The smallish, yet kind of interesting overdrive shootout

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Passenger84, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. Passenger84

    Passenger84 Supporting Member

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    Location:
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    Well, I bought and traded for a few overdrives to add to my few overdrives, and ended up with 8. So, I thought I might do a quick shootout for my own enjoyment, and maybe give some info to anyone interested. And please acknowledge, I don't consider myself to have the best musical ear in the world, so please take these with a grain of salt, and you're welcome to disagree with me! Here was the setup:

    [​IMG]

    Signal chain:

    '78 Gibson Firebrand (the mahogany ones with T-Tops)---->

    1. TS9 with Analogman brown mod and I believe a gain sweep type mod

    2. TS7 with my own homemade mod (carbon comp resistors, TI JRC4558
    chip)

    3. Danelectro FAB Metal

    4. MI Audio Blue Boy

    5. Homemade Fuzz Face clone with germanium resistors (it's the one in the electrical box on the tier. I did not make this; I got it from someone off of e-bay.)

    6. SIB Varidrive with JJ ECC81 tube

    7. Fulltone Fatboost (not the new one)

    8. Paul Cochrane Tim

    -----> Mayfly BC30 head (EL84-based, AC30-ish type amp)

    -----> 65 Amps London birch cab with Celestion Alnico Blue & G12-30

    Possible advantages/disadvantages

    1. Yes, some are true bypass, some are not. Some are buffered, some are not. And some are in a true bypass looper, and some are not. But with my signal running through everything at the same time, hopefully this will balance out a bit.

    2. I did not have the patience to sit and hook all of them up to my PP2 because I would be unhooking them all in a half hour. So, since they're on a daisy chain power supply, I did not try to do any tests regarding noise levels.

    Possible Personal Biases:

    1. I've been playing through the Fuzz, the Varidrive, and the Fat Boost for a awhile, so I've had more time to set those to my amp.

    2. I really wanted to like my home-modded TS7 and the Danelectro because it would be cool to have the cheapo pedals totally smoke the boutique ones.

    3. I wanted to like the Tim because it's nice to have one pedal with a boost already in it.

    4. I also didn't want to like the Tim, the Varidrive, or the Blue Boy because they would fetch the highest resale prices.

    The Results:

    1. TS9 with Analogman brown mod and I believe a gain sweep type mod

    --Sounded very good. Much more warm and tubey than a stock TS9. Harsh sounding, but in a good way. I've always felt tubescreamers to be a sort of raunchy overdrive. The notes sat a little mushy on top of each other, though. Overall, I think this is a great sounding tubescreamer, but I'm not so sure the 'tubescreamer sound' is necessarily my cup of tea.

    2. TS7 with my own homemade mod (carbon comp resistors, TI JRC4558
    chip)

    --Disappointing. This is pone of the first stompbox-type pedals I ever owned, and my father and I did the mod together, so it has sentimental value for me. Unfortunately, the sound was kind of boxy. Still a good sound, and I liked it, but it didn't quite stack up to the other pedals.

    3. Danelectro FAB Metal

    --Whoa. I mean, whoa. Turned my amp into a Fender Frontman in an instant. Treble city, harsh, no dynamics. I've heard of some people loving these pedals...more power to you. If you can dial this one in, you've got a better ear than me. :)
    --On the plus side though, the sound to my ears was so bad, that I think I might be able to put this in a bypass loop, sag the power to 4 volts, and have a nice terrible sound to stick in the backgrounds of a couple intros...maybe...

    4. MI Audio Blue Boy

    --Holy crap! I did not expect that sound when I clicked this one on. Full, full harmonics, saturated overdrive, but not too crazy. Just warm and sweet...especially on the neck pickup. Love at first sound. Definitely bordering on a distortion, though, not an overdrive. Great pedal if you already have your low gain areas covered.

    5. Homemade Fuzz Face clone with germanium resistors (it's the one in the electrical box on the tier. I did not make this; I got it from someone off of e-bay.)

    --I can never seem to kick this one off of my board. Over the top, awesome harmonics. The notes take on new character as each one sits on the other. I don't know who made this pedal, but it's the best fuzz I have heard...an it's in an electrical box.

    6. SIB Varidrive with JJ ECC81 tube

    --Love it on the high gain setting for solos. The low gain setting there is a bit too much compression for me, and it starts to round out the treble too much. But on the high gain setting, up on the neck, this pedal really seems to sing.

    7. Fulltone Fatboost (not the new one)

    --Great for what it does. Nice, clean boost, and you can vary some more drive into it if you want. Unfortunately, the Tim seemed to make this one sound dead...even though at first I did really like the sound.

    8. Paul Cochrane Tim

    --So beautiful to have an overdrive that is your tone, but overdriven. I can hear my clean sound, but breaking up with more harmonics. Classy, beautiful sounding breakup, at least to my ears. The boost section sounds the same, just boosted. I'm adoring this pedal right now.

    Keepers

    TS7 (too much sentimental value)
    FAB Metal (for ugly, gross sounds in song intros...maybe)
    Blue Boy (Mmmmm)
    Fuzz Face clone (Mmmm again)
    Varidrive (lovely full solos)
    Tim (double mmmmmm)

    Farewells (and only because I don't have the money to keep them all)

    TS9 (sounds great, but I guess I'm not a tubescreamer guy)
    Fat Boost (again, fantastic sound, but the Tim squashed it for me)

    I hope you all found this interesting and again, I apologize if I liked the pedal you hate, or hated the pedal you adore. ;)
     
  2. shecfr

    shecfr Supporting Member

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    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    Based on your mini review of the Tim.....I am seriously thinking about buying one.....Thanks for the reviews!
     
  3. JB

    JB Member

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    Very cool how you told us a bit about your background first.
    That part made me laugh pretty hard.
    Anyways, thanks for the shootout. I'll have to order a Tim eventually whenever I get around to spending money again.
     
  4. john b

    john b Supporting Member

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    San Rafael, CA
    Very cool shoot-out! Thanks for posting. Your observations are really funny and not so tweaky serious that it's hard to read!

    I've got a TIM in the UPS pipeline as we speak. Can't wait, especially after reading this.
     
  5. Passenger84

    Passenger84 Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Southern California
    Awesome, I'm glad you guys enjoyed them. I wasn't sure anyone would actually read this. And ya, the Tim is sounding quite good right now. The only thing with it is that the knobs are very sensitive (which is good), but it takes a while to dial it in...especially since the bass and treble are cut knobs, so essentially they work backwards from normal knobs.

    :)
     

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