If a simple three dial stompbox is to be the source for your overdrive utopia, then you've a lot to wade through in the market place. That said, some are better than others and a few really outstanding. After a few sessions and gigs with the Protone Gold Label Premium Overdrive, we'd heartily place this in the outstanding group.
The Gold Label Premium Overdrive is a boutique pedal that sports three black dials (volume, tone and gain) situated on top of a white metal chassis. The footswitch is located a touch to the left of the housing (different…) with the light located directly above it - you'll need to move your foot away quickly to see if the effect is engaged (can always use your ears to tell instead though!).
With boutique overdrive pedals there is always something unique to warrant the appeal and cost. In the case of the Premium Overdrive, its mains powered only (so no battery option), raising the 9 volt supply to 18 volts internally. This extra power provides more headroom - a real benefit especially when wanting a single coil tone optimised for dynamic playing.
The primary appeal of low/mid gain pedals like this is to either add a clean boost to your amp's 'just breaking up' tone or to add further gain for crunchier solos and riffs. Both options proved great here but even with a clean amp setting married to considerable gain from the pedal, the tone was outstanding. For example, set the pedal's gain to 2 o'clock and the tone around 1 o'clock (amp to clean), flick to a neck single coil and you'll find all manner of Hendrix/SRV options - even more when manipulating the guitar's volume and tone controls. Indeed, it took us over fifteen minutes on this setting alone before we moved onto the bridge pickup!
Although their sell line is bold - 'The Gold Label Overdrive will be the last overdrive pedal you'll ever need to invest in' - for many blues/rock guitarists, Protone is right on the money!
The Gold Label Premium Overdrive retails at $349.
For more info on the Gold Label Premium Overdrive and other pedals from Protone visit http://protonepedals.com/?p=253