NOBELS ODR-1 Pedal Plugin Review – A Legend Goes Digital! (& GIVEAWAY)

The ODR-1 overdrive pedal from Nobels is one of the great studio secrets of guitar tone that every session player and engineer knows about, but for some reason didn’t really break into the mainstream consciousness until pretty recently. I, myself, only recently became aware of it, and I’m the Gear God! There’s even a mini one now.


So when I heard that Lancaster Audio had made a plugin version, I was naturally curious to see if it was as cool as the real deal. There are a myriad of overdrive plugins on the market, but the majority of them are tube screamer clones of some kind – I like those a lot, but I also want something different for other applications. The ODR-1 is kind of the polar opposite of a tube screamer – while the TS is a mid-boost, the ODR-1 is either transparent/flat or can boost your lows and highs.

The plugin version of this pedal is extremely cool. Right off the bat, it is easily the best-looking plugin I’ve ever seen – the 3-D rendering of the pedal is perfect and photo-realistic. Doesn’t make it sound any better, but it’s nice having it on the screen.

Aside from the convenience of having a plugin version of the pedal, which means you can have multiple instances of it without buying more physical pedals, the plugin actually does a few things that the pedal can’t – it has a tolerance modeling randomizer that will change the tolerance of the modeled components at random to give you a variation of the sound, just like different ones coming off the line will be slightly different, and you can change the voltage for more or less headroom.

The pedal sounds as it should – not super high gain, but a good bit of drive for either just a little extra hair, or all the way to a mid-gain rock tone. Pushing a high-gain amp with it as a clean boost will yield a fat sound with more gain, and can fatten up a thin amp tone, but won’t tighten a flubby sound much (as demonstrated in the demo video above with the Mesa/Boogie Dual Rec amp sim in Amplitube 4), even with the included bass cut switch on. This is a good pedal for when you like the sound of your amp, but you just want more – more drive, more juice, and to not lose the dynamic qualities of it.

So if you’re looking for an alternative to the legion of Tube Screamer clones out there, you want a nice transparent overdrive sound with a bunch of killer features that make it even more usable, the Lancaster Audio Nobels ODR-1 plugin might be right up your alley.

The plugin is currently on sale for an introductory price of $47, but if you’re lucky, you might get yours for free – I’m giving away 5 plugins to lucky Gear Mortals. You can enter the giveaway here – good luck!

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As Editor-in-Chief of Gear Gods, I've been feeding your sick instrument fetishism and trying unsuccessfully to hide my own since 2013. I studied music on both coasts (Berklee and SSU) and now I'm just trying to put my degree to some use. That's a music degree, not an English one. I'm sure you noticed.

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