• Vick Audio Overdriver review

    Vick Audio Overdriver review

    Overdrive has always been the staple of the guitar sound. Whether you pin a hole in your speaker, crank the tubes or use pedals, overdrive makes your guitar come alive and make it the expressive instrument it is. The large orange coloured pedal was one of the first to hit the market over forty years ago and it’s heard on countless classic albums. I recently got my hands on the Overdriver from Vick Audio. Here’s my review.

    When I first started to explore David Gilmour’s tones I knew there was something missing. I had pretty much everything nailed but there was one tone that I could quite get right. I spent years figuring out what this pedal was and after much research the secret was finally revealed. Then, in early 2005 I visited Macari’s in London and saw that orange pedal lying behind the counter. I bought it (it cost £85… imagine that!) and I’ve been in love ever since. I’m of course talking about the Colorsound Powerbooster.

    The Powerboost was introduced in 1968 but when the American’s first saw it in the early 70s they apparently didn’t care much for the colour. The pedal was rehoused and called Overdriver. Same pedal. Same tone. The Overdriver from Vick Audio is based on the same classic design.

    The Overdriver feature controls for bass, treble, gain and a much handy master, which allows you to crank it without blowing any windows. It’s got a bright led, true bypass switching and it runs on 9V battery or adapter.

    The orange Powerbooster was David Gilmour’s main overdrive unit from 1972’s Obscured By Clouds up until the recording and touring of Animals. Both the Powerboost and Overdriver has been spotted in his rig during several recording sessions since then. Jeff Beck was another fan of the pedal and he used the Overdriver extensively on the Blow by Blow album.

    Vick Audio’s Overdriver should be used with passive pickups and tube amps. The circuit is designed to interact with the dynamics of your playing and to take those dark tube amps over the edge and beyond. With a moderate gain setting the Overdriver acts as a volume boost. There’s enough headroom here for the pedal to boost your cleans and other gain pedals. Raise the gain to about 50% and the pedal starts to break up (depending on how hot your pickup are). It’s mild but on a loud tube amp you definitely feel that something awesome is about to happen.

    The treble and bass controls are powerful EQs that can be used to enhance a dull sounding amp or to compensate for frequencies lost when playing on smaller amps and bedroom levels. Be careful with the low end when you boost other pedals though or it will choke up your Muff.

    In my opinion the Overdrive really shines when you crank the gain and add a hint of volume boost to really push the amp. The tone is just insane and it feels like the pedal is violently squeezing the living shit out of your amp. The sustain is super sweet and a hint of compression rolls of those otherwise harsh overtones. I can definitely hear Have a Cigar and some of the heavier parts on Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

    My issue with the original Powerboost or Overdriver is that it could do with a bit more headroom and a slightly darker tone. This is no complaint really as it is the nature of the pedal but other brands like Buffalo FX and ThroBak has tackled this with their versions. These pedals has more headroom and a bit a “twang” (in lack of a better word) when you set it all clean. The Vick can come off as a bit too bright and aggressive. In that sense both the Buffalo and ThroBak are probably more versatile and easier to set up.

    When it comes to gain though the Vick is hard to beat. I love how it gets into (silicon) fuzz territory when you crank it. It’s spitting out dark, squeezed distortion with lots of sweet harmonics. It’s perhaps best described as an old plexi Marshall being driven extremely hard push tons of air through the speakers.

    Two things you need to keep in mind. Like the original, the Overdriver has very little mid range. It’s a treble and bass boost. If you’re using Fender and Vox amps you probably want something with a bit more mids. Also, and again like the original, the pedal doesn’t like buffers. Make sure you keep your Boss or dedicated buffers far away from this one.

    The Overdriver is perhaps the closest you’ll ever get to owning a real Colorsound. The footprint and price tag is much more appealing too. If you’re looking for those classic bright and glassy overdrive tones heard on Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and tons of other albums from that era then look no further. See vickaudio.com for more info.

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100 Responsesso far.

  1. Sal says:

    Hi, first time commenting. Great site and you are a great player, Bjorn.

    I noticed you said the Vick Audio Overdriver doesn’t like buffers, what about other pedals in front? I have one on order, but after reading your comment, I am concerned. I usually run a compressor (Wampler Ego or Keeley C4, pretty much always on) and a noise gate (TC Electronic Sentry always on) before my drive pedals.

    Will this cause the same issue?


    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! The Power Boost in general is sensitive to buffers. Most of these vintage curcuits are, including fuzz and boosters. How sensitive depends on how many buffers you have in your pedalboard, how close they are to the booster and how the buffers are designed.

      • Sal says:

        Finally received the Overdriver, and in my setup it is fine after other pedals. The only difference I hear after a buffer is set to fuzz settings, drive up really high. Since I don’t use it that high, I am not experiencing any problems

  2. James Tea says:

    Hello Bjorn, just wanted to point out that the current Vick Audio Overdrivers don’t have an internal 9v battery clip, I think in your review it says that they do. I might be misreading your text if you are referring to older models. Have to say I really love mine.

  3. Daryl Apostol says:

    What overdrive would you suggest that’s got more mids?

  4. Daryl Apostol says:

    Aloha Bjorn,
    Love the sound of the Vick Audio Overdriver. Problem is I own a Vox ac10. You mentioned that the midrange is lacking on this amp. I was gonna run a xotic xp boost. Do you think I can get those tones like the video? Guitar is custom Carvin bolt. Ash body, Birdseye maple board with Dimarzio virtual vintage (n/m) and ssl 5 on bridge. Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      Personally I’d go for a booster/overdrive with more mids but with some tweaking and the booster I’m sure you’ll manage to get some nice tones with it :)

  5. Andrew M. says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Great demo/review! I think I’m going to add this one to my board – I was curious at about what point unity gain is on the volume knob, I’ve been searching around but can’t seem to find an answer.


    • Bjorn says:

      I really don’t remember but unity level is often relative to the amount of gain, compression and mid range you have. Start with the dial around noon and listen while you adjust and match with the straight signal.

  6. Adam says:

    Just got my Vick OD, really enjoying the pedal. Just interested in any opinions, I was running a true BP Whirlwind Goldbox (MXR distortion plus) after wah/phase, into a Catlainbread SFT as a foundation pedal. Having a hard time deciding where to put the pedal. Any suggestions?

  7. James Tea says:

    Hello again Bjorn.

    I noticed that when using this with an OCD it soundss totally different when the OCD is placed after the Overdriver. A bit smoother with more drive to my ears. Do you have any thoughts about the two signal chains and what differences in pick dynamic response to expect?

    • Bjorn says:

      Is the overdriver on or bypassed?

      • James Tea says:

        WIth the Overdriver on, stacked. sounds kind of nice.

        • Bjorn says:

          The Overdriver, or any gain pedal you combine with the OCD, will act very much like an EQ. Placing the overdriver first will add to the gain and smoothen the top end. Placing it after, will be more like an EQ, allowing you to use its treble and bass controls to shape the tone and the volume for boost.

  8. Jonathan says:

    Hi Bjorn, incredible demo. One question about the buffers around the pedal. If I use a true bypass wah betwee the guitar and the pedal – will the overdriver play nicely with the wah when it’s on? is it just buffers or anything that is not pure guitar signal makes the pedal act weird?

    • Bjorn says:

      My experience is that it doesn’t like buffers. It also depends on the amp. For it to get those fat and smooth tones you hear from David, it requires some compression and mid range coming from the amp. On typical mids scooped Fenders, it can sound a bit flat and thin.

  9. Matt says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I am trying to decide between the Vick Overdriver or Buffalo Power Booster. I play a Laney Cub 12. It seems like the Laney is capable of handling some of the more demanding pedals through the 1 watt input. Do you think the Vick would sound ok through the Laney? Thanks

  10. DoctorDave says:

    Don’t take this question as criticism, but do you have the reverb on the blues jr. turned all the way down? That can cause a sound not unlike what u r describing.

  11. Gabe Aguirre says:

    Hey Bjorn, long time. I have been using this pedal for a while as my clean boost and my Muff boost, but I have one question that might be answered by the fact that there is a buffer after it, or perhaps my Blues Jr’s.

    Anyway, when the drive gets to 12:00, I get a crackling bleeding “distortion” that seems to linger “outside” of my signal. If I crank the drive, it sounds great and gets me to fuzzy animals tour type drive which is great. However, I want to have a setting that will both boost my clean tone with a small amount of drive, and also lend a small amount of drive to the Muff, which I know you recommend, but as I said, I get an unpleasant crackle.

    Do you experience this? I have heard something similar on a few reviews but nothing as pronounced as mine. Think its the amps? Buffer? Thanks again!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Gabe! Are there any buffers in the chain? It shouldn’t be a problem but if you do have one, or suspect any of the other pedals to interfere, just plug the guitar straight into the Muff and then the amp and listen. Fender amps and Big Muffs doesn’t really go that well together. At least not for replicating Gilmour’s tones. It tend to sound bright, harsh and slightly choked, depending on the amp. Muffs like the early 90s Sovtek models, and clones, are better suited for Fender amps than ram’s head Muffs, due to their lack of mid range and compression. You might also be driving the amp too hard. How hot you want the cleans, depends on the amount of compression in the amp. You don’t want it to distort but at the very edge up break up. Too much will make the Muff sound harsh or choked.

      • Gabe Aguirre says:

        Oh I think I wasn’t clear in my comment, I am actually talking about the Overdriver. It sounds fine when it is driving my muff, but when I am using the Overdriver as a clean boost I get the crackling, unpleasant sort of buzz right on the edge of the signal. I have isolated it and it is in fact the Overdriver and I can hear it on both amps. This goes away once the drive knob is past 2:00 or so, but at that point it is too driven to be a proper Muff boost to my ears. I just want a slight breakup like it gives me without the “crackling” I am hearing. I hear it a bit on Schnobel Tone’s demo as well, so maybe its just the pedal, but your review video doesn’t have that crackle in it.

        • Bjorn says:

          OK, that’s just the nature of the pedal. It’s silicon transistors and the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of mid range and compression, can make it sound a bit bright and harsh on some amps and Fenders in particular, as they also lack mid range and compression. The reason I get a smoother tone, is because my amp has a lot of both. Try to increase your mid range and keep the treble low on both the amp and pedal.

