Price paid: A$ 105
Purchased from: Amazon
Sound — 9
The Micro Metal Muff does a convincing job at giving users copious amounts of gain when the gain is adjusted all the way to its maximum limit. The gain once at its limit sounded a little too fuzzy for my particular liking however I was able to dial in a nice high-gain level around the 1 to 2 o'clock mark. There is in fact so much gain that there is a word of advice from Electro-Harmonix's website asking users to ensure that all cables and pickups are well shielded before use. In this review I used a Schecter Demon 6 FR and an Ibanez ART300 and lastly a Fender clone with passive pickups through a Bugera V22 amplifier. As mentioned earlier the gain set at its absolute limit was a little too fuzz like for me but I was able to generate some nice controllable feedback. There was no unnecessary buzz or hum with all dials set to their maximum and there was also no colouration of tone when the pedal was in its off state. With the Distortion dialled down to the 3 o'clock and under mark you can achieve a nice classic rock feel. This is of course not perfect but was close enough to be enjoyable. The Tone dial as mentioned is quite flexible and scoops the mid range frequencies if dialled to the left a certain degree producing a nice modern metal tone. This was great in standard tuning and in drop tunings and with the gain at approximately 1 to 2 o'clock was great for some palm muted riffing. With the Tone dialled to the right the tone takes a more thinner sound that seems to have a lot more presence giving you a British rock/metal feel with the right amount of distortion. The top boost seemed most useful in its low setting. This gives you a little bit more crunch or bite to your tone allowing you to develop your sound further. The high setting felt a little ear piercing being too bright and too shrill but again tone is subjective to the listener. When using the top boost I also found I had to re-adjust the volume dial to compensate the increased volume in certain frequencies. Overall Electro-Harmonix has made quite a versatile pedal that manages to cover quite a few different areas of metal and rock. The pedal seems to promote a little more clarity in its sound then other pedals I have tested and seems to show more of the guitar and amps tone in the overall output.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall the Electro-Harmonix Micro Metal Muff does a great job of providing high-gain distortion with power to customize your tone in several different directions. The pedal is relatively inexpensive and sounds great. The pedal is not the be all and end all of high-gain distortion and when set a certain way the pedal can start to sound a little thin, not giving enough oomph that so many metaller's enjoy. However for its price bracket, range of options and overall tone it has it is definitely worthy of a second look.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The Micro Metal Muff features a very hardy die cast enclosure and as a result feel very solid and durable. The pedal shouldn't have any issues dealing with regular gigging and seems to use the 9 volt battery at a decent rate giving you a few hours of use with a decent alkaline battery. Electro-Harmonix have a reputation stemming back from the late 60's of making quality products and the Micro Metal Muff doesn't fall short even though this is one of Electro-Harmonix' relatively new product lines.
Ease of Use — 8
With a market saturated with high-gain distortion pedals in which each manufacturer try to fight for your attention it can be hard to make a decision that will appeal to your personal taste. As is often said tone is subjective to each listener so more and more high-gain distortion pedals are trying to compensate for this by featuring more tone controls and more options to make it a one size fits all, as a result often increasing the price to match. Electro-Harmonix has taken an interesting approach to this by producing three separate pedals that all do essentially the same thing high-gain distortion. At the bottom of the scale there is the nano sized Pocket Metal Muff then in the middle there is the Micro Metal Muff in which this review is based and then lastly there is the godfather of all three the Metal Muff. Electro-Harmonix have packaged essentially the same product into three separate pedals in which budget dictate what features you have access to. This is great for those on a budget as with many other manufacturers only giving you the one pedal with a set amount of features with no lower priced options forcing some to look elsewhere. The Micro Metal Muff includes three dials to allow you to adjust the tone to your liking. There is the volume dial which speaks for itself. Then there is the Tone dial which effectively scoops the mids by adjusting it to the left and by adjusting it to the right gives you a brighter and slightly thinner sound. Lastly there is the Distortion dial which when adjusted either gives you a massive amount of gain or lowers the gain to a more classic light rock feel. The pedal also features a top boost 3 way selector switch. When adjusted to the bottom selection labelled Low the pedal then gives you a low amount of top boost and when set to the top selection labelled High the pedal gives you a larger amount of top boost, lastly the middle switch turns the particular feature off altogether. The pedal is powered via the standard 9 volt power pack or a 9 volt battery. Electro-Harmonix have not made it particularly easy to replace the 9 volt battery as the whole back plate needs to be completely removed by unscrewing four screws to get to the battery bay. Even once you have finally removed the four screws the battery needs to be installed in a particular fashion in order for it to fit correctly. Although this is a hindrance this is largely the case as the pedal is not overtly big and leaves a smaller pedal board foot print then most other pedals.