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Boutique amp builder Kasha Amplifiers has raised the bar on what a true overdrive pedal should do and how it should perform. It makes perfect sense that if one were to set out to design an overdrive pedal to compliment the sound of an amplifier, it should be one that is familiar with how an amplifier actually works. It is this perspective that has brought attention to the new Kasha Overdrive (KOD) pedal and it is this perspective that promises to set it apart from the others by truly maintaining transparency through a wide frequency range.
“Wow, it has all the clarity and sparkle I was hoping for. I was able to hear every note and the sustain is great,” said Paul Jackson Jr. (guitarist for American Idol, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers)
The glossy black pedal features a simple design without even a tone control. Kasha says this is because often a tone control or passive filter is used to dampen the unwanted high frequencies but as a result, diminishes the tone of the amplifier.
The KOD is designed with four unique voice selections: Smooth, Classic, Hot and Melt, and a master 10dB turbo switch for all four voices. This is how Kasha describes each channel:
The first voice, Smooth, provides a 3dB up to assist in achieving that one last kick when the amp isn’t just quite there. This is a prefect setting when playing a blues riff or wanting to add a little hair on your clean channel. Engage the turbo switch for cleaner power chords and smoother lead tones.
The second, Classic, provides an 11dB up, adding a dash of bass and highs to the tone and still keeping the overall signal intact. Use it for dynamics in songs ranging from a clean crunch to balls-to-the-wall riffing. Kasha says this is where the KOD really starts to set itself apart from others by allowing Les Paul-style guitars to sound like stacked pickups on a Strat-style instrument and bringing real attitude to imported shredding machines. By applying the turbo switch in the Classic voice, the tones start capturing that vibe of pure metal carnage.
The Hot voice adds 15dB up and is perfect for turning your amplifier into a chainsaw – in a good way – by helping the player cut through a wall of sound like butter. This is ideal for solo boosting and when you kick in the turbo switch, the KOD provides violin like sustain for days.
The last voice is Melt. By providing 18dB up, this setting is for those climatic moments when “You are almost there, the crowd is on their feet, your face is cringed, head back, eyes closed, your dream tone is starting to take shape, but you need just a bit more” occasions. This voicing takes up the gain a few ticks and then adds a tight bottom end where the notes become thick without the flub and overtones.
“It is the first overdrive pedal that does not change the amps tone (and gives a) variety of useable voicing’s for many styles and tracks every note I pick. (The KOD) makes other distortion or overdrive pedals sound better and turns your amp into multiple amps with pro tones” – Phil X (Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Tommy Lee, Daughtry)
Features of the Kasha Overdrive include:
· 4 channels with separate voicing and gain structure
· 10 dB clear boost
· Analog design
· True bypass switching
· Very low power consumption (3mA and runs on a single 9V battery)
· High gloss mirror black powder coat
· Low noise design and pro sound
· Hand made in the USA
Gear Review: KASHA Overdrive
September 10, 2009 by GoofyDawg
Summary: Just about the most amazing overdrive pedal I’ve ever had the privilege to play!Pros: 4 “channels” provide different and amazing overdrive voices that add “spice” to your tone. No line noise from this pedal at all! Super simple operation.
Price: $200 direct from KASHA Amplifiers
Tone Bone Score: 5.0 – I’ve played through enough overdrive pedals to fill a large trunk, and the KASHA Overdrive is simply one of the best I’ve every played!
If you’ve read this blog with any regularity – and I know I’ve said this in the past – I just can’t get enough of overdrive pedals. I just love ’em! But over time, and as there are so many overdrive pedals being released on a regular basis, I’ve started to limit what I take a deep dive into researching. Lately, I’ve only focused on overdrive pedals that offer a “twist” on the overdrive, and not clones. One such pedal that I recently discovered (and now has a permanent place on my board) was the GeekDriver, that while based upon the classic ColorSound Overdriver, has a sound all its own!
And wouldn’t you know it, I came across the KASHA Overdrive, and its simplicity intrigued me so much that I just had to check it out! Here was an overdrive pedal that required no EQ control! For me, that’s a HUGE thing because the implication is that the pedal’s circuit doesn’t require you to compensate for tonal changes that often get introduced with other pedals.
In any case, if you don’t want to read any further, let me just say this, and have it done with:
The KASHA Overdrive kicks ass, and I will be adding it to my pedal board! Even if you’re not in the market for a new overdrive, you owe it to yourself to give this pedal a serious look!
