Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive Review – Best “Tube Screamer” Overdrive Pedal?


Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On October 31, 2014
Last modified:October 7, 2016

Summary:

Seymour-Duncan-805-Overdrive-Review-Best-Tube-Screamer-Overdrive-Pedal-01

The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive is the latest in a series of new pedals from the Santa Barbara-based guitar pickup maker and is inspired by the legendary “Tube Screamer” overdrive. Now I know what you’re thinking, Not another Tube Screamer!” right? Well, you’d be missing out if you dismiss this pedal as just another Tube Screamer clone. There’s an obvious nod to the iconic TS-808 in design and name (805 is also a reference to Santa Barbara’s own telephone area code in case you’re wondering where the numerical variation comes from), but this pedal takes the “Tube Screamer” concept to new sonic frontiers.

The most obvious difference you’ll notice about the 805 Overdrive compared to standard overdrive pedals is its active 3-band EQ controls in place of the generic tone control typically found on overdrive pedals including the TS-808 and TS9 Tube Screamers. For many guitarists who like to use an overdrive to color their tone or create a unique extra channel with their amp, the 805 Overdrive could be the ideal pedal for the job thanks to its additional controls. Also, while the pedal was designed around the original 808 chip that is responsible for that famous “Tube Screamer” sound, Seymour Duncan decided to go with the MC33178 for the 805 Overdrive which they promise yields “superior sonic characteristics along with a lower noise figure and longer battery life.” This all adds up to what could be a new modern classic and perhaps the best “Tube Screamer” overdrive pedal in the modern guitar player’s arsenal. Here’s a rundown of the pedal’s features and then our complete Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive review.

Seymour-Duncan-805-Overdrive-Review-Best-Tube-Screamer-Overdrive-Pedal-02Features:

Distortion Circuitry: Glass diode, back-to-back stack.

Bypass: True bypass

Gain Control Range: 8dB to 36dB.

EQ Center Frequencies:

• Bass – 90 Hz +/- 11dB

• Mid – 750 Hz +/- 11dB

• Treble – 2.1 kHz +/- 12dB

THD @10mVrms input @ 1 kHz with 12 dB of gain: 0.15%

Noise referred to input: -<-126dBv, 400Hz to 20kHz Max Output before Saturation: 0.6Vrms

Input Impedance: 470k Ohms

Output Impedance: 1k Ohms

Power: 9V battery or external 9 to 18V Regulated DC Adapter (center negative)

Current consumption: 4.5mA

Dimensions: 2.61″ X 4.90″ X 1.45″

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Sound & Performance:

There’s just something about the “Tube Screamer” that has made it an endearing classic over the years. That lyrical midrange and smooth saturation have been the source of many famous lead guitar tones for decades. While there are countless “Tube Screamer” variations and an extensive family of imitators and derivative pedals, let me go ahead and lay it down for you. The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive is a top tier pedal that can sit alongside any of the best “Tube Screamer” style overdrive pedals you’ve ever played while perhaps surpassing just about anything else around in terms of sheer versatility, playability, and sound quality.

There are 3 general uses of an overdrive pedal that are most common in my experience: a clean to slightly overdriven boost, an overdriven/saturated lead tone, and a crunchier rhythm tone variation. Many overdrives excel in some of these areas, but the 805 Overdrive really shines in any context.

When cutting the Drive all the way down, the Level control provides up to 8dB of volume for a subtle boost that has a bit of mid-range emphasis. The magic here is that you can use the active 3-band EQ to hone in on certain frequencies to achieve your ideal sound. This gives the pedal a cool preamp vibe, and a slight boost of the Drive knob will bring in more harmonics and sparkly grit to your tone.

