Best Guitar Effects Pedal
- 0.1 Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
- 0.2 MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
- 0.3 Eventide Space Reverb Pedal
- 0.4 Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal (Amazon’s Choice)
- 0.5 BOSS GTR MULTI EFF W-LOOP (Boss ME 70)
- 0.6 TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal
- 0.7 Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal
- 0.8 Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Guitar Distortion Pedal
- 0.9 Digitech DDM Death Metal Analog Distortion Pedal
- 0.10 Behringer Ultra Metal UM300 distortion pedal
- 1 How to Set Up a Distortion Pedal
Fulltone OCD Obsessive Compulsive Drive Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal
The Fulltone OCD is an overdrive guitar effects pedal. Although they manufacture quite a few stompboxes ranging from overdrive, distortion, to tremolo, compression, reverb and modulation pedals, the Fulltone OCD has probably become one of the most popular units that the 20 year old Fulltone company has sold in its history.
With a small footprint designed to occupy limited space on a pedal board, the Fulltone OCD has found a place with many professional guitarists, including Maroon 5’s James Valentine, shred master Paul Gilbert, former Eagles lead guitarist and “Hotel California” composer Don Felder, Texas tone icon Eric Johnson, and The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, just to name a few.
==> CLICK HERE for Best Deals on Fulltone OCD at Amazon
Although there have been four (4) different versions of the Fulltone OCD sold since it first hit the market, the current version can be powered at 9 volts, 12 volts or 18 volts and sports three (3) rotary controls: Volume, Drive, and Tone.
There is a two (2) way toggle switch to choose between “LP” and “HP”, and a red LED to indicate when the unit is engaged. It weighs in at a tad over one (1) pound, and it is true bypass wired, so there is no buffer in the circuit.
Here’s what it will do for you:
The Fulltone Obsessive Compulsive Drive has garnered a very formidable word of mouth reputation among guitarists around the world at achieving the long cherished goal of being a “Marshall in a box.”
While many stompboxes over the years have been touted as such, the Fulltone OCD actually lives up to its hype, which is that it replicates the dynamic touch, transparency, harmonic structure, and sag of playing through a cranked up tube amp, such as a Marshall Plexi or a Fender Deluxe.
The distortion circuit in the Fulltone OCD is a proprietary design that eschews the use of diodes, which are the main culprit in attenuating high and low frequencies. The result is that most other distortion and overdrive pedals (which incorporate diodes in their circuitry to create the drive character in the signal) are midrange heavy and lack the ability to reproduce the full tonal spectrum a guitarist derives from a cranked tube amp, with its harmonic overtones and smooth sustain.
As a result of this distortion circuitry, the pedal is extremely versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications. When paired with a solid state amp, the OCD can “warm it up” with tube emulated saturation while still preserving the fundamental tone of the guitar being used, whether it be equipped with single coil pickups, like a Stratocaster or a Telecaster, or humbuckers, such as with a Les Paul or ES-335.
The criticisms leveled at solid state amps when compared to tube amos: sterile, brittle tone, lack of “sag”, or dynamic response to picking attack, and lack of ear pleasing harmonic overtones – can all be rebutted with the Fulltone OCD. This enables guitarists to reap the benefits of lighter, easier to maintain and transport solid state amps without sacrificing tone.
When played through a tube amp, the OCD’s capabilities expand significantly. Serving as a clean boost, the unit can be set to add just a minimal amount of extra gain so as not to alter the basic tone of the guitar and amp combination.
If the tube amp is set to deliver a clean sound, the OCD can be set to be the crunch rhythm option. A tube amp that already has gain dialed in for a crunchy rhythm setting can use the OCD for sustaining leads and fat, wailing solos, depending on the drive control.
The ability to switch between several different voltages also gives the guitarist additional tonal options. At 18 volts, the OCD delivers its full, hi-fidelity sonic spectrum, with unsurpassed touch sensitivity when each note is picked.
The dynamics are fully transparent, even at high gain settings. When stepped down to 9 volts, a lo-fi element, with more compression and fizziness to the drive character, becomes increasingly apparent.
Additionally, the LP/HP toggle switch gives the user a choice between two types of overdrive styles. The “LP” or low peak setting, is voiced to emulate a combo amp, such as tweed 50’s Fender tube amp, like the Fender Deluxe, Twin or Bassman.
Think Brian Setzer or Buddy Guy on the cleaner end of the scale and Neil Young, or The Rolling Stones for the grittier end. Alternatively, changes in the drive and tone controls can create a sound reminiscent of the Vox AC-15 or AC-30, which can range from the chime of the Beatles and the twang of Brad Paisley, to the roar of Queen’s Brian May.
The “HP” or high peak setting, delivers the ballsy punch, low end and howl of a Marshall stack. This is the tone that many heavy rock players demand, and has become almost an iconic sound unto itself.
From Hendrix and Cream through Led Zeppelin , Van Halen and Kiss, it is a sound usually only derived from turning up a 100 watt Marshall (or Orange/Peavey/HiWatt/Mesa) tube amp to “10” through 1 or more 4×12 speaker cabinets.
As 90%+ of guitarists cannot play at these levels on a regular basis, the OCD delivers the same playing experience and tone characteristics through smaller amps at a more reasonable volume level.
