Holiday season is upon us, and Guitar World is kicking off its annual celebration with the Holiday Ultimate Gear Guide.
And no roundup of ultimate gear would be complete without Maxon’s new Apex808 overdrive pedal.
“It’s one of the few products I came across this year that I really, really dug,” Guitar World Tech Editor Paul Riario says. “It’s an amazing overdrive.”
A bit of background: The Apex808 was designed by Susumu Tamura, the creator of the original OD808 overdrive, which was later rebranded for Ibanez as the TS808 Tube Screamer.
The new Apex was developed by Tamura after meticulous analysis of over 100 vintage and current production Tube Screamer 808 variants over a period of three years. What he found was that the best 808s all featured the same brand of IC chip from the same production period, and that chip is now at the center of the Apex808.
The Apex pays tribute to its designer by printing his name Tamura on its black control plate.
What’s more, says Guitar World’s Alan Chaput, “it’s built like a tank. It has a full metal enclosure, the three controls are label D T and L (drive, tone and level), there’s an LED indicator and a jack on the front for external power and it’s powered by an included 9-volt battery.”
Sonically, he continues, “the Apex808 compares to the best vintage Tube Screamers with incredible note clarity and articulation, as well as improved low end response.
“The Apex808 also reacts much like a tube amp with hot input signals generating a blend of even- and odd-order harmonics.”
But don’t just take Alan's word for it – check out the above demo in which Paul puts the Apex808 through its paces.
Following the demo, he calls the Apex808, “currently my favorite overdrive.”
“It has this beautiful upper register clarity and you don’t have to shave off any of that top end, because it doesn’t sound overly harsh or overly bright and it has nominal compression,” Paul says.
“To my ears, it’s a far more complex overdrive that delivers incredible punch with a great deal of transparency.
“It definitely is the apex of overdrives.”
For more information, head to Godlyke.