As you start cranking the Drive knob further, you’ll begin to enter overdrive territory where you’ll find your perfect saturated lead tone. Legendary blues rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the most notable “Tube Screamer” users and employed the effect throughout his career to achieve his searing lead tones. The 805 Overdrive presents a similar vibe that’s great for blues, rock, or any style that calls for superbly playable lead saturation. The added bonus here is that you can boost or cut your mids and further tweak the highs and lows with the dedicated EQ controls. It blows my mind that most overdrive pedals still stick with a stale old “Tone” knob, but this difference really sets the 805 Overdrive apart in a crowded market of clones and rehashes of the same tired formulas. Yet even if you just keep all the EQ knobs flat at their notched noon positions, you’ll get a balanced overdrive tone that is harmonically rich, warm, and surprisingly amp-like. And this is where my favorite aspect of this pedal comes to light…

The 805 Overdrive is perhaps the most pleasing overdrive I’ve ever used for adding an instant second channel to a clean tube amp. The pedal’s 3-band active EQ adds supreme flexibility for crafting an entirely different sound when activating the pedal. The pedal’s gain range extends to reasonably distorted levels making it suitable for lower to mid-gain rock guitar tones. And you might be surprised at the heavier tones you’ll achieve when diming the Drive fully clockwise, especially if you’re already playing with a little crunch in your sound. Boosting the Bass and Treble while keeping the Mid knob low result in some thick walls of chunk that retain clarity and definition with a very low noise floor. As many heavier rock and metal guitarists have discovered, too much gain can mud up riffs that demand maximum precision and tightness, but the 805 Overdrive could be your secret sonic weapon for adding maximum girth to your sound and retaining an organic tone. The Bass adds massively tight low-end while the Mid knob is carefully tuned to 750 Hz for precision sculpting of your all-important midrange when playing heavy. And yes, you can use the 805 Overdrive at various Drive levels in front of an already distorted amp to really dial in your tone from the pedal, making is an essential element of your signature sound. Who would’ve guessed that beneath it’s 50’s inspired sea green paint-job would lie what a beast of a guitar pedal?

The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive rocks… hard! Let’s see the final result.

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Overall-Rating-5.0

The Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive is one of the best “Tube Screamer” inspired overdrive pedals available on the market. The clarity and definition of this pedal along with its incredible warmth and harmonic response really make it something special. The 3-band active EQ is the icing on the cake and will let you integrate this pedal into any rig for any style of playing. It also excels at adding an instant second channel to a clean amp. From classic crunch to searing blues rock leads and even some heavy metal chunk, the 805 Overdrive is a force to be reckoned with and a pedal that you absolutely must try if you’re looking for your next overdrive.

That concludes our Seymour Duncan 805 Overdrive review. Thanks for reading.

 

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545 COMMENTS

  1. I have over 40 years studio experience and no I haven’t tried every overdrive on the market of course, but when I go to somewhere like the Chicago Music Exchange I try a lot of products through a lot of amps. This overdrive is simply the best that I have found anywhere. I play mostly clean as a rule and the sound from this overdrive is simply as smooth as it gets. The active EQ’s are very well designed and high quality with the center frequencies at perfect points. As an general comment, I think that any review of a guitar pedal with EQ should always mention if the EQs are passive or active and should list the EQ center points like the above review does. There is a lot of detail in the individual notes of most chords even at higher overdrive settings. All of this and the price is very reasonable. Excellent.

  2. This got to be probably the best “screamer” like pedal ever!
    The EQ section is all i’ve been wanting in a pedal like this!

  3. Fantastically rich sounds, made my amp sound beautiful, and lush.
    I am not a tube screamer, lve owned two, an original, and a custom made,
    I still have them, but they are in storage. I have played for years, without any
    Pedals, and then after bestguitareffects.com did a sweet review, l did an
    About face, and purchased this incredible pedal for my best friend, who
    Of course, let me use it, and now, l want one!!!

  4. Certainly an interesting take on the iconic TS sound…3 band eq instead of the standard tone knob seperated this unit from the rest of wannabees

  5. This looks like a real handy drive, sweet sound also, that middle know gives such control over the tone, love the 50s style green too.

