Friedman Amplification BE-OD Deluxe by Se7enHeaven
I like my tone’s low end to be punchy and chunky (for rhythm) and with enough energy to sustain quality singing leads. Friedman’s BE-OD Deluxe not only delivers effectively, but is one of the most impressive pedals I have reviewed. This is a step up from the BE-OD, in that it offers two channels to vary how light or heavy you want your rhythms, or if you want to devote individual rhythm and lead channels with your gear. Although this may be consider a high-gain pedal, and it certainly is, you are able to adjust the amount of Gain internally (via knobs that can increase or decrease gain – they are set in the middle at 12-noon). As well, the BE-OD Deluxe cleans up very well, and so turning your guitar’s volume down gives you more of a classic rock result (with that signature Friedman sound and edge, of course) when you don’t want to push the envelope too much.
There is an individual Volume, Gain, Presence, EQ and Tight controls with each Channel. Some of this is straight forward, but what is very nice is that the entire EQ spectrum is usable – nothing sounds too extreme in the lows, mids or highs as you tweak the dials. The Presence adds an exceptional high-end sparkling quality and is more noticeable than I’ve heard with many other amps and pedals – it really makes the pedal come alive when turned up only one-third way. The Tight control pulls in the bottom end, which helps to either make the tone a bit less massive (for a thinner sound, if you will), but also is useful for those big and powerful chugging chords on 7 & 8 string guitars. The pedal also comes with an 18V power cable converter – the BE-OD has more headroom with 18V, but the power supply I use did not ‘recognize’ that cable, and so I powered it with a 9V supply. It sounds awesome at 9V and so I can only imagine having that added dimension with 18V.
When it comes to producing quality equipment that has its own unique flavor and distortion/overdrive qualities, Dave Friedman is a legend. He was able to take that Friedman amplifier tone and put it into the BE-OD pedal, and now he’s doubling our pleasure with the Deluxe model housing two channels – each with a full line of controls. Although this may be considered a high-gain pedal, adjusting the internal Gain trim pots and dialing back on a guitar’s volume brings the Friedman BE-OD Deluxe into a lot more guitarists’ hands than one would initially expect. This pedal is so amp-like in its sound and produces such great results that the reasonable price tag of $269 USD is a valid investment for those who want hard-hitting and dynamic tones for moderate rock to metal. Being able to tweak two different channels, like an actual amplifier, and makes a clean amp sound like a beast (if so desired) is one of the key points behind the BE-OD Deluxe that cannot be overlooked. Getting that Friedman sound and quality simply pushes this pedal into the next category of ‘must have.’
EASE OF USE:
The Friedman BE-OD Deluxe operates very much like an amplifier. Most amps do have dual channels (some have a third to push the ‘hot’ channel to be hotter), and using this pedal follows the same criteria. Channel 1 is more subdued, although you can increase its gain via the internal trim pot (or even decrease it if you want more of a classic rock crunch sound with more passive leads). Channel 2 is meant for meatier rhythms or leads, which also can be tamed or made more ferocious via an internal trim pot. Obviously how you use the pedal (what tones you want from each channel) must be sculpted via the EQ knobs, which also take into account how much Presence is added (which affects the high-ends). Volume and Gain are basic considerations, as how loud you want each Channel in the mix and with each other need to be balanced. The Tight switch provides a lot of flexibility in the sound, as having the switch all the way down introduces the most Bass and dynamics (viz., roundness or fullness). The middle position gives some tightness and looseness concurrently, which I tend to like for leads and some general rhythm work. The top position provides the most tightness, which really helps to make Channel 2 shine when chugging out those massively distorted power chords. If you always wanted that huge and tight Metal sound in your rhythm, then look no further. I have the BE-OD Deluxe running into a fairly tame clean channel of a preamp (the Mooer Blueno 020) direct to my DAW and it sounds great… very hard-hitting, yet warm and natural sounding (not overly-processed or sterile).
The BE-OD Deluxe is twice the size of a typical pedal, measuring 140 x 110 mm (about 5.5 x 4.3 inches), but does offer twice as much with its 2 Channel operation. It is lightweight, and so I suspect the chassis is made of aluminum. The paint is of good quality and is attractive with its gold graphics and lettering on black. The knobs are typical plastic, although solid in feel, and the various pots (volume, EQ and Gain) all feel very nice when turned – more solid and smooth than usual. The footswitches produce a very pronounced ‘click,’ and so you know when the pedal is bypassed or not and that the Channel has been changed (obviously the LEDs help in that regard). You may want to invest in some Barefoot Buttons if you play at home in your socks. All LEDs (for the Channels and the On-Off/Bypass) are countersunk to prevent damage, and the two footswitches are far enough removed from each other and the various knobs as well. The Tight switches feel solid when moving them among the three positions, and they are small enough that there’s less chance of catching them with a shoe and causing damage (although switching quickly on stage and during a song may prove a bit challenging). All inputs are located in the back, including the power source and the guitar input and output – a good place to keep them out of harm’s way.