Your New Favourite Overdrive Pedal
Not All Overdrive Pedals are Created Equal
The early 70s saw the release of the first overdrive pedals – the Ibanez Tube Screamer 808, the Boss OD-1, and many others – and what absolute beauties they were. Many people have been copying these pedals ever since, with some going to great lengths to clone the exact circuits that were available in the 70s. We decided that we’d change things up a bit for our own overdrive pedal – after all, what’s the point of doing what everyone else is doing?
We’ve taken the best of what nearly 50 years of overdrive has taught us, and added some fresh new options and ideas to push the bar that little bit higher – so your overdrive tone can sound better than ever before.
A new player has entered the game.
Analogue, 808 Inspired Overdrive
The Angel of Blues offers it all. Winding the gain control allows to choose from a vast array of tones; from a subtle, warm, beautifully harmonic push for mellow lead work, to a huge, crushing, all-out roar – and anything and everything in between. It’s an incredibly versatile pedal, able to offer a great range of amazing overdrive tones.
You can even back the gain right off and max out the volume control to get a smooth, clean, powerful boost. Most overdrive pedals can do this, but few can do it as cleanly and convincingly as the Angel of Blues.
But, with so many other factory-made and handmade boutique overdrive pedals to compete with, why would we create a new one? How can we possibly compete? Well, the Angel of Blues builds on a legacy of pro quality overdrive tone, and adds a few improvements which guarantee it will soon become your new favourite pedal. These improvements include:
Since the 70s, tastes and tones have changed, and modern music requires a little more bite. Of course, modern rock, metal and blues need more gain that was available even 20 years ago, but even clean-tone genres like funk and R&B can make great use of a huge, versatile overdrive. That’s why the Angel of Blues has a little more gain than the old circuits.
Classic Mid-Range Boost vs. Modern Flat Boost
The classic 808 circuit was famed for the mid-range boost tone character, with quite a bit of bass roll-off. Mid-range boost helps you cut through a band’s noise and is a major factor in what made the original 808 circuit so popular. Some people swear by it, while some others find it they want a flatter sound with no bass frequency attenuation. It’s a matter of personal taste.
So, why not have a handy switch to control which you prefer?
Why not indeed.
A Range of Diode Clipping Options
Overdrive as an effect is the sound of your signal’s wave form being pushed to its limits, until the peaks of the signal wave are forced to square off, or clip. This effect was originally achieved by pushed vacuum tubes in amps further than they could comfortably handle. Since the 70s, audio engineers have used diodes to simulate this phenomenon to great effect. They found that using an even number of diodes allowed the clipping to occur on both the positive and negative sides of the audio wave, and an uneven number clipped more on one side, and less on the other. This affects the character of the overdrive tone. Generally speaking, the symmetrical option will offer smoother, mellower overdrive, and asymmetrical will offer more aggression and bite. The original 808 circuit used symmetric diode clipping.
Alongside the original Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss’ original OD-1 Overdrive unit paved the way for god-tier overdrive units, but unlike the Tube Screamer, the OD-1 used asymmetric clipping. Some thought that this was a massive positive on the part of the OD-1 – others vastly prefer the symmetric clipping sound.
Don’t Make Me Choose!
Something you’ll very rarely see on even the most exclusive overdrives is the option to choose your own diode clipping circuit. We’ve added this feature with a conveniently placed switch so you can make your own choice as to whether you prefer symmetric or asymmetric diode clipping. Again, it’s up to you to decide which sounds best for you. With the switch located with the other controls, you can even choose between the two in between songs. Handy, no?
Over the many hundreds of hours we spent testing the Angel of Blues at the development stage, we found that the diode clipping switch and the EQ character switch had a very close relationship – that the flat boost seemed to marry well with the asymmetric clipping circuit for a loud, rude, transparent roar, and the mid boost married well with the symmetric clipping circuit for a classic, smooth, warm, 70s – style drive. Of course, the choice is yours!
A Single Tone Control Keeps Everything in Check
We’ve kept it simple with our tone control: wind it anticlockwise to boost bass frequencies, and wind it clockwise to boost the treble. This helps make the Angel of Blues the incredible versatile pedal it is.
With True Bypass Switching
Another departure from traditional the traditional 808 circuit is a lack of buffers. A buffer is a small circuit designed to preserve your pickups’ original sparkle, and can be especially useful for guitarists with large pedalboards, or who use long cables. On most vintage and modern overdrive pedals, a buffer is always active, even when the pedal is de-activated. Some guitarists swear by buffered inputs.
The opposite of a buffered input is true bypass wiring, which uses mechanical switching to remove the circuit from the signal path completely when disengaged. Some guitarists claim this is the only way to prevent tone suck, and keep their signal pure.
There’s a huge debate about whether pedals and pedalboards should be wired with buffers or with true bypass, with many people prepared to fight and die (or, at least, start a flame war on a forum) over their preferred choice.
Here at Vein-Tap.com, we believe that our pedals should be wired with true bypass, so that people who prefer true bypass can enjoy it – and those who prefer buffered inputs can add an external buffer at the beginning of their pedal chain. That way, you make your own choice and get the best of both worlds.
Your New Favourite Overdrive Pedal
Buy the Angel of Blues now! It makes more sense than breakfast!
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