Throbak Overdrive Boost - Most Versatile OD?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by carltonh, Mar 23, 2006.


  1. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    So I got my Throbak ODB today and have been playing it all night. This is seriously good... and seriously different in some ways.

    I've never been interested in boost pedals. Actually, I didn't get this for a boost but because it could do both fuzz and overdrive, germanium and silicon.

    It was odd that it was pretty clean until the last third of the gain knob. That's about opposite all other pedals I've used. I enjoy both the silicon and germanium fuzz tones quite a bit, but it's my first fuzz and I can't personally compare to others. It's probably not super saturated fuzz, but moderately so. As a Colorsound Overdriver at heart, it does the cool vintage Jeff Beck tones, but IMO, it also does great Jimmy Page tones. It is funny to think that tube amps are often designed to get the Led Zeppelin tones when much Zeppelin tones were a combination of mild fuzz and overdriven amp. The ODB can get that sound incredibly well without having to overdrive your amp.

    I was interested in the ODB as possibly a high gain pedal for an alternative sound for Metallica type metal to Prog Metal sounds. It can get somewhat close, but could use slightly more gain for that, and the pre-gain would need to be set even tighter. I assume it could be done, though I'm not sure if the pedal's gain could be increased.

    But when I set it relatively clean as a boost, even if only at unity gain, it just sounds so incredibly sweet. Plus with all the silicon and germanium, pre-gain on or off it allowed a tone of minor variations that were excellent.

    Throbak advertized this as capable of an attenuator like setting. I see why he says so, but it still isn't the same as an attenuator. An attenuator allows you to get the particular tone of whatever power amp is cranked, EL34, 6L6, or whatever. But this setting does sound like a cranked tube amp more than just a pedal or even a cranked tube MV preamp.

    Up to that point, I've been playing it through my Pritchard, which reacts in all ways like the very best non-MV tube amps. I thought that if it sounded like a cranked tube power amp in the Pritchard set clean, what would it sound like in a plain jane solid state amp - my Carvin SX100D 1x12 with Texas Heat speaker?

    UNBELIEVABLE. Set clean it sounded better than, but similar to a Fender Deluxe Reverb RI. Or maybe I should say it sounded somewhere between there and a BF Bassman. But the oddest thing was that I really would have been fooled to think I was playing through something with a tube power amp. The clean tone with single coils instantly made me think of clean Jimi Hendrix. I prefered the pre-gain cut set to off (standard Colorsound circuit) for single coils. With humbuckers it worked well either way, but depended on other settings.

    Using a high output Tone Zone bridge HB, if set to germanium, even on the lowest gain setting it was already pushing into overdrive. That wasn't necessarily bad, because even the Tone Zone cleaned up incredibly well when rolling back on the guitar volume. But on he silicon setting, it could actually stay clean up to noon on the ODB gain knob. (Like I said, an unusual pot where most of the gain changes are in the upper 3rd of the pot.)

    Anyway, from playing this pedal into something like a Crate Powerblock may about the cheapest and most compact killer tone you could get. I don't know yet how other pedals after it sound, and I haven't tried other pedals in front of it. Being a fuzz it might not like other pedals in front of it, but Jon at Throbak thinks some (wahs?) might work in front if the ODB pre-gain is set to On.

    In comparison, I also have the V-Stack Classic. The V-Stack is not capable of tube clean tones. It has a great high gain Marshall tone that the ODB can't get, but in comparison, the ODB actually sounds much more like a real tube amp. The V-Stack doesn't have a clear tube power amp sound like the ODB, which gets them whether set clean or dirty.

    The ODB set to higher gain on the SS Carvin sounded great too. I would set it to germanium and get those great Zeppelin tones, better than any SS amp I've heard, excepting the Pritchard of course, which is so far beyond other SS and many tube amps that it doesn't count! :)
     
  2. guitar-rookie

    guitar-rookie Supporting Member

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    wonder how this pedal compares with the screwdriver?
     
  3. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    Wow! I thought exactly the same!!
     
  4. teddy boy

    teddy boy Member

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    Oh yeah,

    Thanks for the review carltonh. Seems like an interesting pedal to a Page freak like me...
     
  5. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    I'll add that so far I was only using a standard 1-Spot adapter that could daisy chain with other pedals, so it doesn't require cheap (or any) batteries or a separate polarity power adapter to sound good.
     
  6. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I think the main difference between the ODB and the SD is the additional voicing flexibility of the ODBs pre-gain switch and the 'attenuator' option. I just got a Screw Driver and can get it to sound similar to the ODB on certain clips, but there are other tones that only the ODB seems to be able to do based on other clips I've heard (like the more fuzzed-out germanium stuff). The ODBs pre-gain switch sounds like a really useful tone shaper, IMO...

    edit: carltonh - How is the cosmetics on the ODB? Are all of the graphics silk-screened on the pedal or are they decals? I only ask because the photos on the site make the ODB (and all of ThroBak's pedals) look really professionally done. I've bought other boxes that looked GREAT on the site only to find kind of cheezy finish work done on the casing. I know a LOT of work goes into the guts/design of these pedals, but when you start to get into the hundreds of dollars for a pedal I expect a little more polish on the outside too.
     
  7. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been using mine since January and I absolutely love the thing. I run mine on a cheap non alkaline battery, but I'm sure it would sound fine with an adapter. What makes it stand out for me are the added pregain and germanium switches, the pregain keeps the bottom tight and the germanium adds sweetness, or you can keep those off for more of the stock Colorsound vibe. As far as using it for palm muted Metallica stuff, there are probably better options available for that, but that's not an issue for me. The faux attenuator thing is great for cool bedroom level tones, but live it sounds so good into even a clean amp that I don't find it necessary to use it in that manner. The graphics are decals and appear to be a bit fragile, but look great.
    I have a Honey Bee that should be here any day now, I can't wait to pair it up with the ODB! The Screwdriver looks intriguing, but I'm gonna have to hold off.....for now. :D
     
  8. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    I didn't think it looked like decals, but I don't know what silk-screened is.

    And I can use my MI Audio Tube Zone for the heavy stuff, so no problem there. Its just that even maxed, the ODB still sounds like a NMV amp. Without claiming this is good or bad... it has the dynamics you lose when you want automatic sustain and so look for another pedal if you mainly want something with lots of sustain.

    Those of you that have one... plug it into a cheap SS amp and see what I mean. Though I did it into one with a good speaker. Not sure how important that part is.

    I think that people that are looking for a boost, or at the Timmy, the COT50, or at the Blackstone should try this if you get the chance. If anyone here has compared the ODB to any of these, I'd love to hear the comparison. I would think the ODB would give any of them a run for the money based on all the reviews and soundclips I've heard, even if they have various differences.
     
  9. jgyn

    jgyn Member

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    I have a Prescription Rx Overdriver (Colorsound clone), and I'm dying to try this Throbak.
     

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