First cab off the rank is the simplest, the OD-10 overdrive – and what a classic sounding overdrive it is. It looks oddly familiar in its lemon yellow chassis and sounds as such. Twin controls allow access to Level and Gain, and realistically that is all you need. Dialled down it oozes just a pinch of even order harmonic that makes it a real estate-friendly clean boost with character that belies its size. Hammer up the Gain knob and there is a tonne of warm sustain and grunge era dirt that gives you that loud-quiet-loud dynamic we all know and love. One would assume that the lack of tone control leaves a lot to be desired, but that is surprisingly not true as the time tested colour on board allows the true characteristic of your guitar to shine through to the speakers aided, not hindered, by the richness of the circuit it runs through.
The CH-10 is dangerously close to the pedal it is designed on. The instantly recognisable sky blue ladybug is as classy as a chorus pedal can be. The Rate knob controls the ripples on the surface of your tone, while the Depth knob allows you to see through to the bottom of the lake as much as you’d like. Saturated ‘80s JC120 sounds abound as you wish or lean away from the river and just use it to thicken up your clean tone. I happened to try this one out with an acoustic guitar, as I’ve heard people use the original to great effect, and it did a magical job of creating space where there was none before.
The most successful of the three on offer today, however, was the AD-10. No pussyfooting around, this magic magenta miniature takes the Boss DM2 squarely in its sights, aims and hits bull’s-eye. The DM2 is one of the most sought after pedals that Boss ever put out and is responsible for some of the most creatively simple guitar sounds in recorded history. Songs like ‘Run Like Hell’ by Pink Floyd and ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’ by U2 rely on the warmth and subtlety of this unit’s repeats to calcify a let-the-guitar-play-itself technique that had never been heard before. The AD-10 is an exact replica of the delay that changed delays in every way, from the layout of the dials to the dusty heat in the tails, to the wild and flailing self-oscillation. I’ve played clones and I’ve played clones of clones, and this is as close as I’ve come to the real thing at a fraction of the cost.
For a while there it seemed like small footprint clones of everybody’s favourite pedals were a very real threat to their original parent companies. Mooer and Hotone came close to knocking the giants off the beanstalk but fell short by varying degrees; however, there is still something to be said for the way lower cost imitation pedals allow the everyman access to some hard to reach places. Valeton’s Loft series goes a long way to closing the gap between high-brow collector and your everyday tone chaser.