You might be familiar with the Tube Screamer and all of its variations, but you might not know that the brand behind the production of TS-808 was Maxon. They created the original circuitry for Ibanez, while manufacturing OD808 under their own name. That was back in ‘70s and ‘80s. As the time went by and Ibanez decided to recreate its TS-9, Maxon was still there, producing circuitries for the brand. But later on, they, too, chose to reissue OD808 and give birth to newer variation of the renowned sibling. Though it is quite similar to the Tube Screamer, there are certain differences that make us wonder, whether these two do actually sound equally well. Spoiler alert: some even think that OD808 Reissue is better (we will have to see about that). If you are searching for the most accurate replication of the legendary pedal or you simply want to add a powerful overdrive stompbox to your rig, this article will help you make the right decision. Keep on reading to find out some more information and figure out if OD808 Reissue is the perfect match for you.
I have said this many times but I will say this again: the most wonderful things in this world are born with simplicity. Sometimes you just have to take things easy and look at them without overthinking. That is when you see the true nature of the matters and appreciate the lucidity. That is the pattern that the majority of effects pedals follow and that is exactly what makes them so prominent. Maxon OD808 Reissue is as straightforward as it can get, delivering top-notch quality and mind-blowing performance through essential features. This compact unit houses three knobs that are more than enough for controlling the overdrive. The circuit is comprised with legendary JRC4558D chips (their newer variations to be more precise) that hugely define the character and the feel of the pedal. The design is quite simple as well, with green chassis, white writings and black encoders. All these colors blend together nicely and basically round up the whole appearance. OD808 Reissue is well-built and is comprised with heavy-duty materials and durable “old-style” footswitch. The battery is protected with a bottom lid and four screws. They come off quite easily, but I still do not recommend changing the drained batteries mid-performance. Nobody has the time for it, am I right? Luckily, you can power this bad boy with special AC adaptor, which is included in the package.
The control section here is extremely user-friendly. All we have here are three knobs that modify various parameters of your sound, allowing you to tweak the essentials easily. The encoders seem quite sturdy and promise to last through years of usage. Whether you are meticulous or not, they will be enough to satisfy your adjusting cravings and shape everything according to your heart’s desire. But before you jump right in and grab OD808 Reissue, you still have to know what options you have. For that reason, let me explain everything in depth and give you an outline of modifiable options. Oh, and one more thing, the manual provides you with sample settings that can be great starting point if you have no idea what to do.
I will start with the Overdrive knob, which is the very first thing you encounter on the control section. It modifies the amount of distortion and sustain level and allows you to increase or tone down the effect until you find the perfect settings. Next comes the Tone, which is reminiscent of TS-808 control. It accentuates mid-range and trebles as you rotate it clockwise, while taming these frequencies when you turn it counter-clockwise. Moving on to the Balance. This fella sets the volume of the output and, thus, blends the level of your original signal to the affected one. This way everything remains even. Last but not least, we have an on/off footswitch with LED that indicates whether the pedal is activated or not.
And we have reached the section of this article we all have been waiting for and let me tell you that Maxon OD808 Reissue is truly spectacular. Those, who have played with the Ibanez TS-808 will quickly recognize its tone, since they are basically identical. They will also hear the sound of JRC4558D chips, which makes these pedals so distinctive and special (this will be even more noticeable if you play them along TS9). Maxon OD808 Reissue boosts the mids just a bit and allows them to stand out in the mix. If you wanted to, you could, of course, enhance the basses and trebles and add your own character to the whole sound. The overdrive is warm and sweet, just like those beloved tube amplifiers. Therefore, this pedal can make any amplifier turn into a valve haven. It is true, though, that when employing overdrive, this stompbox favors single-coil pick-ups but humbuckers are workable as well. OD808 Reissue can also be utilized as a clean-boost and that is the territory it can conquer in a matter of seconds. When you crank up the Balance to the fullest and roll of the Overdrive completely, you are able to strengthen the original signal and cause your amp to break up naturally. And that my friend, is the sweetest spot of overdrive.
When it comes to effects pedals, it usually comes down to the ways in which you choose to use them. Their sound and overall feel will largely depend on your signal chain, gear and instrument. However, there are pedals that cannot have bad tone no matter what. And Maxon OD808 Reissue is exactly such kind of a unit. It is not as transparent as some claim it to be, which means it can produce hell of a saturated sound without getting artificial. On the whole, this stompbox will deliver the most refined tone. Good luck!
Click here to view more from 10 Best Overdrive Pedals.