Price paid: C$ 100
Purchased from: Long & McQuade
Ease of Use — 7
I'd say it has great ease of use, as long as you don't require to change the controls for songs in between. What more can be said about a guitar pedal to fill a five hundred character limit? Step on it to turn it on, step again to turn it off. Or better yet, never turn it off:) I gave it a lower mark here for the sole reason that it does not allow a secondary (or any other number of) setting that can be selected/switched between by solely using your foot.
Sound — 9
A pedal which has been widely viled, just because it's equally well known; a standard. The reviews on the net do not make this pedal justice, as it is capable of delivering a wide range of well-known, familiar distortion sounds in the metal genre. In particular, people who use alnico pickups seem to dislike them, but the fault would be theirs, rather than this pedal, as it's not meant to be used with those but ceramic pickups.
On the configuration side, I've seen instances where this pedal seemingly has a tinny sound, I found in half of those instances the pedal wasn't tuned right. The key to using this pedal is to understand how the middle fq tuners work. The outer dial selects the frequency to be modified, and the inner dial determines whether it is boosted or scooped. That said, turning both of those middle-related dials to 10 o'clock position and leaving the bass and treble at 12, you can get a very satisfying tone that can easily be used from hard rock up to death metal. Turn them both to 2 o'clock, you are in the range of country and grunge, or what have you.
There is the distortion knob that differentiates between what you play. Use that knob AFTER you get your tone right.
I have not seen any other pedal which has more distortion than this pedal can deliver. And I'd say to prospective buyers, don't worry about a potential mocking for using these, as nobody can tell from the sound; and nobody ever says that pedal sucks after listening to any live performance.
Also, forget about the settings manual and whatnot. There is a simple thing you need to understand about this pedal which is, again, this: The outer ring on the mid frequency "selects" the range of the mids to be modified. Meaning, As you turn it anti-clockwise, you are targeting lower mids, and as you turn it clockwise, you are targeting higher mids. Once you are done, you need to rotate the inner ring to either "boost" or "scoop" the selected field. Turning the inner ring anticlockwise scoops the selected range, where turning it clockwise boosts it. This is how you get extremely varied sounds out of this pedal. The manual clearly specifies that leaving this inner ring at 12 o'clock position will have no effect as the outer dial is turned. So there you have it, right from the manufacturers' mouth (pen|keyboard).
Do not get intimidated by the controls, or what others say; they just don't know how to use a simple pedal and then go ridiculing it.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The housing is tough as nails, however the stepping pad is not. If you use it with your feet, the wear will show. Definitely not something to worry about, I'd say. I'd rather have a worn stepping pad than the flimsy looking small metal buttons for an on/off button. As a side note, DO invest in an adapter for your pedal. Not particularly this one per se, but in general. You will know what you have been missing once you get off those cheap 9V batteries. Trust me, it pays to spend some $30 on an adapter once rather than spending X amount of dollars for a pedal that never sounds as it's meant to be.
Overall Impression — 9
I'd recommend this to anybody as an overdrive/distortion pedal, provided they are reasonably experienced or not a "beginner and a wise-ass" at the same time. There are many fascinating sounds to be unearthed from this pedal, and it is not dead, and cannot be, as it is so versatile. If you'd go through the trouble to search the net, you'd see just how many pros are using it for just its EQ functionality, and occasionally as an add-on to complement their sound; even if not as their main sound-shaper. You have to give this most renowned pedal a go, I say. If you have the bucks or found it on the cheap, do not hesitate. This thing is like a Swiss Army knife; if it doesn't fit in what you are doing right now, it will fit into something else, definitely.