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Unread 09-23-2011, 11:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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TELOS overdrive review

First off, apologizes to Lyle for taking awhile to post this. I kept trying to get better quality clips to no avail.

Which brings me to my next point. I don't carry around the tone describer handbook around like Rockinhorse1 and some others seem to do. So I attempted to get some clips to do my describing for me. I'm by no means a great player, I haven't even hit the 3 year mark yet. I'll post them at the end of my review.

I NEVER play pedals. I don't own an overdrive and I have never found one that I like. To my they all have a chalky, ratty, unnatural sound and they never seem to react well dynamically.

This thing was the total opposite. Smooooooooth smooth smooth overdrive. The pedal is really 4 in one. It is an overdrive, a clean boost, a dirty boost and a buffer. I'll go through each one by one. But first lets go over the construction.

This thing is heavy duty. Strong, sturdy switches. The pedal itself feels like it would take a beating and as for more. No loose jacks, knobs or switches. My first impression of the pedal was how solid and sturdy it felt. Much stronger than anything you would try at guitar denter.

I can't really tell you how it is as a buffer, I never used one before so I can't comment on it. But if it is anything like the rest of the pedal the quality is top notch.

On to the boost(s). The pedal offers a very clean and transparent boost to hit your preamp with. Very transparent, reacts like an amp when I rolled down my volumes. at times I would forget I even had it on. The pedal has a "soft drive" mode which is like a dirty boost. On the side of the pedal there is a button to toggle between the two. There is a control for how dirty you want it to be. I loved to use this with my amp set slightly dirty and it would kick it to another level. Very useful.

On to the overdrive. There are three voicing buttons on the top side of the pedal. A low cut, high cut, and a voice. I personally only kept the voice button one way. (I can't remember if it was in or out at the moment.) The voice switch seems to kick in a lot of mids, which I preferred. The lo cut was useful for high volumes in the mix to cut through better. And I always kept the hi cut on to keep everything smooth. The are knobs to control the tone, the output and the amount of gain. I never put it past 1 O'clock because I don't play high gain but it could really get up there. Nevertheless, no matter how much gain it would clean up with your guitar volume. Something I consider the best feature of this pedal. No loss in dynamics what so ever. Especially which me not being a pedal guy. I would set it on and control everything with my guitar volumes rather than clicking it on/off. The highs are buttery smooth, and it sounds nothing like your typical overdrive. It reacts like an amp and sounds like an amp. I love that.

Lastly you can drive the OD with the boost. When both are on it automatically is in softdrive mode. Lots of gain, no fizzyness, I didn't use it much since I'm not a big gain guy but it is very very usable. I think pedal guys would like it alot for songs that have a clean part, a dirty part and a lead. Pedal off for clean, Maybe a boosted clean for a clean lead, OD on for dirty rhythm and both on for leads.

Overall what impressed me most about the Telos was its ability to NOT sound like a pedal. It sounded like an extension of my amp, and reacted dynamically like my amp.

Onto the clips. They were all done at a local blues jam. I played out of a SF vibroverb using my P90 LP/SG hybrid. As I stated before. Not being a pedal guy I just clicked the OD on and left it on the whole set using my volume knobs for cleans/leads etc. I used a cheap digital recorder so pardon the quality. I stayed on for around 8 songs, the bassist that come on for 3 of them didn't know where he was at all so I cut those and another one, the mic overloaded. And once more, bear with me, I am experienced, not a good player and, being a blues jam, all of it was improvised.

This first clips is an instrumental, the bassist just started with a lick and we all followed him. I started with an awful slide lead so please pardon me on that one. Highlight of the song is my rhythm playing during the bass lead. The OD was on I just used my knobs to get a nice clean sound.

Jam September 14th - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

Here we did whipping post, wasn't used to playing it in G so I had a few slip ups. And in the intro I dropped out because I'm used to the singer I usually play it with coming in much earlier. I take the last lead and I play the leads in the chorus.

Jam September 14th - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

Thrill is gone, once again, clean sound but the overdrive was on. The other player is playing a very thin sounding strat so its easy to tell who
is who. I take the first lead, my volume knob only came up to around 7 (neck).

Jam September 14th - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

This last one... alright if you have heard all of the clips and got the jist of it then ignore this. We had already played a few instrumentals because no singers showed up that night. So I sang for the first time live and I could've built a castle with the amount of bricks I shat. The only reason I have it on here is because it is a good demo of the pedal. My leads are prevalent since I kept forgetting words. So please, tune out my voice for the love of all that is holy.

Jam September 14th - Folder Shared from Box.net - Free Online File Storage

It's a kick ass pedal. In the hands of a real player it absolutely kills. I would like to give a big thank you to Lyle and Rich for giving me the opportunity to give the TELOS a try.
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Unread 09-24-2011, 12:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

If you don't feel like reading such a long review then read this:

This is hands down the best pedal/tone shaping device I have ever heard.
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Unread 09-24-2011, 01:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Sorry I haven't chimed in sooner. Great review and clips!