  12. Roberto says:

    Hello Bjorn
    How are you
    a year ago to buy him vickery 73 ram’s head soon started to have problems with the line sound until I discovered it was the 73’s ram head.
    korg pitchblack – Fulltone ’69 – 73’s ram head –Skreddy Screw Driver – I have several delay depends put one or the other.
    To sound in the other pedals and amp, I have to activate once or twice a ram’s head 73.
    Soon I’ll buy the OVERDRIVE (or buffalo, but I like more the Vickery and maybe buy another 73 ram’s head.
    I really leave much to be desired commercial attitude that distribuis the image of your pedals and sound. Since it send me back and still doing the same.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi, I’m sorry to hear about your issues with the pedal but it’s certainly not my company or design :) Anyway, I’ve never had any issues with mine so I can’t really help you out here.

  13. Dave says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Have you tried running the Overdriver with 18v? I asked Mike Vickery about powering options and he said it can take from 9v-18v. It seems like running it at 18v should give it a bit more headroom, so I was curious if you’ve experimented with this at all. I’ll find out for myself in a few days as I already went ahead and ordered one, but if you had any information in this regard that would be awesome.


  14. Richard McEntee says:

    Thanks Bjorn, maybe my question was a little long winded and complicated than it need be
    I was mainly curious as to why advice for fuzz/PB placement is to not place after a buffered pedal, however it is fine to have them after muff to boost it, or indeed after a “switched on” Phase90 or compressor which would (due to their circuits as you point out) would no doubt be buffering the signal into the fuzz/PB whilst on. If they are off, then yes a true bypass pedal is fine.

    Is that a clearer question :). ?

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s the circuit. Vintage style fuzz and booster circuits doesn’t like buffers. You can try to place the buffered pedals further away or have the fuzz/booster in a loop but they’d still be affected by the buffer when on. I can’t explain the technical side of it, you’ll find lots of articles on that on the web, but Muffs and other pedals don’t react to buffers in the same way so no worries there. Hope I answered your Q now… :)

  15. Richard McEntee says:

    Hi Bjorn, hope you are well, you seem to be busy with a stack if new reviews recently!

    My question goes back to the liking, or not, of the Power boost circuit for a buffered pedal earlier in the chain.

    I understand how this works in terms of it needing to see the guitar pickups/pots directly, and think I can arrange my pedal chain.

    However, it got me thinking in terms of your advice to place the powerboost after a true bypass muff as a final tweak or slight boost function.

    With the muff off, the guitar is effectively straight into the PB which is great. But when the muff is on, how does that match up with advice re the PB not liking a “buffer” before it ? Am I wrong in thinking an “on” pedal is acting like a buffer ?

    Also, how would you advise the use of a compressor before the PB, if at all – same question really re would the compressor be “buffering” ?

    Many thanks.

    • Bjorn says:

      A buffer, is a small preamp in the pedal’s circuit, used to boost or drive the signal through the circuit. The result is that the guitar signal is maintained through the pedal but it’s also a strong enough drive to drive the signal through to the amp without any loss, given that there are no conflicting circuits in between. A buffer is always active so it doesn’t matter if the pedal is on or off. Now, keep in mind that a true bypass pedal, doesn’t have a buffer so if you place a true bypass pedal in front of the Powerbooster, it won’t affect the pedal. Read more about buffers in this feature.

  16. Phil says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Does the Vick Overdriver respond well to the guitar’s volume control?

    How does it compare with the Buffalo FX Power Booster?

    & how do they both compare in terms of touch sensitivity?

    All the best,


    • Bjorn says:

      Like all of the Powerboost clones – and the original – it cleans up nicely and it very sensitive to your playing. Obviously, this also depends on your pickups and amp. The Buffalo is smoother and slightly darker sounding.

  17. joao bicudo says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for your reply!


    João Bicudo

  18. joao bicudo says:

    Hello Bjorn!

    I’m considering buy a Vicks Overdriver!

    I’ve read in this page that this pedals is not appropriate for a small wattage amps.

    I play a strat tro a hiwatt t20 and normaly I play at bedrooms levels and sometimes a bit more loud.

    Do you think that is something to consider (I would like to blend with vicks 73 rams head)? I do have a boss bd2 stock for overdriver and a mooer blues mod for boost.

    Your opinion is very much appreciate.

    João Bicudo

    • Bjorn says:

      Sorry for my late reply. The Overdriver, and similar clones of the Powerbooster, tend to sound a bit fizzy on smaller amps and low volume. It needs a bit of tube saturation to sound as smooth and open as you probably want it to. The Hiwatt amps has a nice mids presence though, which will help rolling off some of the harshness. You might also want to check out the Buffalo FX Powerbooster, which has a slightly darker tone and smoother breakup.

