Few guitarists have hands-on experience with über-rare Dumble amplifiers. That said, there are certain sonic characteristics—smooth saturation and compression especially—that we associate with Dumbles. The Sonic Fusion Overdrive does these things, and a number of other useful sounds, very well.
The Sonic Fusion does its Dumble trick best when mated to a high-headroom amp that’s just at the edge of breakup. There, the pedal applies a metallic edge to the pick attack that makes linear runs more articulate and gives chords extra punch. It feels very amp-like too, with plenty of harmonic complexity and body.
There’s enough gain in the tank to effectively blur the line between overdrive and full-fledged distortion, which makes the Sonic Fusion feel exceptionally dynamic. Response to changes in picking attack and adjustments to the guitar’s volume control are all very amp-like as well.
The tone knob offers a lot of sonic range that goes from muffled and fuzzy to an exaggerated bright sizzle. The pedal’s contour knob is a powerful control that transforms higher-gain sounds from tight and compressed to glassy and open, and helps add or subtract some of the Dumble-esque smoothness as needed. There’s also a bass boost that calls up additional bottom-end thump and roundness without being overbearing or drastically changing the pedal’s fundamental voice. These three controls give the Sonic Fusion Overdrive uncommon tone-sculpting power.
The Sonic Fusion Overdrive has more tricks under the hood. Inserted between a Gibson Les Paul Junior and a Matamp GT40 driving a 4x12 cab, the pedal delivered Marshall-flavored tones reminiscent of a cranked JMP with less upper midrange honk and a bit less bite. It also energized lead tones with top-end sparkle and extra sustain. And while you’ll sometimes hear a low-mid bump in these settings, the pedal doesn’t rob your guitar and amp of their respective personalities.
The Sonic Fusion Overdrive delivers on promises of Dumble-style tones, but it brings much more to the table—especially when you consider the delicious medium-gain Brit-flavored sounds. Refined and functional, it could be a go-to overdrive for anyone looking beyond the typical overdrive tones. It’s well built, and at $149 bucks, it punches well above its price class.—David Von Bader
Watch the Review Demo: