Electro-Harmonix Soul Food Distortion/Fuzz/Overdrive Pedal by Juicy_scooby
Recommended by a friend, I picked one of these up on reverb to improve my general "tone".
I wasn't familiar with the Klon before this, but upon researching I found out that it's a truly legendary circuit, and there have been numerous iterations of it since it's genesis, but as far as I can tell the EHX Soul Food is the best-sounding without being unattainable for even casual players!
It's listed as a transparent overdrive/fuzz/distortion, and while these titles blend together often I think it's safe to say the one thing it's NOT is a fuzz pedal. Not nearly crunchy enough. But it still has a great deal of "umph" especially if you're using it for gain staging.
I personally use it as an "always on" at the very start of my board. I keep Drive at 8 or 9 o'clock, Treble at about 2 and Volume at unison or a little higher depending.
I use a Les Paul into a Peavy amp and found that when I dialed down the tone of my pickups for warmth it cut out some of the "shimmer", and I also wanted more of that ethereal sound. Hard to explain what exactly shimmer is, for me I use it to describe richer harmonics in the upper mids I think?
There's a lot of ways to get "shimmer" on a clean tone, I've seen the SP compressor, boost pedals, etc. Lots of things can get this ambiguous tone I think but the Soul Food really nailed it for me.
The different in sound even with the settings pretty mild is noticeable. To me, it almost sounds like a subtle boost and compressor, it makes each string a little more charged, and a little more harmonically rich than just straight into the amp. If you crank the Treble it can get a little toothy, and shines a little too much.
I find some of the best tones you can get with the Volume at Unity, Drive almost gone, and the tone knobs on your guitar attenuated a little. The Treble really makes it glow.
If you want, this thing can definitely crank. I use it in front of a Blues Driver and together they give a very rich full tone.
The fact that this is a "transparent" overdrive is nice because if you keep the Drive knob low and let a different pedal do the crunching, it adds warmth and a nice rounded waveform to the final product.
Highly usable and sounds fantastic. Hard to beat the price and as far as I know it's a very close mirror to the original circuit. Only thing you could do to get closer to that hallowed sound is possibly replace the transistors with Germanium ones, which isn't too hard for a DIY pedalist but imo it's completely unnecessary for this pedal. If you can hear the difference between Ge and Si Transistors you're probably looking at a nicer clone of the centaur anyway.
Whatever kind of board you have I'm 99% sure this pedal will improve it!