  19. DocDave says:

    This is gonna sound like a dumb question to you, but let me explain 1st. I bought the Vick Overdriver. I use small amps (15-22 watts, although the Vox is a vintage circuit and the 15 sounds like 50) anyhow, I recently bought the Buffalo TD-X. I feel like that has some overlap at certain settings but each do things differently. Is this a fair assessment and do you consider them to be a good compliment to each other? Would it be worth it to trade me Vick Overdriver for a Buffalo Powerboost (because Im not playing out of 100 watt Hiwatts or such, and would there then be more overlap with the TD-X? I feel like the Overdriver really captures the “Shine On..” sound very well, even or maybe especially with my EMG-20s, and other times I can use it almost as an EQ by turning down the gain/Drive, a really good EQ. THe EQ on the TD-X I find to be very different, not as “full” or hi-fi sounding. and cant turn the treble past noon or its ice pick. Im still playing around with the setting on that pedal and wish it was a smoother overdrive, it to me sounds MORE raw and raucous than the Overdriver, by a lot. Ive tried stacking with other things to smooth it out and trying to find that “Mother” tone, but maybe thats not what he used? Sorry, this is a multi-layered question.

    • Bjorn says:

      They’re somewhat similar, as both are transparent amp-like overdrives. It’s hard to answer anything else than you need to decide which fits better for your setup and the tones you’re looking for. They do overlap to some extent but the Overdriver has a more vintage character, more headroom and perhaps a more powerful EQ. The TDX is the most amp-like of the two and easier to tame and control. It also work better for modern overdrive and distortion sounds. Again, experiment and find which fits better the tones you’re looking for.

  20. Dimitris says:

    Based on the comments, I’d say that the Buffalo PB is a -tiny- bit more modern take on the original PowerBoost, whereas the Vick Audio Overdriver is the exact same thing. Am I right?
    I’ve got an Analogman BC109 (which is the real deal). Wouldn’t the VickAudio Overdriver be the best match for my “collection”? Well, it should! They both have a 6/10 rating on smaller amps!… :P Just kidding!
    In my home I play/practise with a Cub10, I don’t care much on running any drive pedals through it.
    I need a drive pedal as overdrive, for studio and gig use, where I play on British-voiced tube amps from 20 (mainly) to 50 watts. As a booster, I already use an Xotic EP.
    If it weren’t for the money I would have bought a Buffalo PB already. The only reference I have of it though, is your video, where you play the “Money” riff. It sounds pretty muddy to me on this higher gain setting. Is this something the Vick Audio Overdriver handles better?
    I was thinking of the Buffalo TD-X because of its notes’ definition, but I am more of the PowerBoost raw drive tones.
    Which one, do you think I should choose?
    P.S. If were buying based on the looks, I’d definitely go for the Vick Audio!

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, yes. The Vick is a more authentic clone, whereas the Buffalo is a slightly different take on the same circuit. The Buffalo has more headroom and an overall smoother breakup, which works better for smaller amps. The Vick has a more raw edge, with less headroom, more gain and it really needs a loud tube amp to get the classic Gilmour sound.

  21. Tont says:

    Hi Bjorn, Since the the Colorsound Overdriver and it’s clones do not add mids to a Muff, is there a pedal out there that will give a Muff the proper mids to cut through the mix in the way David used for Wall/Final Cut tones yet still giving a Muff a similar boost and glassy character of an Overdriver? A GE-7 perhaps? Or do you recommend something else after the Muff? Sincere thanks, Tony

    • Bjorn says:

      The reason David can combine a Powerbooster or Tube Driver with a Muff and get enough mids, is because his Hiwatts have plenty of it. You also get a nice compression and boosted mid range, when you drive the tube amp hard and allow the speakers to push some air. On smaller amps, you might want to either get a Muff with more mids or a mids booster feature. You can also use a booster that has a slight mids boost, like the Boss BD2 but too much mids will only make the Muff sound choked so stay away from pedals like the Tube Screamer, Klon/Soul Food etc.

  22. Brad Roller says:

    Hi Bjorn. As you may remember I absolutely love my Vick audio overdriver, BUT I use my emg pickups mostly because of the exg and spc controls. You stated it doesn’t work well with active pickups. So I got a tube driver. But it doesn’t really sound the same, so do you think there’s some settings I could use that will work with the EMGs? I may have to bite the bullet and just start using my passive pickups again

    • Bjorn says:

      Or, get the Buffalo Powerbooster :) It works nicely with the EMGs.

      • Brad Roller says:

        I have the buffalo and I do recall it working alright with EMGs. I experimented with my Vick overdriver and tube driver, and was surprised that they are pretty similar, like you said. Not that I doubted you, it’s just I know we have different setups and that means things will sound different. To me, the Vick actually sounded great with my EMGs. I have my pickups very low, and maybe that made it sound good? I don’t know. I think passive pickups sound BETTER, but it did sound good to me. It has a lot more headroom than my tube driver too btw. Just thought I’d let you know! Thanks for your response.

    • Doc Dave says:

      I use my Vick Overdriver with my DG-20 EMGs and it seems to work fine, very fine, I like the tone MUCH better than the American Strat I had (N3’s) and then sold, or my Suhr using passive single coils.

