Imagine that today you wake up and realize that you have become a successful studio musician. You are given a phone call within a minute telling you that you are going to play for an artist and that you must come back immediately. You take your best guitar on your back and it's time to choose some pedals. Problem, you don't know what you're going to play? What to choose? Well we have the answer! (obviously). If you don't know what to choose, take the XTS Atomic Overdrive! For what? Quite simply because this pedal is one of the best Swiss army knives on the market and it is almost capable of doing everything, as we will see below.
Light case, well finished, super quality PCB and parts, everything is there for the Atomic to follow you for many years. What strikes you immediately when looking at the pedal is that it's very complete EQ section. Indeed, in addition to the usual Gain and Volume controls, the Atomic Overdrive benefits from a 3-band EQ and a section specifically dedicated to mid frequencies. Indeed, a small toggle switch allows you to choose the frequency range to assign to the Mid knob: Lo, Hi, Mid. This allows you to work with great precision and drastically change the character of the pedal.
Connected to a clean channel (clean clean clean) with a James Tyler on his knees, we start with everything at 12:00 and the Medium section on Mid. From the outset, we obtain a light but dense, fluid overdrive with fairly soft highs and a tight low. Ideal for a Blues-Rock register. By lowering the gain and tweaking the EQ, we get sounds like Robben Ford, Larry Carlton. The 3 knobs of the EQ are extremely effective and allow you to really sculpt your sound while modifying the main voicing of the pedal.
With the Gain at 03:00, we go into a more hard-rock register without going to extremes. The pedal compresses in a very nice way and the binder is accentuated between each note. On a humbucker, it's fluid, rich, with a nice bump in the midrange. By passing the toggle switch on the Hi mode, we recover the consistency and shine, ideal with single coils and to bring a little air to this very nice drive which now tends but distortion.
Gain thoroughly, we toggle the toggle switch on Lo, and there is a shock! Each position is really specific. The pedal changes personality. With this Lo position, you get a more modern, more nasal distortion, with a V-shaped equalization that works wonders in more modern registers. By switching back to Mid, we obtain Bonamassa-like sounds, with a richer and also softer upper end of the spectrum. In the Hi position, we recover a surplus of brilliance which allows, even with the Gain at the bottom, to hear everything very clearly. It's clear, articulated, precise while keeping a warm, non-clinical side.
The big advantage of the XTS Atomic Overdrive is not only its extreme versatility, but also its ability to go through the mix in a very natural way. Whether in a group or on recording. We are talking here about the choice of frequencies. And in this little game, the Atomic makes everyone agree. We immediately feel the design by musicians, for musicians, and not just anyone. It's a real tool and the reason why it's an undisputed star of US studios.
The XAct Tone Solutions Atomic Overdrive is a real guitar bomb. The ultimate studio tool. Dozens of nuances underfoot, an extremely musical drive and a design by pros, for pros. The years pass, and the Atomic remains.