Okko aka Heiko Lauenroth has been building his pedals out of Leipzig for a lot of years. Initially he only had the Diablo in his range but has since expanded it with 2 more drive pedals and a compressor. The pedals all have a distinctive look and are handbuilt. Although he once did, he no longer does custom work although he WILL change the look of the Diablo if you are in a worship band!
The Diablo is built in a standard enclosure and comes in a bright orange color. There are older versions with different looks. Besides the standard level, gain and tone controls, the Diablo has a couple of extra controls that will allow you to tweak. Body controls mids and compression going from brighter and open sounding to darker with more compression; Feed determines the amount of low end pre-gain so it can clear up darker sounding guitars/pickups. Both these controls work together with the tone control so there’s a LOT of ways to get the sound just right. Open up the box and you will not only find a high quality build but also 2 addition controls on the inside. One is a Bass control, this works closely with the Feed and sets the amount of bass post-gain. The other is a Presence control and basically works like the presence on an amp. Finally, there also the headroom switch, actually a voltage doubler so the pedal internally runs at 18v, this totally changes the output, response and feel of the pedal. I would say, it's like having 2 different pedals.
The pedal in use
I got to test out the Diablo many years ago and really loved the pedal but didn't get to buy one straight away. For a couple of years, I tried and liked other pedals but there was always something that wasn't “right”. So then I got smart and ordered the Diablo. Delivery took a couple of weeks but the pedal has been in use since the day it arrived. It has been in a number of rigs I own(ed) and always delivered great tones.
Although based on a Tubescreamer, it can do a LOT. It has a great set of controls that allow you to dial in the pedal exactly like you want it. It works as a booster, low or hi gain pedal, it depends on your needs and what you do with the controls. All the controls are highly interactive so you need some time to dial in BUT you will not only find YOUR tone but also plenty of other great sounds from this pedal. The Diablo is probably the most advanced take on a Tubescreamer. And even when you are not using it, throw it in your gigbag because it could really save your gig one day.
Even when the Diablo is not in one of my rigs, it still gets used a lot because you can get a great balanced crunch tone from it, regardless of the amp you are plugged into. This makes it an ideal pedal to test out stacking new pedals or testing boosters. I have used it for so much different things that I can’t think of a situation where it wouldn’t work well.
It isn't a cheap pedal but it's definitely worth the price. Let me put it this way, it’s one of only 3 pedals that I have kept for more than 5 years and still gets used pretty much EVERY week.
- More info: Okko Diablo Overdrive