  23. David M says:

    I added a Wampler Ego Compressor/Sustainer to my rig and voila, the Overdriver likes it and sustains perfectly for me. The Ego also adds a bit of snap to my pickups that bring me closer to the tone Im looking for in other ways. So it worked for me at least, it might work for others. Im well pleased.

  24. Ben says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Just wondering, do you know if the Overdriver can be used with 18v as well as the normal 9v like on the CS Power Boost?

    Hope that all’s well with the new Airbag album being recorded. Looking forward to hearing it!

    All the best,


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Ben! I actually don’t know. I would imagine you could power it with both 12 and 18V but I’d check with Vick to be sure.

  25. Doctor Dave says:

    I know you don’t favor compressors/sustainers, but the Vick Overdriver, or original, has VERY short sustain. If you’re playing Shine On You Crazy Diamond, I find it needs sustain added. I tried using the Blues Mood as a boost but it changes the tone in a way that seems unnecessary. I have 2 compressors but they arent the right kind (a Janglebox which is really colored towards Beatles and Byrds) and a yellow comp which is good for chicken pickin and squash but Im not getting the sustain. Ive heard the Wampler Ego, especially since it has a blend knob, and the new Seymour Duncan Vise Grip, also with a blend knob and “parallel compression” are very good and a low noise floor. How are you getting the Overdriver to sustain, mine seems chopped too short. And opposite of what you wrote, when I use it with DG-20 EMGs, I actually get a much better tone AND more sustain. Any help or thoughts or things you’ve heard would be appreciated. thanks.

    • Bjorn says:

      First of all, the Overdriver is based on a very basic circuit and the original Colorsound pedal was designed to be used with large 100w tube amps driven hard. This does not automatically transfer to a typical bedroom setup. Sustain is a combination of the gear you use and how you use it. The Overdriver can produce a long sininging sustain but again, it was designed to be used with amps that already produced sustain from loud volume. Pedals like the Tube Screamer and similar are designed to give you that effect on smaller amps. What kind of pickups and amp are you using and what’s your amp and Overdriver settings?

      • Doctor Dave says:

        Yes I’m using a 15 watt Vic and a 22 watt fender supersonic. Various guitars with various pickups. The one I do like best is the dg 20 bit also a tele with SD Antiquity and a suhr with the neck humbucjer split. He did warn me that the overdriven would have short sustain for me so it wasn’t a surprise. After I wrote u I was trying the Teke and used the blues mood (blues driver Keeley) and compressors set more as a boost. I couldn’t dial it in exactly like I wanted but came closer. I’m afraid I should have gotten the evolution or throbak instead. I’m happy with my hilmour muff pedals and tone ( I don’t sound like you but). But on daves lighter sounds like shine on I just can’t capture the Magic

        • Bjorn says:

          The ThroBak is very similar to the Overdriver. The Evolution, or the Wampler PlexiDrive, should get you closer to the tones you’re looking for :)

  26. A A Rawn says:

    As in, have no buffers at all on your pedalboard when running this?

  27. Jeff F. says:

    That makes sense, thanks Bjorn

  28. Brad Roller says:

    Hi Bjorn! Hope all is well. You may have answered this already but how well does this blend with an mxr phaser well? I’ve been using those WYWH tones lately with my buffalo fx power booster and whirlwind orange box phaser. Sounds really good together. I’m sure this one does too. Thanks!

  29. Giuseppe says:

    I like very much the tone of this pedal. The problem to pair it with a buffer appear if you put the pedal in chain after the buffer or yet before?

  30. Don C says:

    Bjorn, great review. I have been using Vick Audio pedals since he started making them and I have been very happy.

    My question: I use the Iron Bell for dialing in a variety of different tones, and for pumping out more mids. How do you think the IB would play with the Overdriver? I am thinking they may compliment each other but the dynamics escape me. What do you think?

    Keep up the good work.

    [I guess they would. I wouldn’t combine them though as the Iron Bell is already “staked”, meaning that it’s sort of designed to sound like a Muff+booster combo. – Bjorn]

  31. Stephan says:

    ok , thanks for the answer…

    Does the Vick Audio Rams’ Head 73 like the Buffers, contrary to the Overdriver?

    It’s all about the Animals / Wall Tone : I’d like to use the Vick Rams’s head with the Boss RT-20…



    [Yep. That’s a completely different circuit and it goes very well with buffers. – Bjorn]

  32. Matt says:

    Hi Bjorn. Thanks to your help, I think I finally know how to approach a post muff or post Ge fuzz booster/overdrive. I was wondering about one more category of overdrives for this application – the “Dumble in a Box” pedals. I guess two examples of this type pedal that I am referring to would be the Hermida (now Lovepedal) Zendrive, and the Mad Professor Simble. Have you played around with either of these two, or something in that “family” of drives, to place after your muffs to boost them? Thanks Bjorn.

    [I don’t have much experience with those two but my concern would be that they do have a bit of mid range and perhaps a bit too much gain. Again, I don’t have enough experience with them to really comment. – Bjorn]

  33. Stephan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I really want to buy the Vick Overdriver but here’s my problem: I love the “Animals” album, and would really like to use my Boss RT-20 to reproduce the Yamaha rotating speaker.

