Overdrive is an obligatory part of every guitarist’s sound, but not all bass player uses drive. So, to some this review will be completely new territory while others may feel right at home…
I must admit that I have not been utilizing drive effects too much in the past. I have had my share of drive pedals though and love experimenting with them – as drive effects in their own right as well as in combination with other pedals to create more synth-like or wacky effects.
The Blueberry Overdrive from Mad Professor offers a wide range of tones within quite a narrow part of the overall drive category. We’re talking about overdrive here, not clean boost, distortion or fuzz. Overdrive, baby!
With just three knobs, a footswitch and an LED the user interface is pretty easy to comprehend. The DRIVE knob simply determines the amount of drive you apply to your signal, while the VOLUME can be used to adjust/counter-adjust any level changes the DRIVE setting causes. Or you can raise the overall level in case you use the Blueberry Overdrive as an effect to kick in during a solo.
Now, the NATURE knob is quite interesting. Basically, it is a tone control that goes from dark (fully counter clockwise) to bright (fully clockwise). While that is the effect you get, this is not the full story. The Blueberry Overdrive also applies the amount of overdrive differently to various frequency spectrums as you turn this knob. More drive to the low frequencies at low settings and vice versa.
I decided to make the DRIVE amount the main categorizing factor for the five main rounds of sound clips. Each round demonstrates the Blueberry Overdrive at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% drive respectively. And each setting is then coupled with a number of NATURE settings, depending on the drive amount. I’ll explain as we move along…
Finally, there is a short one-off sound example showing how this pedal can turn a ‘polite-sounding’ slap bassline into a gritty in-your-face beast wit some serious attitude.
NOTE! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. You simply can’t judge low-end material on laptop, tablet or phone speakers…!
NOTE! If you are on a mobile device, please turn it to landscape mode to see the knob settings of the pedal for each audio clip.
Versatility is high and low at the same time in this case – low in the sense that it basically does one thing, and one thing alone. That said, the tonal possibilities within that limited range of ‘just’ overdrive, are quite amazing. And while you may argue that it is nothing but transparent and also adds compression that you can’t really control other than with playing dynamics, I find the drive both musical and pleasant when you find just the right setting which is relatively easy.
I have no complaints regarding the quality of this pedal. With regard to manufacturing Mad Professor has two line ups: the factory pedals and the hand-wired pedals. The hand-wired pedals are roughly 50% more expensive and some of the MP pedals are available in both versions. This one, however, is only available as a factory-made pedal. It is quite a bit lighter than the hand-wired pedals, but I have never had any issues with any MP pedals – hand-wired or factory-made, so I won’t drag it down just because of the weight.
Designwise, it’s a pretty standard stompbox, and while it is not a big issue I sometimes find it annoying to have the power supply input on the side of the pedal where it may conflict with the jack cable – especially if it’s one of those short pedal board cables with a 90 degree angle on the jack. Should you not use a power supply, I also find it a little annoying that there is no easy way to access (and swap) the battery. You will need a screwdriver.
The Blueberry Overdrive retails at around $169 (2015). Not the cheapest pedal on the block, but given the general feel of quality and good sound I’d say the value is pretty high without actually hitting the roof.
All things considered, I like this pedal quite a lot. I’d probably mostly use it for adding some relatively subtle tube like character and light crunch. That is where I think it excels the most.
Versatile within it’s pre-defined range
Power supply input location
Battery hidden behind screws