The latest stomp from famed pickup guru Seymour Duncan is the 805, an updated take on the ubiquitous green pedal that's launched a million riffs. Duncan started with the "808 chip," which was a full-sized 4558, but they settled on a MC33178 to eliminate excess noise and extend battery life. They also added in a very responsive 3-band EQ and some added gain. The end result is aimed at Tube Screamer fans that like more tone-shaping power.
With all knobs at noon, the 805 captured the essence of a classic overdrive—think "Jumping Jack Flash" with more girth. Set up as a boost, the 805 isn’t quite as transparent as I hoped, probably due to the active EQ’s amplification stage. The real surprise came when the gain was cranked. The 805 produced an amazingly crunchy metal tone (it does have 36 dB of gain handy) and with the added EQ controls I could dial out some of flabby low end and scoop the mids—bonus! There inevitability will be the die-hard 808 nerds that wouldn't give up their green box for all the Klons in the world, but the 805 gives open-minded overdrive fans a solid, and versatile, option.
Test gear: Fender Stratocaster, PRS S2 Vela, Fender Hot Rod Deville ML 212