I was excited to make this first Quick & Dirty Tone video. I recorded this particular comparison because I wanted to help a band-mate in his decision to choose a bad ass overdrive for his metal rig.
First off, here's the recording chain:
Bernie Rico Jr. Jekyll 7 String - Maxon OD808 or OD808X - Orange Rockerverb 50 MkII w/KT88s - Two Notes Torpedo Live (Ownhammer Bogner 4x12 Vintage 30) - Apogee Duet
Just to clarify, the first repetition of the riffs in this video were recorded without either of the overdrive pedals.
My overdrive tale starts with my first tube head, the Marshall JCM2000 DSL 100. Like most young metal guitarists, I wanted more gain. I went to Sam Ash and George Lynch's old guitar tech gave me a secret. We plugged into a DSL 100 on the distortion channel. He set up a Boss Super Overdrive with the gain turned down and the level cranked. This is still the way many pro metal players use overdrives (e.g. Periphery, Killswitch Engage, Keith Merrow, Ola Englund, As I Lay Dying, and others), so that's why I set it that way in the video. The Marshall plus Super Overdrive sounded better, and I used it for a while, but it still wasn't totally ideal. I loved the sound of pure tube distortion (and still do). I saw overdrives as a way to get more gain, but once I got into more high-gain tube heads, I didn't see the use. I didn't like how they cut bass and added a buzzy sound on the high end.
This was all before I really fell in love with pushing mids on my amp and eventually tried the Maxon OD808. This pedal is the original tube screamer circuit, and it has a super musical way of cutting the bass, boosting some high mids, and increasing gain. This effect did wonders for my ability to cut through in live and recording situations for metal - where everything is loud and huge-sounding. When they released the OD808X, I had to try it out and see if that great pedal could possibly sound better.
My Final Verdict: Both of the Maxon OD808 and OD808X are awesome. You can't really go wrong with either. For metal/hard rock, I prefer the OD808X. It has more of everything on tap compared to the regular OD808, and it ends up sounding slightly clearer and more punchy to me. I actually prefer the original OD808 for more bluesy/vintage rock, so I typically use it with my Tiny Terror and other low-gain amps. The original OD808 has some vintage mojo that the OD808X doesn't have. I may do a shootout with one of those amps later on to demonstrate that difference.
Watch the Video