Price paid: £ 200
Purchased from: SoundsGreat
Ease of Use — 9
Plug it in with all dials at 12 o'clock and you'll get a great sound - there are many switches and knobs so it may take a few minutes to tweak your sound but its well worth it. The loops may complicate the use a little but you can always ignore them and just get on with rocking your socks off. My preference is the Plexi EQ, Edge setting, high gain engaged with the internal switches set to Fat. Gain about 3/4s of the way up, with a touch more on the boost channel. The manual details all the options, a few sample settings would have been a nice addition. It also has the simple yet rare feature of an on/off button to save battery life when plugged in.
Sound — 10
I play an American Fender Strat, with a Duncan Hot Rails in the bridge through a Laney AOR Pro Tube Lead. I mainly play alt rock, some metal and blues. This pedal is a beast - aside from a standard 3 band EQ, there are several features to tweak your sound, such as EQ type, low or high gain, hard or smooth clipping, a control to tighten up your attack, as well as internal fattening switches and a noise gate. There is a separate boost channel with dedicated volume and gain controls as well a mid boost function to cut through in a live situation. Pretty much any gain stage can be coaxed out of the pedal, from a light crunch to some metal tones. I fail to see how any combo of amp and guitar couldn't get a great sound out of it! You can run it at 9 or 18 volts although I personally can't notice much of a difference. Chords remain clear even with high gain, leads absolutely sing out, the sustain and harmonics are amazing.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is a beast - very solid construction, no need at all for a back up. It comes with a 5 year warranty so the manufacturer is confident it will survive any and all stomping. It weighs about 3 lbs and is made from galvanised steel. All knobs are responsive and sturdy. No back up needed. The finish is basic but seems durable. I've seen more expensive pedals look like plastic in comparison. The roller bar on the pedal prevents accidental knob fiddling when activating the unit.
Overall Impression — 10
This pedal will satisfy the gain needs of all but the most extreme metal heads - the tonal options are bigger than I've seen on any other pedal. It also has 3 built in effects loops, so for a simple rig you could use this to control all your effects at once. The noise gate does seem to reduce overall volume slightly, but this may be standard for gates, I've never used one before so can't really comment. I would replace this immediately if it was lost, this is he pedal I've been waiting for my whole playing life.