  6. Sounds like a great overdrive, hope it’s a good clean boost too. I wonder if it can beat out my Boss SD-1 modded by Keeley other than having true bypass…

  7. This pedal sounded great even through my shitty laptop speakers. It would make a fantastic addition to my board, the eq section is very well done. Id use it today if I had one ! I have a little music school, the kids would totally dig it. Like the colour too :-)

  8. i already told my don I’d win it for him. You don’t want to make a lire of me do you? Hope it sounds as great as it looks. SD is really making a name for themselves in quality pedals.

  9. Dear Santa,
    I want one of these. Before you come by though, please check the winners page to see if I’ve won so that you can save yourself the trouble! … On second thought, bring one anyway and I’ll give one to a buddy!
    Thx!
    Frank

  10. I have been pleasantly surprised with S Duncan’s pedals. I love the Pickup Booster, and haven’t played this yet, but looks good(especially in a surf green box).

  11. Bass, Mid, and Treble controls are a great way to expand on the screamer prototyple – that way you can scoop whatever you want depending on the amp that you’re using. Winner in my book.

  12. Looking to move away from my current multi-effects set up and into individual stomp boxes. The sound on this is amazing. Looks like a good one to start with!

  13. Sound great. EQ make this pedal very flexible. Design of this pedal is gorgeous. I’m professional designer, and I very like that way it look. Also all series cool awesome.

  14. mannnnnn, this overdrive looks awesome, wish i could have one to make my band sound more awesome, becouse i dont have any dist or overdrive or any pedal at all. would it sound bluezy with my fender stratocaster special? fiy( great review!).

  15. Definetely want to test this one out! I’m quite new to stomp-box pedals and this one captures my attention a lot! Can’t wait for the Giveaway.

  16. Great review of the 805. Been looking @ various 808/TS-9 mods as well as the overwhelming variety of ‘clones’ available, so def want to test the 805 out as it seems to provide all the necessary goodness in one box. Cheers to all at Seymour Duncan R&D!

  17. This is an excellent reinvention of a legendary pedal. SD has been pretty solid in the effect department. I would love to see them come out with an ALNICO IV pickup though.

  18. Seems like an exceptionally versatile OD pedal, which suits me just fine. My tastes in signal break up are broad as heck. I would be more than happy to do a bit of real estate rearranging on my board to accommodate this little badass.

  19. I’ve bought and sold many “TS” type pedals, mostly sold because they were not flexible enough. I think this guy has some potential for me

  20. Great looking pedal and sounds sweet. Sparkly and clear at lower settings but good and nasty when called upon. I don’t have a tubescreamer at the moment, but it would be a nice addition to anybody’s pedal board!

  21. Wow this is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I love the screamer style pedals but sometimes I think, I wish I just have a little more bass, and less mids. This 3 band eq is awesome!

  22. Great review! Nice guitar playing. Most of the tones well covered! The pedal really stands out as a boost in front of a dirty amp to me and it seems far more focused than the average TScreamer clones.

  23. I want this thing bad! I know it will sound great with a metal tone it would give me much more clarity tightening up the bottom end the way it does

  24. Very crisp full tone i can think of hundreds of way’s to throw this beauty into the mix to punch out that
    big tone I’ve been searching for and really brighten up my fx chain

  25. I’m sincerely blown away by how versatile this pedal is. I’ve been looking at various tube screamer and overdrive pedals for some time and I’ve always been a little frustrated with what I’ve found. Nothing could ever really dial in that exact tone I wanted. The flexibility and maneuverability of this pedal, however, has restored my faith in tube screamer pedals. Definitely putting this one on the gear list and recommending it to any guitarist looking for such a pedal. Excellent work, as always!

  26. Definitively is a state-of-the-art piece of ammo for any guitarist who is looking for the perfect balance, tone and gain. Versatile and solid, this top noch stomp box won´t let you down! A must try!

  27. I actually really enjoyed reading this pedal review, it seems to have actually interested me to get one of these bad boys for my primary rhythm tone, and i can slap a tube screamer of some sort for a soaring juicy lead tone, if i do somehow win the giveaway that would actually be awesome but i am a man of low expectations and high hopes.

