Pay attention kids, here is a pedal company that is going to absolutely blow your mind. And they're gonna do it with only one pedal design. The name is South Wave Audio Corp, and if you were to ask most players they'd say they'd never heard of these cats. This is one of those pedal companies that is strictly for the hardcore. South Wave came to be out of the love and passion of true, die hard gear fanatics. Throw in tons of playing experience, a keen knowhow of vintage musical gadgets, 40 years plus in the electronics game, and a talented ear for seeking out killer tone. Now what does all this add up to? One of the baddest overdrive pedals I have ever laid my hands on.
South Wave Audio Corp
* Custom made steel chassis
* Knob Rollbars protect electronics/settings
* Weight 2lbs. Built to last
* Heavy duty true bypass switch
* Side slide drawer 9V battery compartment
* Accepts unregulated 9 to 12 volt (+) AC adapter
* Triple position battery power/AC adapter/pedal off switch
* Built with high quality components
* Level: controls overall output
* Bass: controls bass frequencies
* Treble: controls treble frequencies
* Cut: use to match to your amp's tone
* Gain: goes from soft to hard clipping
If there's two things the last couple years have really shown us it's how far effects pedals have come, and the large number of talented electronics wizards that are floating around our underground. This is what is keeping the pedal game fresh and interesting, and the sweet sounding tone tools in our favorite shops. The Imagine Overdrive, a pedal I have been blessed to come across, is exactly this type of stompbox. Everything about this pedal oozes with hipness! From it's looks on down to it's voice. It took about 5 years of trial and error, steady stage rocking, and mucho mucho lab testing to get this puppy to where it is today. The Imagine Overdrive was designed to be extremely transparent, meaning it is one of the most root tone friendly overdrive pedals I have tried. It's five beautifully voiced control knobs work to create and compliment your amp into a memorable wall of soul and tone. The Imagine Overdrive works around the sound of your guitar, pickups, and amplifier, creating nothing but pure grade A tone. The Level control alone owns enough output to send your amp into a thundering boom of grit and grime. The pedal's Bass and Treble knobs work wonders at fine tuning your root guitar tone into that signature Rock God sound you've always dreamed of owning. The Cut knob (and what I see as this pedal secret weapon) is used for matching the pedal's character to whichever amp you choose to run it through. Last we have the Gain control, which can take you anywhere from subtle semi-clean hairy tones to sustain soaked distortion. Everything is housed in a super slick designed retro/vintage vibed, heavy duty enclosure. Other features like the pedal's sliding drawer battery compartment, roll bars, 9-12 volt unregulated AC adapter option, and power type toggle switch. Make this one of the coolest stompboxes to see light.
When I first heard the pedal's name I had a hard time figuring out what South Wave meant by it. It wasn't till I spent a good couple hours with the Imagine Overdrive that I figured out what it's name stood for. I say they named it the Imagine Overdrive as in "Imagine any tone you want and it will come true." I put this pedal up against every type of amp I could get my hands on, every type of pickup, and ran it through a ton of other effects. Not once did this pedal show any weaknesses or spill any sour tones. It was like playing through a multi sweet-spot dirt box. A Twin Reverb, neck bucker Tele, and clean booster were the first to take the Imagine OD for a ride. I dialed in the most sparkling clean tone possible, jabbed it with a hint of verb, and topped it off wit plenty of lows and mids. I matched the Imagine Overdrive's level to the amp's, set the Bass and Treble at noon, Cut at around 11'o'clock, and Gain just hint passed 1'o'clock. An instant classic Stones/Kieth Richards sound came crying from my amp. The overdrive was mellow'n'smooth but gritty enough to still rip into a killer rock'n'roll sound. I felt the combination of the amp, guitar, and pedal smack me dead center in the gut. Ooooohmmf! And damn did it feel good. I strummed lightly then harder, and brushing my palm against the strings to get dynamics and character. Harmonic richness and big fat undertones bounced everywhere creating pure, uncut overdrive heaven. I'm talking the heavy stuff baby, the stuff hits are made of. The Tele's bridge pickup created an overdrive that sliced and diced the air with attitude and aggression. The neck bucker's tone growled and moved slowly through the air, wrapping itself around every note I dished out. I kicked things into high gain by maxing out the Gain knob and rolling up some more of the Level. The final push was the clean booster I had set in front of the Imagine OD. Again the pedal adapted beautifully to my amp's tone and pushed out a distortion sound EVH would be proud of. I noticed I could tame and warm the distortion sound by rolling down my guitar's volume and tone knobs. I was actually able to dial the pedal to a full force overdrive/distortion then take it back down to smooth'n'grainy dirt tone. The second battle with the Imagine Overdrive was with a Super Lead and 70's Strat. We set our Super Lead to a nice/fat crunch, then threw some leslie type chorus on top of everything. The amp, guitar, and chorus pedal were able to give me a spot-on Robin Trower rhythm tone. When we stepped on the Imagine Overdrive Robin's magical lead tone came screaming from the speakers. Because this pedal doesn't meddle with the nature of your root tone, you're able to take whichever tone you have and push it further into a meaner, wilder version of itself. I was getting sounds from this pedal that words cannot describe. The type of tones that when trying to explain to someone just sit on the tip of your tongue but never make it out because of excitement and inspiration. While playing through an already muddy Marshall I went ahead and also worked in some lead Hendrix tones. With the right amount of overdrive from the amp, and pedal set with enough output and gain, I was able to get some pretty convincing distortion/fuzz tones. A vintage Cry Baby wah was the cherry on top of it all, which by the way worked very very nicely with this pedal. You'll find not all dirt pedals play nice with certain wah pedals. The Imagine Overdrive does, and it does so with many many types of effects, including fuzz and much more extreme effects. Once we finished our dance with the Super Lead and Strat we moved onto a smaller amp, a much much smaller amp. For this we took out Lil' Man, our 7/15 watt tiny little beast. The guitar of choice for this run was my dear sweet Erica, a black Hagstrom Viking with the baddest sounding humbucking pickups you will ever hear. For this we set up two different sounds. One sound being as clean as possible, the other as dirty as we could get it. Through both amp setting the pedal was able to knock out some awesome bedroom level, recording studio rock tones. We ended up throwing up a couple mics and running the signal straight through our Pro Tools setup. The sound was super! I can only imagine what a decent preamp in the signal would have done. This overdrive pedal definitely falls under the pro level, gig ready, and studio tool category. I would love to see South Wave Audio Corp. sit down and brainstorm another magical box, maybe a fuzz or delay pedal. Anyone looking for something to take them to the golden tone level should look into getting themselves one of these awesome stompboxes. Grab one, roll up your sleeves, and put it to work. I promise it will not disappoint.
For more info on the Imagine Overdrive and South Wave Audio Corp. go to www.imagineoverdrive.com You can read up on the history and making of this awesome, super cool pedal. Check it out!