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Maxon OD-9+ Overdrive Pedal

MANY GEAR manufacturers are obsessed with emulating vintage equipment right down to the saggy sound of weak batteries and bad transistors. However, Maxon-the company that designed the circuits for the much-emulated Seventies-era Tube Screamers-aims to improve on the past.

The latest result is the OD-9+. While it looks a lot like an Ibanez TS-9, the OD-9+ uses the guts of an 808 Tube Screamer as a jumping-off point. Boasting high-voltage operation (18 volts, switchable to a more traditional nine volts), true bypass, and higher-fidelity transistors in its output stage, the OD-9+ has a wider dynamic range and broader tonal spectrum than its forbears. Its higher-gain circuit is capable of crunch well out of the vintage pedal's league, and it can do a clean boost with the gain on zero.

Despite its wider frequency response, the pedal's core tone remains warm and responsive. A switchable boost control adds more grit, compression and midrange, delivering some of the fat content that made the original pedals so popular. Consider this one beyond overdriven.