Overdrive Pedals(L-R CheeseBlock scream cheese w/boost, Ibanez stock ts-9, Modtone Dyna Drive, and Ibanez ts-9 Robert Keeley Mod Plus
As guitarists, we are always on the quest for tone. Trying to find that sound in head and make it a reality. Well, I hear alot of sounds in my head and its hard to tell someone what I am looking for unless i really sit down and play with different options, in this case overdrive pedals. I thought i could share my thoughts and opinions over the OD boxes I currently have.
CheeseBlock Scream Cheese 2.0 OD. What a name already!! I have to admit that the name caught my attention and at the time I wanted a boutique OD pedal just to have something different than my first OD (the stock ts-9). It is like 3 pedals in one! With the low boost switch on, it allows you to get it that meaty full tone of an OD, with the Switch off you get that old school Ts-808 bright sound, and with the gain turned up enough you get a fuzz pedal. The Indicator light is VERY bright! Its a bright green color and could probably light up a corner of a room, seriously it could blind you, but I like it!
It also has a second switch on top that allows it to sound symmetrical (bluesy or vintage) or asymmetrical (modern tube like) clipping, and with the switch in the middle you bypass the clipping. This is a nice option!
This pedal is pretty aggressive as it runs hotter than a regular OD. In order to keep it from being a distortion sound you have the gain knob lower than what you would normally have it.
One thing I want to mention, its not a big deal just something you have to get use to, when I tried to set the volume straight up at 12 for unity level it sounded louder than the volume I had my guitar at. So in order to get it to the volume to match up with other pedals or amp I had to use my ear to level it out. Again not a big deal, just something to get use to.
Another thing worth noting, when the switch to engage the pedal is pressed I hear a noticeable click sound through my amp. Not as quiet as my other OD, but I gotta take it for what it is.
All in all it is a good pedal for all the things it offers, it comes close to the Visual sound Route 808 pedal, but you get more options out of the Scream Cheese.
Ibanez stock ts-9. This OD was used by lots of guitarist such as Peter Frampton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana and many others! I had to get on the band wagon and I actually got two! (I kept them both original to see if all of these sounded the same) Unfortunately, in my case when I had both set at the same gain level this one sounded 3 notches hotter than my weak one (I ended up sending the weak ts-9 to get modded to the Robert Keeley Mod plus).
My stock ts-9 It sounds decent, unfortunately it has no bottom end and i really didn't notice until i had other OD's to compare it to. I mean i noticed it was lacking something, but couldn't pinpoint it. In comparison to the Modtone, it had close sounding high frequencies, but the Modtone gives more transparent OD. The red indicator light is weak and you cannot tell if it is on unless you are looking directly on top of it or in a dark room. However, when I did have my amplifier distortion on and stepped on the ts-9 it did allow me to have longer sustain. And It also offer a nice subtle bite, rather than high Overdrive.
Modtone Dyna Drive. At first it might seem a little in your face with how bright it sounds, I wasn't really use to a bright sounding OD pedal BUT I heavily suggest it for two reasons.
1. It will cut through the mix for live performances, say you have a a full band and its time to solo and you hit your dirt box, but it kinda sounds covered and gets lost in the mix, that may be fine if thats what you are going for, but if your solo/riff to shine this baby does the trick.
It is VERY transparent! I didn't understand what that meant until I played this pedal. Usually there are pedals that are out there and sound saturated with effect rather than letting your natural tone come through. With this pedal you are able to hear your tone come through and with some dirt sprinkled on top. With the gain level off it allows you to have a sparkling clean sound, if i dare say it?
2. For the money and its footprint (size) you really can't beat it! Im going to say that this will stay on my pedal board for the time being.
Ibanez Ts-9 Robert Keeley Mod Plus. I really strongly suggest if you get this pedal to get the RK mod plus! It is like night and day! It sounds more balanced in terms of low and high, the indicator light is more noticeable when the pedal is engaged (instead of being weak red its a bright blue)! With the gain set at 0 you get a much cleaner round sound and it can be used to give your natural clean sound a boost. I also feel like it doesn't suck my tone anymore.
In terms of which is my favorite, I cannot choose because each is good at something different and thats what i like about pedals in general, they all do the same idea, but they SOUND totally different! and thats good because everyone has their own preference! Just think of pedals as Baskin Robbins and the 31+ flavors.