Daphon are probably not the most well known company out there, but chances are many have played their gear without actually realising it. They have built effects pedals for Ibanez in the past (remember the Soundtank series), and I believe they still are with the Tone-Lok series. The Daphon effects also come with other brand names occasionally like Livingstone.
The E20OD is extremely simple to use, with three controls, Level, Tone, and Drive. It took me a matter of seconds to dial in a wonderful overdrive setting to push the dirty channel of my Blackstar HT-5 in to glorious high gain crunch and grit.
The pedal switch is nice and easy to engage and disengage too. No issues what so ever with using it at all.
Being that Daphon have built Ibanez effects one would think the E20OD may be very much like a Tube Screamer. It in fact uses the same chip as a TS-9 Tubescreamer, but it doesn’t quite sound like a Tubescreamer.
The E20OD uses an asymmetrical diode setup, whereas the Tubescreamer is a symmetrical setup. This makes it quite similar to a Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive.
In fact, when you take a look at the pedal’s PCB and compare it’s components with a Boss SD-1 PCB you realise that the E20OD pedal is pretty much almost an exact clone of an early Boss SD-1!
So yes, it sounds oh so much like a Boss SD-1, but at a much cheaper price.
It is nice and easy to dial the E20OD to provide transparent overdrive that doesn’t colour the tone of your amp too much. Set the tone knob at 0, and adjust the Level and Drive knobs to taste, and you can get a really sharp attacking tone with no real flab at all. Even with the Level and Drive knobs right up the tone stays nice and sharp. Turn the tone knob around and you can give your signal a bit of a treble boost.
The great thing with the E20OD is that it doesn’t get too noisy unless you really turn the Level and Drive knobs right up. I was quite surprised by this as cheap pedals typically use low quality electronic components that just make tonnes of noise when the pedal is engaged.
When the E20OD is turned off it also seems to leave a nice clear path for your guitar straight to your amp. The pedal doesn’t seem to bleed any nasty noise into your signal like some cheaper pedals do.
The E20OD is built really solid. In fact the casing I believe is far more heavy duty than Boss pedal cases! The switch mechanism feels nice and solid, and there is a distinct ‘click’ from the mechanism.
It has proper pots installed for the controls, not the cheap surface mounted type like you might find in many Behringer pedals. They look like fairly reasonable pieces of equipment, and have a nice solid feel when adjusting them.
The only part that looks a little flimsy is the PCB, but it is securely housed in the sturdy casing, so it’s probably nothing to worry about.
It also comes with a standard Boss style 9Volt socket, so you can use your usual power supply chain to power the effect.
Overall the E20OD is an amazing pedal with major bang for buck. I think this pedal could easily stand up to the rigors of gigging with flying colours, unlike a lot of cheap effects. It may very well put a lot of other similar pedals in higher price ranges to shame.