Texas‑based Warm Audio established their reputation through building affordable replicas of mostly out‑of‑production recording‑studio classics. Widening their portfolio to include guitar pedals saw the launch of the Foxy Tone Box (a rare vintage ’70s fuzz pedal) their Centavo Klon Centaur ‘clone’ and the distinctly Zen‑like Warmdrive. Their newest pedal, the ODD Box v1 (ODD standing for Over Drive Disorder), however, pays homage to one of the all‑time pedalboard favourites, the Fulltone OCD pedal. Designer Mike Fuller’s Fulltone business closed down its Culver City operation in September 2022, seemingly for good, but has since resumed production of some products from his new base in Nashville. The current portfolio does include an OCD, but only in the form of the significantly revised version 2 (now at 2.1), released in 2017 and incorporating active bypass circuitry.
The original OCD design went through a number of iterations, all still officially called version 1, perhaps in recognition of the fact that they were all just relatively minor revisions of the basic circuit. Pot values changed, capacitors came and went and LEDs changed colour, but they all still sounded like OCDs, to me at least, and I have nearly all of them, including the extra‑rare v1.5. That didn’t stop people having very clear favourites, though, with the v1.4 and v1.7 guaranteed to top any forum poll of ‘best OCD version’.
What all the versions have in common is the unusually high degree of touch sensitivity they afford the player, offering a level of distortion control just through picking strength that is quite unlike most distortion pedals and more like the feel of playing an overdriven tube amp. Instead of the clipping diodes connecting to ground, like most hard‑clipping pedals, the OCD uses the input of the op‑amp stage as a floating bias point, which means the clipping threshold ends up being proportional to the strength of the input signal. The OCD also employs MOSFET transistors for clipping, albeit used simply as diodes, and this too contributes to a slightly softer ‘feel’ than a ‘silicon‑diodes‑to‑ground’ pedal.
Warm Audio’s ODD Box replicates the circuit of the 1.4 OCD variant, interestingly one that exhibits a couple of things not present in any other version.
Warm Audio’s ODD Box replicates the circuit of the 1.4 OCD variant, interestingly one that exhibits a couple of things not present in any other version. The first of these is the presence of an additional germanium diode, and the other is the use of a logarithmic volume pot in place of the linear pot used in all the other v1.x models. This places the unity volume point much higher up on the rotation of the pot and led to the widespread misconception that the 1.4 was ‘quieter’ than other versions, largely based on YouTube videos comparing it to other variants with the controls in the same physical position. Of course, it isn’t quieter, it just gives you a lot more control within the most useful bit of the range. The ODD Box has it, too, and I much prefer it to linear pots that cram everything up to unity in the bottom quarter of rotation.
The effect of the ‘extra’ capacitor is harder to discern because other components also change from one variant to the next — capacitors subtly change, pot values alter. In theory, the D4 diode should make the clipping more asymmetrical and more aggressive sounding, but my v1.3 sounds even more aggressive and biting, and overall I prefer the more balanced voicing of my 1.4, which I have to say I hear perfectly replicated in the ODD Box. The controls are a simple Volume, Drive and Tone setup, with a voicing switch offering ‘UK’ and ‘USA’ in place of the OCD’s HP (High‑peak) and LP (Low‑peak). The legending may be different but the audible effect is precisely the same, with ‘UK’ High‑peak exhibiting a Marshall‑like bark in the upper midrange, compared to the flatter response of the Low‑peak.
Inside, the Warm Audio pedal looks very tidily put together, with quality jacks and a three‑pole switch offering full mechanical bypass as well as LED switching. Disassembly for battery access is via side‑located thumbwheels, as found on v2 OCDs, which is certainly convenient when you don’t have a screwdriver handy.
No ‘version 1’ OCDs of any variety are currently in production and the secondhand price of the favourites like the 1.4 and 1.7 have risen accordingly. To some people there will always be an extra kudos in having the ‘real thing’, but if you want a v1.4 and can’t justify the inflated pricing, Warm Audio’s ODD Box will get you there. The launch of this pedal set the guitar forums on fire with the usual quasi‑legal speculation, but just to be clear, you can’t patent a circuit, and this does not infringe Fulltone’s ‘trade dress’ (the relevant trademarking principle here): it is a different colour and it clearly says Warm Audio on it. Nobody is ever going to mistake an ODD Box for a Fulltone OCD by looking at it. Now, a blind listening test, that’s a different matter...