#1
I had a similar thread to this a little while ago when I was in the early stages of looking for more distortion from my amp. I'm a bit further along the line now so felt it might be a good time to seek further direction now I've looked into the matter more.

At first I thought I may just change the amp to something with more gain but there's not an obvious choice out there. I considered the new Vypyr Tube 60 but I instinctively feel that I'd be better off sticking to a decent proper valve tone and working from there. I really want to be able to boost the distortion on my DSL401 so that I can get into the really high gain territory of modern Metal and have concluded that an overdrive pedal would be best as long as it can boost my amp enough, is true bypass and doesn't entail a second mortgage. These look interesting so far:

Boss OS-2 = £69
Digitech Bad Monkey = £45
Hardwire Overdrive CM-2 = £67
Maxon OD-9 = £109

Which of these would best provide the gain levels I need and give the best tone? Is there a good alternative I haven't thought of?
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
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#2
Bad monkey's said to be an amazing pedal. The MXR ZW-44 (Zakk overdrive) is a very good pedal, I own it and I get more gain than I know what to do with from most tube amps.

Go and try a bad monkey coz it's cheap and has a good rep and if its not your cuppa, try the MXR, it's brilliant.
#3
I own the Bad Monkey- I have not tried the others you speak of.

I can tell you that the Monkey can give you a Texas / Fat strat tone, all the way up to screaming reverb / Hendrix feedback.

I really like it for the price. A warning though, you may find yourself meddling with the settings more than playing. I can't stop.

I think the Boss OS-2 may be a better pedal from what I have read, but having not used it, can't say. For the money, the Bad Monkey is a good pedal, imo. I don't play without it anymore.
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#4
I have never heard a complaint on a Maxon modded or made pedal, I have a AD-900 myself, not an overdrive (actually an it's an analog delay), still ridiculously gorgeous. Definitely check the Maxon out!


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#5
I did consider the Zakk Wylde pedal but it got some rather mixed reviews on HC that put me off. It sounds like all the pedals I'm looking at are good though so that's a promising start. The Maxon looks excellent, the Bad Monkey has a great reputation so the Hardwire should be good as I'm assuming it's just a better built Bad Monkey. I never thought I'd consider a Boss distortion/overdrive but that OS-2 seems to be the exception to the rule and is actually quite decent.

Are all these pedals true bypass and will they all give my Marshall the distortion levels of bands like A7X, BFMV, Disturbed etc.?
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#6
As nobody has been able to reply I assume that this question is more difficult than I had thought. Nevertheless, I have tried a Boss OS-2 pedal and it wasn't as I had expected. It certainly tightened up the distortion and improved the sound on my drive channels but it did have limitations I wasn't expecting. Firstly, it didn't take the drive as far as I was hoping, though it certainly had more distortion than the amp by itself. I was also under the impression that an Overdrive pedal was designed to work on my amp's own drive channels and push it that bit further. It is true that it did this but if I tried the pedal through the amp's clean channel the sound improved to a noticeable degree and the controls on the pedal had far more impact on the final sound. I don't understand why this would be the case if the pedal is supposed to be used to push drive channels rather than clean channels. Is this because the Boss OS-2 simply isn't that good as an overdrive pedal or would I be better off not trying to push the drive channels and going for a full distortion pedal through the clean channel instead?
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#7
the ZW-44 is just a repackaged boss SD-1, as i'm told. get the bad monkey, boost your amps distortion. if you dont like that, come back to us
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#8
Thanks, the Bad Monkey does look good value but that doesn't answer my questions:

1) Why does the Boss OS-2 sound better and the controls are more responsive through the clean channel when it's supposed to be designed for boosting a drive channel?

