Price paid: C$ 100
Purchased from: Italmelodie
Ease of Use: The pedal is actually pretty easy to use, 3 knobs: tone, volume, gain. The knobs are pretty self-explanatory and cover a wide range; the tone knob particularly, goes from a very warm low-end to a shrill high-end, and everything in-between. The manual gives a few examples, as MXR manuals always do, but it's not very useful. 10 for the fast learning curve. // 10
Sound: I use this pedal with many different amps and guitars, my main amps being a Traynor YCV40WR and a Fender Twin-amp. my main guitars are either a Gibson SG, a Fender Jaguar, a strat I made myself, an Ibanez RGT42FX or a Les Paul from 1978. I also use a lot of pedals: there are 15 pedals on my board, currently. The pedal is only noisy with single-coils when you put a lot of gain, which should be expected.
Now, as I said, the tone knob has a very wide array of tones. The gain one goes from a slight grit at 7 o'clock to a chunky one at 5 o'clock; by itself, it's very similar to the gain channel in my Traynor amp.
As a stand-alone pedal, it's very versatile, can go from almost clean to very gritty. However, as a clean boost, I wouldn't recommend it as much; there's a noticeable volume drop when you get the gain below 9 o'clock. You can boost an overdriven amp with this pedal, but you'll have some gain from it.
However, I don't use it as a boost, most of the time, rather as a stand-alone. When I boost my overdriven amp, it tightens it up, but adds some extra distortion; when I use it with my big muff, it can give a huge fuzz increase, which is pretty interesting in some cases. 8 for the volume drop when gain is too low. // 8
Reliability & Durability: I definitely do depend on it; I never have backups for my pedals when I gig, if shit happens, I'll just continue without any effect. However, this one is very reliable, it's built pretty solidly, and it has never failed on me. The Switch is very stiff though, you will hurt your toes if you play barefoot. I always have slippers or shoes though, so I'm all right =)
10 for a perfectly well built pedal, that's never failed me within the year and a half I've owned it. // 10
Overall Impression: I play alternative rock, between Muse and the Silversun Pickups, passing through a lot of stuff. I don't play very agressive music, but when I do, it still works perfectly. I've been playing for a few years, and when I was looking for an Overdrive pedal, this one called for me. If it was stolen, I definitely would buy it again.
I love it's versatility, and I simply love the tone it gives; sometimes, when on my computer, I still strum open strings on my guitar just to hear its sweet crunch. What I hate is the stiff switch, as well as teh volume drop when the gain is too low
I compared it to a few overdrives, mainly the Maxon and Ibanez tubescreamers (808 and 9), the DigiTech bad monkey, Boss OD-3 and SD-1, EHX double muff, and I really liked this one the best, it had the most natural tone and it was the only one really able to be used as a dirtbox without sacrificing tone quality.
8 for a pedal that's perfect for me, but maybe not for everyone (have to be objective there). I'd give it a 10, but since most people use Overdrive pedals as boosts, I have to drop it a little bit so this review actually helps. // 8