Price paid: $ 179
Purchased from: ProGuitarShop
Sound — 10
I'm using this pedal with an Epiphone Les Paul Standard at the moment, into a Kustom '72 Coupe combo. This pedal really only gets noisy when you dime the Level and Drive, but you'd probably expect that. Now, for the sound: this pedal is amazing, straight up. Firstly, it's not completely transparent; it adds a slightly mid-humped, very warm character to your tone. I stress, very warm. The Kanji is probably best described as a low to medium gain overdrive; however, cranked up in front of a tube amp, this thing has gigantic balls, so you might even find yourself backing off on the Drive a bit. I usually tweak starting with the Level knob, as I believe it has the most influence over your tone, and then adjust the Drive and Glass to fine-tune the sound once I find it. The Kanji gives you anything from a gigantic warm clean boost, to creamy sustain on the neck pickup that goes on for days, to edgy classic rock tones. Although, as stated above, this pedal needs a bit of tweakage, but once you learn how to control the pedal, you can coax a lot of different sounds out of it. This is a very versatile Overdrive pedal. At the moment, my settings on my Kanji are: Level - 1.30, Glass - Noon, Drive - 8.30. When I stack this on my clean tone, it gives me tones similar to John Mayer's Slow Dancing in a Burning Room clean tones. Also, when I stack the Eternity on these settings with my amp's lead channel, I can get close to the rounded, powerful, but not brittle or harsh, sustainy tone of Steve Vai. This is the only Overdrive pedal I've used to boost my amp's lead channel that hasn't tightened it up for a hard rock/thrash tone, but given it a fluid quality instead. I'm giving the Sound a 10, because there is honestly nothing I can think of that needs improving with regard to this pedal's tone.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly alternative/progressive rock and blues. The Kanji is very much suited for my needs, due to its wide array of warm tones. I have been playing for nearly five years. If it was stolen or lost, I would buy another; this pedal just brings something unique to my board that I love. My favourite feature of this pedal is its versatility and the amount of different sounds you can squeeze out of it. However, the learning curve on how to dial in different sounds can be annoying - this is not a plug-and-play pedal, to say the least. I've rated the Kanji Eternity overall as a 9; the only demerits were that you have to spend a bit of time dialing in your sound, and the fact that you really don't want to throw the box around lest you scratch, dent or chip it. Overall, this is a fantastic and versatile overdrive, and I don't see it leaving my pedalboard in the foreseeable future.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It is very well-constructed; however, I wouldn't throw it around, because the paint might chip and I would probably cry. Very sturdy switch. Had a look at the insides of the pedal, and the board is very compact and neatly snuck into the top half of the box, with plenty of room for the battery (if you're using one). Very good quality construction. I've got a couple of other overdrives on my board, so I've always got a backup. However, none of my other overdrives can really replicate the sound of the Eternity, but they would suffice during a gig. Rating this a 9, as I wouldn't want to tumble this pedal around, due to the fragile and beautiful look of the pedal. However, I don't have any concerns to the reliability of the pedal at all.
Ease of Use — 8
Three controls, from left to right: Level, Glass and Drive. Level sets the output of the pedal, Glass is your treble booster, and Drive controls the gain. Pretty standard for an Overdrive pedal. Runs on 9V battery or DC input. Bright glowing purple LED. True bypass. I have the cream knobs, black Kanji character version of the pedal (version 2, I believe). This pedal can be a little annoying to dial in, initially, because the Level knob, depending where it is set, has a lot of influence over the overall tonal characteristic of the pedal. For example, if you crank the Level all the way up, you'll need to turn down the Glass, as it can get a little piercing (I usually leave the Glass at noon by default, by the way, and tweak accordingly). However, when you back off the Level, you'll find yourself turning up your Glass knob again, and your Drive knob a bit also, to compensate for loss of presence. But you get used to this over time, as you learn how to control the pedal and coax all the different sounds of it. This pedal didn't come with any instructions, but it's been fun figuring it out. I'm giving this an 8 for ease of use, because I have experienced more of a learning curve with this pedal compared to the other Overdrive pedals I've owned.