Fulltone OCD vs Tube Screamer – The Better Overdrive Pedal for You

Do you want to add some spice to your guitar masterpiece? Overdrive pedals to the rescue. Popular ODs that have invaded most of the music studios and concert stages worldwide is the Fulltone OCD vs Tube Screamer. To further unveil the greatness and power of these popular pedals, let’s start by getting to know what overdrive pedals really are.

What are Overdrive Pedals? Distortion Pedals?

Before we dig deeper into the comparison of Fulltone OCD vs Tube Screamer, let’s understand what overdrive pedals are first. Perhaps, let’s also have a quick comparison with the distortion pedals, so you can understand which is better.

Overdrive is the phenomenon when the tube amp is pushed to its limits and the signal hits the ceiling. The signal is more likely being “clipped” in this situation or the waveform has been cut off due to the limitation of the tube. Using overdrive pedals, it’s much easier to recreate this tone and even the process of creating one. With the overdrive pedals, you can achieve sweet, fat tone. The harder you strum the guitar, the more power and angrier it may seem if you use the right pedal in the right “overdrive” circuit.

Distortion pedals, on the other hand, provide even harder levels of clipping. The more clipping stages you’ll have in your setup, the higher the distorted gain. It’s very important to do the clippings right, or you’ll end up having too much white noise. However, if you have a great distortion circuitry, you can achieve more complex chords that may add a great amount of sustain to the sound you produce.

Distinguishing overdrive from distortion effects helps you get a solid grasp of the comparison between the Fulltone OCD and the Tube Screamer.

What is Fulltone OCD?

Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive pedal offers a huge palette of great overdrive tones. They keep redesigning this pedal to set a high standard for distortion/overdrive pedals. It comes with switchable hi- and lo-peak gain settings, switchable Bypass or True Bypass switching modes, and more.

The latest version of the OCD, the OCD v2, comes with a Class A discrete 2N5457 JFET input that is raised from 330k to 1 mega ohm. This increase in impedance provides better interaction with your guitar’s pickup to showcase the more enhanced range.

What is Tube Screamer?

Probably the most imitated classic distortion and drive pedal ever made, the Ibanez Tube Screamer is very popular for a reason. With the TS9, the latest reissue of the original pedal, you can really experience every bit of authenticity.

From the components to the housing, and even the seasick-green paint used in the original Tube Screamer, it’s as if you have a pedal that existed for centuries. It’s hard to resist this distortion and overdrive effects pedal that has proven and kept proving itself for years.

Specifications and Features

It’s not enough to describe the difference between these two pedals in words, let’s check the figures and compare them side by side with their specifications.

FULLTONE OCD v2 IBANEZ TUBE SCREAMER
Input Impedance 1 Mohms 500 Kohms
Output Impedance 10 Kohms 10 Kohms
Maximum Output Level 0dBm
Maximum Gain +30dB +30dB
Equivalent Noise -100dBm
Power Supply  9-18V DC center negative 9V battery or external 9V AC adapter
Dimensions 4.3 x 2.36 x 1.9 inches 4.9 x 3 x 2 inches
Weight 0.88 lbs 1.3 lbs

Performance & Functionality

If you don’t have either of these overdrive pedals in your possession, here’s a good YouTube video to help you judge the sound and performance difference between the two.

You can hear that Tube Screamer gives you a more mellow and smoother output, while the Fulltone OCD seems to be more ‘open’ and less compressed. It seems that the former offers more vintage sound, while the latter expresses aggressiveness and almost goes into the fuzz area.

The first Ibanez Tube Screamer first came into the market in 1979, while the Fulltone OCD only in 2004. So, you can really feel the vintage vibe of the Tube Screamer, while modern sound on the OCD. Fulltone OCD really cuts through the mix more effectively.

Versatility-wise, OCD all the way. But, if you happen to have a bright-sounding amp, Tube Screamer is your best friend. For solos or trios, Tube Screamer is your choice, but for a larger band, OCD is the best.

Price

From the specifications to the performance and functionality, it’s very clear that the Fulltone OCD is more versatile and offers a spectrum of possibilities to shape the sound of your guitar. So, it’s understandable that Fulltone OCD is more expensive than the Tube Screamer. Although the difference is only a few tens of dollars, it’s still something worth considering.

Conclusion

There’s no right or wrong choice between Fulltone OCD vs Tube Screamer. What type of music do you want to produce, and what are other elements you have in your setup? Of course, considering the kind of amp you have, the pickups, the guitar itself, and other pedals you have in your pedal board.

Fulltone OCD is more versatile and modern, while Tube Screamer offers mellower and vintage sound. The former easily cuts through mixes, while the latter gives smoothness to the bright-sounding amp. One supplements the other in some way, and it’s not bad either to have them both.

So, instead of choosing one of these great pedals, why not get both? Their uniqueness makes your sound more interesting. Some players put the Fulltone OCD first, then followed by the Tube Screamer to warm the sound up a bit. Or, you can do a little of an experiment on what is the best circuit configuration for your pedals. There’s no wrong circuitry, as it purely depends on your application. Plus, you can really achieve wonderful tones and mixes as you keep on improving with these two great overdrive pedals.