Couple questions. How is the Telos into a clean amp? I run Blackface Fender amps clean and get all of my gain from a pedal as I dislike amp distortion. I run a myriad of overdrives into my Super Reverb and Twin Reverb. Sounds more vintage as boutique pedal makers are copying old school tones and amp tones which I love and was interested in the Telos.

Also what is the midrange like? I'm used to TS type pedals and love a midboost for solos. Love mid humps. My new Fulltone Plimsoul is a fav because it has that.

Thanks!
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Unread 09-24-2011, 03:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsonguitar1988 View Post
Sorry I haven't chimed in sooner. Great review and clips!

Couple questions. How is the Telos into a clean amp? I run Blackface Fender amps clean and get all of my gain from a pedal as I dislike amp distortion. I run a myriad of overdrives into my Super Reverb and Twin Reverb. Sounds more vintage as boutique pedal makers are copying old school tones and amp tones which I love and was interested in the Telos.

Also what is the midrange like? I'm used to TS type pedals and love a midboost for solos. Love mid humps. My new Fulltone Plimsoul is a fav because it has that.

Thanks!
When I visited my father two weeks ago I used the telos with a tweed bassman clone. I ran the amp clean and used the telos. Probably my favorite amp to use it with.

The SF I recorded the clips on was set crystal clean as well. The mids are prevalent and thick, but they don't get unnatural and chalky like some pedals do.

Lyle probably could give you a better idea describing it. I'm not to great in putting it into words, the best I can say is it sounds very pure and natural.
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Unread 09-24-2011, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Thanks!
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Unread 09-27-2011, 11:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuya Customs View Post
If you don't feel like reading such a long review then read this:

This is hands down the best pedal/tone shaping device I have ever heard.
Wow! Thanks, Tuya! That means a lot!
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Unread 09-27-2011, 11:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Sorry I'm late to the party! Been one of those weeks.

I designed the Telos to be transparent when needed but to add color when that is desired. So one goal was to blend seamlessly with whatever amp you love, but another very important goal was to allow pros to get "their sound" using just about any backline amp. The "overdrive hell scenario" I chose when designing/testing was a Fender Deluxe Reverb RI with the bright switch on.

So even with a completely clean bright amp you can get just about any desired kind of overdrive. The HI CUT pushbutton is specifically designed to roll off at about 7.2 KHz which offsets the painful highs you can often get with a BF Fender and an overdrive pedal and the VOICE pushbutton chooses between two different flavors of overdrive. One is brighter and more aggressive, the other smoother with more low mids.

In addition to the HI CUT and VOICE pushbuttons there is also a LO CUT pushbutton which changes the low end rolloff from about 300 Hz to 724 Hz. First, this doesn't mean there are no lows below 300 or 724. It just means that below that frequency the lows are rolled off by 6dB per octave. So the 300 Hz setting sounds full but there is a slight tightening of the low end, while the 724 Hz setting has even tighter lows without getting congested at higher gain settings or with a cab that's tubby.

While I specifically avoided the TS midrange hump thang (if you want the sound of a $75 pedal, get the $75 pedal), if you engage the LOW CUT and the HI CUT and have the VOICE out then you get a flavor that is reminiscent of a good TS but there is much more clarity and note separation and a more natural decay/sustain due to the higher opamp voltage, local filtering, and a much better impedance structure to the circuit.

Seethis page for reference.

To borrow a phrase from Tuya, the above is a really long way of saying the Telos absolutely kills with a clean amp, especially BF Fenders and good AC30s. I have a '66 Super Reverb here that I was testing some newly built Teloseses (not sure of the plural) through and I was having too much fun for it to be called work.

Getting more clips up pronto.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gibsonguitar1988 View Post
Sorry I haven't chimed in sooner. Great review and clips!

Couple questions. How is the Telos into a clean amp? I run Blackface Fender amps clean and get all of my gain from a pedal as I dislike amp distortion. I run a myriad of overdrives into my Super Reverb and Twin Reverb. Sounds more vintage as boutique pedal makers are copying old school tones and amp tones which I love and was interested in the Telos.

Also what is the midrange like? I'm used to TS type pedals and love a midboost for solos. Love mid humps. My new Fulltone Plimsoul is a fav because it has that.

Thanks!
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Unread 10-05-2011, 04:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: TELOS overdrive review

Sorry about the clips, the bandwidth on the site overloaded so I'll have to put the clips on another site.

Lyle has been generous about the time he has given me with the pedal. Because of that I may be able to get some high quality studio clips with a damn good backing band. My bassist and I are now in a trio with a world class drummer (I'm not joking, its uncanny, polyrhythms and metric modulation like its a walk in the park) while I'm still shite my bassist has good groove so if we get this studio thing to happen the telos will be feature. If not then we can get some live clips.
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