Price paid: C$ 25
Purchased from: Spaceman Music
Sound — 9
I've seen and heard much criticism of the Grunge's sound, and I think there's a very simple reason for all of the negative feedback. DigiTech markets the Grunge as a distortion, but in truth, it bears the characteristics of a fuzz. This pedal is a very versatile one, but it does not achieve sounds similar to, say, a DS-1 or a Rat. Rather, it can emulate the Big Muff, the Fuzz Face, etc... This is a very low-fi, noisy pedal, but for fans of Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, and Babes in Toyland, that's exactly what is needed. I've played this pedal with high-output humbuckers, low-output humbuckers, and single-coils, and in each case, it's been able to achieve the aggressive, snarling fuzz that I wanted out of it. For the Grunge or noise-rock artist on a budget, this is the ideal sound.
Overall Impression — 8
I owned a USA Big Muff immediately before obtaining this pedal and was dissatisfied with the amount of low-end it produced. The DigiTech Grunge can produce exactly the kind of high-frequency wall of fuzz that I needed. I play ambient noise-pop and this pedal is ideally suited for this genre of music. I only got this to use until I can get my hands on a Zvex Fuzz Factory, but I won't have the money for that for a while, and this is the next best thing. The reason for all the criticism of this pedal is simply that kids buy this to recreate Nirvana' sound, which this pedal simply does not do. I once read a review that stated that if the Grunge were a boutique pedal with a crazy name, it would sell better. I wholeheartedly support this view; this is exactly the sort of low-fi noise that is used for Grunge, hardcore, shoegazing and experimental rock.
Reliability & Durability — 5
As with all other DigiTech products, the Grunge has some obvious flaws. First off, the battery compartment under the foot-plate is practical but involves small and easy-to-lose parts. Secondly, the "foot" under the plate is made of rubber and feels as though it could break off any minute. Lastly, the knobs feel very fragile. I obtained mine used and the Grunge knob was already very loose.
Ease of Use — 8
The DigiTech Grunge has four knobs: Loud (volume), Low, High, and Grunge (Gain). It is a hard pedal to get a good sound out of in the sense that if you were to turn the Low, High, and Grunge knobs to random positions and turn the pedal on, chances are that it wouldn't sound very good. I've found that, however uninformative the manual is, the settings that it provides are essential in using the DigiTech Grunge. I highly recommend dialing in whichever one of the provided settings sounds most like the one you need, and then working from there. Using this method, I've managed to dial in every sound that I've wanted out of the Grunge.