Warm Audio ODD Box V1: What is it?
Even if you’ve never tried a Fulltone Obsessive Compulsive Drive, better known as the OCD, the long list of guitar greats who’ve had one on the board speaks volumes.
The cream-coloured pedal with the infamous Comic Sans logo has been used by the likes of Billy Gibbons, Paul Gilbert, Eric Johnson, Samantha Fish, Al Di Meola, Peter Frampton, Robin Trower, Greg Howe, Phoebe Bridgers, Don Felder, Biréli Lagrène… we could go on but you get the idea.
Designed to be an open-sounding hard-clipping distortion with enough headroom to faithfully emulate a driven valve amp, it took a great deal of inspiration from units like the Voodoo Labs Overdrive and MXR Distortion+ and – along with the Deja Vibe and Clyde Wah – was paramount in establishing Fulltone as one of the world’s first boutique pedal companies over the course of the 90s and early noughties.
So why is Warm Audio – a 2011 company that only entered the guitar effects pedal market in 2020 – bothering to recreate one of the most prestigious overdrives of all time?
Well, the answer is slightly complicated. Last August, Fulltone’s owner announced that his company would be closing its doors in California after 30 years and he would be putting the factory building up for sale. “I will not start pumping my personal money into a business that no longer turns a profit,” noted Mike Fuller, adding “this four-year climate makes 100% made-in-the-USA impossible.”
One thing he failed to address head-on in the statement, however, was his deeply insensitive comments regarding the protests that followed in the wake of the police brutality resulting in the death of George Floyd. The shameful controversy led to dealers such as Guitar Center and Reverb cutting ties with the company and artists like blink-182’s Mark Hoppus going as far to announce that they’re “never buying another Fulltone pedal” as well as looking to “find a good way to get rid of those I already own”.
Of course, politics aside, none of this can distract from the OCD being a truly game-changing design or Mike Fuller and his team being phenomenally gifted engineers. Which is why having virtually the same overdrive made ‘guilt-free’ by a different company for less than half the price is so appealing – provided, of course, it can match the tonal ingenuity and versatility of the original…
Warm Audio ODD Box V1: Performance and verdict
Instead of trying to completely rebrand the pedal, it’s great that Warm Audio has chosen to stay as close to home aesthetically. And while Comic Sans might not be to everyone’s taste, the logo certainly leaves a long-lasting impression, if nothing else.
But more importantly, will this be remembered as one of, if not the, greatest OCD clone on the market in years to come? We’d like to think so, given the quality of the sounds we’re hearing.
You’ll find three controls – the classic trio of Volume, Tone and Drive – plus a switch to choose between the UK to US modes. Fine-tuning the EQ curve and breakup character, is what makes the pedal wonderfully versatile and more of a two-in-0ne affair.
On the Fulltone, the switch was for High Peak and Low Peak, essentially doing the same thing – a higher gain, a mid-focussed option that was more Marshall-sounding and a lower gain, scooped mode closer to a Fender-style amp.
So whether you want to add a thunderous growl and endless sustain to an already overdriven sound or push a high headroom clean amp into the edge of breakup, effectively serving as a true bypass boost, this is an amp-in-a-box you can trust in doing it well.
So what exactly are the differences? The reason why this recreation is so affordable comes down to it being manufactured in China rather than being handmade in the US.
And while there’s an air of romance to the latter, usually manifesting in neater wiring and soldering – as well as collectability, of course – there’s no discernable sonic difference whatsoever between the new iteration and its recently discontinued long-distant cousin, at least from the review unit provided.
We’d like to think more emphasis should be placed on the similarities. Like the Fulltone, the ODD has a through-hole construction with premium components such as the TLO82CP Op-Amp, 2N7000 transistors and hand-selected capacitors and resistors.
It can also be run with an 18v power supply, which adds even more touch-dynamics or firepower depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re dialled into. Of course, there were several versions of the OCD made over the years and, given that the V2 included switchable bypass modes and a Class A JFET input section, this Warm Audio recreation sits closer to V1.7.
Who knows, a V2 copy may appear later down the line, but it’s the earlier versions that made waves in the effects pedal community and established Fulltone as masters of their craft.
One thing’s for sure – ever since Warm Audio moved into the effects pedal market three years ago we’ve seen some stunning tributes to classics like the Klon Centaur and Hermida Audio Zendrive.
This latest venture is no different, offering world-class boutique tones at an affordable price point, making it one of our favourite overdrives of 2023.
MusicRadar Verdict: Recreating one of the most highly lauded pedals in the history of overdrives is no mean feat. The good news is that the ODD passes the test with flying colours and does so at a fraction of the cost.
Warm Audio ODD Box V1: Hands-on demos
Travis Raab Guitar
Warm Audio ODD Box V1: Specifications
- As close to a Fulltone OCD as you can get
- Through-hole construction and custom-folded steel enclosure with a durable powder-coated Finish
- True-bypass switching
- 9-Volt Battery Or External 9-18V Regulated DC Adapter (centre-negative)
- Premium Components, Including A TLO82CP Op-Amp, 2N7000 Transistors, & Hand-Selected Capacitors & Resistors
- Controls: Volume, Drive, Tone, UK/US switch
- Current Draw: 5.5 mA (9V) / 6.5 mA (18V)
- Dimensions: 4.5" x 2.5" x 1.5"
- Weight: 0.85 lbs
- CONTACT: Warm Audio