- fully transparent, wide range tone that preserves fundamental amp and guitar sound combination and does not attenuate lows or highs, unlike other overdrive pedals
- can serve as a clean boost or as an overdrive or distortion pedal for lead and solo playing
- can be used to deliver a tube amp like warm sound from a solid state amp
- can be used to deliver the sound of a cranked tube amp stack through smaller amps at friendlier volume levels
What you need to do:
The Fulltone OCD is a stompbox that defies pigeonholing and allows a guitarist all of the sonic options that could be expected from playing through a panopoly of tube amps in a single unit. If the sound being sought is one that uses tube amps, the seeker should audition the Fulltone OCD.
There’s a reason why top professionals whose careers have been built on their signature guitar tones are using this device. Unlike other effects pedals which can often homogenize a sound, the Fulltone OCD preserves a guitarist’s picking dynamics and other playing nuances which define individual style, and does it at a very affordable price.
MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
The MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal is a very impressive product that is considered to be the best combination of quality and availability in the music community. It produces an audio effect referred to as a delay, which records input music signals and replays it after a specified moment of time.
This is typically used with guitars and other musical instruments and devices. It can be configured to play back once, in recession, or played back into the sound to produce echoes and more. The MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay utilizes bucket brigade technology to produce rich and old school sound.
This device features 600ms of delay time and a detailed yet simple control design. A knob with 3 settings of delay time, dry and wet blend mix, and regen or delay repeats. An optional modulation is available through a mounted switch to the top of the device.
MXR Carbon Copy is very compact and small and has user adjustable width and control of rate for modulation. This high performance pedal can take users from crisp echoes to epic delays in a split second.
The MXR Carbon Copy Pedal uses 9 volt operation and has blue LED lights and hard wire bypass. This is a very economic and technologically advanced device in a small and user friendly package.
==> CLICK HERE for Best Deals on MXR Carbon Copy at Amazon
What It’ll Do For You
What’s in it for potential buyers and consumers of this MXR Carbon Copy device is a long and enjoyable time of high quality, crisp, and warm vintage sound of analog delay with their music. Analog delays are more sought after now as many view the digital delay devices as not sounding as authentic, warm, or traditional.
Analog devices has seen a recent resurgence and you too can experience true musical sound with traditional analog and bucket brigade technology with a MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal.
In many types of music, electric guitarists may utilize delay to create overlaid textures of sound with melody beneficial to the initial music. Vocalist may use it as well for the addition of ethereal performance to their singing. Echoplex, doubling echo, and slap back echo are all techniques used by this type of device.
Echoplex is multiple echoes that are replayed in synchronization of each other with a rhythm. Doubling echo adds a short range strategic delay to a recorded sound and slap back is a longer range delay with minimal feedback.
Flanging is a sound delay effect that is short and modulated and reverberation is another effect that creates an acoustic space type sound. All of these techniques and more are available to consumers of the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal.
Many describe the pedal as nice and compact and no bigger than a phase 90 pedal and a valuable addition to any musicians setup. The ability to vary speed with echoes, create chorus effects, and self oscillation of the pedal are all featured with this device.
The 600 ms is more than ample delay time for most and can produce impressive results. The MXR Carbon Copy is on the path to becoming an industry standard that similar products are compared to. Potential consumers would be getting one of the best products in the market with this selection. It has high quality analog delay with a small footprint.
This is the perfect timing to embrace this analog delay technology and it can do more for you now than ever. Delay effect pedals have been around for a while but has changed rapidly for the better in recent years and decades.
The amount of circuitry and data that can be put into something pedal size now compared to the eighties is a David and Goliath comparison. During this time, analog delay pedals were common but were extremely limited with their short delay times.
In the late eighties and nineties, digital delay devices began to rise and offered substantial increased delay time, but at a cost. Musicians quickly observed what they perceived as inferior sound quality and details with these digital devices.
Analog delay pedals our now more powerful than ever and even more appealing over their digital counterpart. The once dieing bucket brigade technology used to make analog devices is now resurrecting with new production of the chips and increased popularity.
- Price – The price of the MXR Carbon Copy is very competitive and consumers get a big bang for their buck.
- Popularity / Customer Satisfaction – There is much data on the satisfaction of customers because the product is so popular. Many other products haven’t been as vetted or tested amongst consumers. An overwhelming majority of product and customer reviews have been positive.
- Analog audio path – Produces a much warmer and richer sound than alternatives.
- Very compact – The size is convenient and very user friendly. No need for an overly large and bulky piece of equipment getting in the way.
- 600ms of delay time – This amount of delay time has been reported as being more than enough by most users.
- 3 Controls: Mod switch, Delay time, Mix, Regen – This creates a more personalized and customizable sound.
- True hard-wire bypass
- 9-volt operation – Limited Wires getting in your way.
- Blue LED lights
Here’s What I Want You To Do Next
What you need to do next is acquire this device if you are in the market for it. It produce sound quality that is unique to modern and digital methods and is extremely user friendly. It elevates the playing sophistication and style of guitarists and vocalists and belongs in the setup of either.
The price of it is economic, the customer satisfaction and reviews are positive, it’s has a trendy looking and compact size, and the functionality is more than adequate for most consumers. Every potential buyer out there is challenged to find a product with as many features, good reviews, and great pricing.
The MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal is available online and in many brick and motor locations that sell musical equipment. After obtaining this product, it should be used to help produce great and enjoyable music and sounds.
Eventide Space Reverb Pedal
Eventide Space is a one of a kind multi-effects pedal. Though it appears to be expensive, it is actually as budget friendly as other less-expensive multi-effects pedals; with a sound quality that can’t be compared.
Reverb, and other ambient effects are often lost in other multi-effects combination pedals and stompboxes. The clarity is poor and the quality is less than acceptable. Eventide Space sounds so good, it’s almost scary; and with intuitive capabilities, you can get that sound without fumbling with knobs that are seemingly functionless.
Eventide Space is the must have reverb stompbox on the market today.
==> CLICK HERE for Best Deals on Eventide Space at Amazon
Here’s What It’ll Do For You
For any guitarist seeking a stompbox with absolutely perfected reverb, Eventide Space was made just for you. It features twelve of the signature Eventide reverb combo effects as well as some brand new effects that will totally change your sound.
“Reverb” brings a lot to any performance or recording. This particular effect can be found in some of the earliest music that was recorded on paper, such as Gregorian chants, or any other type of music that has been performed in music-friendly places with breathtaking acoustics.
That echo, that delay, also known as reverb, is what took ordinary tones and turned them into something haunting and extraordinary. Reverb adds color and depth to any piece, which is why you should have the best reverb effects equipment money can buy to make this great effect work for your music: Space by Eventide.
There are 100 presets on the Space, many of which were crafted by guitar and effects legends such as FAmadeo Pace, John Agnello, Flood and Alan Moulder, Alex Somers and Jonsi Birgisson, Vernon Reid, Richard Devine, and so many more.
These people have helped some of the most popular rock bands get to where they are today with signature sounds; and through the Eventide Space, you can have the same technology at your fingertips for practices, jam sessions, live performances, or wherever your axe takes you.
The Space features 12 of the signature reverb algorithms that are signature to Eventide. These include: Room, Spring, Plate, Hall, Shimmer, Reverse, Dual Verb, Blackhole, Tremoloverb, Dynaverb, Mangledverb, and ModechoVerb.
There is also a diverse variety of spatial effects that can be customized, such as basic reverb, combo effects, and delays. All of the effects are studio quality for the best possible sound.
Another feature that makes the Eventide Space truly special is: it is compatible with any source material you choose. Whether you want to use this stompbox with drums, solo instruments, or to add a unique twist to your vocals, the Space has all you need in one neat, beautiful, built to last package.
Enjoy perfect control through the expression pedal, MIDI, or ten separate knobs; as well as instant program change. Create unique sound with the library of 100 factory presets.
Take it anywhere you and your music will travel without worry thanks to a tough, rugged, metal body; as well as footswitches made from the same tough metal. This machine is ready to take a beating on stage, in the practice room, or in the recording studio.
Eventide Space is ready for stereo operation or mono operation. It has input and output lines ( two of each, 1/4 inch mono phone jacks), as well as a programmable HotSwitch. There is a MIDI Clock sync option, as well as Tap tempo, with upgradeable software that can be accessed via your computer with a 2.0 USB. An Ac Adapter Jack is used as the power supply.
You may think that with all of these features, and the rugged material it was made of, the Space must be a pain to lug around. Fortunately, this magical piece of equipment only weights 2.15 pounds, so it can literally go anywhere with you.
If you have been looking for a reliable way to change your sound, without spending a fortune on numerous different effects pedals in search of the ideal reverb, this stompbox is most likely the best option for you.
There are many different reverb pedals out there, but none have the reputation and crystal clear sound as produced by Eventide. When you want the best out of a specific effect, it is best to choose the maker that specializes in that sound. If you want Reverb galore, Eventide is the only way to go.
• Rich, hardy tones.
• Intuitive machine, when the user understands how to use the basic functions.
• Slick, compact design.
• Has won numerous awards including: Premier Guitar’s Premier Gear Award, Guitar Player Magazine’s Editors’ Pick Award, TMR Zoo Editor’s Choice Award, MusicPlayers.com “Wish I Had One” Award, and a TEC Award.
• The first of it’s kind to include such a great collection of reverb algorithms combined with other effects for such a low price.
• Includes effects that were only available in rack processors in the past.
• Used by some of rock and metal’s greatest, most influential artists.
If you have wanted to bring clear, haunting reverb to your music, the Eventide Space stompbox is the perfect piece of equipment, in a compact package, for you. Reviewed by the Tone King, RA, Sonic Scoop, Musicradar.com, DV magazine, Gearwire, and so many more as a ridiculously good effects stomp box, one that gives the competition a serious run for it’s money, with incomparable sound capabilities. These reputable sources are never wrong. Do yourself a favor and add the Space to your gear collection immediately.
While many multi-effects units sound horrible when different effects are combined, Eventide Space truly shines with intergalactic brightness and sharpness. The sound is as clear as the night sky, making the Space a better piece of equipment than any budget multi-effects unit available on the market- with a price tag that is equally as low. If you need reverb, Eventide Space should be the next item on your list.
Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal (Amazon’s Choice)
The Boss Metal Zone MT-2 is a pretty heavy and loud distortion pedal designed with metal lovers and those involved in heavier music in mind. Usually when you’re setting up you start by checking with playing the amp clean without the pedal engaged. Later when you engage the pedal and all the knobs pretty much point straight at 12 o clock and you can alter them from there, it is good to know what the pedal sounds like, just as it is. From the photos you can see it is compact and easy to control with four small knobs to change the settings.
Check more reviews and the current price of the Boss MT-2
The parametric EQ can often prove a great feature. If you have the high and low up a bit, leaving the mid frequency right where it is, you get a pretty heavy sound there for strumming away at your rhythm chords and the kind of metal chunk we’ve all got used to, sounding heavy and impressing your metalhead bandmates. Next you can try just the opposite with some pumped up mids. That is when you turn the mids to a slightly lower frequency and push the knob higher, you can immediately feel that it is going to get a little louder. This effect is really good for playing intricate solos and harmonics and is more likely to be useful for a lead guitarist. When you knock down the distortion a bit, you get the effect of some classic rock such as seventies marshall stack kind of sound. Even when the distortion is down, it does not do any kind of cleaning up and it may still sound thick. This gives a more hendrix sort of feel than a heavy metal feel making it a great choice for rock music too.
Next you can plan to take the drive and push it as far as it goes and leave the EQ essentially flat and you can see how much over the top drive you can put in front of your amplifier. It is pretty loud and heavy and more game when you know what to do with it.
This pedal enables precision control over tone and offers mad distortion effects with enormous lows, mids, highs and highly saturated sounds. The MT-2 is one of Boss’s most popular pedals and comes with a five year warranty. The dual gain circuitry is one of a kind among all pedals available in the market. If you are a metal or heavy rock guitarist then this one should definitely be in your list. This pedal enables longstanding sustain and heavy lows and mids like a heap of overdriven amps.
The robust build quality and enhanced black finish makes it look even more appealing so it looks great on your board. It also provides you with myriad range of awesome guitar tones to play with. if you are still left craving more crunch than it does or you’re just in a very heavy band, you can try to use an overdrive pedal before it, which will of course increase your options even further. But this may increase the overall noise but additionally a compressor can help to control the noise. Of course this is all adding to your chain and giving more for you to have to think about. It just works out awesome if you plan to play the thrash, grunge or even use the more rock settings and play the Blues. However this pedal is best suited to play metal or metal influenced strains of punk rock. Most importantly it works best when it is used with an amp that is on a very clean setting.
It doesn’t take much searching to see that this is an exceptionally reviewed pedal, with 4-5 star reviews across the board. On Amazon you’ll see some hugely positive reviews from players of all different varieties of music, so that really speaks for itself. If you’re deciding to buy one of these, shop around for the price as musical equipment can be up and down, but we’ve found Amazon offer really reasonable prices on this pedal. Boss are an exceptional brand and their reputation is not damaged by this model of pedal. The MT-2 is going to go down in history as a classic.
So for anyone looking for heavy distortion, Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal is one to check out. Of course it can be combined with other effects to make an exceptional and more unique sound, but as it is will work perfectly. This is a useful addition to the Arsenal of any guitarist who uses a more heavy sound, whether rock, blues or metal.
BOSS GTR MULTI EFF W-LOOP (Boss ME 70)
The Boss me 70 is a multiple effects pedal. It is easy to use and provides guitar players with the simplicity in effects changing as a stompbox; but what makes this multi-effects pedal different is the ability to use four different pedals, also known as footswitches, on one large surface.
This expansive and easy to use pedalboard is the perfect addition to any guitar player’s equipment collection.
==> CLICK HERE for Best Deals on Boss ME 70 at Amazon
Here’s What It’ll Do For You
For any guitarist that has struggled on stage or during practice with what seems like an endless sea of cords for many different effects pedals, the boss me 70 is going to change your life. Instead of using four separate pedals to achieve your signature sound, you can use four different pedals plugged in to only one outlet.
No more tripping over extension cords, or confusion (and potential embarrassment) trying to find the appropriate pedal for the desired effect.
Though there are many other floor units out there, the boss me 70 is the only one that has every effect selection organized into logical order within different categories. There are so many different effects to choose from with the boss me 70, with eight different effects groupings in total.
The organizational methods created by the Boss company make it simple to find the effect you want, when you want it.
Choose from Compressor effects, overdrive and distortion, modulation, delay, noise suppression, reverb, extra effects, and pedal effects with ease. Effects include: Wah, phaser, flanger, defretter, chorus, tremolo, vibrato, chorus, hamonist, and echo, among many others.
You can also select PreAmp sound that has the technology to sound like six of the classic guitar amps used by guitar legends for decades. Pitch shifting effects, voice effects, and a built in tuner are other perks that can be found using the boss me 70.
There are two modes of operation found within the boss me 70. Choose from manual mode to use the pedal as a variety of different effects stompboxes, or choose memory mode to save a selection for instant recall.
This floor unit allows you to create 36 saved patches, as well as the 36 preset patches that are already included. Memory mode allows users to switch to different banks and patches with the four footswitches with ease.
Boss has been the leader in guitar effects pedals for a countless number of years. Now, thanks to the boss me 70, it is possible to have all of the great effects you need to create any signature sound in one easy to use effects unit.
Customers have stated that they love the compact size of the Boss me 70. Unlike competing compact, multi-function pedals, this particular pedalboard is built to last- a very important quality for a pedal of this type to have.
Players never have to worry about the pedal not being able to withstand a beating on stage. It is made of durable material; and most importantly, it was made by the Boss company for guitar players to use for years to come!
Professional musicians enjoy the boss me 70 for effects that bring a little bit of something extra to any style of music. One of the things that makes Boss products unique is they are professional level quality.
No matter your playing ability, having the equipment used by professionals will give you the confidence and the sound you need to improve. Having the right tools at your fingertips is one of the easiest ways for any guitar player to get better.
The more enjoyable the experience, the more often you are to keep trying. With the endless number of effects and combinations, players will spend hours experimenting to create new sounds.
This great four footswitch pedal has all of the components necessary to get rid of unnecessary stompboxes taking up space in any gear room, literally replacing the need for individual pedals when you have all of the effects just one easy click away. If you are looking for a way to downsize the amount of gear you have to carry to shows, without losing options, you are in for a real treat.
• Offers knobs for each parameter, making operation simple for any user, no matter the experience level.
• Has four different footswitches, making changing effects quick and easy. Also includes a separate Expression Pedal.
• Has the same Pre-amp section as the renowned Legend series and GT-10 pedals.
• Makes it easy to create amazing, unique sounds no matter where you choose to play.
• Gives many different effects options to guitarists without requiring a pile of pedals that can be confusing (and hazardous) on stage.
• Built to last for years of use.
• Reliability of high-quality Boss pedals.
• High-quality effects that don’t sound digital and processed.
Here’s What I Want You To Do Next
If you have ever wanted a way to make changing effects easier when playing on stage or recording songs, this is the tool you need. Ideal for any home studio or performance gear, this multi-effects pedal offers amazing sound quality and a great selection of effects all in one versatile, easy to use, responsive, and compact design.
Whether you are a novice guitar player or a professional who plays multiple shows per week, this pedal will make it much easier for you to find your own personal sound, record it, and have it available for future jam sessions, practices, and performances.
No matter which type of amplifier you work with, this compact effects pedal will work wonders! Give this amazing all-in-one multiple effects pedal a try, and see just how easy it is to get flawless sound; and most importantly, never struggle in a wild tangle of electrical cords at your feet for the sake of having many different effects.
Professionals and gear collectors can’t be wrong. This is a superb piece of equipment that will meet the needs of any guitarist, no matter their playing style. Give the boss me 70 a spin to see how you can improve your sound.
TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal
Getting the right distortion and overdrive pedals, and the best settings for your genre, can be absolutely key to how your band sounds, hooking up your distortion for both live performances and recording can even be argued to be the most important aspect of your sound as a guitarist, and is undoubtedly one of the keys to an effective pedalboard. Today we’re looking at the TC Dark Matter Distortion Pedal which covers full distortion and overdrive. This exciting product aims at giving you an inspiring sound. It has loads of fully saturated, overtones, full of harmonics, and warm bluesy tones with consumers using it for everything from metal to rock and blues.
This short review will reflect on this exciting product and explain in clear terms why it is a viable option even though TC Electronics is not one of the best known manufacturers of audio equipment on the market. For those in a hurry there is a link to the product below.
The price is affordable and it comes with unique features more than a lot of the pedals currently the market. Plus, the reviews on Amazon are currently VERY favourable (4.4 out of the maximum 5 stars at the time of writing based on averages from consumer reviews).
Also, the pedal has been used by Sonic Youth, that’s endorsement enough for us!
Straight to the Sound
Not all companies do this for their pedals, and it is something I really respect TC Electronics for providing, the actual sound of the Dark Matter pedal right here for all to see, what better way to kick off a review than showing you the tone this pedal gives with a few different demos produced by the manufacturers.
- Dual-band tone controls
- All analog circuit
- True bypass feature (it is actually quiet when you turn it off)
- Drive knobs
- Made up of well made components (something that should not be taken as read when buying a pedal)
- DC adapter
- Huge amount of control of your distortion sounds
- Road-ready design
- Control of both the treble and bass – some pedals just have a ‘tone’ knob but this allows control of the high and low ends of the sound
- No hiss or nasty ‘cheap’ sounds interfering with your tone
- Versatility – this can produce everything from crunch for your power chords to overdriven guitar solos.
I also wanted to mention separately the voicing switch, which in the manufacturers words gives two tones to pick from “from a modern agressive sound to a bit more retro, but still agressive hotrodded type.” The technology behind how it works is actually beyond me, but it really does work, and is almost like having two different pedals built into one. Just flick the switch and you can go from old-school to modern and vice versa.
To use this pedal, all you need to do is just to plug and go, and have a huge amount of fun with the wide range of sounds.