  28. Pretty impressed with this pedal. Wonder how it would sound in my signal chain with my custom amp. Really looking for something to help boost my lead tones.

  29. The one thing I’ve hated about other drivers is that they only have one tone knob or just a bass and treble. I’m also really loving the versatility of the 805, I love the option of being able to play other genres of music.

  30. The Range of the Gain on this pedals seems to be very versatile.
    I dig the 3 EQ knobs where I really can dial in some bass, mid, treble separately.

  31. I’ve watched many videos on YouTube for an overdrive pedal wondering what would be the best pedal to own before I come to conclusions and found this pedal to be one of three that I really adored. The versatility of the eq knobs is what sold me as well as overall tone. There needs to be more boutique pedals like this. Must get my hands on one of these

  32. This pedal looks amazing, and the sound it creates is amazing. It’s nice to see that SD can take a classic sound like the 808 and improve it so much! The tweakability makes it so compatible with experimenting artists trying to find their own sound. This pedal is one that can be a force for some good that the guitarist community really needs. Having more tweakable pedals with amazing sounds in them is what we need to push our sounds to a place that others didn’t go before, and add a personal flavor to our creations! Thank you for making this.

  33. This pedal sounds awesome! Way more oomph than the standard Ibanez TS thats on my pedalboard now. This would make a great replacement!! Thanks for the great review as always!!

  34. This pedal definitely has way more tonal options than your standard TS-9 or clone. I really like how it responds to picking dynamics – barely noticeable grit to full on overdrive/distortion when you really dig in. Awesome review of a really interesting pedal!

  35. I like the fact that it has the full tonestack. I don’t think I’ll ever bother with overdrives that don’t have that level of control.

  36. I dig the look of this pedal. I also think it’s essential for any overdrive to have some EQ features like this one has (with the three mini knobs). I definitely need to check this one out after the reviews.

  37. There’s an almost naked woman on the right of the screen. How am i supposed to concentrate on the OMG ITS SEYMOUR DUNCAN!!

  38. I’d love to try one of these out. Sold my old TS9 last year and have been checking out other drive pedals since. This seems like a winner to me!

  39. I’m a real TS fanatic, Also I use nothing but Seymour Duncan pickups.So when i Spotted this i had to look into it. The interesting thing about this overdrive is how there’s not just one TONE knob but three separate knobs for lows, mids and highs. THAT’S AWESOME! Pretty standard High quality overdrive but definately a contender as each as it’s own type of sound.

  40. Thi is a fantastic gear that I must have!
    it sounds really….. big and clear, crisp and clean. As fat, as I need
    I really like it

  41. I have three guitar players in my home and buying all these pedal’s gets expensive real fast so winning this would be awesome. Since times are tough and I can’t afford to buy my kids new equipment this would be an amazing surprise to give them.

  42. Great overdrive pedal, great tones. This could be something that I’m looking for. I would really love to have one on my board!

  43. Based on the demo I would say it sounds crisper tone-wise. Ideally I would like to lineup the TS-9, TS-808, and TS-808HW, along side the 805 and do a true comparison…I do like the EQ for sure…

  44. I dig the layout of the pedal. Simple and a little different. Mint green is a beautiful colour as well. I haven’t tried a pedal from Seymour Duncan in quite a few years. I remember the Pickup Booster was pretty rad.

  45. this pedal really sounds great. with all this controls it’s gonna sound good everywhere. seymour duncan is releasing some great pedals

  46. I like to think I’m a versatile guitarist myself, and in case of winning the SD 805 OD would be that pedal which will empower me to keep on that way.

  47. Holy cow…I have been waiting to purchase a vintage original TS808 …..BUT WHY!?. I am Happy that I didn’t “pull the trigger” on that! I MUST GET the SD805! AWESOMELY BETTER with the 3Band EQ. Can’t WAIT to put this HOLY GRAIL of TubeScreamers in front of my WIZARD amp. Drooling to be the LUCKY WINNER of such a Prized pedal :-)

  48. diggin the enclosure and love the sound… never really used tube screamers before. may the giveaway odds be ever in my favor

  49. Driving a good tube amp with a hot signal is one of life’s pleasures ^^ would love to do it with this pedal! the three band EQ is much appreciated too.

