Price paid: $ 75
Purchased from: Local music store
Ease of Use — 9
It is not hard to get a good sound from the pedal itself but also a very important part for this good sound are the others gear pieces that you have, how they are connected and how they are set. For example if you have set the pedal well but your amp settings are f--ked up, you will never get the right sound so you may think that the pedal sucks. Also, If you have another pedals, you have to connect them in the right order. The Metal Master has Level (volume control), HI (control of the highs), LOW (bass control) and Morph (Gain and sound type). The manual is nothing special but I have always loved to read DigiTech's manuals because they have some recommendations about how to set the pedals and also recommendations about some interesting pedal chains. It is fun to read them but not very helpful. A good musician with trained ears does not need manual to create a good sound.
Sound — 7
I want to start with that: I bought this pedal in 2012 and since then I use it almost every day because I don't have another distortion and I am afraid that if I sell this and buy another pedal it will be worse. My budget was and still is basically dead so I think you understand my fears about such a risk. It was my first pedal effect ever. When I started to write my own music and record it I needed distortion pedal because my amp at the time, a Fender Frontman 10G, was too weak and its overdrive never gave me the sound I wanted. Back then I was playing atmospheric or raw black metal in the vein of the Second Wave of Norwegian Black Metal. Also I was playing some Slayer and Metallica stuff. When my ears evolved my tastes about the sound also evolved too and then I realised something really important for this product. It was not for my music. It sounds digital, sterile and cold but not that "Black Metal cold sound", more like soulless sound. Sound with a big lack of feeling. I was and still am into old school vintage and dirty sound but this pedal was not for this. It is perfect for every type of MODERN metal but not for old school and vintage stuff. The pedal itself has everything. Good quality volume, bass, highs and gain control. The gain knob is called Morph on the pedal. Everything that you need to play fast brutal or not so heavy stuff. If you are not so pretentious musician you can use it without EQ pedal and stuff and it still sounds great. Great but not for my kind of stuff.
The Metal Master is ideal for practice and recording because has two outputs so you can connect the pedal to mixer and amplifier at the same time. I don't know about live performances because I have always been playing writing and recording all alone. When you start to play with the Morph knob you will understand how many types of sound this pedal has. For my years of experience I understood that when the Morph level is between 1 or 6 the pedal sounds more mid-ranged. Like you have boosted your amp's mids and cut some lows and highs. After level 6 of the Morph knob the sound gets more mid-scooped. Perfect for shredding. I don't know, I may feel the things in a wrong way so this is just my opinion. What other I can say about the sound? I like it actually. I like to play with it and practice my own stuff but when I record the things become completely different. I forgot to mention that I use the pedal with my B.C. Rich ASM One and the most hated amp in the world - the famous Marshall MG15. (And I amp proud that I have the hated low end B.C. Rich and MOST HATED AMP).
If you like modern metal genres, I think that this pedal would be great for you. Of course there are better choices but like I said before, my budget was and still is dead so the best I could afford was this little box. Nowadays I still use it with my Marshall MG15 and my lovely DigiTech Digiverb. The volume level is always around 5-6 so I don't have problem with the noise. It becomes more noisy at the last levels of volume but I think that this is normal and most of the distortion pedals have this problem. The sound can be very muddy or can be totally bright. It can make your ears bleed actually if you use the HI control on it and on your amp in the wrong way. The last thing I want to say about the sound is one - it is totally versatile. If you use it right, MM can sound pretty good.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I don't play live. I don't play outside my apartment and I don't step on my pedal. These are the reasons why the pedal is still alive and its best condition but I think that DigiTech's pedals have a good build quality so I have no doubt that it will do the job in live situations. I believe in it. It hasn't changed after these three years of use. Its hardware is the same and I use it with PS200R power supply so I don't need to open it to thange batteries. The knobs are in perfect condition. The outputs are not different than when I bought it back then. I can't say more about this.
Overall Impression — 8
Like I wrote in the "Sound" part I play black metal so this pedal is not the best choice for my type of music but that does not mean that it is useless. It is really good for other kind of stuff and mainly modern metal. I play with it since 2012 along with Marshall MG15 and B. C. Rich ASM One and have no problem with anything. When I bought it the seller told me that the pedal has very metallic and sterile sound and also recommended me DigiTech's Grunge but I was younger and had no experience with pedals and their features so I didn't care about that and this was my mistake. I could buy a better pedal for my needs but these things left in the past. If this pedal was stolen I would not buy the same again but instead I would do a big research and would find what effect suits my music best.
What I love about it? Many things like its versatility, the good build quality, the simple look but the thing that I love most are the two outputs. There is reason for that. When you connect the pedal to the line in of your computer by the OUT 2 (MIXER) and record something it sounds sterile and bad but you can add amp and cabinet simulations and the recording done in this way accepts amp and cabinet simulations really good if you understand what I mean. You can record something and then to add some VST-s. I don't know about the others, for me it sounds perfect but it has to be done with a good recording software also. The only thing I hate about this pedal is the sterility of the sound, the digital sound but there is no turning back for me, I will never depart with this pedal. I can't compare it with other products because I have never used another distortion pedal. I don't like go to shops and just try things without purpose. I choosed this pedal simply because I watched some YouTube demos and liked everything about it and still like it today. I just have some pretentions and have no budget. Anything I wish it had? A control for the mids of course but it is not 100% necessary.