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Overdrive pedals compared

Overdrive pedals

This page contains audio samples and brief description of various overdrive pedals. Distortion and fuzz pedals can be found on separate pages. The classification of the overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedals is very hard to do unambiguously since many units can be used from smooth overdrive to nasty fuzz sounds depending on the settings. I do not claim that my classifications are "correct", I just happened to do it this way. :)

Recording Setup
Recording Setup
This page is not intended to be a thorough and deep analysis of each of these pedals, but might help you get a overall view of what different pedals sound like in the same environment with the same input sample. The samples are recorded straight through a Line6 Pod XT, so no amplifiers, microphones or studios were used. Therefore, the samples will not give the best achievable sounds that can be achieved from each of these pedals, but since all are in the exactly same environment a comparison can be made.

The recording equipment and method as evolved during the few years of the pedalarea existence, thus not all pedals are recorded in an equal way. Some pedals only contain one sample which was recorded with different input samples, so straight comparison is not quite justified, but I have left these samples since they might give some vague impression of the sound the pedal offers. The newer comparisons are made by playing these four samples with different settings through the pedals are trying to explore the different soundscapes these pedals offer. The volume levels might vary slightly from sample to sample, since exact adjustments of the volume levels is very hard with the tools used.



Boss - OD-1
Boss - OD-1
This Overdrive pedal was one of the first commercial overdrives paving the way for a plethora of other overdrives following it. It is based on a operational amp stage with asymetric clipping, thus adding distortion but retaining the original sound. The first versions used a 14-pin Reticon opamp, which was soon changed to 8-pin 4558 opamps from several different manufacturers.
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Boss OD-1 Pedal   Boss OD-1   Boss OD-1   Boss OD-1   Boss OD-1 Circuit Board
BOSS - SD-1 Super Overdrive
BOSS SD-1
One of the most frequently used overdrive pedals. Good sound for a low price. The older units are produced in Japan, the newer ones in Taiwan. More information and a comparison of different version and modifications can be found in the article section
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BOSS SD-1 Pedal    BOSS SD-1    BOSS SD-1    BOSS SD-1 Circuit Board
Fulltone Fulldrive 2
Fulltone Fulldrive 2
Very smooth and transparent sounding overdrive with versatile controls - Sweet sound ranging from crystal clean boosting to sweet singing, fullbodied overdrive.
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Fulltone Fulldrive Pedal    Fulltone Fulldrive Circuit Board    Fulltone Fulldrive Circuit Board
Fulltone OCD
Fulltone OCD
Very dynamic, very cool! There's four different versions out there, please check the OCD article for more detailed info.
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Fulltone OCD Pedal   Fulltone OCD Circuit Board   Fulltone OCD Circuit Board   Fulltone OCD Circuit Board   Fulltone OCD Circuit Board
Guyatone - Overdrive OD2
Guyatone OD2
Japan made stomp boxes since 1998, nice sounding unit at an affordable price. This overdrive actually sounds surprisingly close to the black label Boss OD-1!
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Guyatone OD2 Pedal    Guyatone OD2
Ibanez - STL Super Tube
Ibanez STL
Very nice overdrive pedal from the mid-eighties Ibanez Master series. Made in Japan. Contains two JRC4558D chips (the sought after chip of the original TS-808 Tube Screamers). Soundwise slightly heavier than the regular tube screamers and more versatile with an added control for "Bite" (mid-range EQ).
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Ibanez STL Pedal    Ibanez STL    Ibanez STL Circuit Board    Ibanez STL Circuit Board
Ibanez TS10
Ibanez TS10
Excellent tube screamer from 1986-1993. Smooth and fullbodied sound, great for that SRV sound. Was made in Japan until around the end of the 80's, later in Taiwan. The Japan versions contain the sought after JRC4558D chip as used in many of the original TS808 Tube Screamers in the late 70's.
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Ibanez TS10 Pedal   Ibanez TS10   Ibanez TS10   Ibanez TS10   Ibanez TS10 Circuit Board
Tube Works - Tube Driver
Tube Works - Tube Driver
Real Tube Overdrive, Concept & Design by B.K.Butler, Made in USA. Dynamic and strong sound. Uses one 12AX7 (or similar) tube.
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Tube Works - Tube Driver Pedal    Tube Works - Tube Driver    Tube Works - Tube Driver Circuit Board
Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde
Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde
The Jekyll & Hyde pedal combines an overdrive and distortion pedal into one unit, offering a broad and versatile spectrum of gain from mild boosting to heavily compressed distortion.
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Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde Pedal   Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde   Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde   Visual Sound - Jekyll & Hyde
Voodoo Lab - Sparkle Drive
Voodoo Lab - Sparkle Drive
Smooth and silky overdrive with dry/wet signal blending for increased definition, one of the sweetest sounding overdrives out there.
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Voodoo Lab - Sparkle Drive Pedal    Voodoo Lab - Sparkle Drive
Xotic BB Preamp
Xotic BB Preamp
Sweet sounding, transparent and very articulate overdrive. Does not affect the overall tonality of the guitar too much. High quality design.
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Xotic BB Preamp Pedal    Xotic BB Preamp   
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