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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by sixstringguy, May 20, 2020.
MI Audio Crunch Box
The SmallSound/Bigsound Mini honestly covers the ground of about 5 pedals IMHO. Yes it has more than three knobs but therein lies the versatility that can get you 5E3 to JCM800 to Fuzz tones. In tweaking I felt like it covered the ground of a RAT, OCD, BD-2, Bluesbreaker, Hot Cake, Honey Bee, et al.
Also check out some of One Control's BJFE designed offerings.
Ibanez turbo tube screamer - the one with 4 knobs.
I’m in the camp that says “does no exist”. To cover all the criteria, with only three knobs is possible, but only by constantly adjusting the settings for the pickups and level of distortion. If you accept you’ll always need to tweak, even if it’s volume and tone on the guitar or amp, then I suggest keeping the OCD for what you like it for (wasn’t sure if youre doing that anyway) and adding a DS-1 or Rat for the harder stuff. If you want to make the Rat type even ‘more’, then I suggest getting a Big Ear Woodcutter or the Walrus Iron Horse V2. I’ve owned/own both and they have more bass on tap, the Iron Horse has different clip modes, but both still have only 3 knobs.
You're talking about a RAT. What you want is a RAT.
Boss DS-1: +1
Have yet to own/play one but after watching some demo vids I'm beginning to understand the hype surrounding the Barber Gain Changer...
I own an old ( big Box) Barber Direct Drive, and my buddy owns an old LTD ( the pedal that the Gain Changer replaced)
Does the Gain Changer really go into distortion territory? ( like a Rat)
Just curious. Thanks
The GAIN CHANGER will not go as far as the RAT. Why not have both?
This one from Mosky
it's like 30 bucks
Last thanksgiving I think I did a shootout of sorts of most all my dirt pedals of which I have a ridiculous amount of, and there were some real boutique ones included, too. This one pretty much won out over everything
I realize it's one knob too many for what you'd specified, but really, try it , you'll love it
I'd also say go for a DS-1 or RAT, start simple & less expensive.
I don't have a RAT, but I did get a DS-1 this year and I'm shocked at how good it is given its weird reputation online. It's *very* versatile and I don't find it actually needs much knob turning.
- Actually has a pretty wide range of gain, I can actually use it as a light overdrive on my clean channel at low distortion settings with the volume rolled back on the guitar.
- Very responsive to guitar volume/tone knobs
- One of a very small group of pedals that sounds good on both channels of my amp without having to adjust the knobs like crazy. A lot of highly regarded pedals fail this test badly on my amp.
- The songs you mentioned would have been quite likely to actually have been recorded with something like the DS-1
The RAT seems to tick off all the same boxes but is mid-forward compared to the DS-1. For me my amp is heavy on mids so the DS-1 doesn't sound scooped. I suppose if I had a mid-scooped amp I'd have been better off with the RAT.
Why pay 2-4x more for a boutique clone when for cheap you can get the pedals that were actually used to make the iconic records?
I've tried quite a few boutique pedals too falling into the same trap, very often IME when they add knobs they basically add in more ability for the pedal to make bad sounds. The originals from Boss/Ibanez/Maxon/whatever were built with fewer knobs but more careful selection of ranges. Less time fiddling. My guess though is some of the preference for more knobs on the pedals might be if you like to leave all your guitar knobs on 10 all the time.
I also use an OCD as a “clean boost”, but as you know it’s a lot more than that. It’s great in it’s versatility, but also to use with other pedals. I use the Ibenez Turbo Tube Screamer, OR the Danelectro Daddio. Both are awesome. I’ve wasted a helluva lotta money on pedals, and now that’s all I use. Everything else is in storage, including the expensive pedal board.
MXR Super Badass Distortion. 5 knobs. If you're using multiple amps, a 3 band EQ is better anyway. That mid control can come in handy.
Boss Power Stack. 2 band EQ so one extra knob.
Both current. Both reasonably priced. Both very nice distortion pedals.
I was thinking one of the Marshall Guv’nor based circuits out there would probably fit the OP’s needs, and the original Crunch Box (or one of the many cheap clones out there) meets the three knob requirement. I think it had an internal presence trim pot, but the OP can always choose to ignore that. The Suhr Riot would be a good option as well. It has a switch in addition to the three knobs but still only three knobs.
No offense intended to the people who like the DS-1, but I would not at all recommend a DS-1 for your needs unless it’s been pretty heavily modded. There are so many better options out there now.
This video may be an informative watch for you. You can just skip ahead to the top 5 if you don’t want to sit through the whole thing, but it covers a lot of the usual suspects, and the tester is blindfolded to eliminate any brand bias. Though I think in the ideal test, the tester would get a chance to set them all up how he preferred and then come back a week later to try them all blindfolded, but it’s still a good watch.
I run 2 OCDs. There's no law that says I can't.
It is truly a great pedal.
I agree with the DS-1 comments. It's a great pedal for a dirty push with the right amp, but it's not a great standalone distortion, at least in stock form.
This is a really nice under the radar distortion and can be found on the cheap.
Simple controls, B channel has a bit more gain. It's two separate channels. Can't cascade A>B, but it doesn't sound like stacking is your thing anyway. It was a less expensive GC/MF version of their Mudhoney. Very versatile. I believe it's in the Rat camp.
I've never owned a Boss DS-1 ( just happy with what I use),
BUT I have read ( here and other Forums) that the key to making a DS-1 sound really good ( and exploit its range) is to have the Tone control barely ON, say 1/3 or lower. True?
I think the Xotic SL Drive, mentioned above, is a good candidate. It really is a distortion pedal. It has three knobs. It's immediately satisfying (to me). And its effect decays in a pleasing way.
More versatile is the Boss/JHS Angry Driver. It's an Angry Charlie (MIAB) and Blues Driver in one pedal. You can stack the effects in either direction, or run them in parallel, adjusting the volume of each effect to taste.
The original Blues Driver has also been praised for its versatility. Note the range of tones obtained from one setting below:
I second the BD-2 as well. I had mine modded by Machinehead Pedals in Maryland and through any rig with any guitar it's always sounded killer & super versatile. I think the Blues Driver often gets overlooked for distortion purposes because of the title. Sounds like it's just gonna be a low gain/"transparent"/808 mid bump OD type of thing but it's way different. A lot more than just bluesy overdrive going on there.