Taste in overdrives is so subjective. A player might luck into a stellar $50 mini pedal or feel the absolute need for a $2,500 Klon. The only possible category killer would be a single stompbox that could generate convincing re-creations of time-honored overdrives and offer the adaptability to customize. Well, guess what?
The Sunset from Strymon is a dual overdrive with a hybrid analog/digital architecture and six classic voicings split out to two channels. Each channel allows a choice among three circuits. Channel A features two “soft” ODs plus a versatile treble boost; Channel B features two harder-clipping voices plus a JFET-type clean boost. The JFET taps directly into the Sunset’s analog input gain stage, which makes every voicing organic and responsive – with up to 20dB of all-analog gain – while the DSP back end adds harmonic complexity and enables control.
Thanks to the Sunset’s three-position Config switch at the back of the unit, users can route Channel A through Channel B or vice versa – or route them in parallel. It’s like reordering your pedals without unplugging anything. You can set a slightly gritty rhythm sound using a clean boost, and then place a more dramatic drive before it for solos, regardless of which side either circuit is on.
If you’re squinting at the $300 pricetag, look at it as two ODs for $150 each. And consider everything else the Sunset can do with its Expression jack, Bright switch, noise reduction, and favorite recall capabilities. All this versatility is incredible enough, but then consider the pedal can be switched from true bypass to buffered.
Despite the Swiss Army knife options, rich and satisfying tones are available straightaway. And once you’ve selected a circuit (or two), fine-tuning is a simple, three-knob tweak using Level, Tone, and Drive.
Why did Strymon call it Sunset? Maybe it’s the warmth and good vibe. Or maybe when it comes to swapping out ODs to meet changing needs and tastes, the day is done.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.