Boss’ range of electric guitar effects pedals is very extensive and honestly, pretty confusing as there are a lot of similarly named stompboxes. Two of the most conflated are the OD-3 OverDrive and SD-1 SUPER OverDrive. Both are Boss. Both are overdrive pedals. Both are yellow. So what is the difference?
In this article I’ll compare their tones, features, price and everything else you could possibly want to know about them to help you decide which is the best option for your pedalboard.
|Boss SD-1||Boss OD-3|
|Mid-range emphasis||Bass emphasis, scooped mid-range|
|Low-moderate volume and gain||Moderate volume and gain|
|Works best through another drive pedal||Works well on its own or stacked|
|Asymmetrical clipping gives it a textured sound||Symmetrical clipping gives it a smoother sound|
The OD-3 sounds more scooped with more treble and bass emphasis and less mids. The SD-3 on the other hand has a mid-range hump and a tighter low-end.
The OD-3 is louder and has more sustain compared to the SD-1. The OD-3 also has more gain in comparison to the SD-1. The OD-3 is more of a medium-gain pedal whereas the SD-1 is definitely more low-medium gain.
In my opinion, the SD-1 shines when you put it through another distortion/ overdrive pedal where it can essentially be used to boost the mid-range which is useful when you need to cut through the mix a bit more. On its own, the SD-1 doesn’t add much gain or sustain and sounds quite weak.
The OD-3 on the other hand works really well on its own and is a great way to get your overdriven tone by running it through a clean amp. It also works great if you want to gain-stack and is a more versatile overdrive pedal compared to the SD-1.
The SD-1 uses asymmetrical clipping, unlike the OD-1 which uses symmetrical clipping. This means the SD-1 sounds more textured and similar to a tube amp compared to the OD-1 which sounds smoother.
The SD-1 is sometimes compared to a Tube Screamer as it has that characteristic mid-range hump, however the Tube Screamer uses symmetrical clipping so sounds smoother in comparison to the SD-1.
Check out my comparison between the SD-1 and Ibanez Tube Screamer to learn more.
Here is a YouTube video so you can listen to the difference between the OD-3 and SD-1.
Both the OD-3 and SD-1 have three basic controls: drive, tone and level.
- The drive control adjusts the amount of gain
- The tone pedal adjusts the EQ frequencies (how bright/ warm the pedal sounds)
- The level control adjusts the volume
The Boss SD-1 pedal has a current draw of 10 mA which is lower than the OD-3 pedal which has a current draw of 15 mA, this means the SD-1 has longer battery life.
In practical terms, the SD-1 lasts approximately 90 hours on an alkaline battery and 60 hours on a carbon battery whereas the OD-3 only lasts 56 hours on an alkaline battery and 34.5 hours on a carbon battery.
The Boss OD-3 pedal costs roughly $120 and the Boss SD-1 pedal costs around $63. Here are links so you can check the current prices:
- -20 dBu nominal input/ output level
- 1M ohm input impedance
- 1 k ohm output impedence
- Buffered bypass
- 73 mm width
- 129 mm depth
- 59 mm height
Check out my comparison between the Ibanez Tube Screamer and Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive