Price paid: $ 150
Purchased from: eBay
Sound — 9
I have bought/sold many Overdrive pedals since I became a tone junky, and I was starting to think that a low-volume, high-gain Overdrive tone was near impossible. I have owned Overdrive pedals that I loved the tone of, but I couldn't get that necessary crunch unless my Fender Deluxe Reverb was on at least "5" on the volume scale. This is the first OD I've ever demoed that can achieve an amazingly organic Overdrive tone on a low-volume setting. I am beyond impressed. Many pedals on the market claim to sound like a cranked tube amp, but very few actually manage to get a genuine tone that doesn't sound digitalized or soulless. The Imagine DD.1 somehow lives up to all their claims! P.S. My rig is a Vintage 1959 Fender Musicmaster through a Fender Deluxe Reverb Re-Issue... It compliments my rig without colouring the original tone. You can use the Imagine DD-1 to push the front end of your amp for your amps own natural Overdrive tone, or you can jack up the gain on a low volume... It sounds great either way. The ONLY downside I can think of is on high-gain settings, it is a tad noisy, as far as some minor buzz from the amp... But not even bad compared to other ODs/distortions I've tried. Not enough to make it not worthwhile.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing guitar seriously for about 5 years now (although technically I've been "playing" longer than that) and I'm primarily a rock/alternative player. My biggest influences are John Frusciante's solo work and Omar Rodriguez Lopez from Mars Volta. I own an assortment of other eclectic and little-used pedals which make up a very unique rig with my Vintage 50s Musicmasters (I own a '57 and '59). All I can say is that this is simply the best Overdrive I have ever played. I am not associated with this company in any way, shape, or form... I am just a VERY satisfied customer. If it were stolen/lost, I would replace it without even thinking twice. My favourite feature is it's low-volume, high-gain Overdrive which sounds more genuine and organic than any other OD attempting to do the same thing. I previously owned a Klon Centaur clone that was fairly pricey ($250). The Klon is regarded as the best Overdrive ever, and the original Vintage units routinely sell for over a grand on eBay. This pedal was supposedly an exact replica of the original circuitry. And it had amazing tone, but not unless my amp volume was set accordingly. I did a side-by-side comparison with the Imagine before selling the Klon clone, and I truly felt like the Imagine blew it out of the water (for less money, too, I might add!) as far as tone, versatility, and warmth. I really do love this pedal. I have around 12 pedals in my current pedalboard, and this one might be my new favourite.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Just bought it, so I can't really express an accurate opinion of this until I do get some use out of it and even gig with it, but as far as I can tell it has a VERY sturdy metal chassis (which they are apparently running out of... Once all the chassis' are used up, this pedal is going to be re-modeled/re-designed and these original ones will be very unique and, potentially, sought after) which will be hard to damage. Only downside is it might scratch up fairly easily with the all black metal exterior. But YES I would gig with it without a backup, and I count on it being dependable for the foreseeable future.
Ease of Use — 8
I haven't put much time into the pedal yet, but my first impression is that it is very versatile, yet it's hard to find a "bad" sounding setting. Obviously, I'm sure I will find certain settings that will become favourites, but I was searching for the "sweet spot" and to my surprise, there wasn't one! Every setting sounded as good as the next. I started out with the 3 "recommended" settings in the pamphlet, and then got to experimenting... I couldn't find a tone that I didn't like or thought that I would never use. Most of my distortion/overdrive pedals that I've owned in the past only tend to have one or two usable settings, and I find that I am very rarely knob-tweaking... With the DD-1 I feel like I could twist knobs and play with those tones for hours! The pedal has Level, Bass, Treble, Cut, and Gain knobs so you can tune in whatever tone suits your rig or your needs accordingly... The only reason I'm selecting 8/10 is because it may require some knob tweaking to find your preferred tone. I thought everything sounded great, depending on what you would use it for, but it isn't necessarily a pedal where you plug-in-and-play straight out of the box and get "THAT" tone right away.