    And… I will have to make some combinations like:

    Muff + Vick Audio Overdriver + Boss RT-20
    Vick Audio Overdriver + Boss RT-20

    As you said that the Vick Audio Overdriver don’t like buffers, there will be a problem.

    Will it be solved if I use a TRUE BYPASS LOOPER dedicated to the Boss Rt-20?

    What other solution do I have? Buying the Buffalo Powerbooster instead of Vick overdriver? Buying a Mooer King ensemble to create a poor yamaha effect… and replace my Boss RT-20 ?



    PS: Also in love with WYWH tone, and it seems that the Vick Overdriver can’t be beat…. am I right or does Buffalo powerbooster do the ovErdrive as well as Vick overdriver

    [Hi Stephan, sorry for my late reply. A true bypass looper wouldn’t do much as it only takes the pedal out of the chain when you’re not using it. I’d keep the RT20 and buy the Buffalo Powerbooster. It’s very similar to the Vick and it also handles buffers very well :) – Bjorn]

    • Bierbattered says:

      Never used this combo, but I have never had issues using buffers after the effect in question (like say the MJM London Fuzz) – it is only when the buffer is before it that the issues come up. as the pedal wants to see a pure guitar signal at the input.

  34. JULEN says:

    hi bjorn;

    I’m the owner of both Laney Cub head and Lionheart L20 Head, and I am currently looking for a great clone of colorsound overdriver / powerboost.

    Is there honestly a bg difference soundwise, between VCick overdriver and Buffalo Powerbooster?

    The powerbooster seems to like buffers, which is good, is 18 V, which is also great….

    Do Powerbooster and Vick both sound as faithful to the original Powerbooster from macari’s ?

    All the best.


    [The Vick is dead on the old Colorsound. I’ve A/B tested it with my old unit and they’re very similar. The Buffalo has more headroom, slightly darker tone and a smoother break up. The Vick has a more vintage tone and is better as an overdrive but the Buffalo is no doubt a more versatile pedal and it’s a better choice for smaller amps, I think. – Bjorn]

  35. Matt says:

    Hi Bjorn. I hope your holiday season was enjoyable and I hope 2015 is a great year for you. I was wondering, have you tried running a germanium fuzzface into the Vick Overdriver? Thanks!

    [Happy new year, Matt! Yep… it sounds awesome! – Bjorn]

  36. Ben says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Just hooked the VA Overdriver with an AM Sunface BC108…sounds ace! Unbelievable DSOTM/WYWH tones.

    All the best,


    [I know! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  37. John says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Excellent review. I emailed mike to tell him how great the Rams Head and Overdriver sound together. Thanks again!

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  38. Huy Tran says:

    I finally got the plexidrive couple of weeks ago and I absolutely love it. With my LP I can instantly get ACDC tones with it. Amazingly I found a use for it that makes the pedal one of my most valuable.

    I’ve had problems using the Buffalo evolution on the cub. It sounds awesome with my LP but not my Strat. I actually tried running the plexi after the evolution and it really tightened it. Added compression and made the evo sound a lot less boomy. I have the plexi gain setting very low at 8 oclock when it run it with the evo.

    I always struggled trying to get the Gdansk echoes solo tone with the evo. Even when I use the bridge and neck pickup together. With the plexi boosting the evo it puts me right in there.

    I really didn’t think they would stack but I experimented and they do so it was a moment of inspiration and satisfaction for me.

    [I usually roll off the tone a bit and raise the contour when I use the Evo with single coils as opposed to humbuckers. It may also need a bit more volume from the amp to get that smooth character. – Bjorn]

  39. KEITH says:



  40. John says:

    Hey man
    I know you ain’t posting this. You may if you wish. But I have just absorbed all the airbag/Bjorn stuff. The PF thing right away let me say a mere subtle reminder, you’re fuckin awesome dude. My friends tell me my gilmour is uncanny. Thank you and happy new year!

    [Happy new year John and thanks for the post :) – Bjorn]

  41. Carlos says:

    Hello Bjorn

    Very nice review. I have a quick question regarding this pedal and how it may compare to the Wampler Plexidrive? Can they both achieve similar sounds or do both have their own unique strengths? I know you often state that it depends on the amp being used. I have a slightly altered Peavey Classic 30 with JJ’s and a Celestion Vintage 30. I also use a Buffalo FX Ram’s Head and Buffalo FX Evolution.

    Have a wonderful New Year. Thanks.

    [The Vick has a more transparent tone. It’s brighter and it has more gain. I guess you can get similar tones with the PlexiDrive but it’s a darker sounding pedal, much smoother and it has a bit of mid range and compression. With some tweaking you can get similar tones but I would say that the Plexi is a more versatile pedal. – Bjorn]

  42. Cem says:

    1) I have a blackstar ht5 and a lionheart l20 combo. Do you suppose the vick would work better on the lionheart?
    2) What do you think about fender amps (Deluxe,Princeton etc.) in terms of WYWH and Animals overdrive tones, would the Vick sound good on a vintage style fender amp?