One of the noticeable benefits of this is how well it works with smaller practice amps and tiny setups, adding a crunch and heavy sound you might struggle to get with this kind of equipment.
- Versatile with a huge amount of sounds
- Excellent sound quality and a true ‘audiophile’ product – really hard to fault any of the tones you’ll get out of this
- Easy to control
The Sister Pedal
TC Electronics may not be as well known as companies like Boss in the world of pedals, and in the world of audio they’re relative newbies, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an extensive range, they actually manufacture a lot of pedals. One of which, the perfect companion to this, is the MojoMojo Overdrive pedal, a match made in heaven combined with the Dark Matter.
TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal as we’ve mentioned with the Amazon reviewers, comes highly recommended by almost all who use it. It has the capacity to produce stinging leads and jazzier furies or the guitar’s volume knob. It is well-constructed pedal and can satisfy your distortion cravings whether you want something subtle or you’re going for out and out heavy metal. Combined with the rest of your pedalboard this can add real power.
This product remains an asset to many users and continues to grow in popularity. The value is a huge plus point and as someone nicely said on their summary of the product, if it were a $200 product you might be expecting a tiny bit more, but really at its current price you’ll struggle to find better or more versatile products.
As you’d expect it comes with a manual; make sure you read it before usage. It is easy to use. TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal is well designed.
Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal
The Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal is one of Boss’s first and most popular distortion pedals. It is undoubtedly the number one selling distortion pedal in the world and has become nothing short of iconic. It is a classic product that was used by artists like The Killers, Journey, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain etc.
The DS-1 has a standard controls that includes tone, level and distortion. The tone knob is usually used for brighter or warmer frequencies. If you turn it clockwise, it cuts lower frequencies and makes it brighter and gives more high end to your sound, great for solos and finger picking, and if you turn it counter clockwise, it cuts higher frequencies and makes it warmer and deeper, giving more of a crunch and a sound suited to barre chords.
The distortion option controls the depth and sustain of the distortion involved. The level option is to increase, decrease and adjust the volume.
It can be powered by a 9 Volt battery or a 9 volt power supply which is helpful for taking it out and about. It is enclosed by a boss standard chassis. The modification potential is one of the most desirable qualities in the DS-1. It can be easily customized and a lot of people have been known to make several modifications to the Boss DS-1.
The ease of operation, robust build and quality as well as the relatively cheap price makes it a leading product in the distortion pedal market. Infact most popularly known as ‘classic’ in that domain, and with so many huge names using it, you’ll know why. The pedal has also got the features to sound dirty and also quite nasal. The circuit of this pedal is pretty straightforward making it quite easy to use and also easy to modify even if you’re not the most tech savvy, which can ultimately make for better sounds and more uniqueness.
It works really well for custom types of music such as Hard Rock, British Punk, Modern Rock and more, and has options for a Crunch, Hard Crunch, Soft Crunch and Fuzz thereby enabling several different kinds of sounds based on your preferences and mood. Interestingly, you can also produce fusion sounds if you want to. It is extremely versatile and in spite of being so widely known, you can make the sound your own, especially if combining it with other effects.
If you turn on the distortion a little bit, you get a little more compression for a lead tone. It sounds like a real fuzz when you set distortion up above half and can sound extremely dark with some more tone control. If you want the tone to be brighter and more cutting then you can increase the level a little more which produces the fuzz character as stated earlier. Well, what does this pedal sound like when it is straight out of the box? A lot of people have stated that it may sound cheap because of the cheap components, however much of the modern music equipment is made of cheap components but it doesn’t stop it from being decent quality, and at least lets them keep it cheap, it is still termed as classic that comes at a real cheap and affordable price, and, as stated earlier, it is customizable.
You can use this pedal to get from clean to dirty, real dirty. This pedal has won overwhelming support from guitarists all over the world and thanks to its deep and crisp tone and huge amount of functions. It also works as a great gain booster for stack type amps. The DS-1 supports wild riff playing with a rough and ready distortion sound. Even at extreme settings, the DS-1 sound remains tight and very responsive to picking dynamics of what you’re playing, so is a good choice even for heavy metal genres.
Ultimately the Boss DS-1 is definitely a classic, a quick browse on Amazon will show you the amazing reception this has received, and almost 5 star reviews across the board. You know what you’re getting with Boss and it is a high quality pedal that every serious guitarist should at least have a go on at some stage. A tool that will highly improve the arsenal of your pedalboard.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Guitar Distortion Pedal
For nearly four decades, the Big Muff has helped to shape the sound of rock guitar music. Used over and over again by modern-day guitarists and rock artists from the 70s up until today and known for it’s smooth sustain, everyone wants a piece of it.
Now we have it in the more modern nano style design. The Nano Big Muff Guitar distortion pedal is a slightly modified version of the Big Muff, made without changing the rich sustain and quality we have come to know. It is very compact but doesn’t have any less durability because of it and has a tough exterior casing. It weighs around 12 ounces and measures 2.8 x 3.4 x 5.8 inches in size. There are three simple to use controls that enable the user with a ton of flexibility. The control dials are in the characteristic Electro-Harmonix triangular structure we have come to know and love, and it’s armed with mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks. The LED displays glow bright red, meaning easy viewing even on dark and dingy stages.
