The science and classification of OD pedals and stacking

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by CitizenAudio, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    I am trying to understand a couple of things about OD pedals. On my quest to find some great pedals for my new rig, I am running into a lot of obstacles and learning curves in determining what OD pedals are great and more importantly, what OD pedals fit my needs and my taste.

    What are the different classes of OD pedals? I see low, mid, and high gain OD's. What characterizes the sound signature between these 3 classes?

    How does OD stacking work and what do you look for when it comes to stacking specific pedals together? Is it more of an art or a science or BOTH?

    Currently I have a Lovepedal Eternity and a Keeley Blues Driver on my rack. Together, they make a great tone but I have no idea what to call this kind of setup? What kind of sound am I making? I use a Grosh retro classic --> Dr Z EZG-50 / Fender Blues Deluxe

    I am also on the waitlist for several OD pedals including a Skreddy SD, Cochran Tim.

    2 other pedals that I am curious about are the Fulltone OCD 1.4v and the COT50.

    What pedals are redundant in my list and what doesn't work great in your opinion?

    Discuss :)
     
  2. TeeVee

    TeeVee Member

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    As long as they don't sound like ass put together, you're on a winner. Having said that, you will probably get best results out of 2 well constructed, hand-made pieces of kit however. I think it is a bit of a contradiction to call an OD pedal "high gain" also. That is more in the realm of distortion. And on that note, I think that's where the best results are. A great Distortion into a great OD (or vice versa) is where it's at I believe. And for even wilder times, a great Fuzz into a great OD.
     
  3. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    Thanks for the reply!

    So in a way, a low gain OD could be considered a pedal that doesn't color the natural tone too much but just pushes the amp near the break up point?

    Where would you categorize these specific pedals:

    Tim
    Skreddy SD
    Eternity
    COT50
    Blues Driver
    Zendrive
     
  4. Goodwood Audio

    Goodwood Audio Member

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    I've had experience with the Tim and the Eternity so I'll try and explain those and how I used them.

    Tim - A fantastic low gain overdrive (with boost). Straight away I'll say that the word boost is a little miss leading. It's a boost for gain, not volume - though the increase in gain does give extra volume. Don't think of it as a clean boost but rather an extra gain stage (with tone control) that's switchable.
    It should be mentioned also that the Treble and Bass controls work as frequency cuts - not boosts. Paul feels that having them work in reverse to traditional tone controls yields a much grater range of usefullness from the pots.
    So keeping this in mind I used the Tim as my first stage. Little to no gain and a slight volume boost. I then utilised the tone controls to shape my sound. The fantastic thing about the Tim is that it is very transperant, so when I needed exactly what I already had but with a little extra gain I clicked on the boost side.

    Eternity - Mine was a White E. I set this up mainly for power chord work. It certainly had a very distinctive voice - tubescreamerish though with a different mid focus. I know the White E has more gain and compression compared to others, so instead of trying to get it to act like a burst E (much better at low gain stuff) if set it up for I what I thought it was best for.

    I should also metion that I myself am considering the Skreddy SD and everything I've read suggests that it's capabilities are endless. Guys here have posted that it excells in their rig as a low/med/high gain sound and that it's beat out pedals that command much higher prices and wait lists.

    Hope these ramblings help.
     
  5. RedUK

    RedUK Member

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    To my mind that's a boost not an overdrive (although it may well be an 'overdrive pedal' set such that it's not introducing its own clipping and just providing a level boost)

    Again a personal interpretation but I go with:

    Boost = no or very little clipping, but a level increase. Might result in the AMP overdriving, but doesn't really alter the shape of the signal too much in and of itself at that point.

    Overdrive = the device introduces it's own degree of clipping - ie it does significantly change the shape of the signal as well as the level

    Distortion = same as overdrive, with more clipping and therefore less dynamics/more compression

    So yes, by my own definitions the phrase "transparent overdrive" is a nonsense but I'm comfortable with that.
     
  6. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    I am very excited about my Tim (2x) order. I am hoping to use both into 2 separate amps.

    I guess I should just buy and try and keep the ones that I like. Unfortunately I have a very research oriented mind and become bothered when I don't know what I am buying lol.

    Thanks for the tip.

    From everything I have gathered I would probably do something like Tim --> Eternity --> OCD --> Skreddy SD --> lunar module. But I know this will drastically change.
     
  7. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

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    Wow, I could talk about this forever. Just a few tips:
    - 2 stacked low-mid gainers can sound better than a high gain pedal.
    - I like to have my most open and amp like pedal after the more pedal-like pedal.
    - timmy is great after others (for some reason)
    - some combos are magic, like COT>E, or Klon>Kar Krash

    Here's what I do:
    - flying dragon for clean boost, always on with single coils to bring them up to level and feel of humbuckers (about noon)
    - Klon (knobs at 10:30 or so) to add gain and sustain to pedals that follow (sounds terrible alone)
    - Zendrive (same as Klon, but sounds good alone, but I don't use it like that)
    - Menatone boost in top boost in a can pedal for clean boost
    - Menatone alley: these are my "amps" and one is always on, set to low-mid gain: TBIAC, Kar Krash, Howie, Foxey Brown, Workingman's Blue, King of the the Britains.
    - CLEAN amp: Bruno Cowtipper 45

    So, clean is FD, clean with boost add TBIAC boost, dirt is a menatone and FD, lead is Klon or Zendrive added, sick is combined. I also have a treble booster and fuzz that I use sometimes. No TS9. Tried sold most other popular overdrives. I have a PTP Burst Eternity that I'll sell in a few weeks when I get back from europe.

