Another overdrive thread. Finding the needle in the haystack.

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Mike, May 4, 2017.

  1. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    I'll preface this by saying I'm a bit of an overdrive junkie. I've been through probably 15 different drives over the past couple years in search of my perfect drive pedal and I'm still not there.

    I need some recommendations, because I'm failing at finding whatever it is I'm looking for. I like a lot of volume and drive available to really push the front end of my 6505+ hard. Where I'm running into problems is finding a nice compromise between dynamics/compression and saturation/noise.

    To elaborate on that a little better, I like my overdrives to compress because it gives them a tighter feel and what seems like more attack, but too much and it makes everything feel thin and affects the feel of my playing in a way I just don't like. In contrast, I like the drives to have some (very little?) dynamic character because it lets me feel my playing better, but when it's not compressed enough, it makes the tone seem loose and sluggish especially with faster passages, staccato playing, etc. I think the noise thing speaks for itself, but some of the pedals I've used have higher output and gain than others and yet lower noise. (i.e. the Savage Drive is a flood of gain, but the tight knob controls the saturation and compression and in part the noise. The OD9 Pro +, doesn't generate near the same level of output or compressed gain, yet as soon as I get it into the saturated territory I like, along comes the hiss and squeals)

    Some of my close to perfect drives thus far have been the Savage Drive, OD808X, Green Rhino, and The Spark. Some of the drives I just couldn't get along with include the TS9, OD9, and the Warmer.

    I've never tried any Keeley, EQD, Xotic, or VFE overdrives. I'm aware of the precision drive and though it my be a very good candidate, I prefer used to get some more bang for my buck.

    So what's a good fire-breathing, raw, tight, low noise, subtly dynamic overdrive for $150 or less?
     
  2. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    This is why I run a Keeley 4 knob compressor.
    Have you ever considered pairing the above compressor, with an 10 band EQ pedal and use that infront of an amp?.
    Imagine they are your "Drive pedal" only you are in total control of the amount of compression, the sustain, the frequencies that are boosted and/or cut and the amount of boost of the signal.
    I find that combination way more satisfying than any given 1 drive pedal because Im way more in control of everything at once and really, expecting 1 OD pedal to do all of the above does not seem realistic.
    As soon as I started doing this, I feel like I never need to use my drive pedals again (Maxon OD808 and VFE Focus)
     
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  3. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    I do use an EQ after my drive to fine tune it even further, but I do not have a compressor in my chain. In the past, I've tried compressors (Boss CS-3 and DynaComp) with less than favorable results. Obviously not the best compressors, but my past fights with noise and just not being able to set them quite right lead to me just avoiding them and going for a more simple front end setup (Drive -> EQ -> Gate).

    You may be onto something though, because I do agree it is asking a lot to have one box try to accomplish everything.
     
  4. shaynedepugh

    shaynedepugh SS.org Regular

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    I personally enjoy running my Keeley 4 Knob into a SD 805. I can dial in the drive and compression I need really easily with those two pedals. Plus the 805 has the 3 band EQ for more tweaking.
     
  5. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    The great thing about the Keeley too is the bottom 2 knobs almost act as EQ at least to my ears.
    If I set them both right around to the left, I get a single coil style twang, all the way to the right is a massive THICK distortion thats huge.
    I tend to leave the top 2 knobs around 12 o'clock and just tweak the bottom 2 depening on the guitar im using or amp etc.
     
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  6. lewis

    lewis SS.org Regular

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    yeah both the Boss and the Dynacomp are noisy and less than transparent.
    The Keeley however is absolutely amazing. It genuinely makes everything sound better and is 100% transparent.
     
  7. Shask

    Shask SS.org Regular

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    I was also thinking you might pair an OD with an EQ to fine tune the EQ, or a compressor to fine tune the amount of dynamics. The Boss and MXR are known for completely squashing a signal. You might look for a more subtle compressor.
     
  8. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    Alright well you guys might be selling me on trying a C4 lol.

    I still like the idea of an overdrive though for the boosting. I have tried plain clean boosts as well as the EQ pedals to do the boosting and they never replicate the feel or the nice mid hump of the ts808 circuit.

    I did own the 805 and while I do agree it's very versatile and the EQ was great, it just lacked the aggression I liked from some other OD's.
     
  9. rexbinary

    rexbinary MOD King Contributor

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  10. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    Mesa Grid Slammer :metal:
     
  11. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Are you 100% sure the tone you want can't come from the amp itself?
     
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  12. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    I've been in a position to pick one up multiple times now and keep thinking maybe the more versatile option is the better choice. Just last week, my decision was OD 9 Pro + or Grid Slammer. Pretty sure I picked wrong again lol.

    I like all of the demos I've heard in a metal context with the Grid Slammer and although it has the same basic 3 knob functionality as an 808, I do believe I just need to take the plunge and try one.
     
  13. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    96% sure. It's almost there but not quite. I've never been able to achieve the boosted front end tone with any combo of knob fiddling on the 6505.

    I had a 5153 and an Ironheart prior to the 6505+ and those I could almost get away without boosting.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ever tried building or modding your own? I don't always use a boost (with a Mesa Roadster) but I have a BYOC TS808 clone I put together which was a really fun project. It sounds great, but they also have a slightly more complex TS clone with a ton of switchable mods in it. Building that might get you to the point where you're happier with your tone, but also might help you experimentally hone in on which features, circuits, styles of clipping, or mods you really want in an OD, and might help you eventually get to the point where you can design your own OD that does exactly what you want.
     
  15. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    I'd eventually like to get there. I have thought of doing a build kit just to learn, but my current knowledge is nowhere near being able to design anything of my own. Maybe someday.
     
  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I'm just at the point where I trust myself to wire up a guitar without screwing things up, and while an OD is a lot more complex, I was pleasantly surprised (dumbstruck, really) that when I plugged it in, the thing worked perfectly. :lol:

    Here's the one I built:

    https://buildyourownclone.com/collections/overdrive/products/classic-overdrive

    And here's their more complex ones, that gives you virtually all popular mods in a single pedal:

    https://buildyourownclone.com/collections/overdrive/products/od2

    Good one if you don't mind experimenting with different op-amps or mods to figure out what exactly you like in a TS clone, so you can start honing down on what pedals are built around that style circuit.
     
  17. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Are you using active or passive pickups? I ask because pickup height can make quite a difference as well. Also, if your 6505 is turned below 2 on the post, add some juice and see if it gets there.
     
  18. kindsage

    kindsage SS.org Regular

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    ^^^I haven't tried one myself but, everyone I've asked that actually owns one says it's their favorite OD. Which surprises me because it seems so ordinary.
     
  19. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    Both. When I practice the post is around 2-2.5. Much louder than that and I find it a bit loud for home practice for extended periods of time. I'd like to get some kind of attenuator for that issue, but that's a whole different can of worms.
     
  20. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Ok, that rules out the volume thing a bit.

    Are you near a GC? Can you test out the keeley comp?
     

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