Updated Mar. 29, 2022

Colombo Utopia Overdrive

The Colombo Utopia is a 3-voice, hand-made, analog overdrive hailing from Italy.

The 3-knob configuration gives access to the classic Volume, Tone and Gain (Overdrive) parameter, but it’s the central toggle switch that opens up some interesting options:

  • The Vintage mode delivers a tone in the style of a TS808, warm, not overly distorted tone, with abundant compression characterized by symmetrical clipping, and the typical mid bump.
  • Hot mode is inspired by the Klon Centaur, with a creamier and more transparent sound with increased output volume increases more present upper harmonics.
  • Ultra is a non-clone mode that recreates the effect of an overdrive pedal connected to a distorted amp, achieved by reconfiguring the second stage of the pedal. This delivers lead tones full of saturation without the aid of other dedicated pedals or even having to change channels on the amplifier.

Here’s the first video of the Colombo Utopia Overdrive.

Colombo Utopia Overdrive, Builder’s Notes

Utopia is an overdrive pedal designed with the intent of achieving overdriven sonic perfection in conjunction with maximum versatility offering 3 distinct iconic tones of the past.
Like all Colombo Audio Electronics pedals, Utopia is also completely customizable. Based on customization requests, the price could change.

Description
After the consolidated success of Via Lattea Overdrive, Colombo Audio Electronics goes further with Utopia, offering a top quality boutique product, completely handmade in Italy, able to soundly reach every corner of the overdrive universe thanks to a layout with 3 potentiometers of maximum simplicity and a 3-position mode selector.
This simple layout is designed to preserve the same simplicity of the traditional pedals of the past, an effective and intuitive system able to satisfy the professional guitarist and also the amateur who doesn’t want sonic limits.
Despite its versatility and so many features distinguishing it from the others, Utopia is also well suited for smart plug & play use with the typical 9V battery, the current draw is only 20mA.

Vintage, Hot e Ultra
A fundamental feature is the mode selector: a lever aiming to radically change the voice and the feeling of the overdrive, inspired by 2 milestones of the overdrive pedals of the past and an innovative system that internally recreates the characteristics of a saturated tube amp.

Vintage: inspired by the iconic green Ibanez TS808 overdrive, made famous by hundreds of past and present guitarists around the world. This mode offers a very warm, not overly distorted tone, with abundant compression characterized by symmetrical clipping.
Hot: inspired by the legendary Klon Centaur, which has become a true cult; the sound becomes creamier and acquires a very particular “bronzed” grain, the output volume also increases considerably and the upper harmonics become more present.
Ultra: this exclusive mode recreates the so-loved effect of an overdrive pedal connected to a distorted amplifier using only the internal pedal circuitry. This happens by reconfiguring the second stage of the pedal, in order to obtain those acclaimed lead tones, full of saturation without the aid of other dedicated pedals or even having to change channels on the amplifier.
Controls
Utopia has 3 interactive and self-configuring controls depending on the chosen mode.

Volume: sets the output volume, Hot mode offers more output volume than the others.
Tone: works on the high frequencies; low values generate warm and thick sounds, high values can reach sharp and incisive sounds without exceed in unusable tones, interesting sounds remain available even at extreme settings.
Overdrive: sets the saturation amount; the 3 mode lever acts to completely change the overdrive response.
Vintage/Hot/Ultra: sets the mode.