The Lovepedal Les Lius and Englishman

I have four effects boxes from Lovepedal: the Kanji overdrive (okay but noisy), the Echobaby (eh, not that great) and the Les Lius and Englishman overdrives. Unlike the Kanji, which is just an 808 clone with some tweaks, the LL and the E-man are supposed to be more the amp-in-a-box type pedals.

The Les Lius is marketed as putting you into the area of a tweed Fender amp -- it has a mode switch that will give you varying styles/degrees of distortion as well as the gain knob. It also has a boost switch with its own gain knob.

The Englishman is supposed to put you in Vox AC30/15 territory. It's red, one switch, a gain and volume knob but, essentially, they're the same pedal. Supposedly, these pedals derive from the earlier Lovepedal Woodrow, which is just a modified Electra distortion circuit -- really, nothing new here.

There's obvious physical differences between the Les Lius and the Englishman but, sonically, they are almost identical, that is, until you push them to their limits.

They both sound good. Neither, so far, has exhibited any problems with receiving radio signals (unlike my other Lovepedal effects).

Both pedals are somewhat flexible and possess a respectable range of uses from boost, to slight grit, to melt-down. What they do not do is full on distortion pedal. Again, these are overdrives aimed at simulating cranked amps at more reasonable volumes.

If you're the kind of player going for boosted signals or low to medium overdrive there is no reason to buy both; their tones are just too similar. However, once you start operating the LL and the E-man at their limits, their slight sonic dissimilarities become more evident.

Moreover, the one thing the E-man can do that the LL cannot is give you a good silicon fuzz pedal simulation by putting a boost pedal in front of it (I use my EP Booster for this).

These pedals are priced right for surface mounted devices (cost is kept reasonable by outsourcing the PCB manufacturing) and they sound fair to good depending upon the situation. If you want to try your hand at building one you can find a schematic for the Les Lius online.

If you're looking for that Vox AC30 sound in a non-amp effects device the Vox AmPlug AC30 ($40) sounds much better than the Englishman.