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J. Rockett Audio Designs Touch Overdrive
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  • MGR/Brian JohnstonMGR/Brian Johnston

    Bare Bones & Effective

    J. Rockett Audio Designs Touch OverdrivePublished on 09/26/18 at 03:56
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    SOUND:
    The Touch Overdrive delivers the goods, from Blues to Classic Rock, in a super small footprint and a highly affordable price, as demonstrated in the YouTube video below:



    You will notice that two things are obvious in the sound while tweaking the knobs. First, the Grain (drive) is so subtle when on low that you can hear it being used to add a hint of dirt to a clean signal, to be used for some Blues or Funk and without being too ostentatious. As you approach 11-o’clock the Touch begins to take on a different character and you can hear a more modern tone emerge. Once you get to 12-noon it is obvious that you ar…
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    SOUND:
    The Touch Overdrive delivers the goods, from Blues to Classic Rock, in a super small footprint and a highly affordable price, as demonstrated in the YouTube video below:



    You will notice that two things are obvious in the sound while tweaking the knobs. First, the Grain (drive) is so subtle when on low that you can hear it being used to add a hint of dirt to a clean signal, to be used for some Blues or Funk and without being too ostentatious. As you approach 11-o’clock the Touch begins to take on a different character and you can hear a more modern tone emerge. Once you get to 12-noon it is obvious that you are in hard rock territory. And when turned up full the notes remain clearly defined and without being too saturated or muddy. The Tone knob adds just enough highs or lows that you can find use for the entire band width. When using bright or very clear pickups you can turn it all the way toward the low end and it still sounds clear and pretty good. It may sound a touch jangly all the way on the highs, but that’s where those dark pickups would perform well.

    The Touch Overdrive sounds good on its own and has very nice warmth and clarity when cranked, but it picks up on attitude when combined with the Squeegee Compressor and/or the Steampunk Boost. Those added tones are demonstrated in the demo video as well.

    OVERALL IMPRESSION:
    The Touch Overdrive, developed by J. Rockett Pedals, is one of a limited edition four pedals, part of the JET collection. Also available is the Squeegee Compressor, the Steampunk Boost/Buffer and the Immortal Echo. Half the size of a regular pedal, the Touch Overdrive comes in at only $99 USD (as do the other three in the collection), and when combined with the other three in the collection you have a pretty nice mini-pedal board at a super price. I really appreciate the size of the Touch Overdrive, allowing you to squeeze in just one more thing on a pedal board; but it’s the quality of the sound that is very spot-on… it has a warm grainy tone ideal for leads or when grinding out a cool riff – and the harmonics and note definition really pop as you turn up the Grain. If the power input were located in the back the Touch Overdrive would be just about perfect, as it would allow an even tighter pedal board layout.

    EASE OF USE:
    The Touch Overdrive, as well as all the JET series pedals, is easy to use. It has a Volume, Grain (drive) and Tone knob. The Volume is easy enough to set, and I found starting at 12-noon gives you a good starting point… from there you can adjust relative to your other gear and any clipping that may occur. The Tone knob pretty much works throughout the entire range, insofar as any position sounds good. Too much ‘highs’ may be a bit too much for the bridge pickup (although I tested this on a guitar with very clear and somewhat bright pickups), and although there’s a sweet spot for any guitar and amp, I found between 9-o’clock and 2-o’clock sounded pretty decent and I found it difficult to decide which tone I preferred more. The Grain is perfect if you want to add some dirt to a clean signal, but it also helps to push a high-gain or distorted signal even better (similar to how a tube screamer on low gives that added boost to an already dirty signal). When playing some crunch rhythm the sweet spot is around 11- and 1-o’clock, whereas rock leads shine nicely around 12-noon or higher (depending on how much sustain and saturation you want).

    RELIABILITY & DURABILITY:
    The all-steel chassis of the Touch Overdrive feels rather hefty in the hand, and measuring in at only 1.75 x 3.5 inches (4.44 x 8.89 cm). Due to its small size, a big foot may touch down on the plastic knobs occasionally, although the knobs are of good quality. Likewise, the feel of the pots when turning the knobs are very solid and smooth. The input/output for cables are located in the back, whereas the power supply (standard 9v 2.1 mm) insert is on the side. Even with the power insert located on the side, you still can fit the pedals rather tightly together (particularly with EBS flat head patches), which helps to keep the power input snug and in place, and out of harm’s way.
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