Danelectro Cool Cat Drive and Transparent Overdrive version 1 compared to version 2 explained and compared in depth and without bias

Posted by Guy Capuano - April 6, 2011 - Classroom, Gear Reviews - 2 Comments



Hey guys, figured I would share my findings with the version 1 compared to the version 2 Cool Cats Drive CO and Transparent Overdrives CTO. It seems the version 1 Cool Cats are held with very high regard in the guitar playing community. But when it come to the version 2, everyone turns their nose up and runs away.

I recently got crazy with the Cool Cat v2 drives and bought a bunch of them used off the TalkBass forum for very cheap. I spent a lot of time comparing the two different versions side by side (hey what can I say, summer is the most boring time to be a guitar teacher) and will share what I have found with you all.        

The Transparent Overdrives CTO
The version 1 Transparent Overdrive is allegedly a clone of the Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive pedal. Actually, both the version 1′s we are looking at are allegedly clones and hence the reason for these new version 2′s. But enough of that talk, let’s look at these pedals! With the Transparent Overdrives, I found that the version 2 is different and can’t be dialed in to the exact same tone as the v1. That being said, the version 2 is still totally awesome! It’s a new circuit, that’s right, original not stolen, with some tweak-able options including 3 dip switches in the battery compartment to provide more tonal options. It is very transparent and thick. So what exactly are the differences? Version 1 possesses more gain, more hair and bite. Version 2 is more of a transparent drive, not as gainy, but can still get up there. It is more glassy and thick, very warm and smooth. I can’t see how some one would not like this pedal as a low gain overdrive or a fantastic boost with options! They are two totally different sounds. Version 2 seems to have more original tone intact and shining through, whereas the version 1 has more saturation. Also, the dip switches on version 2 must be set with the last 2 engaged in order to get a good overdrive tone out of the version 2, otherwise it is just an extremely versatile boost pedal. No doubt, the version 1 is a legendary low gain transparent overdrive, after all it is almost an exact clone of one of the greatest overdrives available, but the version 2 is no sleeper either. Ok, it is not a Timmy clone, but it is its own thing, and it really is excellent.

The Drive CO
The newer version 2 of the drive seems to be a modified version of the first one, which allegedly is a clone of the Fulltone OCD.  The v2 also has an input sensitivity knob and a dip switch to add more versatility in the tone department. With the Cool Cat Drives, I found that while the v2 has one dip stick switch and a gain sensitivity adjustment in the battery compartment, if you engage the dip switch, you can dial in the exact same tone as the version 1 (thats right OCD tone-age!). I compared them side by side for a considerable amount of time and was able to carefully dial in the exact same tone out of each, the knobs are on different settings on each, but the tone is still accessible with the version 2. SCORE! If anything the version 2 is more versatile. Though we don’t look to OCD type pedals for versatility, it is still nice to have the option especially if you get bored easily with the same tone.

This is what I found after spending more time than I would like to publicly admit with these Cool Cat pedals. They are some real champion pedals. Whether considering version 1 or version 2, Danelectro gets 5 stars from me. Also, as a Dave Ramsey follower I love to save money and bask in things of great value, and these Cool Cats would be Dave Ramsey approved!         

Here are some decent demo videos of both of these pedals side by side from GearManDude. He does not spend time trying to dial in the exact tones onto each, but like I said above, the CTO v2 can’t be dialed in, but the COD v2 can be!

 

2 comments

  • Daryl says:

    Thanks for this great comparison, as an owner of both version 1 of these pedals, I am a fan. I do have a question regarding the CO2. You mention that engaging the dip switch makes the CO2 sound like the CO1. What is the change in the tone with the dip switch disengaged compared to engaged in the CO2

    • Guy Capuano says:

      Hello Daryl, it has been quite alot of time since I have had them both side by side. But with the dip switch disengaged it is a heavier, modern, type sound. Maybe somehow soldanoish, if that makes any sense. More saturation, kind of darker, almost distortion like.

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