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Maxon TOD9 True Tube Overdrive

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Manufacturers are always bragging about how “their” overdrive pedal sounds more like a tube amp than any other.  Well, Maxon decided that the best way to re-create the full-bodied sound and dynamic response of a tube amp is to use a real tube, and thus was born the TOD-9 True Tube Overdrive.

The world’s smallest tube-based overdrive pedal, the TOD-9 features a US Military spec subminiature tube at its core.  Subminiatures are the final frontier of vacuum tubes, as the supply of quality vintage tubes is rapidly dwindling.  Used extensively during W.W. II, subminiatures were largely abandoned by 1955 in favor of transistor technology, leaving a healthy stock of quality NOS product behind.  

To create its lush overdrive tone, the TOD-9 blends this subminiature tube stage with a solid-state distortion circuit.  Unlike other tube overdrives, the TOD-9 employs a unique “pre-tube” circuit configuration, where the tube comes before the solid-state distortion circuit in the signal chain.  By cascading the tube stage into the distortion stage, a more realistic tube-amp tone is achieved.  The result is a warm yet powerful guitar tone that is extremely interactive with the player's performance and responds exactly like a hard-working tube-amp.

Both the tube and solid-state sections of the circuit are fed with 30 volts DC thanks to the TOD-9’s internal voltage regulators.  Running the circuit at higher voltages provides a more consistent tone with increased headroom and dynamic response.  Maxon was the first company to pioneer the use of internal voltage doublers in 9-volt effect units, and this practice is now gaining notoriety with effect enthusiasts around the world.

The performance of the tube is kept stable and reliable thanks to Maxon’s unique heater inrush current control, which feeds the tube with a lower startup voltage to extend tube life.  The complex multi-voltage operation of the TOD-9 prompted Maxon to develop a unique power supply for this model – The AC2009.  The AC2009 provides very consistent high current that is regulated and filtered to provide stable, noise-free power to the TOD-9’s circuit.  The AC2009 is auto-sensing, so it can be used anywhere in the world by simply changing out the detachable plug cord on the output side of the PSU.

Like all Maxon Nine Series models, the TOD-9 features mechanical true bypass switching for direct, unaltered signal in bypass.

So if solid-state overdrives just aren’t cutting it for you, get to the truth of the matter and get the True Tube Overdrive from Maxon!

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