    [I’ve only tried the Vick on a Lionheart, among the ones you mention. It sounds great. Not sure how it would work on a Fender. You might find it a tad too bright but I haven’t tried it so I can’t really tell. The Buffalo Powerbooster is warmer and has a smoother breakup that works great on most amps. – Bjorn]

  43. ben says:

    Hi bjorn and merry christmas!!!
    I’d like to know your opinion about the old the throbak overdriver against vick and buffalo. I have a laney cub head…..

    I love those dark side wishb you were here tones with original colorsound tone, and also the muff with throbak boosting it tones … wall animals etc…

    Thanks for your help

    Merry xmas

    [Merry christmans, Ben! The ThroBak has the most headroom of the three. It’s a tad brighter too. Although it can produce some very nice overdrive tones I’ve never been particularly fond of how it breaks up. It sounds a bit harsh and not nearly as smooth as the Buffalo or Vick. – Bjorn]

  44. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Awesome review as always! Iwas wondering, which one should I choose, if the tonea I want to get are the overdrive tones from Animals and Wish you were here, the Buffalo or the Vick?

    [Depends on your amp. The Vick is no doubt the most authentic. I’d go for the Vick for big amps and loud volume and the Buffalo for smaller amps and low volume… although it works nicely on bigger amps too :) – Bjorn]

  45. Kurt says:


    What do you mean. When you say that this pedal does not like buffers?

    [I can’t explain the technical side of it but buffers tend to affect old circuits like boosters and fuzz. When introduce these pedals, including the Powerboost/Overdriver, into a board with pedals with buffers (like Boss) or dedicated buffers, the booster will sound thin, harsh and sometimes choked. It’s just the nature of the pedal. Other clones, like the ThroBak and Buffalo have tackled this issue by altering the circuit. – Bjorn]

  46. Scooter says:

    Amazing demo Bjorn! I really like this Overdriver version it pair nicely with Vick Audio Rams head too! And for the price they both are very hard to beat :) If I might ask what tuning are you using in the clip?
    As always Thanks for your site!! And Happy Holidays

    [Normal tuning :) – Bjorn]

  47. Dutch Blomenkamp says:

    Merry Christmas (Eve) Bjorn

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been anxiously for this one!

    Ordered mine from Mike on Monday, hope to have it today. I expect it will be a bit redundant with the Black Forest Overdrive, but I noticed that when you drive this circuit with another pedal, it gets louder, as opposed to something like a TS or OCD, which just get grittier. So I’m planning to use both, one pre-dialed in with other pedals, (mainly the Vick 73 Ram’s Head) and the other one for it’s own unique character.

  48. TomH says:

    Hello Bjorn, great review as always! Previous reading led me to believe that the color sound is responsible for the distinct “click” or clipping (for the lack of a better description) sound you can often hear when Gilmour hits a note (in Time/Shine On especially it comes out). Do you find this pedal nails that sound?

    [I think the attack in the tone is a combination of many things. The low output pickups, with a crisp top end. The Fender and Hiwatt amps and their settings, the pedals and not least his picking technique. David has always used heavy gauge picks and likes to pick the strings hard. But the Colorsound is no doubt responsible for the overdrive tones on Dark Side and WYWH in particular. Its mids scooped tone adds to the pronounced attack in his tone. – Bjorn]

  49. Ben says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Awesome review, so much so that I simply had to buy one of these bad boys after watching/reading it! Just a question regarding buffers. One of the other drives on my pedalboard, a Crowther Hot Cake, is buffered but won’t be directly next to the VA Overdriver, do you think that this will affect the tone much? I haven’t received the pedal yet so i can only wonder. I’m hoping to use it with a BYOC Large Beaver, a TC Spark Booster and the Hot Cake as well as delay and others. Also, can’t wait to see if it goes well with the BC108 Sunface that i have!

    Any thoughts will be very welcome. I hope that you have a Merry Christmas.

    All the best,


    [You probably need to experiment with the positioning of both pedals. The Vick, as the original, gets thin and almost choked when you introduce a buffer in the chain. – Bjorn]

  50. KEITH says:

    Very nice playing, and I think the pedal sounds very good. However, I think for now I’ll stick with the headroom, and versatility of my Throbak!

    Merry Christmas, and A Very Happy New Year to come!!! Keith

  51. Sébastien says:

    Bjorn thank you for your answer. But: for gilmour wywh tones, replicating his colorsound overdriver, what would be your choice between throbak ovrrdriver, vick audio overdriver, and the buffalo version? By the way i’m using laney cub head…

    Regards, and happy holidays!

    [The Vick is no doubt the most authentic sounding. However, for a smaller amp and low volume I’d probably go for the Buffalo. It has a slightly warmer tone and smoother breakup. – Bjorn]

  52. Matt says:

    Hi Bjorn and thanks for another great review. I, like many others, are trying to classify the Vick with the other great colorsound clones – the Throbak and the Buffalo. It appears to me from what you have noted on these pedals is that the Throbak and the Buffalo have more headroom than the Vick, but the Vick has more gain. I have never tried any of these pedals, including of course the original colorsound powerboost. IYHO, which of these three great clones sounds closest to the original? Thanks again Bjorn and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    [The Vick is closest to the original. Personally I prefer the Buffalo, which has more headroom but then again, I’m not using the Powerboost/Overdriver as an overdrive but a clean boost. – Bjorn]

  53. Tim says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. I would love to have an old colorsound, but this seems a close match. Hopefully with this I can get closer to some Dark Side tones. Great Review! By the way, do you still recommend Fender’s custom shop 69’s ( which I’ve been many years) or would the D Allen’s be a bit closer tone?

