Review: Browne Amplification Protein Dual Overdrive V3

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Review: Browne Amplification Protein Dual Overdrive V3

Browne Amplification Protein Dual Overdrive V3
Words by Rob Gee

Browne Amplification Protein Dual Overdrive V3 | GSUS4 | RRP: $519.00

Those who love a great guitar drive will surely have heard of Browne Amplification. Based in Kansas City in the good old US of A, David Brown has set about to making guitar pedals that cater to what every guitarist wants to hear more of: Overdrive, Fuzz and Gain pedals. And let’s face it, you can never have too many overdrives! So, with that, it was great to get a look in at the new Version 3 model of the Protein Dual Overdrive.

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Let’s start with the build on this thing. Like all Browne Amplification pedals, the Protein Dual Overdrive is built into a sturdy metal chassis with an eclectic array of knobs on the control pots. The centre of the top panel has that all too familiar label plate with the version number and serial number stamped into it. It’s just one of those little touches that you don’t see on mass produced effects pedals, just like everyone has come off the craftsman’s bench with a seal of approval.

There are a few physical differences between this and the previous model, and they are certainly improvements in my book. Firstly, the input and output have now been moved to the rear of the box, rather than the sides. Being a double pedal, there is plenty of space to accommodate them up the back without compromising on other feathers. This means you can now stack the Protein right up against other pedals on your pedal board, where space can become a premium when you own too many overdrives. Further, the two channel switches are now soft touch, silent switches, which is a really nice feature. It takes away the heavy ‘click’ on the button when you engage a channel. And of course, the colour options are still there, with the classic Olive Green, White and Black boxes on offer. But of course, when it comes to an overdrive, it’s not the colour of the box, but the colour of the sound that is important.

The Blue side is naturally going to be where anyone is going to start. And what an opening this channel offers with just a random adjustment of the three controls! So, actually paying attention to the Level, Drive and Tone, there is a lot that can be found in this channel. With all three set to twelve o’clock, the Protein Dual Overdrive offers a subtle breakup and noticeably, an increase in the lower end. It has been likened to the overdrive used by John Mayer on the Continuum album, and it is clear that this is right in the ballpark. It’s all going to come down to how you’re running it. One thing of note with the Blue channel is the exceptional output it offers, so you can bring the Drive right back and fire up the Level for a great clean boost. But, with the Drive wound right up, it delivers an almost raspy grit that will have single coil players finding their inner blues. I was really impressed with how this darkened up when you brought the Drive down to about halfway and cranked the Level up. You’re tempted to wind up the Tone control at this point, but it really has a lovely note that just wants to be heard.

Setting everything to twelve o’clock on the Green side and it instantly beefs up your overall sound. You’ll notice a real lift in the lower frequencies, partly due to the tone circuit and partly due to the harmonic richness of the overdrive. So, the first thing I think most people will find themselves doing is bringing the Tone control up a little to add some extra presence to the signal and create definition, without taking away the meat in the sandwich. A little extra on the Level control gets a good balance with the Drive. As you bring the Drive up, it gets really tough, with enough gain to get to the point of not becoming a mess. They have engineered this pedal to have a lower amount of gain for just this reason. You can work through the entire sweep of the control pot and find a usable sound at any point. Pulling back the Drive and bringing the Level right up offers a subtle clean boost that some players will appreciate, but few will actually consider with what this channel has to offer as far as gain goes.

For those who just want ‘more’ from a simple pedal, The Protein offers just that, with both channels able to be run together in series. Following the signal path, the Green channel is run into the Blue channel for a full flavoured richness of sound. Best of all, you’re still able to hear each note as it’s played, with the clarity you expect from a Browne Amplification overdrive, but it’s two at once. There is something about how this thing has been constructed that allows both channels to work together and compliment each other, rather than just turning the sound to a fuzzy mess, as can easily happen when you start stacking one overdrive on another.

And for those of you who want to avoid the regular signal chain through this device and want to feed it into a looper system, because you own too many pedals and have too many options, Dave Brown has accommodated for this too. The input and output are actually TRS connectors that can be engaged with an internal switch to change the operational mode of the pedal. When this is switched over, the ‘Input’ connector handles the Green channel and ‘Output’ connector handles the Blue channel. In this setup, you can choose to run them both together from you looper switches, rather than the pedal’s switches.

All in all, this IS another overdrive pedal. And that’s why I think I dig it so much. Because it is a well-built, well thought out and great sounding addition to any array of overdrives. You might have a pedal or two that have similar characteristics to the Browne Amplification Protein Dual Overdrive, but you certainly won’t have two that sound quite the same, nor in the one box!

For more information, head to Browne Amplification. For local enquiries, visit GSUS4.