Designed for guitar, keyboards, bass, and more, the Operation Overlord from Electro-Harmonix is a stereo overdrive and distortion pedal. It utilizes three JFET gain stages to emulate the harmonically rich sound of a tube amp driven at varying degrees of level.
Other goodies abound, such as a Boost mode for introducing an overdrive circuit before the JFET stages, selectable input levels by means of the onboard toggle switch, and an active three-band EQ for shaping the timbre of the resulting boost/overdrive. A dry/wet knob is also provided, suitable for dialing in dry signal and lending more definition to the notes of synths, electric basses, or guitars feeding already-overdriven amplifiers.
This is a stereo pedal with full stereo routing, giving you independent distortion circuits for the left and right 1/4" I/O stages. You can operate this pedal in mono with a guitar by utilizing its left channel, drive a stereo keyboard through its boost/distortion circuits and feed different two amplifiers/mixer-input channels, or even use the pedal to split a mono source two different destinations. An Electro-Harmonix 9.6 VDC 200mA power supply is included with the pedal.
BOOST Knob: This dials in the amount of extra gain fed into the main circuit when the BOOST and NORMAL modes are engaged, and both LEDs are lit. As it’s turned clockwise, the amount of distortion increases.
DRY Knob: A wet/dry control, this knob mixes a clean, unaltered signal with the distortion produced by the pedal. At minimum value, the output is 100% overdrive effect, and at the maximum position, the output is 100% clean. This function is useful for preserving the harmonic integrity of your playing, which is especially useful for keyboards or bass. For guitarists, this feature can come in handy when stacking the Overlord with other drive pedals, or when playing through an already-overdriven amplifier.
INPUT LVL Switch: This toggle controls the overall input level of your instrument driving the pedal. Use it to set an appropriate gain level for a variety of instruments. Set the switch to HI for low-level instruments, like a guitar with single-coil pickups or a vintage electric piano. NORM is suitable for humbucker-equipped guitars and most modern keyboard workstations. The LO works best for high-output instruments, like some synthesizers or boosted guitars.
BASS Knob: This is an active control dictating the level of the bass frequency range.
MID Knob: This knob provides active control over your midrange.
TREBLE Knob: Like the Bass knob and Mid knob, but for the high-frequency range, this control is also active.
VOL Knob: This controls the overall volume output of the pedal. As this knob is turned clockwise, the output level increases.
BYPASS Footswitch and Red LED: The footswitch selects whether the Overlord is engaged or in buffered bypass mode. When the effect is engaged, the red LED will be lit.
BOOST Footswitch and Blue LED: This footswitch toggles Boost mode on and off. When in Boost mode, the blue LED will be lit.
Other Features at a Glance
Boost mode adds traditional pedal-style overdrive circuit before the JFET stages to increase distortion overall.
Interior switch for Boost Independent mode, which prevents the Boost circuit from feeding the Normal circuit, thus allowing you to use the overdrive without the JFET stages usually proceeding it. Used in this way, Boost can still drive Normal mode when both footswitches are engaged.
Gain, Input Level, and Dry controls all work interdependently to preserve overall level—or, if desired, to create interesting boosts or drops in level; the decision is yours.