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Smallsound / Bigsound - Mini

Fri Nov 06 2020
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The Mini is my favorite overdrive. I would use this as my always-on pedal. As you can hopefully hear, it is very versatile and can cover a wide variety from clean boost, to light sparkly overdrive, lofi sound like an old radio, gated fuzz and the list goes on.

To me, this is the swiss army knife of overdrives. During a recording session, I could get enough different tones out of this to cover all the sounds I needed.

The circuit consists of cascading JFET gain stages, making for a more full-range and more "amp-like" overdrive tone (compared to other drive circuits with clipping diodes for example).

The EQ controls are really powerful. You can easily shape the tone to compensate for muddy humbucker neck pickups or bright tele bridges. The controls are all very interactive.

The bass control is pre-gain, meaning you can control how much bass signal slams the frontend of the gain stage. This is what makes people perceive an overdriven signal as fuzzy. It's the flabbiness of the distorted bass frequencies.

The high gain sound in the demo is not the most usable for a live situation I guess. It's just to show one extreme. The bass control is very handy though when you use it to cut bass, which cleans the pedal up a bit and makes the guitar sit better in the mix. Both bass and treble controls are actually only cutting bass and treble, meaning you cut how much bass hits the gain stage and how much treble the pedal can output.

Of course the central feature is the bias knob. I love gated fuzz/overdrive. I just adds more character and rawness to the sound. It's also very useful in a live situation. If you turn the bias down a bit, even with the gain up, the noise floor is pretty low. I love this for heavier rhythm parts where you'd wanna hear the transients and pauses. For singing lead parts with lots of sustain, you'd want to dial up bias and gain again.

Signal chain:

  • K'mo Memphis Std. (classic T-style pickups, middle both pickups)
  • Mini Overdrive
  • Strymon Iridium (Chime)
  • Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
  • Garageband

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