Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: musiciansfriend
Sound — 9
I run it in the effects loop of my Kustom Quad Jr., Fender Frontman, or Hughes & Kettner Switchblade. I'm playing a Schecter Hellraiser Deluxe and a Schecter Damien B-52. The overall effect of this processor is like when you're in an airplane and as you descend and your ears clog up, everything sounds muffled and then you yawn and you can hear everything so clearly... that's what this processor does. You plug it into the effects loop and a couple knob turns later, your amp sounds twice as good as it did before. It's not noisy at all, there's also a noise gate included. I didn't get this to get any particular artist's sound but it changed my Kustom Halfstack's weak and flabby distortion to a tight, even brutal sounding distortion. Every function on this processor works well.
Overall Impression — 9
I play rock and metal and this piece was perfect because it tightened up my distortion and made it bite so much more which helped alot when I start using lower tunings where things tend to muddy up. I can do A tuning just fine without it sounding muddy. I've been playing for 17 years, there's nothing about it that I'm unsatisfied with. It does exactly what it's supposed to do. I bought this one in particular because of the compressor/noise gate that was included with the sonic maximizer. If it was lost, stolen, or broken I would order another immediately, maybe even two.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've had it for a year and I've never had a problem with it. All the knobs are solid and have a good feel to them. They're not loose and overly sensitive. I have a backup for it, it's a simpler model it's just the maximizer but I didn't bring it. This processor is in Iraq with me and it's been through a lot of dust and being transported and it still works great.
Ease of Use — 9
This processor is very easy to use if you don't know how to use a compressor. Hit the auto switch and you're good to go. The sonic maximizer that comes on it has a two part knob, one part of contour and one for process. I don't know if there's any patches or firmware upgrades. The manual is simple and easy to read.