JRAD The Dude & 45 Caliber sound the same to me

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by D_Malone, Jul 28, 2021.

  1. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    Anyone else tried JRAD The Dude and 45 Caliber side by side?

    I got The Dude first, and liked it. I recently picked up a 45 Caliber and I like it as well. But, for the life of me, the only difference I can hear between them is the gain level. The 45 Caliber sounds just like The Dude, there’s just less available gain. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I’m using the 45 Caliber for low/medium gain, and The Dude for high gain.

    They both sound/feel great, but you wouldn’t think two pedals that are supposed to emulate two different amps would sound nearly identical. I know nothing about the topology of either pedal, but I’m guessing they’re the same circuit with different gain pots.

    I have no idea what a Dumble is supposed to sound like, but I am well-familiar with all things Marshall. I’ve played them for 30+ years, and own/have owned all the iconic models, including the JTM-45. The 45 Caliber is a fantastic dirt pedal, but it sounds nothing like a JTM-45, or any other Marshall, to my ears. It sounds more like a tweaked Bluesbreaker pedal to me. Soft clipping, and kinda has that dirt over clean sound/feel.

    I’ve also owned the JRAD Blue Note. I sold it a while ago, but from what I remember it’s basically the same sound/feel as the 45 Caliber and The Dude, just much less gain.

    I’m not complaining. I think they’re all great pedals, but it sounds like all of these pedals are basically the same circuit with different levels of gain.

    Being a ‘Marshall guy’, I think the 45 Caliber misses the mark if you’re looking for a “MIAB”. But then, there really aren’t any that will convince you that you’re playing a Marshall in my opinion. Trust me, I’ve pretty much had them all. If I want real Marshall tone I’ll just use one of my Marshall amps. But, I’m old now, and lately I’ve been using a clean Quilter amp with pedals. I’m not lugging around big heavy heads and cabinets anymore.

    Sorry for the rambling post. I do enjoy these JRAD pedals. I just don’t know if they’re really delivering what users might be hoping for, especially the 45 Caliber. Great pedals, regardless.
     
  2. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I have an HRM, which I like a lot. It essentially serves as my medium gain MIB pedal. I've thought about getting a Dude just to see how it compares for myself.
     
  3. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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  4. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's only a matter of time before someone introduces the Klumble pedal that incorporates the best of a Klon and Dumble.
     
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  5. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've seen that before. I didn't think they did a very good job of showing exactly what the midrange control on the HRM can do. I think that's what sets it apart, and they seem more interested in trying to get the pedals to sound similar. It's not a good comparison.
     
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  6. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    According to someone (not me) who's been under the hood of the 45 Cal, Blue Note, and others, the following pedals are all very similar circuit-wise:
    • Animal
    • 45 Caliber
    • Blue Note
    • Majestic
    And apparently the primary difference between them is the gain pot.

    After seeing a schematic from a circuit trace, The Dude is apparently a Nobels ODR-1 stacked/hardwired into a 45 Cal, which probably explains why The Dude and 45 Cal sound so similar.
     
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  7. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    @D_Malone there's in interaction that happens between the coupling caps and the tube grids that causes all of the bloom and swirl you're hear in the Marshall and other tube amps. That part can't really be emulated by an analog overdrive/distortion pedals using op amps (even discreet components) and diodes for clipping.
     
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  8. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    So my ears weren’t lying to me. Thank you sir.

    They’re both nice pedals, but I think it’s kinda lame that they market them as emulating two different amps when they are essentially the same pedal. And, again, the 45 Caliber sounds nothing like a Marshall. It’s a very nice, kinda generic sounding dirt pedal with flexible controls. I find it quite usable, despite completely missing the mark as a “MIAB”.
     
  9. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    Yep, and it’s not just the 45 Caliber. None of the “MIAB” pedals I’ve had, and there have been a lot, sound or feel like a Marshall amp. There are a few that will get you in the ballpark, depending on the amp you’re using, and I don’t expect any better than that.
     
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  10. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    I gotta say, I kinda feel like I’ve been duped. I know JRAD isn’t the only builder to market slightly tweaked iterations of the same circuit as completely different pedals. I mean, how many versions of the Electra circuit has Lovepedal made? And then there are all of those Tube Screamer derivatives out there. Still, I think it’s freakin lame. :(
     
  11. Recalcitrant

    Recalcitrant Tele-Meister

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    Don’t know anything about the circuits, but as a slightly different opinion, the 45 gain sounds rather linear while Dude sounds like a boost pedal with the “gain” actually being a blend knob to a separate clipping circuit. Just my 2c.
     
  12. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    The Dude has a ‘ratio’ control and the 45 Cal has a ‘gain’ control. I suspect those are simply different labels. My ears tell me the pots have different values and that’s the only difference. Same pedal, same sound, different levels of available gain, different paint and knobs. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2021
  13. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I have had these same thoughts/feelings about two pedals from the same builder that are just slightly different but still cost the same...what is the alternative? I will agree that the marketing of two similar circuits sounding like two completely different amps has the appearance of being disingenuous. I like JRAD, would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it does seem like exagerated marketing to sell more.

