The Pedal: Lovepedal OD11
The Point: Overdrive
The Cost: $99
There’s a lot of talk on the interwebs that the Lovepedal OD11 is a close copy of another well- known overdrive. I don’t know if that’s true or not but decided to just plug in and play, and see what develops.
I tried a few different guitars when testing out the OD11— A Telecaster, Les Paul and an SG, using a Vox AC15 amp. For some stereo testing, I later added a Fender Mustang III modeling amp. I found the OD11 worked pretty well with both amps, and in stereo I like how the two amps interact. The Mustang adds more low-end thump than the Vox, while the AC15 adds more midrange and higher- end clarity, especially when pushed with the OD11.
Simple Basic Controls
The OD11 is easy to figure out; volume, gain and separate controls for bass and treble, which I prefer over a single tone control that tries to do both. I ran it at 9v, but it can do 18v for cleaner headroom and volume. Personally, I thought it had quite a bit of both running at 9v.
First thing I do with an overdrive is to turn the gain off, tone controls set fairly neutral, and then crank the volume all the way to see if I get a clean boost. While I got a clean boost, it was not as much as I expected. The tone controls without the added gain also didn’t make that much of an impact, but subtle adjustments can be made.
So far, it sounds fairly pedestrian. Once I turned up the gain to around 9 o’clock, all of a sudden the overall volume jumped considerably, without sounding too overdriven. It’s almost like a second volume control, except now you get a somewhat grittier boost. It’s, great for country, blues, and even rock when you want your tone to have bite and snarl, while maintaining the overall integrity of your tone.
With the gain around noon, I had to turn down the volume even more. The overall gain structure was tighter, more focused, and a bit heavier overall, but it still sounded like your tone— just more of it. I preferred the gain between 9 o’clock and noon; it gave me a nice range with quite a bit of volume on tap, without it being over the top.
So, How Much Gain is on Tap?
The OD11 doesn’t have a ton of gain. This pedal shines as a lower- to medium overdrive, and really does not approach the distortion territory. If you’re looking for a Swiss Army knife type of dirt pedal that will give you overdrive, distortion and maybe some fuzz in one box, this isn’t it. But what you do get is a pedal that adds a decent amount of gain with good control over the basic parameters. With the gain knob at noon, cranking it all the way gives you only a moderate increase in overall gain. You’ll notice it more with humbuckers than single coils. The gain structure also doesn’t get very compressed; it is pretty open and transparent throughout its range. I also stacked the OD11 with fuzz pedals, wanting to see how it could push them, and it excels at this application as well. It can make a muff sound thicker, heavier, and meaner, without adding a lot of extra noise. A very nice combination.
Transparent Vs. Colored
The OD11 doesn’t add much in the way of “color.” The midrange is neither boosted nor scooped. This is definitely not a tubescreamer type of overdrive. The bass/treble controls work really well, yet their range is somewhat subtle. For example, with the Telecaster I liked to turn up the bass, and cut the treble, especially with a brighter amp like the Vox. And when I switched to the SG, I added some treble, and kept the bass fairly neutral. I found that the bass control is there to help reduce some of the lower end flubiness you might get from your amp’s speaker, while the treble knob can be used to reduce higher end fizziness. But neither control will go too far in either direction.
If you want a pedal to make your amp sound different, get a different pedal – or maybe a different amp! But if you like your tone and just want to push it a little bit more, then this may be what you’re looking for. At under $100, with solid construction and cool graphics, - the OD11 represents a solid bargain in the world of overdrives.