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Jackson Audio and Cory Wong join forces for The Optimist – a MIDI-controllable dual overdrive and EQ based on classic Klon and Timmy stompboxes

Jackson Audio has unveiled a stompbox collab with funk-guitar maestro Cory Wong that takes circuits from two of the most-vaunted overdrive pedals in history, pairs them with a Baxandall-inspired active EQ section and then gives players MIDI control over the whole shebang.

Little wonder they called it The Optimist – it sounds too good too be true. But true it is, and if you ever wanted to have a Klon replica circuit, a Timmy-style overdrive and bypassable active EQ in one compact enclosure, your ship has come in.

Wong describes it as “the most versatile overdrive pedal” he has ever used, and says the goal was to design a pedal that offered a full range of drive tones for rhythm and lead guitar.

“I knew that Jackson Audio was the place to land for this pedal,” Wong says. “I’ve been blown away by the pedals they’ve made and wanted to explore some new circuits with them. The Klon has been this mystical and hyped up circuit for years and for good reason! It’s an incredible sounding circuit and the way it pairs with the flat response overdrive is incredible.”

The two overdrive circuits are voiced for low to mid-gain drives and can be used independently or stacked together. The OD1 circuit offers a little magic in the midrange a la the Klon Centaur, while the OD2 is a transparent Timmy-esque affair with a flat response. 

The Optimist has volume, tone and gain dials for each overdrive, with three mini-dials for the EQ section. You can boost or cut 12dB from each bass, middle and treble band. All the jacks are top-mounted to save you pedalboard conundrums and one of those connections allows you to control each of the overdrives and EQ section via MIDI. 

“The final piece of magic on this pedal is the EQ,” continues Wong. “Brad Jackson has been trying to convince me about the power of an EQ pedal for a long time and now I know why.

“We created an EQ section that focuses on the frequencies that you want more of in single coils and less of in humbuckers. The EQ can help tone shape your guitars to match each other or it can help you get the perfect clean tone out of an amp.”

Available now, The Optimist is available now, priced £/$349. See Jackson Audio for more details.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.