Arion SOD-1 Stereo Overdrive

Arion SOD-1 Stereo Overdrive
Many Arion pedals, despite their budget background, have quite a good reputation; I'm thinking of the SCH-1 Stereo Chorus and SAD-1 Analog(ue) Delay pedals in particular, but there are others too – such as the SPH-1 Stereo Phaser which I really liked, despite not being much of a phaser fan.

The SOD-1 is another which is quite well thought of by some.

If you were to read the Harmony Central User Reviews (sometimes informative) and take them at face value (often unwise!), you could easily get the idea that this is a must-have overdrive – more than one of the reviewers claims this sounds like a Dumble!

I'm afraid I'm going to have to completely disagree with such statements as this overdrive pedal does absolutely nothing for me.

With a clean amp I think it sounds completely fake – particularly with chords – and uninspiring... That’s about it really; I couldn’t get a sound out of it that made me want to play. Which is a real shame - I wanted to like the SOD-1, but couldn’t bring myself to do so.

Stereo World

The stereo-equipped Arion pedals typically offer a choice of a direct (clean) signal or a variation on the effect at the second output.

In the case of the SOD-1 (and the other dirt pedals in the range), the second option is described as ‘Soft’. The SOD-1's ‘Soft’ overdrive is a kind of muffled, hollow overdrive which I think sounds a bit weird on its own but, in stereo, when layered with the ordinary overdrive sound, it can add a little extra texture.

Unfortunately, other than being a perfectly usable lead boost (with the drive kept low) and having potentially useful dual output options, I found very little to like about the SOD-1.

Perhaps the good reputations enjoyed by budget pedals such as the SOD-1 are partly, or largely, due to the Value For Money factor and lower expectations.
Great Expectations

While I personally don't (consciously) base my expectations of pedals (or other products in general) on price alone, I often read reviews or hear people say things along the lines of "it's great for the price"...

I admit that - like probably everyone else - I have been guilty of this myself, but it is something I don't really understand; either something is good or it isn't...

Having read many Harmony Central User Reviews of budget pedals where the reviewer has stated that the effect is great for the price, then given it a 9/10 or 10/10 rating, I find this absurd...

It raises the question - for me anyway, that, if the pedal was more expensive, would the rating be lower? Even though the sound is the same?

Conversely, if you spend £200 on an overdrive/fuzz/whatever, and then only rate it at 6 or 7 out of 10 for sound, would it suddenly become 'better' and worthy of a higher rating if it only cost £20?

By all means say a budget/mid-priced/expensive/boutique pedal is great but leave it at that: Price is irrelevant in terms of whether an effect sounds good or not.