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Pedal Review: Lovepedal OD11

January 31, 2013

Review by Ian Garrett

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.

Rating:  3.5

5 – Tremendous product; among the very best
4 – Great value overall; exceeds expectations
3 – Definite contender, but look closely at the competition too
2 – Average at best; probably better choices exist
1 – Not ready for prime time

Comments

  1. Manny says:

    What amp model were you using on the Mustang?

    posted on February 1, 2013 at 2:47 am
  2. Dominic Coggiola says:

    I use this in front of a 70’s Twin, with a Les Paul or SG gain at 3o’clock and get the best overdriven sounds, when I want a bit of distortion I stack it with a Les Luis in front of it. Its hard to explain but ot definitely puts a smile nailing a power chord. I had a much more expensive Rocket Animal overdrive pedal but I found the OD11 covered the same territory and was easier to “dial in”. My two cents…

    posted on February 1, 2013 at 4:04 am
  3. Ed says:

    I picked up one of these when they first showed up on the site and I’m really liking it a lot. By itself it can add a little gain and tone-shaping options with the EQ, but I love what it did when I put it in front of a higher gain box, my MI Audio Tube Zone. Basically gave it a nice boost and added a lot of clarity- really a made-to-order lead boost. Definitely a good box to have around, and I can’t imagine doing much better at this price point. If you need a no-nonsense mild overdrive that sounds great and you like transparent dirt, I’m pretty confident you won’t regret snagging one of these.

    As for the copy rumor- I don’t know anything about the circuit of this or the “other pedal” (I assume it’s not kosher to name that pedal- but it isn’t hard info to find elsewhere). I’m not an electronics guru. The rumors could be true, or they could be junk, but would anyone care if this was a tubescreamer clone? Of course not, because there are tons of those, many of which are beloved precisely because that’s what they are. Admittedly the TS is made by a large company, and the other box in question here is made by an individual- but success breeds imitation, and not everyone can afford premium, boutique ODs all the time. I don’t think having a cheaper alternative will hurt the original. If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that guitarists are willing to pay a premium for a name or a specific piece of gear. If you want THAT pedal- great, go get one! But if you just want a take on the “transparent” overdrive sound- well, you’ve found it. Besides, from what I’ve read, while they may sound similar, the OD11 is distinct and different enough that some prefer it, some prefer the original, and others like both for different reasons. Ignore the rumors and buy what you like!

    posted on February 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  4. Jeffrey says:

    4 stars for certain.

    I love the OD11. It’s a great Overdrive. Easy to use. Sounds great. Great value for the price.

    If one is looking for OD that will work for a number of situations. Blues. Rock. Punk. Post-Punk…  You name it.

    Sounds great with single-coil or hum bucking pickups. Great way to push an amp.

    I have nothing but great things to say about this pedal.

    posted on February 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm
  5. Jason says:

    It’s OK. I didn’t really bond with it and sent it back. I had the complete opposite reaction that others had. I thought it really lacked mids and was more of a distortion pedal than an overdrive. It did sound good through a clean channel with my Strat and had good harmonics with my LP on a dirty channel. I tried it with my Mesa dual-rec, Marshall YJM 100 and a Peavey JSX. It just wasn’t what I was looking for.

    posted on February 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm
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  11. CWaggs says:

    I don’t know about the idea of turning the gain to 0 & cranking the volume to check the “boost.” If you want a boost pedal, go find one. There are plenty. The OD11 has become my favorite OD pedal, & unlike some folks, I haven’t heard a Sean Michael OD that I didn’t like. Maybe mine is different than the review pedal, but for unity gain, mine is @ about 8 o’clock. So there’s lotsa boost waiting if needed. Starting w/the bass, treb, & gain @ 12 o’clock (neutral?) the OD11 gives you just a touch of “thickness,” to give single coils a bit more girth. Taking it up from there takes up where you want to go.  Mine is sitting @ about 3 o’clock, & the guitar volume knob dials in the magic. I also think both tone controls are useful, & the bass pot does help tighten up a flubby 12” in a low pwr amp. I’ve run this pedal thru a Vox AC15, a Traynor WR12,  my Rivera Venus 3, my old 1964 Silvertone, and my old 50w Marshall. I like it with anything I’ve tried. And I also agree that an OD11 DOES play well w/other pedals. Absolutely the best $99 I ever spent on an OD pedal.

    posted on February 7, 2013 at 11:19 am
  12. Daniel Lang says:

    I’m with Ed.  This is a very useful pedal , “Boutique”  at that, and may or may not sound distinct enough for people to choose between the other boutique pedal and the Lovepedal. 
      For the money, the OD-11 is a low gain pedal that is musical, and adds punch to my guitar signal.  I stack it with other pedals to create more sonic options if I wish.  Like every one of my many Lovepedals, this one works well with each one of its family members or other makes as well.
    I’ve been doing this musical tone chase for a very long time and we are in a age where we can have fantastic pedals available at any budget.  This is simply a excellent pedal for what it does and it doesn’t ruin your wallet either.

    posted on February 7, 2013 at 11:22 am
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  14. Ian Garrett says:

    For Wolf Soto,

    I don’t think there is a “best” overdrive, it really depends on what works best for your setup. Your amp, guitars, venue, type of music all play a big role in the right tone. Nevermind if you have a budget!  I will say though, what I have right now on my board I like a lot, a Walrus Audio Mayflower. It doesn’t have much character in terms of coloring your sound, it’s pretty neutral overall, which some will like, some won’t. But like the OD11, I really like having separate bass/treble controls, it helps match it up better to different pickups and such.  But there are tons of good overdrives for all budgets these days, as guitarists, we’re pretty lucky.

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