of control than I'd like them to be.
 




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