Price paid: $ 82
Purchased from: ebay
Sound — 8
I use an MiM Strat and a Greg Bennett AV3 (Les Paulish design with a slim neck) into this pedal and a Vox VT50 amp. It's easy to get passable tones from the amp itself, but I got this pedal for conveniently saving banks for different effects rather than tones. The pedal isn't so noisy at all, which is pleasant. I use it for that gained up 'Marshall' tone with lots of crunch and sustain. I like the crunchy, midrangey distortion rather than fuzzy distortion and this box delivers. I like the versatility as keeping the gain around 9'oclock yields a more classic rock sound. Cranking the gain to 11-12'oclock is good for the straight rock crunch. Cranking it any higher gives a thick and singing tone for solos or 80s hair metal. I notice that the pedal sounds tight and clear even with the gain around 3'oclock. The lead tone is always thick and full. I'm fairly impressed that it sounds so good into a Vox VT50. This box into a tube amp is downright sinful. To be fair, this is a picky pedal. Be careful about the amp you plug into. It's going to sound a lot like your base tone with 'added Marshall vibe'. Sometimes this is not a good thing. If you don't like the base tone, don't expect a miracle. Try it with your amp before buying it.
Overall Impression — 8
I play all kinds of music, but I use this pedal to play rock and alternative music. It's perfect for those styles and gives the kind of dirt I like to use for that. I've been playing for over four years and have the previously mentioned guitars and amp. I don't wish anything about it. I would probably buy it again, although I'm yearning for an Overdrive to compliment this pedal as it was made for that straight rock crunch. I don't hate anything about it as I got what I wanted out of it. I compared it to other distortion pedals and they didn't quite have that crunchy, midrange vibe I wanted. They were either buzzy or too fuzzy.
Reliability & Durability — 8
It's built very solidly. I can definitely depend on it. I have played onstage without a backup. The battery life is also pretty good. I can't say if it's going to last for five years or not. Only time will tell, but these past couple months have been very good indeed.
Ease of Use — 9
It doesn't get any easier than three knobs (easy with versatility, otherwise two knobs). Not loud enough? Crank the volume. Need a darker or brighter tone? Tweak the tone knob. It's just a matter of adjusting gain to taste after that. Also, if the tone knob doesn't offer enough parameters to adjust for accommodating your amp, there is an internal presence trim pot that is adjustable via screwdriver. It will give further control over the desired Darkness or brightness, a highly useful feature in my opinion. I find it easy to get a good sound out of the pedal. The only thing I can't comment on is the manual. I scored it used.