Price paid: $ 30
Purchased from: Music Go Round, used
Sound — 8
I purchased this needing a distortion for a bass amp I was playing through at the time, and it did just what I expected it to; provide an ample variety of distortion. I currently have it plugged into a Randall RH150G3. The guitars used were an Ibanez EX and a Dean Evo. It was the only distortion on the bass amp, and on the Randall it serves to add some variety and options to my sound. Tuning the right amount of distortion in is easy thanks to the simple settings, and messing around with them will quickly reveal a wide range of distortion, from a slight squeal behind every note, to an incredible fuzz-littered mess, and many points in between. The Drive knob typically distorts the sound without needing to adjust the volume level, with only a slight increase of volume at the higher end of the Drive setting, though this may differ with other setups. The Void switch seems to be a strong compression effect, which may come in handy for the higher levels of distortion to keep string noise out, but in my playing I find that it only cuts out notes earlier than I'd like. On the first setting it will clip notes after a moment of ringing out, and on the second, it provides a staccato effect on every note hit, sometimes even removing weaker notes from certain chords. This could be useful for an industrial sound, or for music where you are playing faster than it can cut the notes off, but it doesn't seem to let the notes sustain to their full potential. It can be a useful feature for some, but I have yet to find a good reason to turn it on. The smooth-sharp switch sounds as though it changes the EQ, perhaps the mids. In using it, I found the sharp setting adds in a bit more highs, as well as adding a slight metallic ping to the distortion, when compared to the smooth setting.
Overall Impression — 7
It's a decent distortion pedal, which adds a good variety of options to your sound. If I had the option, I would definitely try out a different product, but for the time being this is adequate in providing what I need. It wasn't very expensive, and that was my reason for purchasing it, and I believe it has given me my money's worth, and will continue to do so.
Reliability & Durability — 6
The only major problem I've had with this footswitch is that after a few months of use, it sometimes does not turn on or off when stepped on. I believe the springs inside become misaligned or bent, because when held down it switches on, but on depressing the pedal, the mechanism doesn't make it stay on. I've found opening it up and lining the springs up with their pegs fixes it, as well as finding a certain "sweet-spot" angle to switch it reliably. Because of this, I wouldn't depend on this footswitch working if I needed to switch it on and off in the middle of a song. It's reliable enough if you just want to leave it through an entire song, even better if it's for the whole set and a permanent part of your sound, but the switch not working correctly may just ruin an important part of a song. Other than that it seems rather durable, the outside is all metal, the knobs can be depressed to avoid behind kicked, and a nice sized rubber ring on the bottom to keep it from sliding.
Ease of Use — 8
There are four knobs on the top of the box, all of which can be depressed so you don't accidentally turn them while it's on the floor. There is a Drive setting, High and Low tone settings, and a Level setting. There are also two switches, one for it's "Void" setting, which seems to be a compression effect that you can't really tweak, and a "smooth-sharp" switch, which effects the tone of the distortion, and is named appropriately. It uses either a 9v battery or an AC power adapter, and has both input and output jacks on opposite sides. The battery is hidden under the footswitch, and can easily be accessed. Using these, it's easy to figure out what needs to be changed to get your sound in the right direction.