Price paid: $ 270
Purchased from: MusiciansFriend.com
Sound — 10
I own a Gibson Les Paul Studio, Cort G290, Marshall MG100DFX, DigiTech RP200 (for the wah only), and a Boss EQ and Line Selector. Despite the mediocracy of the amp, I can get a huge amount of sounds out of this pedal (with very little noise thanks to the noise gate). As it's name describes, it is a Tube-powered pedal, which gives it a more distinctive sound than other stereo distortion pedals. To start with the Overdrive portion, it sounds really amazing much better by itself than an Ibanez Tubescreamer with more gain. It is easy to get a sound from a mild blusey sparkle Drive to a heavy Stevie Ray Vaughn/AC/DC sound.With the boost activated there is even more gain and it increases the volume significantly enough to switch between doing rhythm and lead parts live. Switching over to the distortion, it sounds slightly more distorted than the overdrive, no insane amounts of gain, but the sound is very clear and everything you play is very articulate (unlike MG distortion) so it dosen't hide mistakes. This pedal dosen't really have a chunky sound when you palm mute unless you scoop the mids, in which case it is possible to achieve a Kerry King (Slayer)/modded Marshall sound (with slightly less gain). In short, if you play anything from the blues to classic rock to hard rock I would highly recommend this pedal if you are trying to make your sold state amp sound like overdriven tube amp.
Overall Impression — 8
I have been playing guitar for 8 years so I have developed a pretty damn good ear for tone and this pedal satisfies it. I play anything from blues, classic rock and banjo ballads to Trivium, Metallica, and Slayer. I wish I had been able to actually play this thing before buying it, all I could go off of were soundfiles online. However, I knew it would be a good buy because all the features (overdrive/distortion, boost Switch, noise gate, full EQ). If I lost this thing I would cheak out several other tube powered distortion pedals that have just recently come out to see if they put out more gain than the Maxon, but I would definately keep this pedal in mind.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Well it is a tube powered pedal so that tube will have to be replaced after so many hours of play, but otherwise it seems to be sturdy enough with an all metal body, large switches and secure knobs. My only concern with the thing is the overdrive/distortion switch it is pretty tiny so I try to be careful about how hard I flip it.
Ease of Use — 9
This pedal has a pretty simple layout: 3 knobs for EQ (bass, middle, treble), a knob for gain, a knob for volume, a switch to toggle between overdrive and distortion, a noise gate in the back of it, and two buttons to activate the pedal itself and the built in gain/volume boost. The manual has a few suggested settings which are a good place to start, but I really didn't need it to find a good sound. I only with there was a footswitch button to switch between overdrive and ditortion so I wouldn't have to bend over during shows to switch settings.