Price paid: $ 23
Purchased from: eBay (used)
Sound — 9
So many people have written off Boss effects, and their distortion pedals in particularly. I understand where that comes from, given that their pedals are widely available, and products like the DS-1 have some well-known flaws. But the MD-2 is like a modern improvement on the DS-1 that still retains a lot of the Vintage characteristics of a large, overdriven amp. I absolutely love the Gain Boost knob - turn it up on low "Dist" settings, and you get a Plexi-like Overdrive sound. And, of course, the standard Distortion knob can bring in some super-saturated heavier sounds. Boss advertised this as a high-gain distortion pedal for detuned or 7-string players, but that doesn't really do it justice. It's just a really ballsy, powerful sounding distortion pedal. The people who knock pedal distortion (and Boss in particular) probably have larger/more expensive equipment that can produce that sound on its own. Hey, that's great for them, but the vast majority of players spend most of their time playing or practicing on small-to-medium sized combo amps. This pedal will get you a bigger sound with that setup, and I'm sure it's no slouch on a half stack either.
Overall Impression — 9
Admittedly, part of my high praise for the MD-2 is based on the ridiculous used price ($23) I found it for. But the lesson in that is that there is a very attractive used market for under-appreciated gear, and the MD-2 fits that description. You could use it for "metal", but it really doesn't have a metal sound to me at all - I consider it heavy rock pedal. If somebody other than Boss made it and it didn't come in a familiar Orange casing, gearheads would refer to it as a "Marshall in a box". Let's just let that be our little secret - find one cheap if you can!
Reliability & Durability — 10
Boss pedals really need no introduction for their durability - they are built like a tank. I've never owned one that failed, and I don't even hesitate at buying used ones that look like they've been through a war because they are built to last. Probably the first thing to go on them is the gromet for bottom screw, or the 9V connector, but I use adapters, so neither of these bother me anymore. The soft switch clicks in seamlessly and reliably. And you can mash on it without hitting your control knobs because of the recessed design.
Ease of Use — 9
This really is one of the hidden gems of the Boss lineup, for reasons I'll explain below. I'll give it an "8" for ease of use because there are a series of tonal options you need to go through to properly dial it in. There's both a "Distortion" and a "Gain Boost", and the interplay between those may impact how you use the EQ section. Fortunately, the multi-knob for "Bottom" and "Tone" responds very well, and I love having the low bass control to dial it in on smaller amps. The footswitch is excellent, as it is on all Boss products. And the 9V jack is on the top of the pedal, where it should be. Really no major complaints about the usability of this pedal.