Here we go with Round 2 of Overdrive Wars!
In this round, we take a look at MXR’S Micro Amp, Earthquaker Devices’ Monarch, Xotic Effects’ Bass RC Booster and Darkglass Electronics’ Microtubes B3K CMOS Bass Overdrive.
The Micro Amp, by MXR, has been used on several Mars Volta and Vato Negro records. Yes, it is a boost pedal, but I use it as a subtle overdrive (that’s because I always crank it up!). I love the way it pushes the other pedals into realms unknown. It is simple and clean, but it can really grind out.
Earthquaker Devices’ Monarch is an overdrive with benefits. Not only does it have gain and a level controls, but also bass and treble knobs. But they’re not the traditional roll off filters in most overdrives: instead they function as frequency boosters located in the preamp section and have a large impact on the over all tone, nature and distortion characteristics.
Xotic Effects sent me their Bass RC Booster a while ago and I have since used it on a number of recordings. I find it useful for giving a passive bass that active sound. The low end is very deep and, as you can hear in the video, it really has a lot more low end than any of the other overdrives.
Last up is the Darkglass Electronics Microtube B3K CMOS Bass Overdrive. This pedal has a really great grind and very even distortion. It’s not too radical; but that is what you want when fitting in a mix. The two switches on the top right add some nice attack and kick in the low end.