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The Best Overdrive Pedals with Presets (2023)

Today, there’s such an abundance of overdrive pedals of all kinds. However, if you’re looking for the best overdrive pedal with presets, you might feel like your choices are much slimmer than usual. After all, there aren’t as many of these on the market. But on the other hand, they’re not impossible to find, even if we’re talking about some discontinued models.

Pedals focused on a single effect that has onboard presets may come in two forms. Some of them are similar to multi-effects units and come with a display and numerous controls, and additional footswitches. The other kind is pretty much like your conventional stompbox, but there are ways to access the presets. So let’s get into the matter.

Our Top Picks

  • Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive – Packed with 12 different types of distortion, the OD-200 comes with four memory slots for your own presets.
  • Source Audio L.A. Lady Overdrive – Source Audio’s L.A. Lady Overdrive allows you to store presets and have versatility, all while the pedal’s controls are incredibly intuitive and simple.
  • Jackson Audio Golden Boy – There’s the 3-band equalizer, along with the volume and gain controls. There’s also an additional switch for clean boost, as well as the additional boost level knob.
  • TC Electronic NDR-1 Nova Drive – This is a 2-stage distortion pedal with an overdrive and distortion section. Each comes with individual controls.
  • Elektron Analog Drive – You won’t find it that easily, but this pedal really gets you a variety of distorted tones from clean boosting up to soaring fuzzy high-gain lead tones.

Why Choose an Overdrive Pedal with Presets?

There are two main reasons why one would consider getting such an overdrive pedal. It comes down to the versatility of options and functionality. You can easily access more than just one type of tone without having to change the knobs mid-show or mid-session. So, in short, the reasons for getting one of these pedals are mostly practical.

Overdrive pedals with presets are useful for anyone who needs to change or alter the main character of their tone within one song or in between the songs. If you’re looking for an option to have a switchable boost, then maybe 2-stage overdrive pedals are a better option as you can easily engage and disengage it.

Be it a few presets on a stompbox or a whole library of tones on a more complex device, the main idea remains the same. It all comes down to having more types of tones at your disposal and an easy way to access them. That’s all there is to it.

What’s also a common issue among guitar players is that they tend to purchase something that they don’t really need. Think this through before you set out to spend your money on a new overdrive. Do you need presets on an overdrive pedal? Does the music that you’re playing require you to change the essence of your overdriven tone mid-song? If not, then any conventional overdrive pedal will work for you.

The Best Overdrive Pedals with Presets


1. Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive

OD-200 Hybrid Drive is a continuation of the old discontinued OD-20 Drive Zone. The basic idea, however, is pretty much the same. The only difference is that OD-200 is an advanced distortion workstation that will impress even the most demanding pedal connoisseurs.

For this one, Boss made sure to add as much versatility as possible while keeping it within a reasonably-sized casing. There’s the usual on-off switch, as well as an additional one. This second footswitch allows you to either use it as a boost or as a memory recall.

Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive Pedal

Packed with 12 different types of distortion, the OD-200 comes with four memory slots for your own presets. There’s also an additional jack for external controllers. This could be a simple switch, expression pedal, or even a full MIDI in-and-out for advanced functions and elaborate rigs.

We’re looking at a pro-grade distortion device. It comes with the most popular distortion and overdrive flavors that go even beyond Boss’ usual arsenal. The control panel comes with the level, drive, and 3-band EQ controls. There’s also an additional parameter control that changes depending on the distortion type. It also allows for other settings, including selection for either pre- or post-gain boosting. What’s more, it even comes with an onboard noise gate. So I’d say that this is easily the most versatile option on the list.


2. Source Audio L.A. Lady Overdrive

What’s kind of a downside with this one is that it’s not as common compared to your usual brands. But not to be so negative about it straight away, we’re looking at an incredible yet compact overdrive pedal. Source Audio’s L.A. Lady Overdrive allows you to store presets and have versatility, all while the pedal’s controls are incredibly intuitive and simple.

