Pearl OD-05 Overdrive


What is it?
Pearl OD-05 Overdrive. Made in japan, early eighties.

This must be one of most desired overdrives on the planet. And for good reason i might add. I don’t know how many units were made, but the amount must be a lot. There’s almost always one for sale on eBay, so this ain’t exactly a rarity but the prices these go for do tell us something.

Opening the unit’s six screws show peaceful board with strong, solid traces and neat, professionally made solder joints. Just what one would expect from japanese early eighties pedal.


ThereĀ  is an factory schematic available online (plus numerous DIY projects), which opens up what this design is made of. There’s a buffer first, then a slight boosting gain stage to drive theĀ  semi-parametric EQ. Couple of filters follow, and then the main gain stage. This has symmetrical clipping diodes in feedback loop of non-inverting amplifier. Something that we see quite often in overdrives that try to emulate tube saturation. And of course, an output buffer. All this with electronic JFET switching and well designed ins and outs.

Pearl-OD05-guts3There’s two JRC4558D dual opamp and a handful of transistors in the signal path. The output level is sufficient as the main gain stage is there just before the output buffer. This way the tone control or filters won’t affect the output.

Well made boxes indeed. I think the prices are going to slightly rise on these units in next ten to twenty years. It is a classic without massively marketed reissues – actually, no reissues exist at all.

How does it sound?
Natural sounding overdrive with great addition of semi-parametric EQ to tune it to suit your guitar better than most other classic overdrives. The sound has some same characteristics as your Tubescreamers, but the EQ lets you control the hump point. It sounds very good and usable. Recommended pedal. Strongly recommended.


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