Price paid: A$ 140
Purchased from: Mega Music
Sound — 8
I run a Schecter Omen 6 with a Floyd Rose to a Boss Metalcore and American Overdrive and MXR Carbon Copy in that order which feeds into a Laney VC 30 1x12 combo. This pedal is not very noisy at higher gain levels. However, if the volume is set higher, then the noise follows suit. The pedal can also be used as a clean boost but does not stack well with its own gain and another pedals gain. The pedal is also fairly responsive to your volume knob and can clean up fairly well but still has a touch of gain even at its lowest levels. The tone knob however only controls the amount of treble the pedal adds. Whilst this feature is the usual in overdrives, I do wish that it had a bit more bass or at least some sort of bass control. It is also important to note that this pedal is not a tubescreamer. It does not push that signature midrange like an 808. Rather, it feels more transparent relying on driving the Original tone of the amp. It does not impose a noticeable signature on the Original tone. I'm not particularly sure Who has this kind of tone owing to the fact that my playlist mostly involves high gain and thus I do not have a very large measuring stick. However, I did A/B this pedal along with it's higher gain brother, the British Distortion, and 2 Visual Sound pedals, the Route 808 and Open Road. The British Distortion is the higher gain pedal but still manages to reach the upper reaches of the American Overdrive easily at around 10 o'clock. I probably should have chosen the British Distortion but nonetheless, I did not require the gain as I already had the metalcore pedal. Whilst this may seem weird, I can only assume its my own need to be limited to make full use of the gain given by the Overdrive. I also required a clean boost so the Overdrive was perfect for me needs. The Visual Sound pedals just seemed a lot more compressed to my ears and could only produce a specific tone and thus I opted for the more versatile pedal.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly progressive rock and metal. However, I do enjoy a lot of old school pop, alt rock, jazz, blues and some electronica. My influences range from 'The Faceless' and 'TesseracT' to 'Fleetwood Mac' and 'Queen'. My compositions usually require a high gain rhythm and lead sound majority of the time but it is boring to just play metal. Thus the pedal allows me to achieve a low gain sound to be used in other compositions. Do not let the made in China tag fool you. It is a lot sturdier than it would initially let on. But for the price, I think that this pedal can definitely be used for any guitarist searching a fairly transparent Overdrive to add to their rig.
Reliability & Durability — 1
Wouldn't be able to talk about this due to the fact that I do not gig and have not owned this pedal for very long (as of writing this, I have owned the pedal for 5 days). However, the chasis of the pedal is made of metal and the pots are fairly smooth and is fairly heavy. (please do not pay attention to this score as I had to choose one :S )
Ease of Use — 8
The American Overdrive by Tonerider was manufactured in China. DO NOT let this fact stop you from purchasing their effects. They are as solid as Boss pedals and a lot better (but this is subjective of course) The pedal comes with a tiny manual explaining the usual stuff; controls, connecting the pedal up, powering the pedal with/without batteries. The back shows some settings for the pedal to get you started and that's about it. The pedal is fairly easy to find whatever tone you need. However, the one thing it can't do (and I can only assume that this applies for other overdrives from experience) is metal. Aside from that, this pedal drives the front of my amp beautifully. I can pretty much achieve a good blues and even hard rock Overdrive with this pedal.