One of the most difficult aspects to pin down on your 'board is dirt pedals: they have to work with the rest of your rig to make the cut. MXR's Custom Shop bods have been turning out stompboxes that fit the bill for a few years, and with the Il Torino Overdrive they reckon they've cracked the secret of overdrive that blends with your amp's natural break-up.
The company drafted in Carlo Sorasio, Italy's top boutique amp and pedal builder, who designed the circuit and equipped the pedal with a three-band EQ, plus switchable OD and boost modes.
The pedal's MOSFET transistor-based design provides a tight, glassy, almost hi-fi crunch, but keeps your core tone uncoloured and intact. That also makes it less forgiving of mistakes than compressed Marshall-style drive.
Punching in the boost mode and a low gain level adds an earthy break-up that's hugely responsive to playing dynamics, and makes for a great 'always-on' overdrive, especially with an already-cooking valve amp.
This is where the Il Torino shines: delivering valve-aping shimmer, rather than grittier higher gains, nearing fuzzier RAT-like sounds.