  50. Man that is a sweet sounding OD. I am super impressed with SD pedals. I just picked up the Vapor Trail, and it is a superior analog delay, my new favorite for always on duty on the board. It can also handle ambient tasks really well, with the versatile modulation controls. Looks like this 805 is similarly well designed.

  51. I use several overdrive pedals each with their own personality & distinct voice. The 805 Overdrive has a great clarity & three EQ knobs to shape the sounds. Great stuff!

  52. Never used a seymour duncan pedal, but from the videos this pedal sounds smoothe. I wouldn’t buy one, but if I win this thing I will definitely find a spot on my board for it.

  53. Actually I’m fan of the germanium diodes overdrive pedal format amplification but this one is very attractive to me. I want to try it, and sadly it wont be in our part of the world untill I buy it. This is a hint ;)

  54. I met Seymour a few years back and he couldn’t have been any nicer. You could tell he just has a passion for this stuff. A lot of people seem to think Duncan’s stuff isn’t as maybe “hip”, or as “cool”, as some of the trendy more boutique stuff out there just because their pickups seem to be everywhere. But even so if you search you tube for some of the behind the scenes factory tour videos,; despite the big name recognition and big time popularity they still pretty much have remained a relatively small company that is very hands on still.

    Their stuff never seems to disappoint. I love that newer analog delay! And if this is as good in person as the demos seem to sound I will be picking one up regardless if I win or not.
    Thank you Best Effects!

    All the best,
    Mike Thomas

  55. At least an Overdrive with a good 3 bands EQ. I’d like to hear how it sounds in my rig!
    Sorry for my french! (i’m french)

  56. i dig that seymour duncan incorporated a three band eq; and were smart enough to mark the little knobbies. what a pain — lucky i had white out for another brand!

  57. WOW!! FINALLY a TS-808 clone that effortlessly captures the highly sought after sound we all know and love to hear on countless albums and concerts over the past 30 years! This newest offering by Seymour Duncan : the 805 Overdrive pedal, appears to bring all the vintage sounds we love, (along with MUCH MORE we have yet to experience), to the table in a quite simple and practical design. Ive been searching for an efficient clone for that “sound” I have in my head and I was so happy to hear the demo. I actually went and showed it to my wife and I clearly remember saying at the time that this was gonna be on my wanted list LOL. Thanks so much Best Guitar Effects and Seymour Duncan for the opportunity to add this amazing pedal to my board. I believe it will take its rightful place as my main overdrive!! -Matthew Richardson, Buffalo, NY

  58. It’s nice to see this renaissance of thoughtful, nuanced overdrives. Remember when the only game in town was the Ibanez Tube Screamer?

  59. Man, I really dig the design. To me, it seems so unusual for pedals to achieve certain level of aesthetic quality…. thumbs up for this one!!!

  60. Looks awesome! I have the Vapor Trail Delay pedal and loving it.
    Seymour Duncan are bringing out great pedals.
    I would love to try out this overdrive.

  61. Interesting. If one were to forced to choose between the TS-9 and the 805, which would be the “better” one, and in which situation? (For leads, “tightening the sound”, rhytm, etc etc)

  62. First off I’m totally biased positively to anything Surf Green! But seriously, the eq controls put this pedal miles above Tube Screamers with a mere tone knob. Would love to get one when $$ allows. P.S. I’m glad your doing video demos now Gabriel. Keep up the great reviews and demos, I never miss ’em.

  63. Like others said, I’m really interested in the EQ section of this. The 805 are code concept is a cool take on the 808. Nicely done!

  64. The EQ Center on this pedal makes it one of the most versatile OD’s on the market. Another winner from Seymour Duncan!

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