Price paid: $ 50
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 9
I am using this pedal along with a Schecter C1 Classic with EMG81/85 pickups through a B-52 At 112 amp. I always boost my lows and highs a bit and leave the middle at about 50%. I can't really turn up the volume on my amp enough to get it cranked due to other inhabitants of my building. My amp on it's own can deal cleans and rock sounds easily. However, this pedal gives it the extra push it needs for metal, metalcore but also jazz and blues. I simply boost my amps distortion with the level knob for the metal and metalcore, and I boost my amps cleans channel with the gain knob for jazz and bluesy sounds. This is a very cheap pedal. However, it does not add as much noise as other pedals I've tried do. I've tried a couple of Boss OD pedals as well as tube screamers and the TS9. This Pedal was not only a lot cheaper, it also produced less extra noise. If you really push this pedal to it's limits (level and gain max) you lose some of that organic feel, and your sound can get a bit digital. However, you shouldn't boost everything this much anyway if you have any common sense in you. A 9, because it sounds a bit digital when you boost the amp to truly manic proportions (which you shouldn't be doing anyway).
Overall Impression — 9
I've had this pedal for 2 years now, so this is not a day after review. I've had ample time to tinker with this pedal and try alternatives etc. To this day I remain impressed with the quality and versatility DigiTech has been able to put into this pedal for only 50 bucks. I play metal and metalcore, with the occasional jazz and blues. This pedal suits my needs perfectly for all these genres although it really shines for metalcore. The extra gain and punch this thing can produce is bordering on the insane. If it were stolen, I would simply buy it again. There is no other pedal on the market that gives such an incredible boost, with so little extra noise for this kind of money. I love how you can choose between using your amps own gain, and the gain of the pedal. You can boost your amps gain with the level knob, or use the pedals own gain settings using the pedals gain knob. This makes for a lot of versatility. The only downside to this pedal is its buffer. It can sound digital when pushed too much. But hey, you can't have it all for only 50 bucks. I tried all the other OD pedals Guitar Center stocks, too many to list here. Just check the guitarcenter website for their OD pedals. I decided on the Bad Monkey in the end, because it had the biggest gain boost, with the least amount of extra noise, for the lowest price. I would only like this thing to have a better buffer, but that would probably double it's price. If you want an inexpensive yet highly versatile and effective OD pedal, get this. It will push your amp into the realms of metal blues or jazz however you see fit.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It is a very sturdy metal stomp box, although it feels a little less solid than a Boss pedal. I'm not sure exactly why, because the differences are very minimal. It hasn't given me any problems however, and I would use it without a backup any day. an 8, because Boss pedals are a bit sturdier.
Ease of Use — 10
This pedal is extremely simple to get a good sound from. There are 4 controls: level, low, high, gain. The level is simply the output volume of the pedal. Leaving this at 50% will mean it won't give any extra output. Anything beyond 50% means you are pushing your tubes harder, giving a tighter higher gain sound. The low control is self-explanatory: It boosts/cuts the low frequencies in the signal. If you want a little more "oomph" to your sound, just boost this a bit. The high control is much like the low control: It boosts/cuts the higher frequencies from the signal. If your amp tends to be a bit muddy, boost it a bit. If your amp is very trebly, you can cut it a bit. The gain knob is a little trickier: If you use the amp on it's clean channel, you can use the gain to give it some crunch, or smooth overdrive. If you use the amp on its distorted channel, you can use this knob to boost the gain even further if you already maxed the level. This is a very straight up in your face stomp box, so there are no preset patches. The manual does make a few suggestions, but it is easy enough to figure out on your own. The manual is fine, it doesn't go into too much detail but it isn't needed so that's fine. It tells you what you need to know, no more, no less. My unit is stock, and I don't know if there are any firmware upgrades for this. I highly doubt it, since this pedal doesn't use any patches or presets. A 10, because it is very easy to use.