Maxon ROD-881 Real Overdrive/Distortion


  • Gain
    controls gain level. Turn it clockwise for more gain.
  • Bass
    controls effected tone. Turn it clockwise for more lows.
  • Mid. Boost
    controls effected tone. Turn it clockwise for more mids.
  • Treble
    controls effected tone. Turn it clockwise for more highs.
  • Master
    controls effected output volume. Typically output levels of both normal signal and effected signal should be adjusted to equal levels.
  • NR On/Off
    turning on this switch activates the noise reduction and NR threshold volume to cancel unwanted noise when no or little guitar signal comes out.
  • NR Threshold
    controls noise reduction threshold level. Turn it clockwise for more noise reduction. With this knob turned clockwise too far, you may loose the pick attack especially when you play low output guitars.
  • Boost On/Off
    stepping on this switch alternately turns boost on and off. When the effect is off, the boost switch turns LED on but doesn't boost the output level.
  • Mode (OD/Dist)
    switches between overdrive mode (OD) and distortion mode (Dist).



A tricked-out version of the ROD880, the ROD881 Real Overdrive/Distortion offers even more tone shaping control than its older cousin. Powered by a hand-selected 12AX7WXT preamp tube, the ROD881 takes all the great overdriven tube sounds of the ROD880 and turbo charges them by adding a switchable Distortion mode for searing, super-saturated guitar tones that rival the biggest of the big rigs in the amp world. In addition, the ROD881 features a Footswitchable Boost mode that effectively adds another channel to your amplifier.

The ROD881's switchable Distortion mode adds a secondary, cascaded gain stage into the signal path for even more extreme tube punishment than the ROD880. In addition to simply adding more Gain, the selectable OD/Distortion modes greatly increase the versatility of the ROD881, allowing it to function in a variety of roles from semi-clean booster to ultra-high gain preamp.

The ROD881's Footswitchable Boost function then allows the user to take full advantage of these sounds by creating an additional channel for quick changes between solos and rhythms. When combined with the various clean and drive settings on your amplifier, these two unique features create a multitude of easily accessible tone settings at the touch of your foot, effectively turning your amplifier into a two- or three-channel "uber" amp.

The tones of the ROD881 can be fine tuned using via its large, easy-to adjust control panel. Gain and Master Volume provide complete and precise command of the ROD881's output level and amount of Drive. Bass, Treble, and Mid Boost controls with extended operation ranges offer a limitless array of tonal options, from the classic "808" tone to extremely beefy low end chunk.

All of these sounds are then kept clean and noise-free via the rear mounted, switchable Noise Reduction circuitry with variable Threshold control and a 1:2 noise reduction ratio. Powered via a standard 9-volt DC adaptor that allows easy integration into your pedalboard or rack setup, the ROD881 offers the maximum amount of options for the distortion connoisseur.

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  • Input Impedance
    500 Ohms
  • Output Impedance
    less than 10K Ohms
  • Equivalent Input Noise
    less than -110 dB (input shorted, IHF-A weighted)
  • Max Output Level
    +10 dB (typical)
  • Tone Control Range
    Bass: 100 Hz 0 to 28 dB (typical)
    Middle: 1 KHz 0 to 25 dB (typical)
    Treble: 3 KHz 0 to 22 dB (typical)
  • Noice Reduction Ratio
    1:2 or more (approximate)
  • Tube
    Selected dual triode tube (typically Sovtek 12AX7WXT)
  • Power Consumption
    190 mA at 10VDC / 180 mA at 9VDC
  • Dimensions
    110 (W) x 160 (D) x 72 (H) mm
  • Weight
    700 Grams

Where to find one?

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