Originally released in 1974, the D&S II Distortion & Sustainer II is a precursor to the amp-overdrive simulators of later years. With its mild drive, relaxed sustain and high output, the D&S II sits the fence between an overdrive and a distortion. This unique "split personality" makes the D&S II perfect for players that seek a natural-feeling drive sound but with more drive and output than an OD generally provides.
The D&S II accomplishes this task with some unique circuit refinements not typically found in distortions. Like a standard distortion, the D&S II features a diode-clipping stage after the amplifier section of the circuit. However, rather than using the silicon diodes commonly found in today's circuits, the D&S II uses germanium diodes in this clipping stage. The threshold voltage for clipping is 0.1 - 0.2V with germanium and 0.7 - 0.8V with silicon, so the germanium can distort even low level tones, thus making a smoother distortion. In addition, the germanium's rectifier characteristic is inferior to silicon (voltage drop with negative current is not as sharp as that of silicon) - this shortcoming ironically works favorably for the D&S II, creating a somewhat rounded waveform of the clipped signal that contributes to the unit's warm, natural distortion. Due to their "inferior" characteristics, germanium diodes are now a very rare component and have generally been replaced with silicon diodes in other manufacturer's circuits. Ironically, it is these shortcomings that give the D&S II its signature sound.
Also unique to the D&S II is its tone control. While most other overdrives and distortions feature hi boost/hi cut tone circuits, the D&S II tone control uses a low range boost/cut circuit for added bottom end. In addition, the D&S II's tone circuit features the JRC4558 IC chip, generally regarded as sonically superior to other op amp models. The combination of these two elements creates a pedal with more low-end punch than your typical overdrive.
From subtle crunch to intense saturation, the D&S II provides a wide range of useful tube-like tones. If you love the OD808's bark but could use a little more bite, the D&S II is the pedal for you.
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