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Maxon OSD9 Overdrive Soft Distortion

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In the early 1970’s, Maxon decided to expand their already-successful pickup manufacturing business by adding a line of electronic sound effects for guitar. By the end of the decade Maxon had taken the world of compact effects by storm, and in Japan their products were considered the standard by which all others were judged.

It was during this time (1977, to be exact) that Maxon introduced what some consider to be their “holy grail” pedal – the Maxon OD880 Overdrive/Soft Distortion. With considerably less gain than the OD808, the OD880 was the perfect companion for the player who wanted the absolute minimum tonal coloration from their overdrive box.

Employing a passive distortion circuit based around the 741 Op-Amp (also used in the popular DOD Overdrive Preamp/250), the OD880 was coveted for its warm and natural tube-like overdrive tone. The OD880 was perfect for use as a transparent booster to take a tube-amp over the edge, offering singing blues tones unrivaled by other stompboxes. Japanese guitar legend Char (Hisato Takenaka) made the OD880 famous by choosing it as his booster-of-choice, and this led original vintage OD880’s to quickly skyrocket into the $600 range on the vintage market.

In the early 1990’s Maxon reissued a limited edition version of the OD880 in the original large enclosure with the addition of a status LED. However, with no distribution outside of Japan, this model went largely unnoticed by the rest of the world, leaving its amazing tube-tone a secret to everyone save a few select vintage enthusiasts.

Now Maxon has once again resurrected the OD880 and improved on this timeless classic. The new OSD-9 Overdrive/Soft Distortion takes the same circuit as the original OD880 (including the 741 Op Amp) and offers it up in Maxon’s indestructible, industry-standard 9-Series chassis. Some modern day utility features were also added, including mechanical true bypass via a 4PDT switch and a charge pump to stabilize operation at 9 VDC regardless of input voltage, assuring consistent tone at all times.

The OSD-9 offers a bright, crisp overdrive that compliments single coil pickups perfectly. The pedal’s post-integration overdrive circuit smoothly changes according to input level, offering a highly dynamic response to picking technique unparalleled in the world of stompboxes.

30 years after the original OD880 was released, the improved OSD-9 promises to bestow the legendary tone of its predecessor upon a new generation of discerning players – are you ready?

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