OD808 Overdrive review by Maxon

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.3 (42 votes)
Maxon: OD808 Overdrive

Price paid: $ 135

Purchased from: eBay

Sound — 10
I have several guitars I use this pedal with - including a PRS SE 245, an Epiphone LP Custom Pro, a American Special Mahogany Strat, and an Ibanez RG470. However, I'm mainly using an Ibanez RG1570 Prestige, and an LTD MH-1000nt Deluxe. I have predominantly higher output pickups in my guitars. From EMG's in the LTD. A tone zone in my prestige, an X2N in my RG470, and a Seymour Duncan Distortion in my PRS. It definitely brings out a whole new element to each instruments sounds. I'm writing this review for people like me, who wanted to really know the tonal differences between the OD808, and OD9. I owned an OD9 for many years. I always regretted not getting this one instead. Compared to the OD9, I find it much smoother, and not as bright as the OD9. I also find its not as midrangey as the OD9, which is why I got rid of the OD9 after being unhappy with it for so long. It's just got a great natural sound, that I think accents your amps tonal characteristics, rather than overdubbing them with its own. I use this as a boost most of the time, in my Peavey 6505+ head. You pretty much have to have a noise gate when using it this way. If you don't, the feedback and hiss would probably be unbearable. I also found this as a great sustainer for Eric Clapton/Eric Johnson type solo tones. When used with the clean channel on my 6505+, with the crunch switch engaged, using this pedal on top, and playing with the Overdrive knob can get you anywhere from an Eric Clapton overdriven blues tone, to a full out rock tone. Even though its a simple design, there's much more you can do with this once you've scratched the surface.

Overall Impression — 10
I play MOSTLY metal, so this is absolutely perfect for the application I use it for. Which is compressing/reducing the bottom end flub that occurs when you have a lot of gain, and bass dialed in. I've been playing for about 10 years. I listed most of my other gear above, but as far as pedals go - I just have the Korg Pitchblack, the Boss NS-2, and an MXR Carbon copy I run in my effects loop. It's a pretty simple set up. If it were stolen, I would definitely buy another one. I know its expensive. I used to find it hard to justify the price of things like this, when there are so many cheaper models that do just about the same thing. But after all my years of experience, and owning several Overdrive pedals, I can honestly say, this is worth the money. It really is better than some of the other ones out there. If you're stuck between the OD808, and OD9, go with this. I wish I had in the first place.

Reliability & Durability — 10
It's a Maxon. Its built to last. Its definitely a quality item. It's in a sturdy metal casing. Plus I like the soft switch on it. Sometimes pedals with harder switches pop when you engage them. The switch is very similar to the Korg Pitchblack, if anybody is familiar with that.

Ease of Use — 10
Well this is the Maxon OD808. As they say, the one that really started it all back when Maxon licensed these pedals to Ibanez. It's set up like a typical overdrive. 3 knobs, overdrive, tone, and balance. I don't know how it could get any easier than this really! There is a manual for it, but I didn't open it. As I said, its pretty simple to use. It's straight forward. Even though it only has 3 knobs, I've found a few great applications for it, for my setup.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Its smooth, creamy crunch tone caught on quickly, and helped to launch a long line of predecessors
    and helped to launch a long line of predecessors
    line of predecessors
    wait what?
    I got this as a birthday present at the end of July. Man it kicks some ass. I hadn't done a ton of research into how I should balance it over my EQ and it was my first overdrive, so it took me a few minutes to sort everything out. Once I did, it friggin' killed! I have a fairly low end tube amp and it isn't the tightest in the low end and doesn't have loads of gain, but with the od808 thrown it, it pushed everything to where I was happy as a clam. Clear, precise attack, a wonderful boost, and best of all (I didn't really expect this) was the massive increase in sustain! Seriously, notes just rang out forever and slowly deteriorated into feedback wonderfully.
    Also, Ola uses an od-808 in front of many of the amps he demos. How many of those amps are metal oriented you ask? Pretty much every single one. how is his tone you ask? He probably has one of the most admired tones on all of YouTube at the moment. He ALWAYS sounds awesome and his Maxon is usually right along side him.
    Wonderful pedal. Barely affects your tone, but adds that extra little bit of bite when put in front of a high gain amp.
    First two reviewers stated that this pedal enhances the tone even for a 15-watt solid-state amp. I have Marshall MG15CDR, and I've come across someone who's selling it for 130$. He's selling an adapter for it, too. Is this pedal worth buying or should I get a tube amp first? I play mainly metal, but I also play some rock from time to time.
    First heard of this pedal from Ola Englund of Feared, never got to use one myself yet, but I've heard the dark magic it can create for Black Metal players. It's exactly what I'm gonna buy to use with my Orange Terror Tube Stack & Ibanez RG with Black Winter pickups.