ODB-3 Bass Overdrive review by Boss

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (76 votes)
Boss: ODB-3 Bass Overdrive
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Purchased from: Music Inn, Nottingham

Sound — 7
I'm playing a Warwick Rockbass Fortress into a Laney RB-8 combo, with the ODB-3 linked up with a GEB-7 EQ pedal, CEB-3 chorus and an Ibanez PD-7 (which I actually use as a volume boost/slight dirt). The ODB-3 is surprisingly not noisy, there's very little background hiss, which would be eliminated if I was using a noisegate like I should. Obviously the higher you crank the gain, the more noise you get, but that's what the gain control is there for, so you can't fault it for that. The effects are far from weak. Step on this pedal and you can feel it kick like a mule as all that dirty juice thunders down the cable and out of your amp. None of my favourite artists (that I know of) make extensive use this pedal, and I haven't really tried getting this pedal to sound like something it's not (Well, I'm a Tool fan, I'd be trying a long time). I'm more interested in forging my own sound, and this pedal certainly helps. A tip from me, though. Try and keep the treble on the on-board 2 band EQ on the AM side of noon. With too much treble from the pedal, it does cause the signal to get quite "fizzy," the main problem people seem to have with this pedal. But as long as you compensate by notching the treble down a little you'll be fine. I score it a seven because of the slight tendency to produce fizzy sounds when the treble is cranked and because it doesn't do the "slightly dirty" Vintage overdrive tone, which most bass players seem to expect from it.

Overall Impression — 9
I play a very eclectic mix of music, but mostly grounded in the "modern rock" / alternative rock / post-rock/post-metal vein. For this, it's more than suitable. As I can conjure everything from slightly broken up cleans to a thick carpet of low end fuzz from this pedal, it's an ideal Tool for me. I've been playing for a few years now, and this is my second distortion pedal for bass. It contrasts quite well with the Ibanez PD-7 that I use. I think overall the PD-7 is the more adaptable pedal, but the ODB-3 is miles ahead in pure power, and that's why I picked it up to add to my rig. If you want a distorted bass sound that will blow the crowd against the back wall, the ODB-3 can deliver, and that's what I love about it. I do wish the pedal had true bypass, because my pedal board is growing exponentially and I don't want to lose too much tone through the amount of pedals I'm using but that's my only gripe. At this stage it's not a problem and I can't notice any loss of tone what'soever, which is not true of the likes of the Big Muff Pi, which to my ears sucks the bottom off your tone before you even step on it. Overall impression? Damned good pedal, no regrets in buying it what'soever. Boss are almost always a sure bet for good quality and I totally cannot understand the bad reputation this pedal has. In my opinion, it's not the pedal that's the problem, it's the person using it not understanding what exactly it is they've got.

Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Boss pedal. As with every other reviewer writing about a Boss product, I'll say those words: indestructable. You could run it over and it'll still sound fine. I can and have gigged with it without a backup. It's not let me down. I don't think it's capable of letting me down! As long as you're hooked up to a mains supply or (if you must) have fresh batteries in, it'll take nothing short of the apocalypse to stop this pedal from delivering it's aggressive distortion to you by the truckload.

Ease of Use — 8
Okay, first thing to consider about this pedal is that it is not an overdrive pedal. It's a dirty, fuzzy distortion pedal that will kick like a mule and melt faces. If you want a slight Vintage growl, buy an Ampeg Scrambler. With that in mind, it's very easy to get the sound you want out of it. I spent a few minutes in the shop on a store bass, into a store amp, and found the sound I liked within a few minutes by tweaking the very simple (but effective) controls. The manual is pretty standard for Boss products, "this knob does this, this knob does that, plug bass in here". There were a few fairly decent example settings that someone could easily use as a starting point to get the sound they want. I could have summed up this entire section by saying "It's Boss", though. Set and forget. Fine as always.

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