The knob on the upper right corner is used to adjust the overdrive sustain effect on the Nano Big Muff. The knob on the upper left corner is used to control the volume and the knob in the middle is used to adjust the tonality of the sound.
The Big muff can be custom packed into a compressed pedal easily usable for any pedal board. It is a highly responsive and versatile pedal that comes with a 9 V battery. It enables a wide-ranging selection of sound effects and produces outstanding sound quality. It is most likely to meet your preferences, and irrespective of the level of distortion you need this pedal will have the bases covered.
This pedal is contained in typical sized mini die-cast aluminum enclosures that need only marginal space on a pedal board. The Electro-Harmonix Nano Big Muff Guitar Distortion Pedal is based on the 70’s EHX stomp boxes. The name Big Muff is usually associated with magnificent characteristics of a fuzzy sound. Since it is more of a fuzzy distortion pedal, it also produces mind-blowing audible sizzles and unbelievable tones that sounds as if your amp is melting outrageously.
The Nano Big Muff that provides original and powerful sounds comes in its condensed version. It is likely to be within your means, comes in a compact size and delivers professional features and a powerful, trademark sound. Some people who have bought it have stated that it is indistinguishable from the big muff which was originally released but just comes in a smaller size. In fact it possesses the rich sounding fuzzy distortion with great attack and sustain. It provides a seemingly never ending sustain on the lead guitar which sounds exceptional. When the power chords are struck it gives you another recognizable feeling from the last 40 years of music. The most exciting feature of this pedal seems to be the control options for the tone settings which enabled versatility and a certain quality of sound. Prior to Noon you get the dark sound and post noon you may get the high end tone that makes it possible to even hear the uppermost strings. Sometimes it is even better than other high priced pedals. Overall it is great pedal even better than its big brother when it comes to value for money.
Digitech DDM Death Metal Analog Distortion Pedal
You’ve heard the story before. That a pedal’s distortion has got to be perfect if you’re going to take it on stage and play in front of people. You can’t work with substandard tools if you want to deliver heavy riffs. If you want an extremely powerful distortion pedal, then you should look no further than the Digitech DDM Death Metal Analog Distortion Pedal, as the name suggests it is designed for metal. It is killer. It is psychotic. It will pursue you to the ends of the earth. Actually, strike that, it will pursue you to the ends of hell. This is truly an insane pedal which comes with all the power you’ll need, even for the heaviest of sounds.
This pedal is quite simple to use. There are four different knobs. The level controls the sound that is going to come out of your amp. The low will make sure that the bass sounds the way that you want it to sound, whether cut (less bass) or boosted for more bass. The mid knob does what you would expect the mid to do and can be boosted to bring a better sound for picking. Now, the high is more difficult to use, but it can be great to achieve the sounds that you really want, especially if you’re going to do intricate picking and use the higher strings. That’s it. Now, you might be beginning to see why this pedal is so special. There are many pedals coming to market each year but not all of them are this simple to use. In fact, many of them seem to require that you read an instruction guide of some sort before you even begin using them, not this pedal. Once you get it plugged in, it does not take much time at all to figure out to how start making insane noises and enhancing the sound you’ve honed over the years. Of course, there is an instruction manual that comes with this pedal, but it does not say much more than what I just have told you. The makers of this pedal understand how easy it is to use.
Check more consumer reviews and the current price of this product
The noises that you can make are heavy. I found myself powering through chords and surprising myself with the intensity that I was able to bring to them with really simple controls, and quickly had found a few presets that I wanted to use. Yes, this is a pedal that makes head-crushing noise a reality. There is not much that you need to do besides find the setting that you like the most. Before I used this pedal, I thought that it would slightly change and enhance my sound. Then, I started using this, and wow, I couldn’t believe how much it affected the way I sounded. This is distortion at its very core and is amazing for those who love death metal or other varieties of metal music. If you want to make death metal music, then you need to get this pedal. It will bring that type of aggressive guitar sound to the music that you play.
This pedal is so incredibly easy to use that you don’t even really need to read the manual. The sound that it will help you to produce will live ringing in your ears for a long time afterwards. This is a pedal made for making sure-fire, intense sounds. The other consumer reviews available on amazon and other online retailers show you what people who have bought the pedal think, and most of them give it 5 stars out of 5, which really speaks for itself. No matter which variation of rock or metal you’re playing, there’s a way this can help your niche. I had such a good time using it that I found myself playing much for longer than I usually do. Again, I think that if you want a very powerful pedal, then you should look no further than the Digitech DDM Death Metal Analog Distortion Pedal.
Behringer Ultra Metal UM300 distortion pedal
Behringer, as audio manufacturers go, are not renowned for being elite or particularly ‘high end’ – but that doesn’t mean their products don’t do a good job, and in many cases they represent an excellent choice for those on a budget. The UM300 is no different. In spite of being a fraction of the cost of many of the other products on the market, that hasn’t held it back, and almost universally good reviews make this a viable option even for serious musicians.
