Price paid: £ 30
Purchased from: eBay
Ease of Use — 10
I don't remember seeing a manual, but then again I don't think you need one with basic effects pedals like this. For me it was easy to set up as it was a simple sound to achieve really. I left all the EQ controls at 12 o'clock, started with the drive all the way down, put the voice at 12 o'clock and just tweaked the EQ as I increased the drive to the desired level. Setting the volume was just a matter of levelling out with my clean sound.
As basic analogue pedals go, you can't go wrong with this stuff. There are no patches to worry about, no weird settings, just dial in a bada-s sound and turn it up!
Sound — 9
This pedal is designed to be a simulation of a Vox AC30, which is great as it means you can actually get away with using as a preamp and plug directly into a PA system! I don't do that, but I've tried it and it sounds great. The sound I typically have this set to is very low drive, sort of a "sparkling" sound somewhere on the verge between clean and dirty.
I find this pedal has the best dynamic response of any overdrive pedal I've tried for a very long time, which is remarkable at this price! In other words, the harder you attack or the louder the signal you put into it, the harsher the drive gets. That means you can basically treat it like the amp it's simulating.
On the lower gain setting I use it really does sparkle! For single note lead lines it gives that much more definition and bite, and really growls with a bridge pick up and full chords over as many strings as possible. I find it doesn't really have what it takes to make power chords really sing without turning the gain right up, at which point it does start to get very noisy. That's more or less the only drawback with this pedal! It handles highs brilliant, works fantastically with single note lead lines and full chords alike, but power chords need something a bit more... brutal?
Reliability & Durability — 10
I've been using this pedal in a live setting for over 2 years, and it's never let me down at all. I've never had an issue with popping, cut-out, or anything otherwise undesirable. It's built like a tank, and has true bypass to boot! I'm generally pretty careful with my gear, but even when getting a bit more heavy handed this thing can really stand up to anything you can put it through. The finish seems pretty good as I haven't managed to scratch it to death yet, which has to be just another box ticked in terms of satisfaction with this great quality and great value pedal!
Overall Impression — 10
My overall impression is probably the best I can give! I'm incredibly happy with this pedal for the lighter overdrive tones I use it or, and I'd order a replacement the second it ever got stolen! Breaking isn't even an option as far as I can tell, but if anything did happen I'd certainly replace it. I use this pedal along with a few others through a Marshall JCM900 head, but prefer to get my overdrive sounds from pedals and just make the most of the warm clean tones of the valve amp. This does just give it enough of a push along with it's own great simulation to generate a fantastic noise!
I spent about a year trying out various pedals to get this kind of sound, I tried a T-Rex Tonebug, Boss DS-1, MXR Custom Badass '78, EHX Little Big Muff, and this just topped the lot. I was in a low budget market and this really beats all the competition without a doubt. In the same kind of price range as junk like Behringer, you can't go wrong with Joyo!