Transparency equals flexibility in a sweet-sounding and dynamic drive unit.
The DOD brand returned under the DigiTech umbrella in 2013 with reboots of some of its most revered effects. Since then, they’ve broadened their horizons, reviving ’90s obscurities like the Meatbox Subsynth and Gonkulator Ringmod, and building all-new units like the Looking Glass Overdrive.
The Looking Glass is the product of a collaborative effort with Shoe Pedals designer Christopher Venter. The result is a flexible, responsive boost and overdrive with lots of transparency and headroom. It’s a great match for players that prize low-key-yet-potent drive tones, but don’t want to obscure what’s good about their guitars and amps. It’s also the kind of pedal that can make lackluster rigs sound much more substantial, alive, and colorful.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Looking Glass is a Class A, FET-based circuit. The pedal features the usual volume and gain controls, and a toggle switch that enables selection of two voices. In the toggle-down setting, the pedal functions much like a clean boost. The up setting provides more gain. An input filter knob helps tame bright guitars or introduces woolier textures ahead of the gain stage. But the bulk of the considerable EQ-shaping power comes via the clever concentric bass cut and treble knobs. Like the input filter, the bass cut function subtracts bass content in the signal before it hits the pedal’s gain stage, which keeps the summed signal, and the low-end output in particular, tight, focused and airy. The treble knob adds top-end presence as you need it. There are also two internal dipswitches, which raise the Looking Glass’ input impedance slightly so it will work better with buffered pedals or particularly bright signals. Considering the pedal’s small footprint, it’s extremely feature-rich and functional.
Looking Glass is very adaptable, and it was easy to dial in cool sounds no matter what guitar and amp I threw in the mix. The pedal has an almost uncanny knack for magnifying and accentuating the best qualities of rigs. It’s also extremely sensitive to adjustments in pick attack.
In clean boost and low gain modes, Looking Glass adds a pleasant bit of compression, sparkle, and presence that’s magical for pared-down rigs. When I used it to goose a stock Fender Pro Junior, paired with a P-90-loaded Telecaster, Looking Glass added a three-dimensional, shimmering quality to the tone. With the Pro Junior set for mild breakup, the Looking Glass coaxed it into thick, crunchy overdrive—adding a cool layer of harmonic activity with touch-sensitivity and dynamics. With a dirty, cranked Marshall JCM800-style amp and a Les Paul, Looking Glass added a touch of compression that had little adverse affect on the pedal’s intrinsic dynamics. The very effective treble section of the EQ also made it easy to dial in an extra-searing lead tone that sailed above the mix without getting shrill.
With higher gain, the Looking Glass’ transparency maintained very amp-like feel. I never felt disconnected from my guitar or amp, or out of control. This is the kind of amp-transforming power that touring players love when confronted with bland backline gear or the need to move between low-power, low-gain rigs and higher-gain setups night-by-night.
In designing the Looking Glass, DOD and Christopher Venter prioritized transparency and tones outside the TS and Klon sphere of influence. The focus on the former, in particular, makes Looking Glass agreeable, adaptable, and easy to tweak from rig to rig. In short, it’s a backline players’ dream OD. Better still, it delivers all this versatility at a cost that’s a fraction of many boost/overdrives with comparable range.
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Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
LegendaryTones, LLC today announced production availability of its new Mr. Scary Mod, a 100% pure tube module designed to instantly and easily expand the capabilities of many classic amplifiers with additional gain and tone shaping. Created in collaboration with legendary guitarist George Lynch of Dokken and Lynch Mob fame, the Mr.Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage and an onboard Deep control, which together are designed to enable an amp to have increased sustain while still retaining note definition and dynamics.
Originally released as the Lynch Mod in February 2021, the updated Mr. Scary Mod features the same core circuit as the Lynch Mod but is now equipped with a revised tube mix combo per George’s preference as well as a facelift in a newly redesigned electro-galvanized steel enclosure. As with the Lynch Mod, each run will be limited and the first run in Pumpkin Orange with Black hardware is limited to just 150 pieces worldwide.
The Mr. Scary Mod adds an adjustable tube gain stage on top of the cathode follower position, keeping note definition and articulation while further increasing sustain. Each Mr. Scary mod is meticulously built by hand in the USA, one at a time, and tuned using high-grade components. Equipped with a single ECC81 (12AT7) in the first position and ECC83 (12AX7) in the second, the Mr. Scary Mod can clean up beautifully when rolling down your guitar’s volume, and still adds scorching gain when you roll it back up. This is a gain stage that’s been tuned and approved by the ears of the maestro George Lynch himself.
“The Mr. Scary Mod excels with dynamics and is incredibly touch-responsive, allowing me to shift from playing clear, lightly compressed cleans to full-out aggressive sustain and distortion –and control it all simply by varying my guitar’s volume control and picking,” said GeorgeLynch. “In many ways, it’s an old-school approach, but it’s also so much more natural and expressive in addition to being musically fulfilling when you can play both the guitar and amp dynamically together this way.”
The Mr. Scary Mod installs in minutes, is safe and effective to use, and requires no special tools or re-biasing of the amplifier. Simply insert the module into the cathode follower preamp position of compatible amplifiers (includes Marshall 2203/2204/1959/1987 circuits) and
immediately get the benefit of enjoying a hot-rodded amp that delivers all the pure harmonic character that comes with an added pure tube gain stage. The handmade in the USA Mr. Scary Mod is now available to order for $319.
For more information, please visit legendarytones.com.
October Audio has miniaturized their NVMBR Gain pedal to create two mini versions of this beautifully organic-sounding circuit – including an always-on gain device.
The NVMBR Gain is a nonlinear amp that transitions gracefully from clean boost to overdriven tones. Volume increases from just over unity to about 10db before soft-clipping drive appears for another 5db of boost. Its extraordinary ease of use is matched by outstanding versatility: you can use it as a clean boost, push a stubborn amp into overdrive or create a just-breaking-up sound at any amp volume.
October Audio’s new family of mini NVMBR Gain pedals includes a switchable version that allows you to bypass the effect: one option features brand logo pedal graphics, while the other sports a fun “Witch Finger” graphic with a Davies knob as the“fingernail”.
The second version in the new lineup is an always-on device featuring the Witch Finger graphic and Davies knob, with the same NVMBR Gain circuit that lies at the core of the switchable version.
- Knob controls gain and clipping simultaneously
- Stunning silver hammertone finish
- Switchable versions are true-bypass, available with classic or witch finger graphics
- Authentic Davies knobs, including the “fingernail”
- 9V center negative power supply required
- Dimensions: 3.63 x 1.50 x 1.88 in
Witch Finger (always on NVMBR Gain) demo
All October Audio pedals are assembled in Richmond, VA, and available for purchase directly through the online shop. Street price is $109 for NVMBR Gain footswitch versions and $89 for the always-on device.
For more information, please visit octoberaudio.com.