MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive Pedal

Dunlop releases the MXR EVH 5150, a compact stompbox that gives you Van Halen's sought after overdrive tone.

MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive Pedal

This particular pedal is designed to give guitarists a more portable way of conjuring Van Halen's famous overdriven tone, and do so regardless of the type of amp you're using.

Off the bat, I'd say that this is a big claim for such a small pedal, I mean how can a regular pedal reproduce the might and juice of a Peavey 6505 or rather an EVH 5150 amp head? But since carrying multiple amp heads to get specific sounds is not practical, and other pedal manufacturers have been emulating this popular sound, Dunlop decided to give try their hand at making a pedal version. They then took it a step further by getting Eddie Van Halen himself included in the design and development process.

The result is a high-gain overdrive pedal that features multi-stage MOSFET along with an expansive set of controls. The controls let you the pedal's tube-like tones to match the type of guitar and amplifier configuration that you're using. Basically, this is an instant Van Halen tone that instead of sitting on a cabinet or a rack, sits on your pedalboard.

The output and gain knobs let you adjust the volume and distortion levels, which you can use to dial up the many flavors of Eddie's guitar sound, from the crunch sound of his earlier works to the high-gain articulate tone that he currently wields. A 3-band passive tone stack EQ is also provided to let you shape the tone to your preference, you can also use them to cut or boost frequencies to better match your guitar, pedalboard and amplifier. As expected, there's a boost switch that adds extra gain and compression to the already loaded circuit, should you need the extra sustain and grit.

The Smart Gate circuit is a nifty feature that was added into this pedal, it applies "smart" noise gating to silence unwanted buzz and hum when you're not playing, and helps you better manage your sound when playing at very high gain and volume levels. It's a wise addition to the pedal, specially since standalone high-gain pedals are usually plagued with feedback and buzz problems.

Check out this nice video demo from Andertons' Lee and Peter, showcasing what the pedal can do:

Finally, the EVH 5150 Overdrive features true bypass switching and comes packed in a tank tough enclosure that features custom EVH graphics. The MSRP for the EVH 5150 Overdrive pedal is $285.70. If you're a fan of the Eddie Van Halen sound, or you need one more dirt pedal on your already dirtied pedalboard, you might want to visit Jim Dunlop.

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Checkout our roundup of the best overdrive pedals!

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