All MI Effects overdrive pedals are op-amp based circuits - either using the LM833 or JRC4558 depending on the circuit. It wasn't until my experiments (with relative success) with capturing the tone and response of the Megalith amps in a FET based pedal format, that got me thinking about extending this to other 'amp-like' overdrive sounds.
The initial idea was to try to make an overdrive as smooth as possible, but after tinkering with it a bit, it's morphed into something else altogether. This isn't modelled on anything in particular but we were shooting for a few things:
1) A very natural response, both in terms of tonal balance and overdrive feel.
2) Unlike opamp based pedals, I wanted something that when you roll back on the volume, the sound is virtually clean, but also balanced.
3) Touch response.
4) high gain sounds to have a big footprint, but with a vintage vibe to them,... what I've heard referred to as the 1000lb violin
At its lowest gain, it is a boost/enhancer adding some extra sparkle to your guitar tone. Mid gain mode gives some nice, complex, tube-like overdrive but allows clean-up of your signal via the guitar's volume knob that A/Bs well against your standard clean. Crank the gain and you have a smooth, harmonic-rich, sustaining lead sound from 70's rock to jazz-fusion.
Here is a demo we made with a Les Paul > FET Overdrive > MI Amplification Iron Duke...
This demo with two Strats > FET Overdrive > MI Amplification Iron Duke...
It is always great when a prototype delivers what you want to hear, and this one did. We were undecided on whether this would be a pedal we would put into production, but due to the positive feedback we have received from the demos, we will be continuing with it.
However there are a few tweaks needed before a production-ready pedal can be made:
Keep posted on the blog for the next prototype iteration with the new tweaks, and a new demo.
- Michael I.