Since 2014 I have come a long way, and today Reuss is a team of myself and two brilliant electronics engineers, so we couldn’t help taking the quad opamp OD-1 circuit a few steps further than a straight clone.
First thing you might notice is, that the Square One is a three-knob pedal. The OD-1 only had two knobs, and one of its characteristics was the lack of a tone control. So, did we add a tone control to spoil the fun and turn it into a SD-1 clone? No. The ‘HI CUT’ is not a tone control as you know it from a tube screamer or a Boss Super Overdrive. As the name implies, it is a high-cut which bleeds off treble frequencies as you turn it up. It is subtle, and all the way down, the knob has no function. You get pure OD-1 sound. The purpose of the control is to dial out harsh 'ice pick' treble.
Inside the pedal, you'll find a few ‘easter eggs’. There's a ‘fat switch’, which extends the original circuit’s frequency response one octave down, for better bass response. We also added the possibility of setting it to ‘symmetrical’ clipping, via a DIP switch inside, which moves the sound into tube screamer territory (original OD-1 clipping is asymmetrical). Maybe most importantly, we gave the Square One a completely new, switchable clipping option based on MOSFET transistors and germanium diodes. This setting has a bit more ‘hair’, and it sounds more dynamic than the ‘stock’ silicon diode clipping configuration. Personally, I think it’s superior sounding, so I am shipping the pedals in this mode – with the ‘fat switch’ on.
Still, the original circuit sounds amazing too, and I didn’t compromise with the silicon diodes, putting vintage new old stock Toshiba 1S1588 diodes in it – the same as was used in vintage pedals. These have a softer ‘knee’ than current production silicon diodes, giving a less harsh clipping.
At the heart of the Square One Overdrive, sits a rare, long out of production made in Japan Nec uPC4741C quad opamp. The exact same as you can find in vintage Boss pedals.
How does the Square One sound different to a more traditional overdrive in the tube screamer / Boss SD-1 family, you might ask? Well, I hear the difference mostly in the sounds of the low strings, which are tighter and more focused. Overall it seems less muddy. Sharper and a bit more aggressive, but still very, very pleasant sounding. This might be why the old Boss version was a hit with the early 80s metal scene. It's possibly the best overdrive pedal you have ever heard. Very versatile, and great for all-round purposes, both at subtle overdrive settings and when crossing over into distortion territory.
Personally, I think the Square One is one of the finest overdrive pedals that we make, and a safe choice if you are searching for something different and unique in the much overcrowded high-end ‘boutique screamer’ market.
The Reuss Square One is carefully handcrafted in the European Union in tiny batches. We have painted and silk screen printed 44 enclosures for the first run.
Demo by The Tone Lounge (excellent channel - very underrated - please subscribe!)
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Download the Square One Overdrive manual here