    Maybe someone likes the sound of the 45 while others like the Dude. I have probably gone through 200+ overdrives in the last several years and many sound like many others. For me, it is usually a minor difference in circuit tweaking that makes all the difference. I don't like tube screamers, but I like the Maxon VOP-9 - I doubt it is all THAT different from a TS-9, but its different enough for me to like it.

    I get the "feeling robbed" sense. The alternatives for builders are probably equally frustrating to end users and most likely less profitable. I can't blame them for re-using their own wheel with a slightly different design. The marketing is probably a bit much for the minimal differences, but suggestive selling sells.
     
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  14. D_Malone

    D_Malone Tele-Holic

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    I suppose I’m making more out this than I should. I do understand that most dirt pedals are derived from just a few different circuits. Also, shame on me for not comparing them side by side before buying.
     
  15. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I think about 10% of what I try out in a store actually makes it home. About 80-90% of the ones that make it home sound like something I already have OR something I already have can sound like what just came home, so its basically covering same ground.

    This is probably how I'd end up with on a Dude vs .45 comparison. After doing this a bunch of times, the frustation seems warranted because you'd think there was something new under the sun....
     
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  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think it can be seen from either your perspective or the builder's, but in this particular case, I would personally side with you.

    All of these pedals are pretty much basic/traditional OD pedal designs, so I think marketing any of them as being like an amp in a box is really stretching things. If they just would have kept it at the Blue Note and Animal, and just had verbiage that stated they are twists on traditional style ODs, and one is lower gain while the other is higher gain, I think that's all pretty cool.

    As far as trying side by side, or trying before buying, I've personally only been able to make a good determination with trying out any given pedal in a store maybe 5% of the time, and that's just the rare instances where a pedal can be dialed in quickly and intuitively, and seems to flexibly work with a decent range of amps and guitars.

    ...But along with these companies that market their OD pedals as they do, my secondary issue is the ones that seem to pump out new designs at like 6- to 12-months periods. What is the likelihood that they continually come up with new designs that truly sound different from the vast majority of existing OD pedals? And - how often is different really any better?

    As someone who's invested a lot of time designing and building OD pedals, IMO it's more about just using a good circuit foundation (which can be either traditional or maybe a bit left-of-center), and then balancing everything to work within a specified gain range, with some idea on what kind of EQ response is wanted. It really doesn't have to be much more complicated than that, but I feel like with some of these designs, they're possibly targeting an end result that promises too much. Well, that's JMO, anyway.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't think I'm the only one here who finds I make all my fave dirt pedals sound the same?

    To get around that, I try harder to dial them in differently.
    JRAD makes four versions of the klon plus I think the JRAD Touch sounds kinda similar. Heavier and never clean but similar clipping and overall eq.
    I could use two identical pedals for different sounds, or buy two different pedals.
    Hardly matters unless I buy a pedal that makes zero sounds I like?

    If one has more gain than the other and you like them overall, that's a win!

    I find it hard to really like OD pedals that are drastically different from each other.
    I guess because I like what I like and if a pedal is way off from that I don't like it.
    The range of what I do like tends to be similarly not too bassy, not too middy, not mid scooped, not too buzzy or fizzy, not too compressed, not too open sounding, and generally just right.

    I guess JRAD is shooting for just right pedals in a market where we all want a little different from a TS, or we just want a TS that costs $200 because that makes it better.
     
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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I feel like the now standard ridiculous and dishonest marketing claims that get repeated in gear chat, pretty much forces retailers to use language that's consistent with gear chat language that's based on dishonest and ridiculous marketing claims.

    Like being in a room where everyone is shouting, speaking softly doesn't get through.
    So if you make an expensive quality product and claim it's just another SS clipping circuit based loosely on common circuits, shoppers will pass and but something with better marketing jargon, then regurgitate the jargon in forums where other shoppers get excited and feel a surge of need for a 20th OD pedal.

    I haven't had a hard time figuring out what JRAD pedal models are at least supposed to do!
    Within the realm of words telling me sounds.

    But if one pedal has a good deal more gain than another, I would not say they sound the same.
    Again, within the realm of how my amp sounds when overdriven by an OD pedal.
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Forgetting for a moment that you can dial them in to sound the same, can you also dial them in to sound pretty different?
    Or are they both limited to making one same sound and not other sounds?
    If one has more gain, can you use it for higher gain sounds?
    Or are you basically dialing the higher gain pedal down, and dialing the lower gain pedal up, to get similar sounds?

    Does the higher gain pedal make any higher gain sounds you want or like or can find a use for.

    Or back to why you bought the second pedal; did you expect it top do something it won't do?
     
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  20. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I use the Blue note and the gold Archer and I set them similar but tend to leave the Archer as a warm clean boost and use the Blue note for just a little grit. Sometimes at a gig one sounds better than the other in that room. Some songs I use both at once with the Archer before the Blue Note to push it more. The switch is going bad in the Archer and I need to replace that soon.

    I have tried several other clean boosts and overdrives but these two have been on the board for a while. I ran a Bixonic Expandora and a Blackstone Appliance for a while before the JRAD pedals and a Bad Monkey with a BBE Boosta Grande. I like two dirt / boost pedals set just a little differently.

    I looked at the Dude but never bought one. I also have the JRAD Alien Echo but don't use it much.
     
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