Price paid: $ 70
Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 8
ESP LTD H-50 with stock pickups and a Roland Micro Cube = muddy in lower notes, overly bright in upper notes. The 9 band helps a little by warming up the sound without pushing the EQ into crazy settings(i.e. setting a +/-12DB...) I generally move the sliders in the range of +/- 8DB and leave the Level at 0 DB. The Pedal does create some noise as long as its in the loop, bypass or not, there is some noise coming from having this unit plugged in. It will occur if its set at 0 across the sliders as well. The noise begins the moment you start playing and will stop if you mute the strings with your palm(a buzz will continue to ring until you mute the strings with your hand once you start playing, but its inaudible while you are playing). I do not believe it colors your sound at all.
Overall Impression — 8
At first glance, the pedal is very good looking. I like the brushed steel and the simple graphics are a nice touch. It comes with a cloth carrying pouch(I use it as a dust cover) and a CD(mini/half sized) with a 60mb PDF file showing MARS' catalog and description of their products. I started playing in July 09, I don't really play anything as I am still just learning. I read various forum posts and articles and came to the conclusion that a 6 band may not be enough and 10 or more would be just fine or too many for an electric guitar. If this were lost/stolen, I wouldn't mind replacing it or trying the MXR 108 still. I only the MARS Effect 9 Band over the MXR 108 due to cost and my playing level. Although I really didn't save that much, I still saved $30+. The Dan Electro was second with a Artec 8 band in 3rd in choices and they were all ranked with available frequency bands and price. In the end I chose MARS because of the 9 bands, $10 more then a 8 band Artec, and $30 cheaper then a 10band MXR 108. Is the $40 and 2 more sliders better then a Dan Electro? It depends if your ears can hear what I call the presence frequencies 12.5kHz or the bass 50Hz(Bass, mid, treble, presence). To anyone buying an EQ device, research the frequencies that the EQ allows you to adjust to determine if those frequencies even apply to your instrument. There's a BYOC EQ pedal(build your own) that allows you to set which bands you want in your pedal, but at the time, that is way too advance for a beginner that just entered the hobby.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The box the unit is encased in is very durable and likely to maybe get a few dings in it if it were to be dropped. The case is not sealed completely, where the folds for the metal there are gaps(they are folds/bends on Steel) Its advertised as quality build/parts, so I will have to take their word for it. The sliders are a bit tall and made of plastic, I assume they would snap if you were to step/drop something on them. I do not gig, it sits safely on top of my desk.
Ease of Use — 8
* Solid Stainless Brushed Steel enclosure. (no plastic here!) * Analogue circuit design. * Level ( with on/off switch) * 9 Full Range Band EQ * Low noise * 9v mains adapter 9.6V 100ma (not supplied) or 9V Battery (supplied for Plug "n Play) * Buffered bypass stomp switch. * Quality build and parts for long using life. * Size 6 " H x 6 " W x 1.5 " D Weight 1 lb 8 oz. Sliders are easy to move, the graphics are clear and readable. 9 bands adjustable frequencies that are within usable frequencies for a guitar. There is a simple 1 page graphic manual that explains the dials/switches on a CD(CD holds entire catalog of MARS Effects products). No explanation of the various bands and their effects. Bright Blue LED indicator. +/- 15DB