    Hope that helps. BTW, if your amp is set crunchy at all, like most amps, just get a fave OD and a boost and you are good to go. Add a timmy after them if you want sick sustain (set gain and volume to 10:00).
     
  8. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    The popular notion is that gain=distortion.

    The accurate idea is that overdriving components by using increased gain results in distortion.

    A clean boost, which may also be voiced to reshape the frequency response, does not introduce signal clipping at the boost but may (over-) drive the amp into clipping (distortion), which may, or may not, be a good thing depending on the amp and how it is set.

    As drive and distortion levels increase harmonic content tends to change, so, eq becomes critical to the final sound. Mixing and matching of guitar/pedal order/amp settings/expectations remains a try it and listen process.

    Good tone is wherever YOU find it.
     
  9. thedroid

    thedroid Member

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    Relying mostly on word of mouth around here, I'd say that the BD is a "gritty" OD and might be redundant with the Tim, which is a great pedal for just some slight breakup or light crunch. The Zendrive and Eternity are both highly regarded ODs; some prefer one to the other. I personally wouldn't see the need for both on a board unless you're just really into having choices. The Skreddy is a fuzz. The COT50 is an amplike OD, designed to impart a Marshall-amp sort of sound. Very different. I'd go for the top four myself.
     
  10. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    I'm stacking 3 pedals right now: Keeley Fuzz Head> OCD> Keeley TS9dx Flexi 4x2. The OCD is my core tone. I use the Tubescreamer for a traditional, lower-gain lead tone and the Fuzz Head for even more sustain and smoothness. I never use all three at the same time though. This is just what works for me. There's no real rules.
     
  11. aziltz

    aziltz Member

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    i thought stacking meant "at the same time"
     
  12. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    Yeah that is what I am most interested in. I see some people's boards with like 10 overdrive/boost/fuzz like pedals and I am trying to understand the method to the madness.

    Thedroid: Yeah I think I might have to try the Screwdriver, Tim, Eternity, COT50 together and see what I get.

    What I am most cautious about is redundance. I have a great blackface amp in the EZG-50. I don't really need pedals to emulate an amp's sound.
     
  13. guildchild

    guildchild Member

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    this is such an art, and it takes a long time. i recently forced myself to rip my board apart and start over. not that i wasn't happy...i just wanted to optimize.

    contenders:
    tim
    timmy
    crunchbox
    ocd v4
    fetto
    rhe
    rc boost

    i just simply outlined what tones i wanted...which totalled 4 drive tones. i started with 1 pedal, dialed in what i wanted and then started adding. you want to make sure to try things before AND after each pedal. you'll find what sounds great downstream, but kills another pedal if it's in front.

    anyway, i ended up with rhe (for the TS type of thing), -> tim (for mild drive and med drive) -> rc boost (for solo boosts and to fill out the clean tones) -> crunchbox or ocd (depending on the type of gig...i'll use this for the high drive sound).

    so, be patient, mess around with EVERY combo. play for about 3 mins and then take a break to keep your ears fresh. if you're testing a stage volume, your ears will fatigue quickly and you'll lose the highs. so, i typically use the break time to take notes on the combinations and put them into a spreadsheet. you end up with a million sounds that you can dial in quickly during a session if you've taken good notes.
     
  14. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    Thanks for the tip guildchild,

    It really seems to be an art to all this madness, you can crunch numbers and follow spec sheets all day and get no where.

    I believe your way is a very efficient and fun way to go about it.

    I really don't want to end up with too many pedals. There are so many other pedals besides OD type pedals that I want to venture in. I want to keep these kind of pedals to a minimum (4 seems like a great number btw).
     
  15. thedroid

    thedroid Member

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    I think the COT50 does emulate a Marshall. Pro Guitar shop has some comparison vids on YouTube (not sure if they're also on the site) that include the COT50. You might want to watch them.

    The other three would give you a fuzz, an OD, and a more open gain boost -- really two levels of gain boost if you get the Tim and not the Timmy. If your amp overdrives easily you might try a clean boost (RC booster, SHO) after the Tim in place of the OD. That's what I use. I'm still searching for the right fuzz. Would love to try the Screwdriver.
     
  16. blazzrock

    blazzrock Supporting Member

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    i like cleaner/boost, amp-like pedals after others as well. the tim is my all time favorite for this. it seems to just give my amp more gain without altering the tone. i use it as a rhythm pedal into a clean amp or at slight break up to push the amp a little more. then i use a klon in front of it to add a little more mids for leads. i think the key to stacking is keeping the gain pretty minimal on the pedals and the combination gives you more defined articulate gain than just using one pedal with the gain maxed out.
     
  17. lcjc800

    lcjc800 Member

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    [​IMG]
    This one has the SSDD, LTD and Blues Devil in one loop, the Reetza, and Fuzzhead in another, followed by the Diaz Squareface, MJM London (si) and Wolftone Machine and finaly the RC Boost and Klon last. Light to heavy OD, followed by Distortion and then Fuzz with the boosts last worked well but confusing on the fly. good for auditioning pedals
    [​IMG]

    This one was same therory with some different players, I got allthe way down to this... I swap a KoT for the E/CoT often.
    [​IMG]

    after giging with this for a Summer with a couple different bands
    less was better.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. CitizenAudio

    CitizenAudio Member

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    I really love your tastes in pedals but honestly I hope I never have that many pedals at my disposal! I don't mean that in a negative way either! I couldn't handle it, and neither could my wallet.

    I hope I never have more than what a Pedaltrain Jr. can hold + wah.

    I think I have a clearer understanding of the route that I am going to take. Might have to buy the Fulltone OCD v.4 next and then just wait for my Skreddy, Tim, and other pedals to come in.
     

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