If you’re curious about Fulltone’s OCD vs Plimsoul pedals and how they compare, you’ve come to the right post!
Michael Fuller started making Fulltone pedals back in the 1990s. Over the coming years, he slowly grew the company’s name. At this point, it’s one of the most famous brands of guitar pedals.
Sure, Fulltone has a bunch of effects. But their overdrives and distortions seem to attract the most attention. Full-Drive or FD-1 was an interesting one. Then Full-Drive FD-2 started getting all attention with its additional boost switch.
Today, we have the FD-3 variant with some incredible tone-shaping possibilities. But most popular are the company’s compact overdrives and other dirtboxes. OCD is particularly attractive. Then we have the Octafuzz with a lot of rich harmonic content. There’s also Plimsoul, Soul-Bender, ’69 fuzz, and others.
Fulltone’s OCD is one of the go-to overdrive pedals on the market. It may not be as popular as, let’s say, the Tube Screamer. However, it serves almost the same purpose.
But let’s start with the basics. This overdrive comes in a compact board-friendly casing. There are three basic controls on it for volume, gain, and tone. But on the top side, we can see an additional switch.
This particular control is right at the up center of the pedal’s top side. You can see HP and LP on it. This stands for High Peak and Low Peak. Essentially, the High Peak mode works as your classic overdrive. It processes the tone and colors it in its own way.
The Low Peak mode, however, does very little coloration to the original tone. In a way, it’s like a clean boost but with a twist. This is what you’d use if you want to overdrive your tube-driven amp.
HP is the pedal’s main mode. It brings a characteristic accent to the mids and lower mids. It pronounces areas between 1 and 2 kHz. I like how this overdrive pushes tube amps.
I particularly love how it changes amps with 6L6 tubes, especially on clean channels. It gets them to break. However, it also boosts these mids, giving it a slightly traditional British twist. We could say that, in a way, it brings a Marshall vibe to Fender amps.
What’s also really great about Fulltone OCD is that it has an internal switch for bypass modes. They call it True-Bypass and Enhanced Bypass modes. The latter is very useful if you have a lot of pedals and long cables. It freshens up the tone, it won’t feel like it’s all soaked up.
Plimsoul is a bit of a different deal. Although the same size and in the same casing, it’s more diverse. First, this is a pedal that can do different clippings. In a practical sense, you can have a soft-clipping overdrive, a hard-clipping distortion, and anything in between.
And that’s incredibly useful. It’s really a shame that you don’t see more dirtboxes with such a feature.
Now, one thing you need to bear in mind is that these days we have the Plimsoul MK2. This is, in my opinion, a much more practical version. This one has volume, soft-clip, hard-clip, and treble knobs. The control for bass level is in form of a 3-way switch. So you go from low, mid, and high bass levels.
The clipping controls here are crucial. They’re the pedal’s main feature. Essentially, you can blend in both using these two knobs. It’s a dual-stage pedal. The soft-clipping stage will work like your smooth overdrive. The hard-clipping one is like a classic distortion effect.
Balancing between these changes the tone in many ways. And, not to get too geeky, but the circuit is also a bit specific. We have a pedal that gives that sag feel of a tube amp. It’s not like it has a very pronounced dynamic response. However, the harmonic content and the way it changes the tone resembles tube amps.
Due to those two knobs, you can do whatever you want. It’s like you have countless possibilities at your disposal. Some pedals, like Boss OS-2, will have one knob that lets you choose between soft and hard clipping. But I don’t remember seeing one with two separate controls.
OCD Vs Plimsoul: How Do They Compare?
At first glance, it’s obvious that Plimsoul gives more tone-shaping options. However, things are far from that simple.
You see, OCD gets into some harder-clipping territories as well. It’s closer to an overdrive. However, if you use the HP mode and push the gain, things can get pretty dirty.
That said, Plimsoul is most certainly more versatile. And it gets into much dirtier territories. If you were to push the hard-clip control to the max and soft-clip to zero, it would sound almost like a fuzz. It has that richness in the harmonic content.
On the other hand, OCD’s advantage is that it’s simpler. If you just need an overdrive, this is pretty much one of the go-to pedals today. If you need a soft overdrive for a solid-state amp or something to push your tube amp, it does all that.
What I also find impressive about OCD is that you can actually do a lot with it. Despite a seemingly simple interface, the pedal just reacts so well. The HP and LP choice adds to that. And if you pair it up with a good tube amp, the possibilities are endless.
At the end of the day, both pedals are great. And there’s no better or worse option here. However, I’d recommend Fulltone Plimsoul over OCD to those who like to have more options. Whichever kind of amps you’re into, it opens up a lot of options. And I’d recommend OCD to those who just need a slightly more diverse overdrive.
One thing that I’d also like to add is that both of these pedals sound much better with tube amps. OCD can push a Marshall into some serious metal territories. And Plimsoul can drive an amp in many directions.
I hope this article has helped you think through this topic.
And if you want to read more about gear comparisons on this blog, check out:
Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!