Occtone pedal review – PMC, MKII, Elmore Supreme!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by dzeitlin, May 27, 2008.

  1. dzeitlin

    dzeitlin Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    I got these pedals to review and pass along, so the review is a little biased in that I didn't purchase these.

    The PMC and MKII are both modified Boss DS-1s (no added controls). The Elmore is a proprietary box with two controls, volume and focus.

    I played through my Bad Cat Cub IIR and A/Bd them against my OD/Distortions (Fulltone FDII, GT-500, and OCD V1). The MKII is very dark. I didn't play it with my band, but I think it will get lost in the mix. It had a good amount of distortion and volume (more than a stock DS-1).

    The PMC was more musical and less dark, also with a good amount of distortion and volume. I think both pedals are well built, and would probably work for some players. I found my GT-500 and OCD (closest in gain structure) to be more musical and natural sounding, whereas the Occtones seemd to color the natural tone too much for my tastes.

    The Elmore is a clean boost similar to the Fulltone Fatboost, so I A/Bd it against the boost side of the GT-500. The Elmore didn't have as much gain as the GT-500, but had a little bit of fatness to it. The focus knob mentioned above seemed to change the tone and gain structure very subtly. I found it worked much better on an already overdriven amp (either naturally overdriven, or by a pedal). Again, not my cup of tea, but a very nice and musical pedal.
  2. jamison162

    jamison162 Supporting Member

    May 15, 2006
    Cool review, which version OCD do you have?

    Also, is there a signup list to demo these pedals, or what's the deal...I'de like in.
  3. AdamGian

    AdamGian Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    Wilmington, DE
    It's possible that the OccTone pedals are not voiced for the Bad Cat Cub IIR.
  4. Tallhorses

    Tallhorses Member

    Sep 2, 2004
    New Haven, CT
    I was lucky enough to be the first tour stop. Thanks again to Chris!

    I used the pedals (MKII, PMC and Elmore Supreme) during rehearsal with a Tele and Strat into a Victoria Victorilux. I play in a 5 piece so for me it's important where I sit in the mix. Especially for rhythm playing. During warm ups it was clear that the MKII wasn't for me. I found it overly compressed, somewhat mid scooped and generally there was not enough volume at lower gain settigns to make it usable for me.

    For the remainder of the night my pedal chain went something like this... TU2 --> Keeley BD 2 --> PMC -->BOR --> Fulltone Fatboost 2 --> Elmore Supreme --> Supa Trem -> AM Maxon AD9...

    Generally I use the FB2 for a clean to slightly dirty overdrive as my rhythm pedal. It doesn't have a huge vol gain but I love the tweed like slightly broken up crunch. The BD2 is my main OD or solo boost and the BOR is used for clean boost only or higher gain tones.

    When Chris mentioned that the PMC was a bit darker than the MKII I thought I might like it more and he was right. Since I'm mainly a Tele/Strat guy I had Keeley install a high cut mod on my BD2 which can help bright guitars and amps. I would say the PMC is comparable to the BD2 and I liked it for mildly crunchy stuff like the Stones. It also worked well as a lead boost to add thickness and saturation to the FB2 when used for rhythm. I use the BD2 like this a lot and it compared well. Comparatively speaking the BD2 is A LOT more flexible. With switches for the phat and high cut mods you can get the BD2 to work with about anything. I'd say the PMC is more of a one trick pony and honesty I think the BD2 just sounds better for my application. There's more of a range to work with... from mild OD to much higher gain. There's also more volume on tap. I thought the PMC and the MKII both lacked vol when the distortion was set below 1 oclock.

    Moving on to the Elmore Supreme... Loved it as a boost. Picture the KLON set to clean boost only. I think KLON is a different animal altogether but for clean boosts it was close to the KLON. Kind of makes the guitar and amp sound bigger...not necessarily fatter, just bigger. Plenty of vol on tap here. The focus knob worked well as described especially when boosting another overdrive pedal. I thought the focus knob could have had more range but turned all the way clockwise seemed like it didn't have any effect. As if there was no focus. Turning it full CCW tightened up any looseness from boosting the PMC or BD2. Looking back I should have tested the MKII with the Elmore as they were probably voiced to work together. I like the Emore boost much better that the flat BOR clean boost I was using mostly for the focus control.

    The Verdict!
    The Elmore Supreme - I think Chris has a lot of promise as a pedal designer. I've never seen a boost with a focus control. Thought it worked well but could use more range. I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. Very cool pedal.

