I’ve already confessed, I’m an overdrive junkee. I’ve got way too many and I’m not stopping anytime soon. They range from my first OD, the ‘Rocktek Overdrive’, to my most recent acquisition, a surf green Timmy. I’m usually buying another OD to find a sound that I haven't heard before, or maybe something that I have heard, but done better. Rarely am I using one OD for all my OD needs, however, I’m always intrigued by ‘flexibility’ and that’s what the Odie boasts.
What is it?
For a small box, Chellee have sure packed in a lot of variations. Apart from the three standard controls, you’ve got three different texture modes (Asymmetric diode clipping, Asymmetric MOSFET clipping, and clean boost) and three different voicing options (flat, mid hump and bass boost) - each position bringing something different to work with.
This is not to mention that these boxes are available for Signal Chain in very limited stock at the sensational price of $149 AUD, which for the boutique market, is pretty incredible. Usually when a pedal is listed under $200, it’s delivering one really particular sound. The Odie is promising a lot more than that and I was eager to see how it delivered.
The first thing I noticed with the pedal was how different each diode setting was. There’s a noticeable volume jump in between each, but apart from that, the character of each was unique. Already I could see the different tone options open up in front of me.
Pairing those different ‘Textures’ (as it’s listed) with the different ‘Voicings’, I was able to find the kind of grit I wanted and then tailor it to what I was playing. Flat lent itself more to rhythm, the mid-hump to riffage and lead, and the bass boost (when combined with nudging up the Tone) really fattened up my whole sound.
Through all of that, I found that my guitar’s base tone stayed really true. Sure I was enhancing certain parts of the tone with the Voicing, but it didn’t feel like I was losing anything which is great.
So, yes, the Odie is extremely flexible and yes, it delivers a whole lot more than you’d expect from a small box overdrive.
In the Mix
Playing along with a bunch of tracks, I found that both diode modes really lent themselves to rhythm playing. They seemed to pull the overdrive together a bit tighter and sit really well with a sweet amount of grit. The clean boost mode, with the right amount of drive and tone/voice adjustment, cut through for anything from clean lead to raunchy blues lines. For higher gain lead stuff, the MOSFET diode has it covered.
One thing that took me a while to get my head around was the Tone control. In my rig, it had to sit under 10 o’clock on each setting. It kinda felt like ‘unity tone’ was around 10 o’clock or under at times. Once I figured this out, I could adjust it accordingly. I’m running through a Princeton so it isn’t packing too much bass - for bigger rigs, this might be a really useful feature.
On some other pedals it’s maybe a small jump in volume when you flick diodes and the EQ will stay the same-ish. For the Odie, the Clean Boost setting is substantially louder and I had to dial the volume right back. I’m guessing cause it isn’t hitting a diode to clip the sound? (correct me pedal geeks?)
The Bottom Line
The Odie is a really impressive unit for the price. It’s hard to look past that fact since, I’ve found, buying multiple OD’s really drains the bank account. For well under $200 you get a transparent, low-mid gain, hand built overdrive with a tonne of tonal options.
The Odie is perfect for the player who versatility and doesn't want to fill up their pedalboard with overdrives, overdrives, and more overdrives. It’s got the classic TS sounds in there, but can also go from straight unadulterated clean boost all the way up to rock anthem.
Written by Paul Hanna for Signal Chain
Paul runs White Flag and has played in bands for over 15 years