keeley oxblood review

This Keeley Oxblood review aims to give a full account of my personal experience with this Klone to help you decide whether or not you’ll make it a part of your rig.

As you read below, you’ll be introduced to its features and specifications as well as its sound performance and tonal capabilities.

Keeley Oxblood Review – Table of Contents

Keeley Oxblood Demo (more below)

You and I both know about the legendary Klon Centaur overdrive pedal and the resulting production of clones (are also known as “Klones”) that came after.

In the world of overdrive pedals, the Keeley Oxblood burst into the scene and gained a tremendous reputation.

What is It?

keeley oxblood review

The Oxblood Overdrive is Keeley Electronics’ own take of cloning the renowned Klon pedal. It was designed by Robert Keeley himself, along with Craighton Hale. They also credited Jack Orman for his insights and ideas.

Keeley Oxblood was designed to surpass other clones. It comes with an original design and it boasts a new circuit.

This new circuit claims to let players blend from a perfectly clean boost to a roaring fuzz, with the huge and focused midrage that makes any guitar sound incredible.

The creators calls this pedal the “Klon killer” in the sense that it’s even better than the Klon itself.

This is a bold claim even though it’s coming from a trusted brand that’s known for their build quality. I was intrigued and in 2016, I got one of these Keeley Oxblood pedals for myself.

Which bring us here – a write-up of everything I have to say about this so-called “Klon killer” based on my experience.

In this Keeley Oxblood review, we’ll either acknowledge or deny these claims once and for all.

Keeley Oxblood Specs

keeley oxblood unboxing

  • Dimensions (L x W x H):
    • 100 x 68 x 51 mm
    • 4.4 x 2.7 x 2.0 in
  • Weight: 277 g (12 oz)
  • 6.3 mono jack input / output
  • Powered by 9V battery or 9V power supply (not included)
  • Power Consumption: 23 mA

Keeley Oxblood Features

keeley oxblood review 3

First, we drive straight to the added functionality – the Phat and Clipping switches:

  • The Phat switch is for bass boost or cut.
    • Left FC is 736Hz
    • Right FC is 66Hz
  • The Clipping switch swaps between two clipping diodes, Mythical and Magical.
    • The Mythical Diodes (left side)  is for more dynamics and increased output level.
    • The Magical Diodes (right side) is for more saturation and tighter distortion

You get four different voicings in one pedal from the four combinations of these two switches.

And of course, Keeley Oxblood has the classic three-knob interface:

  • Tone control for brighter or darker sounds.
  • Level control with up to +25dB of boost.
  • Drive control for more distortion or saturation, or a clean boost.

There is also an internal charge pump so it can power on without a 9V battery. It also adds headroom, so this pedal is highly stackable.

Sound and Performance

  • Transparent and diverse overdrive that’s expected from Klones.
  • Better distortion than the average Tube screamers.
  • Huge and focused midrange.
  • Very useful gain range. In fact, the high gain has that nice, tubey, saggy fade.
  • Sparkling, hefty clean boost.

The Keeley Oxblood is extremely dynamic and versatile – there’s a lot of ways to shape the tone. With the features above, there are endless tonal possibilities.

It can hit any sweet spot I have in mind – the big, fat, transparent tone boost paired with any dirty amp is my favorite. I also use it to give me its own dirty voice that I match with my clean channel.

Other than that, the pedal can also be as open or compressed as I want it to be.

It blends well with other pedals, and that’s what I love about this box. It’s really impossible to get a bad sound from it.

Playability

I find the Keeley Oxblood easy to dial. It’s sensitive and responsive to anything I set out to do, from the volume and tone knob settings to the switches.

Speaking of knobs, the tone control is fine-tuned to the point that I could go from a woody lead to a sparkling chime with just a twist of the knob.

Build

keeley oxblood review 2

The Keeley Oxblood has an original design and it’s simple in appearance. Speaking of appearance, the color scheme and metal housing is top-notch while the Hammerite finish sealed the deal.

But is it durable? I can’t speak for the rest but mine is durable indeed, which is expected from a Keeley Electronics pedal.

What Makes it Different?

So many pedal builders have set out to make their own Klon clone a.k.a. Klone. Besides, it’s not a secret that the Klon is one of the most cloned pedals out there.

So what makes the Keeley Oxblood special? Well, it managed to be a step up from the original Klon.

Keeley Oxblood’s original circuit has outdone the Klon in both tone and versatility. As mentioned in the first demo video above, “think of this pedal as another famous Mythical beast pedal with more options and better midrange.”

It can do the same things Klon can while offering more due to its versatility.

So is it a “Klon Killer”?

To me, yes it is. Other loyal Klon fanatics will disagree, but hear me out.

Keeley Oxblood can do what the Klon can. One example is the special flavor of the huge warm tone. This is available in Keeley Oxblood through its “Mythical” diodes setting.

But I guess Keeley Electronics wanted something more and that’s where the “Magical” diodes come in, which serves as a second set of diodes switchable on the inside. So if you want more gain or a tighter tone, this pedal has got you covered.

Another thing the Keeley Oxblood did better is fixing the low end output of the original Klon by adding in the Phat switch, giving players two options of either a 736Hz or 66Hz low cut.

However in my opinion, the Keeley Oxblood is not a Klone in the sense that it has its own original circuit.

Pedal Settings to Try Out – Keeley Oxblood Demo

Keeley Oxblood is also known for its classic rock sound like the ones you get from those vintage British and American amplifiers. To achieve this, crank the dials just past midnight, engage the Phat switch, and set the clippings to the open Mythical Diodes.

And of course, one could not get away with talking about the Keeley Oxblood without mentioning its clean boost with the gained dialed out completely. I can’t help but chime in – this pedal excels as a clean boost.

The Bad

Since this pedal boasts an extra layer of gain, I’m satisfied that it’s the only overdrive pedal I’ll need until something better comes along.

The only bad thing I can say about the Keeley Oxblood is it ended my addiction with buying new overdrive pedals, at least for a very long time. Or is that a good thing?

Keeley Oxblood Price

At the time of writing this review, a brand new Keeley Oxblood costs 199 USD. You can check the current price on Amazon here.

Is it worth the price?

Compared to the average overdrive pedal, the Keeley Oxblood is slightly more pricey. Is it worth it? In my opinion, absolutely yes.

Conclusion

Keeley Oxblood offers maximum versatility – you can use it as a sweetener, a clean boost, a stand alone drive with an impressive range, a great lead pedal, and a great tone stacking foundation.

It’s definitely one of the most versatile overdrive pedal in the market.

keeley oxblood review 4

As previously mentioned, the Keeley Oxblood does the same things Klon offers, plus a whole lot more. I get the hype now because to me, this pedal is the Klon on steroids.

With all that being said, I’m confident to add that the Keeley Oxblood Overdrive pedal is a true innovation.

I highly recommend it to be a part of your pedalboard. I guess that’s why I wrote this review, so others who don’t have it yet will experience for themselves this one heck of a pedal. Is this what “sharing is caring” feels like?

Try it out for yourself, you won’t regret it.

Check Price on Amazon

 


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