2) As the OS-2 still couldn't reach the drive levels I wanted, even through the drive channel, would I be better using a distortion pedal on the clean channel?
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
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#9
Get a TS808. I didn't know what the big deal was until I tried out and bought a vintage one today. It was AMAZING. The new reissues don't sound much different but it's noticeable. You could get an Analogman Maxon OD-9 and it supposed to sound the same.
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#10
I recommend a TS9 (or TS7 on the TS9 setting [same circuitry]), but on your list, the next best thing would be the Maxon, which are better according to others because of the true bypass circuitry. I think it'd work really well to bring you into a modern metal tone with that Marshall.
But again, is there any way you can try these out before buying them? That's a really good thing to do because some swear by the Boss, and others (like myself) are big fans of the TS9 and OD9. I haven't tried the other pedals, but I recommend the OD9.
#11
It reacts more on the clean channel because it's got more to distort... I don't know the logistics of it, but ANY OD pedal will do that.
#12
I listened to some clips on the Digitech website for the Hardwire series of pedals, assuming still that the CM-2 Tube Overdrive would be the best. Having heard the clips I started wondering if the SC-2 Valve Distortion pedal would be better so I emailed them and asked which one they suggested would be best for tightening up my distortion and taking the Marshall's existing overdrive into modern Metal territory. Surprisingly, they suggested the TL-2 Metal Distortion pedal!!

I had assumed that this was a pedal that would be used on the amp's clean channel to provide all the distortion by itself yet they seem to be suggesting that I should use it to push the amp's overdrive channels

Have I misunderstood how these pedals are used? It sounds like it, yet almost all of the suggestions I've received are for overdrives instead of distortions. This is all very confusing to someone as inexperienced with pedals as I am! If it's a full distortion pedal that is needed then perhaps I'd be better off looking at something like a Metal Muff or Metal Mayhem.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#13
How much more gain are you wanting out of your dsl? Can you give us examples of how much gain it has now and how far you want to go?
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#14
If you go for the Bad Monkey, buy it from Amazon, its on there for £39!
#15
Wow, you guys get ripped for those things, they're only 50 bucks new here or 35 pounds for you brits.
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#16
Bad Monkey, Cheap and sounds great or an Ibanze TubeScreamer if you can to spend more the TS9, or TS808 if you defecate money.
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#17
Quote by Fat-bastard0603
Bad Monkey, Cheap and sounds great or an Ibanze TubeScreamer if you can to spend more the TS9, or TS808 if you defecate money.


Sadly I do not defecate money!!

The DSL401 is fairly typical Marshall distortion so it reminds me of the 80's Metal I grew up with. Having said that, it is no JCM800 and has a harsher and more modern tone than that. For a lot of what I play it's fine but in terms of distortion levels, I like the modern sounds of a Triple Rectifier or Diezel etc. so I thought I could use a pedal to push the Marshall that far while retaining the essence of the Marshall sound. I think Zakk Wylde achieves loads of heavy distortion with his Marshall rig (must be an MG!!) but I haven't considered his overdrive pedal as it got some really poor reviews on HC.

Despite what I just said Digitech told me, I'm still getting suggestions of overdrive pedals instead of the distortions that they suggested. I'm not sure I understand the differences between an overdrive and a distortion as I've had both suggested to me now for the same purpose
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#18
I've received a fantastic message from a guy who explained the way overdrives and distortions work in some detail and I feel a bit more knowledgeable now. It seems that the OS-2 worked better on the clean channel as I had nowhere else to go with the gain. What I should have done was backed the gain on the amp down a few notches and managed the sound a bit more from the pedal. That should be more effective but it is clear that to effectively get what I'm after I do indeed need a full distortion pedal, not an overdrive. That must be why Digitech suggested the Metal Distortion pedal instead of the Tube Overdrive and why Seymour Duncan suggested the Twin Tube Mayhem.

It seems to me that it is likely that I will ultimately need two pedals; one for high gain and one to simply tighten up the distortion for things like Blues Rock. For high gain I'm thinking of the Twin Tube Mayhem and for lighter overdrive I was thinking of a Bad Monkey as there seems to be a few around cheap on Ebay, unless of course you know of a pedal that would do that better. Any suggestions welcome.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1
#19
Well, I've started the process now. I found a Digitech Bad Monkey brand new for £32 and figured I couldn't go wrong at that. I'll use it to tighten up the amp's distortion and give it a bit of a boost and in time I'll get a full distortion pedal for the really high gain sounds.
Gibson Les Paul Studio with Catswhiskers pickups
PRS SE 'Floyd' Custom 24 with Creamery pickups
Fender Standard Stratocaster with DiMarzio pickups
Takamine GN30
BluGuitar AMP1