Recording engineers and DIYers have long known what a small amp can do in a big room – that is, sound awesome. The U.K.-based Great Eastern FX Co. has created a pedal that inverts the concept, making big amps sound smaller. But it does a lot more.
The Small Speaker Overdrive is a tone-shaping preamp that can provide boost and approximate the sound of a small Class-A amp circuit cranked to 11. This means enhanced Fender Champ tones with increased tonal flexibility.
Using its controls for High, Low, Gain, and Level, this easy-to-suss pedal offers organic break-up and a distinctive tonal signature that cuts mightily through a mix, using a 9-volt adapter. A discrete transistor circuit and judicious tweaking allows the user to approach the sound of a mic placed in front of an 8″ speaker; the results are fat cleans and a richer overdrive at lower volumes. It delivers a hefty punch to the upper mids and sits divinely in a mix, a la Billy Gibbons, Joe Walsh, or Derek and the Dominos. It responds swimmingly to picking dynamics, and edges dangerously close to fuzz territory with the Gain maxed and a bit of experimentation.
The Small Speaker OD is a specialty pedal that provides mid-focused, punchy, natural-sounding ’70s low-gain grit. It’s exceptional as a DI for home recording or live use.
This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.