Poison Noises The Crook Overdrive Review & Demo

A Mosfet-style overdrive with flexible EQ controls an additional diode selector sounds pretty sweet to someone who is always struggling with overdriven tones.

Overview & Cost: $99.99 from Poisonnoises.com or find your own Reverb.com!

Poison Noises is a relatively young pedal company, having only launched as a pedal company in January 2020. However, their previous history as an audio engineering group has no doubt helped them release an astounding 12 pedals (and counting) in under two years. Despite those 12 pedals containing many interesting takes on fuzz and modulation circuits, “The Crook” overdrive is their flagship pedal and seeks to replace any and all overdrive pedals that currently populate your board. And after a long year of reviewing overdrive pedals, I was shocked to find that this one beat the rest out!

The Crook is a Mosfet-style drive that can adjusted into an alternate diode mode (LED-based instead of Mosfet) using the “The Goods” toggle switch. You get a master tone control plus an extra low end control, the “Lay Low” knob, which functions like the bass knob on a Timmy overdrive (though this is NOT a Timmy pedal) to bring some bass back into the mix. You’re left then with just straightforward volume (Entering) and gain (Breaking) controls. Without giving away too much of the next section, there is a very clear difference between the two diode selections that make this pedal feel very versatile. The LED transistor clipping is much more open and amp-like, compared to the more compressed crunch of the Mosfet mode.

Review & Opinion:

I’ve never had any sort of run-in with an overdrive pedal of this flavor. I know the TS9 is pretty similar in some ways, though certainly not a direct sibling in any way. The more compressed Mosfet-mode definitely had some tube screamer-like tones, but with far more versatile EQ controls and less of that pure mid-hump. But while it didn’t sound the same, I use the TS9 as a good reference point for how this fit into my sound. When I needed that warm, compressed lead line, this comes in handy.

However the highlight and the majority of the praise will be heaped on the wide open sounding LED-diode clipping mode. This is an amp-like overdrive that sits somewhere between distortion and a lighter, airy drive. It’s perfect for creating a thick, punchy sound that brings power chords to life for punk, pop-punk, and hard rock. However, it can be pushed pretty hard over the edge into distortion and chug-worthy tones.

The calling card isn’t just that flexibility, but the overall quality of the overdrive for only $99. The ability to mix in extra low end is what helps keep this so tight and focused as an overdrive, but it never gets too muddy when you turn up the gain and volume. It’s a wonderful high gain overdrive, and it also played really nice with my single coil pickups, both Tele and P90 variety. It succeeds in making them sound almost humbucker-like, as in huge and rich.

Final Conclusion & Rating: 8.7 out of 10

Two different flavors of overdrive clipping pair nicely with the extra bass control to make this one tweakable pedal. But at the same time, it is very easy to coax wonderful tones out of it, making it user friendly. The value for the money is a big plus as well, with some of the comparable overdrive pedals costing $150+ as opposed to this $99 price tag. It’s also a nice change of pace to see someone try a new take on a Mosfet drive, instead of the transparent overdrive market that has been thoroughly saturated. I can strongly recommend this for anyone who wants a higher gain drive, with some versatility, but isn’t willing to spend $200 on a premium, boutique pedal that is trendier than it is functional.

Published by Matt Dunn

Guitar and music journalist for Ultimate-Guitar.com and Guitarsforidiots.com as well as a contributor for Guitarniche.com and Stringjoy.com. Reach out to talk about guitars, commission a partscaster, or ask for a review.

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