MXR is no stranger to overdrive pedals, having given us the excellent Il Torino and 5150, among others. The company’s latest entry into the overdrive category aims to double your pleasure with two distinct dirt flavors: a low gain drive with enhanced midrange, and a higher gain mode that places emphasis on highs and lows. If you’re a fan of Tube Screamer variants or the Fulltone OCD, this pedal may be of interest to you (hint hint).
Like all MXR products, the Double-Double features a straightforward and user-friendly layout. Treble and Bass controls allow for tone tailoring, and Level and Drive knobs do exactly what you expect. A toggle switch selects between high and low gain modes.
Low gain mode gives you silky smooth, mid-hump overdrive. I’ve always loved Tube Screamers, as they enhance the frequency where the guitar tends to dwell in a live band mix. The Double-Double’s sound in low gain mode recalls a classic Screamer vibe, with the addition of Treble and Bass controls to further sculpt your sound. My favorite setting on this mode was with the Level around 1 o’clock, and the tone knobs and Drive around noon. That yielded responsive grit that glistened with light picking all the way to a pleasing rhythm crunch. In moving the Drive knob up, there is plenty on tap for leads, especially in conjunction with an amp set to light breakup or full overdrive. The Treble and Bass controls are handy for matching with various guitars, amps, and pickup types.
High gain mode, as you would correctly deduce, has more gain. The low-end emphasis is immediately noticeable, and this mode is fantastic for chunky, substantial rhythm playing. The additional amount of gain sounds fantastic for lead playing, and it too is responsive to your touch. I backed off a bit on the bass when switching to this mode due to its inherent low-end prominence. However, you can switch modes on the pedal without needing to drastically change the EQ. It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that you could, within the same song, play certain passages in the low gain mode, then bend over and switch it to high gain for a solo or supercharged rhythm. It would be nice to be able to use the two modes together for some super saturation, but that would require a larger, more feature-laden pedal—perhaps MXR will create a Custom Shop version in the future.
MXR has created a practical, musical, and useable overdrive to fit into any and all musical contexts. It works great as a standalone drive pedal in either mode, and it will enhance your favorite dirt boxes and amplifiers when used together. The only minor concern I have is that you cannot use the two circuits together. However, if that were the case, the pedal would most certainly be bigger, as it would require two footswitches, and most likely separate EQ sections, all of which would defeat the purpose of having two pedals in the size of one. Therefore, I’m not counting that as a strike against it. If you want to use them together, just buy two! I’m a big MXR fan, especially what they’ve been coming out with lately. I recently snagged the Super Badass Variac Fuzz, Echoplex Delay and Tap switch, and I power my pedals with the Iso Brick. I feel the Double-Double will be joining them in the not too distant future. If you’re looking for a high quality, versatile overdrive that won’t require you to skip a mortgage payment, get your paws on the Double-Double.
What We Like: Awesome, versatile overdrive tones. MXR quality. Nice price.