Is the PedalPal FX PAL 800 Gold Overdrive the Best Marshall in a Box?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve had a chance to test out a lot of “Marshall pedals”. I had heard and seen a lot online regarding this pedal but I wanted to hear it for myself. I sent an email out to Pedal Pal FX to see if they would let me do full review of the PAL 800 overdrive pedal and not long after one was on the way.
Finding the ultimate Marshall in a box pedal is a long and expensive road. To save you the time of wondering if this is any good I will answer it like this. This is by far the best sounding Marshall pedal I have ever tried.
What Makes the PAL 800 Gold Overdrive so Good
The PAL 800 is a simple overdrive pedal that is also extremely musical. The drive control sounds good no matter where you set it. If you are looking for a low gain sound it nails it or if you want higher gain tones, it also nails it.
Much like the actual Marshall JCM800, turning the volume on the pedal up makes the pedal come alive!
Does it nail the Marshall JCM 800 Sound?
Absolutely. The Tone King put together a video of the PAL 800 vs the actual JCM 800 and there’s next to no difference. What I really love about this pedal is that it transforms my Blues Deluxe into a dirty amp of the gods.
The JCM sound is iconic for a reason. Some think it can sound a bit fizzy but PEDAL PAL FX thought about this and made an improvement tonally. Inside of the PAL 800 is a mater treble control. If you want the iconic fizzy top end you can have it and if you don’t like it dial it out! How great is this?
Who is this Pedal for?
This pedal is designed for anyone who wants a thick and focused overdrive sounds reminiscent of the classic Marshall JCM800. This will work best for rock, blues-rock to heavy rock tones.
The EQ Controls
The PAL800 has an extremely nice 3 band EQ that will allow the pedal to shine through any amplifier. In my video review, I used the PAL800 into a Fender Blues Deluxe with an Eminence Swamp Thang speaker. As a starting tone, the Fender is a little bit scooped in the mid frequencies. As soon as you dial in the mids on the pedal the amp sounds fat and full sounding. Most Marshall pedals feel like “pedals”. The PAL 800 is the closest thing you’re going to get without having the amp in the room.
The Three Way Toggle Switch
The 3-way toggle switch is located on the right side of the pedal. This is a voicing control. What it will do is shape the EQ in various ways, for example, brighter/thicker/flat. Flat mode and the down position worked the best for my tastes but it comes down to what you use and like so give them all a shot.
The internal build quality is something special. In a day and age where a lot of pedal companies are saving time and cutting costs, it is great to see a handmade pedal of this quality. This pedal is hand-wired in the true sense of the word unlike a lot of other companies that just “hand-wire” the power socket. If you’re into a boutique and well-made pedal then the PAL800 is right up your alley.
In the video review posted below, I was using my Fender Blues Deluxe reissue amplifier. This amplifier is loaded with a 12″ Eminence Swamp Thang speaker and was mic’d up using two Rode Microphones. The microphones used was the Rode M3 and Rode NT2A.
Downsides to the Pedal
While I like the fact the PAL800 has a toggle switch for different voicings, I don’t love it’s the position of it. For example, if you have a pedal close to the right side of the PAL800 on a pedalboard then it will be tough to access the switch.
While this small limitation is nitpicking, I would like to have seen it added to the top. The current location of it would make some pedalboard setups a little difficult. This is my only small complaint. This in no way, shape or form affects the tone of the unit.
This is the best Marshall in a box I have had the pleasure of testing. This ticks all the 3 main boxes for me when I am in the market for a new pedal.
- It’s Built Well. Handmade in Venezualia.
- The Pedal Sounds Killer. It nails the Marshall in a box sound 100%.
- The PAL800 is nice and simple. It took me seconds to get a tone I enjoyed.
I wish more pedal companies ticked these three boxes. The more options a pedal has the more you’ll struggle to get a sound. The PAL800 is a JCM800 in a box that works and sounds fantastic.