A teaser photo of the prototype of the forthcoming Black Cat OD-Boost pedal
Genius effects pedals usually come in two forms: the complex algorithm-laden digital pedals such as the Eventide series stomps; or the small analog pedals born of one great utilitarian idea and a beautiful sonic footprint.
We can't really say much about the sonic footprint of the Black Cat OD-Boost pedal yet, as it hasn't been released, but we can say a lot about the concept of the pedal, which is genius.
Black Cat Pedals recently posted a teaser picture of the prototype online, which reveals a lot about the pedal.
The idea of the Black Cat OD-Boost has actually been around for some time, but it has never been available to the open market. It was actually a custom pedal made for one gentlemen named Brad Scott, who is the source of this simple genius.
You see, the Black Cat OD-Boost pedal has two stomp switches. The first is an overdrive stage, controlled by the drive knob on the left-hand side, and the second is a boost stage, controlled by the boost knob on the right-hand side.
The idea of blending boost and distortion on one pedal is nothing particularly new, in fact, we did it with our custom Sonic Amped NoiseKick FX pedal, but there is one small addition which makes this pedal all the more useful.
This addition comes in the form of a toggle switch on the Black Cat OD-Boost, which toggles the order of the circuit. You can either choose to have the boost before the overdrive stage, or after the overdrive stage.
Sounds simple, but switching the order of the boost and the overdrive does more than just to offer a range of tonal options. By placing the boost after the overdrive, and pushing the boost knob past 3 o'clock, you can overdrive the tone further and add volume in one press of a switch.
By placing it before the distortion, you can boost the signal without distorting it further. Giving a clean signal boost for stepping up volumes in solos.
But here's the fun part, by lowering the level of the boost (so that it actually acts as a volume cut), and placing it before the distortion, it actually cuts the level of distortion (provided the unity value of the pot is set to around 12 o'clock, which we would hope would be the case).
This means you can activate a clean sound by hitting the boost stomp (which would actually be a cut, not a boost) and keeping the distortion stage running constantly.
Switching the boost off would then activate your distortion, this means the boost stage is only ever really being used for volume changes and for reducing the level of distortion, and not for adding to and colouring the distortion sound, as it would be when placed after the overdrive stage.
This is very handy if you have a single channel amplifier with a beautiful clean sound.
Alternatively you could set the boost after the distortion and lower the boost value so that it acts as a volume cut for the distortion sound.
This means you can have your amp setting on clean for rhythm and chords. Then kick in the boost (cut) stage and distortion stage together to activate a distortion sound for rhythms, and then switch the boost (cut) off to kick into a solo.
Doing things the way we have described them above keeps your cuts and boosts clean without colouring the sound, which is really important for some people.
So this pedal gives you the option of using the boost after the overdrive stage to colour your sound by increasing overdrive (as well as increasing volume), or just using it before the overdrive stage to play with volume and overdrive levels without colouring the sound.
Simple, but genius. Well done Black Cat and Brad Scott.
To hear audio samples of the Black Cat OD-1, the signature overdrive pedal on which the overdrive stage of the OD-Boost will be based, go to the next page of this article.
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