Four channels, Two Knobs, One Switch and a TON of Ways to Enhance Your Tone
Notice I didn’t say, “tweak” or something similar that would imply that your tone changes once the KASHA OD is engaged. The reason for this is that KASHA built the pedal from the perspective of “voicing” much like an amplifier. Each “channel” on the pedal represents a different “voice.” It’s almost as if you have four amps in a box. In light of that, your input EQ remains the same; but just like plugging into different amps, the KASHA OD offers different kinds of “voicings.”
But it doesn’t just end there with the channels. The gain knob is incredibly expressive and just like an amplifier, provides different characteristics depending upon where you set the sweep. It’s f-in incredible! It’s also really difficult to verbally describe the effect. The closest I can get to an explanation of turning up the gain knob is that it is very similar to turning up the master volume on your amp and the effect that has as more juice is fed into the power tubes. Like I said, it’s hard to articulate…
And then if you didn’t think that the standard gain profile is enough, the “Turbo” switch will kick your amp’s ass even more by giving you a 10dB boost! 10dB may not seem like much, but sonically, it’s HUGE!
How It Sounds
So how does the pedal sound? In a word AMAZING, even when it’s on and you’re not playing anything, because unlike a lot of overdrive pedals, the KASHA Overdrive is dead quiet electronically. No hums, no buzzes, not a single electronic tick. The only noise it makes is when you play your axe through it.
I’ll let you read the documentation on the KASHA web site that describes the different channels – it’s pretty accurate. In lieu of that, I’ll write about my own perceptions of each channel as I experienced them. By the way, I played the pedal through a Fender DRRI and a Fender Princeton Studio, using my Saint Guitars Goldtop Messenger.
This channel is a simple boost stage, which ups your gain about 3dB. It’s an ideal channel to use if your amp is already at the edge of breakup, and you want to push it just over the edge to get a little extra bite. Of course, if you add the Turbo, then you get a full 13dB to start really working your pre-amp tubes. The impressive thing about this channel is that it demonstrates the pedal’s transparency. Setting the gain to unity, and switching the pedal on and off, there is absolutely no tonal change whatsoever. Quite nice.
I loved this channel most of all, and as soon as I made my first strum on this channel, I was completely sold on the pedal. I didn’t have to hear any more. This channel is voiced brightly, and sounds like a friggin’ low-wattage EL-84 amp with all the chimey goodness that kind of amp has to offer. But at the same time, you don’t lose your lows. In fact, the full spectrum of your EQ is retained, but you get this incredibly dreamy, top-end chime that just works its way through your entire body! When I was playing through this channel, I just closed my eyes to listen to that sweet chime.
Need even more grind? Now you have it. This channel slams your front-end with 11dB of gain, and gives you an added bass shelf. The tone from this channel is absolutely HUGE! And even with the big bass, you never lose any clarity at any time. Do a big power chord, and you’ll rip right through any mix. Pluck a single note and dig in, and that note will sustain – like Santana sustain, baby! And the cool thing is that at no time does your signal compress as often happens with other pedals, and we’re talking starting to get into some serious-ass gain when you’ve got the gain knob and guitar volume completely cranked! Then you hit the Turbo button, and WHOA! Singing sustain that just floats in the air and doesn’t come down!
Here we’re getting into metal territory as the voicing gets a big, but tight bottom end plus a few more dB’s of gain. And just as with the Hot channel, you don’t lose any tonal clarity at all – you hear every single note, which is all the more amazing in this channel because you’re absolutely slamming the front-end of your amp! You just get a beefy, hairy balls sound that’ll shake the rafters when you’ve got it cranked up! Yeah, “melt” is an appropriate term to be used here because the thick, liquid metal tone in this channel will certainly melt you; of course, in a very good way!
Dammit! I wish I had more time to play with the pedal to really take it through its paces, but the store was closing up, and we were playing a bit too loud for the tender ears of the senior citizen sales people, though gracious as they were to let us bring in our own gear. What amazed me the most was how absolutely HUGE the Fender Princeton sounded with this pedal. This is a little 15 watt amp that combined with the KASHA overdrive could be used in a club. No problem cutting through with the KASHA overdrive engaged!
Yeah, I was sold on the Classic channel alone, but I’m just completely twitterpated and ga-ga over this pedal. KASHA claims that not a single person to date has had a bad opinion or offered “improvements” to it, and this includes some very big names in the music business (sorry, not allowed to mention them yet by request of KASHA). Based on even my brief experience with the KASHA Overdrive, I totally believe the claim. THE KASHA OVERDRIVE WILL KICK YOUR ASS!
By the way, I hate KASHA Amplifiers!!! I thought I was temporarily cured of my recent case of GAS, and now the KASHA Overdrive has me salivating, slobbering, and frothing at the mouth with an f-in’ GAS attack!