Visual Sound Open Road

January 1, 2010
The Open Road overdrive ($178 retail/$119 street) is a nofrills grindgiver that sports Volume, Drive, and Tone controls, as well as a bright yellow paint job. With plenty of glorious output on tap, the Open Road has enough oomph to be a clean boost—always a good sign in any distortion pedal—but, thanks to a Drive function that ranges from delicate, mildly overdriven chirps to searing rock textures, the Open Road has tons of tones on tap. Using a Fender Telecaster and a Princeton Reverb reissue, I got squawky, barely-clipping lead tones that cut with the right amount of healthy treble slice and midrange sweetness. The Open Road doesn’t add a lot of low end, but it doesn’t take it away, either. Cranking up the Drive control brings on more high-octane saturation, but not at the expense of note clarity or dynamics. Plus, I could still clean up the tones by backing off my guitar’s Volume control. The wonderfully voiced Tone control musically seasoned every guitar/amp combination I threw at it, whether I wanted a smaller, more razorlike sound with my Gibson SG and 50-watt Marshall setup, or a burly, buttery fat Telecaster tone through a Fender Super Reverb (Visual Sound says that the Tone control is voiced for a very open sound, and that it also adds a bit of drive when turned up.) For blues/ rock dudes looking for an overdrive that can go from a subtle, chirping crunch to a firebreathing scream machine, the Open Road is worth exploring. —Darrin Fox
KUDOS A musical-sounding overdrive/distortion with loads of gain.
CONTACT Visual Sound;
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