    The PMC - Nice pedal for mild to medium crunch when you need something to tame a bright amp or guitar. Could have had more vol with lower distortion levels. It would be interesting to compare this (and the MKII) to Analogman's and Keeley's DS-1 mods. 3 out 5 stars

    The MKII - With my setup there was not enough vol on it's own to make it usable. With no mids it was lost in the mix. On it's own with a little delay it sounded nice going directly into my Victoria 20112 (tweed deluxe clone). I guess it would be usable in a scaled down setup or low vol blues gig? 2 out of 5 stars

    I'm gonna score the Elmore going around the tour...nicks and all! Looking forward to Chris's next design!
  5. drod2045

    drod2045 Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    North NJ
    I had the pleasure of meeting Chris in person last week. he is truly a class act. I have the MKII and Im using it in a different way than mentioned here. Im using it a low gain/slight breakup type sound. With the dist turned almost all the way down, and the vol turned up around 1-2 o clock (tone is at about 12), im getting a sound that is pretty clean when softly picked and it distorts nicely when its dug into. The dynamics are nice on this pedal. It stacks nicely with a barber DDSS before it. it even gives my 200lbs a nice boost for soloing to cut through.

    Im enjoying the MKII. its staying on the board
  6. PlumBob

    PlumBob Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    New Jersey
    I recently picked up an Occtone MK2 from the builder in a trade. I am really enjoying it. I have tried it with humbuckers and p90s into an Ampeg Gemini and into a tweed Deluxe. To me it sounds best with the gain cranked (3:00 and up) and the tone wide open. It does not sound especially mid scooped to me. It's meaty and a little woolly sounding (in a good way) with my setup. Definitely not a bright pedal. It basically does what I think it sets out to do--takes a DS-1 and removes the shrillness, raspiness, and fizziness but maintains the sustainy goodness. I have played one other modified DS-1 in the past (I think it was a Keeley mod?), and I like this a lot better. This pedal is great fun to play. I think it's the distortion sound I've been after, and I expect to keep it on my board. I haven't gigged with it yet but will soon, and I'll post an update. For now, I'm definitely saying Occtone=good.
  7. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2005
    The tourbox stopped at my place a few weeks ago and I was able to give them a nice run-through. From least favorite to most favorite:

    Elmore Supreme

    I really though the Elmore Supreme stood out between the three. IMO, the MKII and PMC are decent distortion units. They remind me of a better built DS-1 with more musical overdrive and better volume control. But for my application, they were lacking some definition and mids, and seemed to color my tone too much.

    However, the Elmore sounded great as a straight clean boost, and it stacked very nicely with my Timmy. As mentioned before, the Focus control sweep seemed subtle, but if used in the right context, it's definitely a nice way to give a nice cut-boost to an overdriven sound for lead work.

    Great job overall, Chris! If I need a clean boost in the future, I'm definitely going to consider the Elmore Supreme.
  8. centsmin

    centsmin Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Marlborough, MA
    I recently checked out PMC, MKII, and the Elmore Supreme. I was playing at full volume by myself and with my drummer.

    Equipment used:
    Guitars: Gibson Historic R8 w/ WCR Crossroads pups, Fender 1960 Relic Strat with stock single coils
    Amp: Germino Classic 45
    Cab: Closed back 2x12 with Greenback RI’s

    PMC – This is a modded Boss DS-1. The bass response was improved, low-mids fattened up, and the top end greatly smoothed out vs stock. I was able to get some pretty useable rhythm and lead tones using a Les Paul. I definitely had a classic rock distortion flavor to it. Good smooth sustain with none of the raspy treble response of the stock DS-1. With a Strat, I found the lead tones to be reminiscent of John Frusciante’s tone on Blood Sugar Sex Magic. Warm, fat, kinda of low-fi, but kool. Overall, I’d say this pedal was a winner. Not may main sound, bud definitely some usable and easy to dial in tones here.

    MKII – This is another modded DS-1 but totally different from the PMC. This has a scooped mids and a lot of high end. I found this pedal harsh, unpleasant, and hard to dial in. It sounded different from a stock DS-1, but still had some of the drawbacks of the original.

    Elmore Supreme – This is a clean boost. I found that it worked equally well the Strat and Les Paul. Plenty of volume boost on tap. Overall, very transparent but I did detect some fattening of the lower mids which works very well with single coils. It sounds “open” and “uncompressed” but not sterile like some very flat eq’d uncompressed pedals can. Very natural sounding. It really worked with HB’s to push my amp into natural overdrive. This is the proverbial “your tone, but more of it” sound. I didn’t really understand the focus control. It didn’t seem to do anything????? All in all, a good clean boost.

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