Hot Head Distortion review by DigiTech

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (67 votes)
DigiTech: Hot Head Distortion

Price paid: € 40

Purchased from: Local store

Sound — 8
I use an Epiphone Les Paul Standard with an HH amplifier [which isn't made nowadays] from 1980 so I assume it's a tube amp. Its distortion is too light for some heavier stuff that I like to play, so I bought myself this pedal. The distortion can be pretty brutal if you put the gain nob halfway, and the high and low (treble and bass) settings are pretty responsive, letting you get some ridiculously crunchy dry sounds with the high turned to say, 7, or nice bass-y tones turning low up. I tend to leave them at below 5 because I find it gets too much. I never move the gain setting past 5 as if you turn it up, not only the sound is incredibly noisy up but there's huge feedback. Still, you can get decent metal distortion with gain on 3, so that's not really a problem. With the gain super low it can just about get Led Zeppelin sounds, but for Zeppelin I use my amp's distortion which is a bit lighter and much more natural since it's a tube. You can get pretty good metal sounds, and if I turn the gain down a little (2 or 3) I can get a great 'Sweet Child of Mine' sound when I'm on the neck pickup. Oh, and when the battery is running low the sound is pretty weak. It also seems to fuzz up my clean sound a little, cos it's not 'true bypass'. On the whole, very good sound, a bit noisy and pretty brutal when you turn the gain up. Would be nice if it were a bit less mental and could offer some lighter distorted sounds.

Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly Led Zeppelin, a bit of Metallica and some Red Hot Chili Peppers and some stuff in between. It's good for Metallica, I turn it on for the chorus and solo of Dani California (with low gain settings here, of course) and it sounds good. I've been playing for nearly 3 years, and I've been playing this little thing for about 9 months, so I know it pretty well. It's a good match with my amp cos it's crazy distortion compliments my amp's light Overdrive. Before I bought this... I didn't ask any questions, and I didn't even try it, but I don't regret it really. It's a good pedal, with a good price. Of course, if you want better pedals you should be looking at DigiTech Hardwire [they have true bypass! ], or Boss pedals. Still, if it was stolen... I'd probably save up for a Hardwire but they're quite a bit more expensive. The thing I love about it is how responsive the controls are.. OK the gain is brutal past 5 but the high and low controls offer a pretty wide variety of sounds. I also love the Orange colour of it. Pretty epic. On the whole a great pedal for the price. Recommended for those not looking to spend more than 50 euros/ 40 pounds.

Reliability & Durability — 9
It's pretty reliable and durable I'd say. I've dropped it once and it just got a little mark on the Orange paintwork, which really isn't a worry. I would use it in a gig without backup, but only if I put in a new battery beforehand. Also, I don't have another distortion pedal.

Ease of Use — 10
The controls are Level, Low, High and Gain. It's pretty simple really and easy to get the right sounds. It comes with a manual that tells you briefly how to change the battery, that's pretty easily and it gives some suggestions for various different sounds, which are OK but you really have to try things out with this pedal to work stuff out. Still though, very easy to use.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I owned a DS1 taiwan and the japanese as well, The DS1 japanese is definitely much much better than the taiwanese anyday but the HOT HEAD blows the japanese away in terms of gain and EQ response and clarity. And this darn thing do sound like a marshall stack and it also sounded good through a mixer. This pedal just like any other pedal sounded like crap through a stupid amp.