    [D Allen’s Voodoo 69s are based on the late 60s specs. Personally I think these have a slightly more open and better balanced tone than the Fenders. – Bjorn]

  54. Debargho says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article, Bjorn, and for keeping your promise!
    Question: how does the Overdriver fare when paired with a Big Muff? Let me be specific: let’s say one pairs a Big Muff with the Buffalo FX Power Booster and one pairs a BMP with the Vick Audio Overdriver. Which in your opinion, takes it closer to the Gilmour tones, when played through a CUB? My next question may sound a little unfair however, I shall really appreciate it if you could please consider answering. Between the Buffalo FX Power Boost and the Overdriver, which do you think comes the closest as a stand alone unit, in nailing those Gilmour tones?
    Thanks for the answers, keep warm and have a very merry Christmas with the family!

    [It all depends on the amp. I think both the Vick and Buffalo pairs nicely with a Muff so it’s more a matter of the voicing of your pickups and amp and whether or not the Muff needs to be boosted or not. The Vick is probably closest to David’s old Colorsound. However, personally I prefer a cleaner pedal with more headroom so in that sense I would say that the Buffalo wins with a hair having more headroom. – Bjorn]

  55. Danny says:

    Great demo Bjorn !..I’ll be ordering one soon .

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  56. Jeff says:

    How do you think the Overdriver pairs with muffs? I currently have a pig hoof MK paired with a BD2 thru a Lionheart L20 stack. I need a dedicated driver, do you think the Overdriver would be a better stand alone, or paired with the pig hoof?
    and I have just about worn out Lullabies! It’s fantastic………

    [Thank you Jeff! Glad you like the album :) The Vick is definitely a nice booster for the Muff. Whether or not you need to boost the Muff depends on the Muff and your amp. Personally I like to add a hint of the Colorsound to the Pig Hoof just to even out the top end a bit. – Bjorn]

  57. Pete W. says:

    Awesome stuff, Bjorn! I’ve had mine fore a while now, and I have yet to find a setting that I don’t like. For the mid-range you mentioned, I hit mine into a TS-9 set as a volume boost with zero gain, the volume from 12 to 3 (depending on mood) and the tone cranked up). Now I’ve got that mid-range and the sound of the Vick Audio.
    It’s a great addition to my board and I don’t see it leaving for anything else. One of those pedals you know you are going to use often.
    Also, the quality of the pedal is unbelievable when you consider the price. (But don’t tell Mike that! The prices may go up) :D

    [Ha ha, yeah I’m sure the price won’t stay that low for long :) – Bjorn]

  58. Sebastien says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Regarding your tone tutorials and the Gilmour’s gear section, there are always 2 kinds of settings for the original colorsound powerboost as used by david, from Obscured by Clouds till WYWH:what you call “Mild Boost”= vol.boost, and then “heavy boost”.

    How would you compare that new vick ausio Overdriver to the Throbak version, in its job about replicating first the “mild boost” , then the “heavy boost”.

    In other words would this Vick Audio pedal put the Throbak out of a pedalboard, supplant it?

    By the way, What about the Buffalo Powerbooster? ….


    [We don’t have any confirmation on how David actually used the Colorsound. He did use it on Obscured by Clouds and Dark Side – notably for the rhythms on Time. It’s all over WYWH, mainly used as an overdrive. It’s also extensively used on Animals. Again as an overdrive. I’ve listed a clean boost setting because he probably also used it for boosting. The Vick is definitely capable of both and perhaps even more so than the original David used since the Vick has a master control allowing more headroom. – Bjorn]

    • Jeff F. says:

      Hi Bjorn. Great playing on the overdriver’s demo. I have owned several real and clone power boosters and overdrivers (with and without master volumes) and I always have an issue with them. I find that when you crank them to get them to distort they seem to always have a fizzy, farty, ragged decay. How do you get around this? I play a strat into either a princeton or deluxe reverb. The amp is set clean. Are you setting your amps on the edge of breakup so the amp distorts to avoid this issue? I have never been able to get along with these boxes but it sounds so good in your demo.

      • Bjorn says:

        Hi Jeff! The silicon transistors will sound a bit fizzy. Especially when the pedal has a scooped mids character. Fender amps has the same “problem”, having very little mid range so that may be the reason why you never get along with these pedals. The Hiwatt has a lot of mids and works better. Keep in mind too that the Powerbooster or Overdriver circuit was designed to be used with loud tube amps, which is what most guitarists used in the late 60s. Even with a clean amp, the louder you play, the more mids and compression the tubes and speakers will produce and the pedal sounds smoother. In any case you need to be careful with the treble control and find a sweetspot for the overdrive. In most cases it sounds best either clean or cranked all the way. Use the guitar volume to control the amount of gain you need.

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