The thru is that best driven sounds are coming from tube amps. Period. To use a gain pedal to emulate another amp character or to push harder the tubes tends to fail on long time but, you know what, we will continue testing gain pedals the rest of life. It's the cursed life of the guitarist.
In my case, I love the sound of my current 4 overdrives: Fulltone OCD V3, Mad Professor Little Green Wonder, Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive and Fulltone Plimsoul. All them are different and, all them have something that I love and something that I hate.
By example, the OCD has some impedance issues and, depending on the pedals that are stacked before or after, the sound, volume and (specially) the gain ratio change. It's one of the best Overdrives around but, when it works without issues.
Both overdrives from Mad Professor are awesome in sound's department but, they also have some issues. Those overdrives probably have a Gain knob that is logarithmic so, to achieve the unitary level is really difficult, fact that goes worst when I swap my guitar and / or amp. Any little change needs to reset the controls, beginning from scratch and, since Gain knob is hard to tweak for Unitary Level, it becomes a real mess.
Plimsoul is too much gainy for me to consider it as an overdrive. The sound is really good but, I see it more like a distortion than like an overdrive. Still not sure if will stand in my pedalboard.
From those, the OCD is the all-purpose overdrive, works well as a light overdrive as well as a hard overdrive and works really good with other overdrives (when it works fine). The Little Green Wonder is voiced in the league of Tubescreamers but, it removed what I hate from Tubescreamers and its way more versatile. The Sweet Honey Overdrive is a warm and light overdrive, that I dig specially for Blues stuff or, when what I want is just a touch of dynamic break-up in the sound.
So, I am still after an overdrive that can be as versatile as the OCD but, without the issues of the same and, without the issues (constant reset) of Mad Professor's and, this is my new try: Wampler's Euphoria Overdrive. Why?. Latelly, gain pedals from Wampler seem to be in tune with my own taste. I bought the Pinnacle and inmediatelly loved it so, I am gonna give one more try to other Wampler's pedal.
The pedal unit comes inside a white carton box with some frontal sticker that makes it more attractive than other pedals from other Boutiquers.
Inside the box, a signature thing of Wampler, the pedal comes inside a fabric bag and it's being wrapped in bubble plastic.
In the bottom of the box, we can find a Wampler' sticker and the "User's Manual" that, you already guest it, is just a single sheet of paper (but way more attractive than in others Boutiquers).
Wampler includes again 4 sample settings that allow you to test different possibilities of this pedal.
Thank you, again, Wampler.
Well, this one sets the overal output volume of the pedal and, it's quite easy to achieve Unitary Level (and go way further).
This one controls the amount of saturation (level of amplification) of the inner amplification stage(s).
More than just control the amount of basses, this control gives the overall body to the sound but, also the distortion grain. It's being placed before the amplification stage(s).
This is a typical treble cut-off filter but, treble is affecting also the high frequencies that we usually see as Presence so, it can sound really harsh if overdone. This seems to be a common design in Wampler's pedals, as per my short experience with them.
Toggle Switch Voice
This switch allows to select three different voices for the foundational tone of the overdrive.
Smooth is voiced to mime the character of Dumble amps.
Open is the transparenter of all voices and very plain frequentialy.
Crunch is voiced to mime the typical British driven sound.
This makes this Overdrive as if you had three very different overdrives in a box.
I've integrated the pedal on my pedal board, just before the rest of overdrives and, after the Phaser, just to check if there are impedance issues and, if it stands up in a big pedal board.
No issues detected by now. The pedal seems to smoothly integrate with the rest of the pedal board.
When I bought this pedal, I wasn't aware that this was the take of Wampler's about that Dumble sound (think on Robben Ford), in the way as Hermida's Audio Zendrive is. If its name has the adjectiv "Transaparent Overdrive", that's what I was expecting and, not a pedal emulating a Dumble amp.
I resold my Hermida's Audio Zendrive because, even that I loved that sweet sound, I hated how the pedal was killing my attack. I love my attack, I want to make tubes to explode when I pick hard. The Zendrive, had a lot of compression during the attack phase of the sound, maybe it's a Dumble characteristic but, not my beer.
So, I was affraid that I would go in same troubles with this Euphoria pedal. I've first started with the 4 settings that Wampler propose to test the pedal's versatility and, just the first one is "Robben Ford's tone". Well, If memory doesn't fails, the Zendrive sounded to me sweeter and warmer, even silkier but, with that ugly compression that flattened all my attack. The Euphoria didn't sound to me exactly the same.
In one side, the kind of distortion is more rude. Depending on the settings of Bass knob, the distortion character seems as it was built based on little balls that grow as soon as you dial in the Bass button. It's difficult to explain but, my sensation is that the grains of distortion are bigger, when rolling on the Bass control.
In other side, the compression type was more like the sag that a tube rectifier produces but, not so heavy as the compression level present on Zendrive.
So I would probably prefer the sound of the Zendrive but, I prefer way more the dynamics of the Euphoria.
They don't sound exactly the same but, I am not disapointed with the sound of the Euphoria. I find it more useful than the Zendrive, in my particular case.
