We’re talking three different varieties of overdrive, each with wildly different applications but all sharing in tonal excellence. The Rage e was the first product from the company and is a high-gain monster. Powerful and percussive distortion is on tap, and when the boost is engaged, it pushes this sound into an even thicker saturation.
The Karen is pitched by Vemuram as a more dignified, stripped-back version of the Rage e. It turns back the clock to court a sound of the '70s, exemplified by Marshall’s four-input JMP and twoinput JCM amps. It lacks the boost of the Rage e and is overall a bit cleaner.
Finally, the Jan Ray MA is a Mateus Asato’s signature mod on the company’s regular pedal. The Jan Ray’s core sound is that of a '60s Fender Blackface set to the ‘Magic 6’ setting. The MA signature adds a bit more gain than you'd find with the usual Jan Ray pedal. The company has a few methods for setting their pedals apart in the boutique overdrive market, or the 'Economy Class' of guitar pedals.
Firstly, they claim to have rigorous production methods focused around hand-wiring and stringent quality control. Secondly, they house all their pedals in brass – this looks cool as hell, and also (apparently) provides much better noise insulation than regular aluminium.
Finally, each pedal has a recessed trim pot you can get at with that helpful included mini screwdriver. This adjusts the overall saturation level of the circuit, separate from the individual control offered on the front-facing pots. This allows you an awesome amount of control over the pedal’s gain staging, allowing you the choice of how hard you want its boost to push your preamp.
It’s a sensible and inspired concession to the unique gear of each guitarist. Another way of looking at it is that it simply expands the scope of each pedal’s use. It’s comforting to know that, if the need arises, you can push it that little bit harder or clean it up that fraction more.