One of the distinct features of the Behringer Ultra Metal UM300 distortion pedal is the ultra metal feature, which goes a step further where other models such as super metals and heavy metals leave off. The Super metal has a level one, low and high distortion and though all have their own effect, the key piece is the high end control. The heavy metal has a level, low and mid distortion controls. So what the ultra metal does is, it takes the super metal and the heavy metal pedals and merges them into one. So the ultra-metal has the distortion, high, two separate mid levels and a whole load of control over your sound.
As I’ve already mentioned, it is an affordable pedal, when compared to other pedals available in the market. The features and functions are designed to ensure it is equally competitive with some of the similar products leading in the market, it is just manufactured in a cheaper way in order to keep the price down for the consumer. It is also one of the most exciting pedals and most wanted for heavy metal or heavy rock distortion, even if you don’t have a fortune to spend you can get some fun sounds with this bad boy.
The outcome of distortion is really thick and resembles a tube distortion sound. The out-and-out distortion feature and three band EQ are amazing. Additionally the control levels aren’t noticeably cheap, and have a pretty high quality of sound. It has an LED light to display the status of when it is on/off and it allows allows you to check the status of the battery.
It comes with a three year warranty program, which is extremely generous given the low cost of the product. Behringer is one of the companies that is committed towards making the customer happy and providing the best possible service. Also they boast a really low product failure rate, as they claim to manufacture products in their own factory using world class equipment and best practices. Some of their microphones and other audio equipment doesn’t come with my top recommendation, but this pedal certainly does.
Another point that is worth mentioning is the two different mid range functions, the mid can be regulated exactly the way you want it to be and you can come up with your own unique, even trademark sound. If you find yourself lacking in your tone, this product can help you to pick out the frequencies you need to beef up amazingly well.
In the order of high to low, I would rate the following as some of the major advantages of using this product; user friendliness, Quality of Sound, Consistency and Robustness.
A 9V DC adapter (recommended for environmental reasons and just so you don’t run out of juice) or 9V battery (good for busking) can be used to operate the Behringer UM300 distortion pedal. This product also comes with a user manual that has all the operating instructions and of course the normal safety precautions in several languages, showing its appeal on a global level.
Just make sure the voltage in your battery or adapter is as per the requirements to get the required output. It is very good combination for hard rock and in no time at all you can be busting out sounds which resemble Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Megadeth or whoever you love. This product is very easy on your pocket and provides great value based on the features and ease of use.
How to Set Up a Distortion Pedal
If you’ve bought a distortion pedal for the first time it can be tough to know exactly what you’re doing in order to get it set up, or how to get a lovely, thick sound using a distortion pedal.
Luckily it is simple and achievable, if you know how to set it up right. Also there is a certain way that the effects interact with each other.
If you are going to use a distortion pedal along with other pedals, it is very important to place the pedals in the right order, this is called a ‘chain’ of effects for obvious reasons, and many of us make the mistake of jumping in and putting things in the wrong order, which can lead to frustrating time wasted trying to get the sound you actually want. Let us have a look at how to set up a typical distortion pedal.
Input and Output
Usually a distortion pedal will have a single input (INPUT) and a pair of outputs (AMP and MIXER). The two outputs give you the following options: running into a guitar amplifier, and simultaneously running directly to a mixing console or some other recording device or audio interface. The MIXER output can also use a speaker cabinet emulation for an authentic guitar amplifier sound without having to use an amp, but don’t worry about that if this is your fist time.
It is very important to follow a few really simple directions before use.
- Firstly, you’re going to want to turn the volume down on the amplifier/mixer you are connecting to to avoid sudden loud noise or even damaging your gear. Secondly you should connect the pedal output to the amplifier/mixer input depending on where you want the signal to go.
- Once that is done, the next step is to connect the guitar to the pedal input. You should also ensure to connect the power supply to the pedal, if applicable. The level control on the pedal should be turned to the minimum position. You can also turn up your amplifier/mixer level to the desired level. Switch on and turn up the level to the desired volume, this is a matter of your own preference.
You should make sure to use the proper battery or power supply based on the requirements of different brands and the country you’re living in. If you are using a distortion pedal that is based on battery, then plugging the cable from your instrument into the INPUT jack may turn on the power from the battery, referring to the instruction manual received with it will tell you the individual features of your model. It is important to make sure to unplug the INPUT cable when you are finished using the distortion pedal as this will may even prevent unnecessary drain on the battery.
Where to Put Distortion in your Effects Chain
A chain is just the order your effects go in. To make a chain, the pedals will all be added to a pedalboard, and the output of the first goes to the input of the second and so on and so forth.
Depending on where you put it in the chain you will get a different sound. So this is where you get to have some fun and experiment with the sounds. As a general rule if something adds noise or tone (something like a distortion pedal DEFINITELY adds to the sound and increases volume) you should put it near the front of the effects chain, meaning it is one of the first you connect! Towards the end of the chain we find things like the EQ settings which tend to cut the sound.
It is up to you to experiment. If you want a biting lead sound with lots of harmonic emphasis, you can use the treble pickup on your guitar and vary the distortion for a subtle effect. If you are looking for a heavy metal sound for an effortless sustain, you should boost the mid range on an EQ and heavily distort and overdrive the sound. It doesn’t take too long to learn to tweak the control settings to obtain the sound exactly the way you want.