Sound — 9
This is a really unique pedal. It can sound anywhere between a standard distortion, a fuzz, or at its worst a DOD grunge. When I first got it I was pairing it with a Boss blues driver into a peavy bandit (my high school garage band set up haha) Anyway the xtortion provided a decent slightly harsher than Overdrive sound that I would boost with the blues driver for harder sections. Fast forward 7 years. I have better equipment, an old 20 watt penncrest (JC pennies version of a 60's Sears tube amp) and a 70s Schecter Strat model. I put this in front of the penncrest with a Boss delay on a slapback setting, rolled back the volume and tone on the guitar and holy shit. I got a really harmonic, almost Sparkle Drive like tone. Think sonic youth's more melodic passages. It responds great with open chords, which alot of distortion pedals muddy up too much. Essentially, I feel as though this is an incredibly underrated pedal. For those of you who play Indie or noise, this is a unique sound that I know a lot of people don't have. I read that there was only 20000 actually made. With a good hand wired tube amp turned to just below breaking point, this thing can sing.
Overall Impression — 7
Its not going to sound good until you have f--ked with it for a while. The sweet spot exists but the shit spots exist too, perhaps more so. The amp plays a major factor.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Ease of Use — 5
4 knobs, Level and dist are obvious perameters, but the contour and punch take a fair amount of experimentation to find something that is practical and ear pleasing. I didn't have the manual but generally Boss pedals are user friendly enough. not necessary