- Published: 30 September 2018 30 September 2018
The Virago – RTO configuration was added to our product list recently. The Virago - RTO configuration compares to the Fulltone Robin Trower Overdrive. The circuit is very similar to the standard Tube Screamer circuit, but with a few changes, including:
- No input buffer
- Switch from 4558D to LF353 JFET op amp
- Switch to asymmetric MOSFET clipping
- There is a lower minimum drive level and a higher maximum drive level
- It has our Virago Tone Modification option as standard. It provides a bit wider range of adjustment, with a little better control over the highs.
The changes give the circuit a wider range of Drive and Tone control. The op amp and clipping changes are meant to result in a more “tube-y” sound. Both as compared to a TS-9 Tube Screamer.
In our build, we stuck with the stock Virago – RTO circuit, but added a clipping option. Red LEDs work nicely in overdrive clipping circuits, so we couldn’t resist adding that as an option.
Our Virago - RTO and the original pedal sounded nearly identical. There were three noticeable differences. The original pedal is a smidge louder at max volume. If you crank all the controls to the max, the original pedal starts screaming and oscillating. Our module doesn't do that. Finally, our module has a bit more treble when the Tone is set all the way to the treble side. Otherwise, the two sound very similar. The original seems a bit dark, so the extra treble in our module turns out to be a nice difference. Switching to LED clipping diodes in our module provides a bit more highs, a bit more volume, and a more open sound. The change isn't huge, but it is definitely there and provides a bit more flexibility.