Does Your Overdrive Pedal Really Matter?
Todd Simpson
Feb 22 2020, 07:38 AM
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Feb 22 2020, 07:38 AM
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It's an age old idea. Does your choice of Overdrive Pedal really matter for your tone? Well, it depends. If one is using purely as a clean boost, the pedal plays a bit less of a role imho. If one is using some gain on the pedal, there are some audible differences. Here is a vid comparing the usual suspects. I've tried wads of em. I end up going back to the tube screamer. I finally bought a mini screamer then I tested it against the emulation of the screamer in my ampero and could tell zero difference so now I just use the ampero. Anyone else?

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Caelumamittendum
Feb 22 2020, 11:42 AM
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Feb 22 2020, 11:42 AM
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I've never really used one pedal wise, but I usually use on when I use plugins. With that said I just checked prices on a TS8. It's nearing 1000 USD here in Denmark for the really old ones.

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Kristofer Dahl
Feb 22 2020, 01:31 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 01:31 PM
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I would say there are many options for tightening the lowend and bumping mids (which is what the tubescreamer and many others do).

I also think that some kind treble booster is just as essential to be heard in the mix, especially with humbucker guitars that are not very bright sounding.

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klasaine
Feb 22 2020, 05:58 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 05:58 PM
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Well if that isn't the loaded question laugh.gif
I'll only proffer an opinion in regard to my main area of experience - using an OD pedal in front of a tube amp.

They're different and produce wildly different results depending on the amp. The guitar's pickups affect/influence different drive pedals too but IMO to a lesser degree. Pairing an OD with an amp, depending on the type of drive you're looking for, can be a long process.
A Tube Screamer pedal (and it's myriad variants) is still the best for tightening up low end and boosting mids for a distorted lead guitar solo. But there are a lot of other sounds that one may want for their lead tone. Maybe you want it heavier in the low end or hairier in the mids and treble (think dirty and rough). A TS is not gonna get you there. Maybe you want your distorted rhythm tone to be focused on the lows and highs. A TS won't help you with that either. So now you need at least two different drive pedals. Then there's Fuzz - a whole 'nother animal.

If you use an amp "live", especially a tube amp, you don't have a lot of control over EQ. In fact, the louder you run them the less the EQ on the amp affects the tone. Not too mention compression. *The "treble boost" (Dallas Range Master) was developed precisely because guys were running their Marshalls all the way up (with a few effects and long cables in front of them) and the high end disappeared and the bass flubbed out. So drive and boost pedals can function as a secondary EQ.

If you're doing everything via modeling/profiling, software or hardware, within or into your DAW, then an actual pedal seems redundant because you have SO much control over EQ and compression. Way more than any amp or pedal is gonna give you. Same for compression.

On the other hand if you want to just hear how an iconic pedal immediately affects your tone and feel, buy a TS and a Rat and a Big Muff and see what you like. Go from there.

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This post has been edited by klasaine: Feb 22 2020, 06:07 PM
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Mertay
Feb 22 2020, 06:21 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 06:21 PM
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My advice is (for high-gain needs) buying a pedal which has a bass control.

You'll have better luck on pedal-amp match chance, also most pedal bass rolled all the way down imitates closely to the TS9 bass-cut. When bass is increased, it affects the distortion characteristics rather than the tone itself so you sort of modify the amps response without changing its whole character un-organically.

My advice as a first pedal would be the mxr superbadass dist. . I checked myself and it can imitate a TS9, OCD and a RAT rather convincingly (but with a clean amp not as good ofcourse).

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Kristofer Dahl
Feb 22 2020, 06:47 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 06:47 PM
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Mertay, yes boosting lowend before the preamp is likely to cause more gain/compression - when pushed into extreme will give you a fuzz type of sound.

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Mertay
Feb 22 2020, 08:45 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 08:45 PM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Feb 22 2020, 05:47 PM) *
Mertay, yes boosting lowend before the preamp is likely to cause more gain/compression - when pushed into extreme will give you a fuzz type of sound.


Yeah but at-least with my OCD clone I use it to adjust that "hair" thing. Like; say you have a really high-gain going on with a solo tone but doesn't sound amp-like analog enough, if you add bass (and balance-decrease the output accordingly) the distortion character slows down a bit making it feel there's more vibe in the tone.

OD pedal bass knobs (specially more modern ones) doesn't really work like eq-pedal bass sliders. They don't disable the low-cut of a pedal so some can still feel rather tight.

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Todd Simpson
Feb 22 2020, 09:27 PM
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Feb 22 2020, 09:27 PM
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I'm the same way now smile.gif I always use one in plugins and processors. I am amazed what the old ones are selling for! It's almost as crazy as the KLON pedals. Don't get me wrong I love a vintage screamer, it just seems like they've become mythical beyond what they actually provide in terms of tone.

QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Feb 22 2020, 06:42 AM) *
I've never really used one pedal wise, but I usually use on when I use plugins. With that said I just checked prices on a TS8. It's nearing 1000 USD here in Denmark for the really old ones.


KEN:

Great points as usual! Yes it's a very loaded question smile.gif You are spot on as usual. With a real tube amp, the louder you turn the amp, the more flattened out and compressed the signal gets. With a real analogue signal path, every link in the chain can matter quite a bit. With plugins, processors, they provide a synthetic amount of head room and don't respond exactly like a real amp would when turned up in many cases. As BEN pointed out, there are still folks willing to pay top dollar for vintage screamers. The original sound chip acts as a high pass filter partially because it was a cheap chip and not designed for full bandwidth. So it can help get the mud out of a signal just by being engaged. A side effect of using a cheaper chip, made the screamer the template wads of OD pedals that followed.

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klasaine
Feb 23 2020, 01:25 AM
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Feb 23 2020, 01:25 AM
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Just for fun, here's a vid showcasing a custom line of Maxon TS pedals with mods done by famous pedal builders ...

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