Joyo Ultimate Drive

Can a £35 overdrive pedal be that good? Can a clone of a hand-made pedal be that good? In this case yes to both, the Joyo Ultimate Drive can be a subtle overdrive and a bit of a snarling beast!

Based very closely on the Fulltone OCD, which is a star amongst overdrive pedals, the Joyo Ultimate Drive sounds remarkedly like it in A B tests. That is, it sounds amazing for a £35 pedal. It looks solid enough also with a metal casing and tough plastic control knobs. Plus you get true bypass so your tone won’t be affected if you have this on your pedalboard.

What is not a surprise is that this is Joyo’s best selling pedal. A bit of a cross between overdrive and distortion and designed to recreate the tone of a valve amp at high volume, this is squarely aimed at classic rock and punk players, and heavy blues, who like a bit of grit and snarl with great tone.

We spent a few hours playing with this and really enjoyed the tones it produces. It is easy to use with just Gain and Tone controls with Level output, together with a High and Low switch (bright and dark settings), giving it great flexibility – just like the pedal it is based on. Sounds are rich, heavy, full of harmonics and overtones and very addictive when playing riffs, power chords and solos. At low gain settings it is nice and subtle but crank it up and this thing snarls, particularly when you put it on High, make it very versatile.

1. Ultimate Drive is a cross between a distortion and overdrive, different from the regular diode clipping circuits.
2. High / Low tone switch.
3. True bypass design to minimize tone loss.
4. LED power indicator.
5. Gain, Level and Tone controls.
6. Powered by 6F22 9V battery (not included) or 9V Adapter

So, £135 for a Fulltone OCD or £35 for the Joyo clone? It may not be built as well and may not last as long but if you buy three you are covered for life and will still have change…

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Effect Manufacturers 

Choosing an Effects Pedal

11 September 2020

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