Fulltone OCD Overdrive pedal review
Fulltone OCD Pedal.
Review by Ivan Milenkovic.
Model: Obsessive-Compulsive Drive (OCD)
Price: ~150$ (5.10.09 reference date)
Picture (version 4 on picture)
How did I get this pedal:
First I bought Fulltone FullDrive 2 MOSFET, which is a nice pedal, but for the price, it's overrated, too strong mids, very low distortion and boost isn't working nicely. Then I swapped with some guy for this one, and I was glad I did, it's a keeper, and let's find out why..
This pedal was made in 4 versions, each having some improvements in the circuit, and slightly different tone. The initial version was too bassy and edgy, with somewhat scooped mids, version 2 corrected the problem a bit, version 3 got even stronger mids, and version 4 has the transparent sound of all with greatest amount of harmonics. Cosmetic changes include red LED in version 4 as opposed to the blue one in past version. Two version that are considered best are 3 and 4, so definitely check them out if you have the chance.
LP and HP modes:
Fulltone makes and advertises this pedal as a tube emulation overdrive pedal, that can really nail a solid emulation of the the good old 18W Marshall combo's tone from the golder era of Marshall. I think this stomp's circuit is made to "remind" us about vintage amps when they had normal and bright channels on the amps. This pedal also has 2 mods similar to that concept:
- "LowPass" mode is more transparent and with bigger headroom suitable for boosting.
- "HiPass" mode is more trebly, with more overdrive, helps cut through the mix better.
Let's talk a bit about the sound of the pedal. If I could describe the sound in one word it would be "rich". Rich with harmonics, fat, greasy sound that really makes wonders on a good all tube amp. This kind of design is definitely made for all tube amps, cause they bring out the best out of it. I think this pedal is extremely versatile one and can be served for boosting (+30dB), limited EQ-ing (one tone knob x 2 modes), mild smooth overdriven tones, awesome gritty distortion tones and heavy fuzz-distorted tones on highest of settings. Pedal is true bypass as you would expect from a manufacturer.
What doesn't work well:
One thing that really doesn't work well on the pedal is when you push the gain knob past 3 o'clock. If you go further than that, it will add up the bass, become muddy, undefined, with a floppy low end. This is the only thing that this pedal is not very good at, but far from being bad. With proper control and some tweaking of other gear in the chain you can make some awesome interesting lead tones can be found for experimental/progressive music.
What works well:
The rest of the stomp's tone arsenal is awesome considering the price. Wetter you use it as booster, or overdrive pedal it will shine. Transparency of sound and dynamics response of the pedal is outstanding, giving you the full control over the tone. Pick light, OCD will clean up, pick strong, OCD will bark. Roll off the volume - instant clean; feed it with some booster/hi output pickups - get even more saturation.
OCD can run anywhere from 9 to 18V or DC power. This kind of a stretch is practical out of two reasons:
1. you don't have to think about voltage when connecting various voltages, OCD will accept any voltage from almost any stomp out there, so you can daisy chain to it (since the current draw is minimal)
2. (but not less important!) higher voltages enable OCD to have more headroom, so experimenting is definitely worth it.
Great boutique stomp, a keeper, should be in every players arsenal. Hi quality pedal extremely versatile, rich in sound and responsive. The higher gain settings have and issue with a bit floppy low end, but if you control it well and adapt your gear a bit, it will behave nice. This pedal is not made to be cranked all the way all the time anyway, it serves to run your tubes even hotter, and it does a hell of a job.