Fortunatelly, this overdrive isn't just a Dumble emulation. After checking the Smooth Voice, I wanted to check the Crunch Voice and, it sounded damn right to me.
The Crunch channel is really convincent and brings you the best British Crunch sound.
In fact, Wampler has the most exciting plexy-in-a-box pedals that I've never heard so, no surprise that the Crunch mode sounds really good.
Not only I am not disapointed with the crunch channel but, I think it's really helpful.
Maybe, running it over a Marshall make the trick so, I need to recheck this pedal with other amps, specially with the Princeton, to see if the crunch is still so fantastic.
What I can say is that individual notes jumped out of the speaker with ease, on this mode.
And, finally, here we have the transparent overdrive, at the end. The mode is called Open and, I think is the flattest equalized voice of this overdrive. If Bass Knob is not overdone and gain well controlled, it can bring a nice transparent overdrive that set tubes in their sweet spot, while fully preserving the tonal signature of your instrument and amp.
Not disapointed with this mode, also. Very useful and interesting voice.
I find that the hardest thing of this pedal is to achieve the best compromise between the settings of two knobs: Gain and Bass. Bass is helping to the overall body but, also hardening the distortion textures so, I've found myself rolling a bit Bass when I've increassed Gain and, viceversa.
Even this, I've found the sound more grainy while playing in front the amp than when editing the demo video, where I loved the sound and didn't noticed such a grainity. Maybe the compression of mics help to it and, this ensures a good sound in Studio, anyway.
As any gain pedal, it increases a bit the floor noise that, in this case, I hadn't controlled with the help of the ISP Decimator G-String noise gate, because I wanted to hear everything, the good and the bad.
The noise level didn't raised spectacularly, anyway. Was very reasonable.
I would like to add some particular note about the Tone control. Usually Tone controls are cut-off filters that roll off to ground some treble frequencies but, those frequencies are below the range of frequencies named "air". Last ones are usually tweaked with a Presence control that can sound really harsh if overdone.
I've found that Tone controls in the two tested Wampler pedals are not limited to the trebles below the air range but, that they include also the highest frequencies so, be carefull when rising the Tone, because trebles can go really piercy and harsh.
This is my very first contact with this pedal so, I didn't prepared a demo session thinking on what to do and in which order and, neither what to play. It's easier when you already know the textures of the pedal to find something more appropiated for each voice mode but, I was suspecting that I would like this pedal (because of several youtube videos I already heard) so, I've jumped down without net.
Anyway, at the beginning of the video, I am testing the 4 settings recommended in user's manual, just to get an overall idea of this unit's possibilities. Later, I am focussing in how Bass and Gain knobs interactuate and, how the grain and thickness of distortion changes. Then, I leaved the Bass and Gain knobs in a fixed position and checked the Tone knob.
After testing all this in Smooth mode, I wanted to check Crunch mode and, finally Open mode.
At the end of the video, I am leaving exactly the same setup (except for volume knob, that needs to be readjusted when changing mode) and playing more or less the same riff to check how the sound changes depending on the mode.
About 30 min. of video so, take a beer some pop corns, wear your headphones, roll up the volume and hear it!. Or wait until you have more free time.
I was expecting just a transparent overdrive, in the way as the Timmy, by example so, I went scared when I read the "user's manual" saying that this pedal is Wampler's personal take of the "D" sound (D stands for Dumble).
Dumble tone is awesome, without any doubt but, not for everybody and not for every work so, I've thought: "Oh, no. One more Zendrive!". Fortunatelly this is not a Zendrive and, not just another Dumble-in-a-box pedal.
After selling the Zendrive, I wanted to check the Dumkudo, because it had 3 different voices, being one of them the Dumble one. I liked the sound of the Zendrive but I hated its compression that flattened my pick attack. So, I always wanted to test a Dumkudo, and see if its approach to Dumble sound was different from Zendrive's but, I leaved this idea sleeping on my chair (and pressed under my bottom).
On this sense, the Euphoria approach seems more based on Dumkudo's approach than in Zendrive's itself. Dumkudo has also three voices but, not sure at this time if they are remotelly similar.
Fortunatelly, I've found the Dumble's voice more dynamic than in Zendrive and more tweakable, to runaway from that excesive compression level. They don't sound exactly equal but, I find more useful the tones that I can take from Euphoria and I am not in the fight of which pedal does better the emulation of a Dumble amp. This really doesn't matter to me. My concern is more about which pedal can help me better and I don't mind what it sounds like, if it works for me, it works. Period.
Crunch and Open voices are fully usefull and really good so, even if you don't dig Dumble's voice, you have still two different overdrive textures to test. I am quite sure you will like at least one of them but, I see you probably using each one for different stuff.
This pedal is like to have a Timmy, a Zendrive and a Plexy Drive in a single pedal. This is just to help you to take the idea. For sure, the Open Voice isn't a Timmy, the Crunch voice isn't a Plexy Drive and the Smooth voice isn't a Zendrive but, they are similar and sound fantastic.
My impression right now is that this one will be easily my main overdrive unit and that will last long time in my pedal board but, as I said on the introduction, this is never granted for an overdrive.