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I just got a boss super overdrive on ebay

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  • I just got a boss super overdrive on ebay

    It sounds a bit different from my other 2 super overdrives. it's a little less aggressive in the mids. but basically they still sound alike enough. But I prefer this new boss sd-1. it sounds smoother like more expensive overdrives out there.

  • #2
    You'd be surprised at just how many drives are exactly the same and have maybe only a couple of components switched around.
    You'd also be surprised at how much they mark up the profits over build costs just because the unit has a popular name.

    In general, drive pedals have different numbers of gain stages. A clean boost may have one gain stage. An overdrive or Fuzz Two or three, gain stages. Overdrive can have 2 or more gain stages and how it actually clips the signals can vary.

    An Overdrive pedal like the Boss uses clipping diodes which give the sign waves a fixed clipping. Its volume based, anything above a certain volume gets clipped. This makes it relatively easy to manage when playing. Typical setting is to have it run clean up to around 7 or 8 on the instruments volume knob and when you turn up higher it clips. They typically have some clean left with the clipped tone so you can make out the notes.

    Other drive pedals may get clipping more like guitar amps do. You use a couple of gain stages to make the signal big and then you try to push it through another gain stage and it overdrives. These circuits have more "Moving Parts" as you might call it and therefore tend to have more compression and amplifier string touch compared to the simple diode clippers like that Boss and other Tube Screamer designs.

    How that Boss is designed to work gets its genesis from the old Dallas Arbiter Treble booster which is run just before a tube amp and is designed to add a gain stage to the tube amp and drive the tubes into saturation. Diode clipping drives don't typically treble boost but they do add a controlled amount of drive and clipping so you get some drive from the preamp tubes and some from the diodes to generate a more complex drive with a tapered control from your guitars volume pot.

    Plugged straight into a clean tube or SS amp doesn't do the pedal justice. It tends to sound sterile and not overly exciting once the newness wears off.
    If you don't have a lower wattage Tube amp to push then you can do some things to fake its response. If you have a drive channel you can dial up a sound where the drive just begins with the guitar turned full up and the pedal bypassed. Then you dial up the pedal so it just begins to overdrive with the guitar volume on 7~8. Set tone as needed.

    This should sound pretty good but its still not going to have any sag like a tube amps. You can take a compressor and stick it in the amps effects loop and dial its volume 1:1 and use a mild amount of compression with a fairly short attack and release. This should add the kind of string touch you should be getting when a tube amp is pushed. Certain compressors will work better for this. An Opto compressor is preferred over the voltage type like an MXR. A voltage type compressor is going to boost too much noise placed after gain stages An Optical comp will simply add the sag without acting like a noise booster. you simply need to make sure you keep the volume 1:1 in the effects loop.

    You could also try it before the drive box, but its going to sound different there. Not that its bad, I actually prefer the violin like sustain you get from a comp first in a pedal chain, its just not going to help make a SS amp sound tube like.

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