Source Audio One Series L.A. Lady Overdrive Effects Pedal

You can find your usual 4-knob pedal featuring drive, level, and a 2-band EQ layout. Right in the middle is also a toggle switch for three modes of operation. These are labeled as classic, crunch, and smooth. Classic is your usual Tube Screamer-like overdrive, although slightly smoother. Crunch adds a rougher twist to the sonic equation, while the smooth mode is designed to replicate Mesa Boogie tones with a high-gain approach that’s focused on tight bottom ends. This is all accompanied by two inputs and two outputs on the sides.

But behind this pedal’s incredibly simple façade lays a much more complex device. For instance, the second input can be used for the company’s Neuro App. There are also specific ways to save and access presets, and it can even save up to 128 presets with appropriate MIDI connections and features. Yes, it can be a bit tricky to get a hold of all of its functions, but it’s really worth it if you’re up for some advanced stuff.


3. Jackson Audio Golden Boy

Although a bit more widespread compared to the previous entry, Jackson Audio’s Golden Boy is what you’d consider a “boutique” pedal. The pedal’s basic features would put it among some of the usual more versatile overdrives. There’s the 3-band equalizer, along with the volume and gain controls. There’s also an additional switch for clean boost, as well as the additional boost level knob.

But there’s way more than that to this little device. By hitting both switches at the same time, you access the pedal’s “gain cycle” mode. In this mode, you can access four different presets. However, these presets are pretty much for the gain control only. It takes the current gain level, divides it into four equal parts, and you can toggle between four levels of gain.

Jackson Audio Golden Boy Transparent Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal (GOLDENBOY)

On top of that, Golden Boy is also compatible with MIDI connectivity options. That’s where things get pretty interesting. Sure, it’s made for advanced rigs that feature other MIDI-compatible devices. But you can control a variety of parameters and toggle between presets.

Other than that, this pedal has an incredibly “transparent” tone. This means that it blends in your unprocessed signal, making it feel a bit more “natural.”


4. TC Electronic NDR-1 Nova Drive

TC Electronic is a company that always has something interesting to offer, all at reasonable price levels. Unfortunately, they discontinued the NDR-1 Nova Drive pedal, but you can still find it through some online marketplaces.

In its essence, this is a 2-stage distortion pedal. There’s the overdrive and the distortion section. Each of them comes with individual controls, and what’s awesome about the overdrive is that it has the clean blend option. So you can make it really transparent when needed.

However, the pedal can also work in two other modes. There’s the “toggle” mode which lets you use them separately. It’s either one or the other. But then there’s also the “bank” mode which comes with presets. There’s a total of nine banks, each with two presets. You can use the two footswitches to select one or the other preset.

Finally, the pedal is also compatible with TC Electronic’s G-Switch. But it’s also compatible with any MIDI device for more advanced functions.


5. Elektron Analog Drive

Today, Elektron Analog Drive is an underrated gem. You won’t find it that easily, but this pedal really gets you a variety of distorted tones for pretty much any genre. At the center, both physically and functionally, is a control that allows you to choose between eight distortion types. There’s anything from clean boosting up to soaring fuzzy high-gain lead tones.

Along with that, we can also find the usual controls for gain, level, and a 3-band EQ. However, the EQ also comes with a mid-frequency knob. This is effectively a parametric EQ for mids which is incredibly useful for getting a great guitar tone. This parameter can also be controlled with an external footswitch.

The Analog Drive can also work in manual and memory modes. The manual mode lets you set it up and use it as it is. But with the memory mode, you get 100 user slots. You can easily go through these by using the left and right footswitches.


FAQs

Do I Need a MIDI Controller to Access Presets on an Overdrive Pedal?

Overdrives that have presets come with functions that let you access them at any time. If a pedal in question is a simpler one, then there’s likely a shortcut that lets you save your tones, edit the presets, and then select them. More advanced pedal models can come with multiple switches and easier ways to access the presets. You don’t need a MIDI controller if an overdrive or a distortion pedal has a presets feature. However, they usually come with MIDI connectivity options that can make the selection process simpler. It also allows you to use these pedals in more elaborate MIDI-controlled rigs.