So, two distortion/overdrive/dirt pedals in one box? Why would you want that? Or why would you use more than one overdrive or gain pedal in your signal chain? Well, players often like to stack (stack = connect in series) more than one gain pedals for their own reasons. Some players like to start with a basic clean tone on their amp (with or without slight breakup), and then use pedals to add different levels of gain onto the signal. Others may use some breakup from the amp, and use a boost and/or an overdrive to further push the amp into grittier territories. And there are also those who use drive pedals to add multiple channels to a single channel amp.
Gain staging is important to get the right amount of signal into the front-end of your amp. There are various ways to go about it. For instance, a clean boost into a driven amp can be used to get a volume boost and more sustain for solos or chorus sections of songs. A compressor pedal can be used to achieve the same effect. You could use a Tubescreamer type overdrive to add saturation to an already compressed amp. Or you can use a distortion pedal like the Suhr Riot to get a higher gain tone from a clean amp.
How a dual overdrive can be used in such situations – a. it removes the need to have two separate units on your board, and b. the different circuits of a dual overdrive can lead to a complex gain tone when cascaded (i.e. connected in series). Also, because both circuits are in the same box, it also eliminates the need for an extra patch cable and power supply or battery. Some pedals even include separate inputs and outputs for each side of the pedal for flexibility.
Now, there are numerous overdrive/distortion pedals out there with a built-in boost circuit. These pedals usually have one main drive pedal side, and an additional boost circuit. This guide is not about that. We chose to write only about pedals that have two discrete drive circuits. Pedals with just a boost circuit were not included in this list.
Here’s the first part of the list (in alphabetical order) :