M104 Distortion Plus review by MXR

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 6.9 (28 votes)
MXR: M104 Distortion Plus

Purchased from: Mothers Music

Sound — 10
I use this Pedal through a Jackson SL3 Soloist w/seymour ducans, or my custom build "Mr. Checkers" w/ active EMG 81 to a Dunlop Wah, Phase 90 then to a MXR 10 band graphic equalizer to the Distortion+ then to a Marhsall DSL401 All-valve Combo. The Pedal will be noisy if everything is set to Max however it is actually very quiet, I was very suprised, mega Improvement over my MT-2 Metal Zone. In my Setup I set the Distortion+ to Output:max Distortion:min and ajust the Distortion depending on how hard my Tube amp is Cranked. Following the MXR Distortion+ is a 10 band EQ which I strongly suggest getting. As a result of the EQ, the mids and presence of my amp is increased and gives a great crunch and smoothness the the Mids and top end. What the Distortin+ provides is a growling and roaring low end and a distortion Boost. This setup gives me a tone very similar to the Randy Rhoads tribute album. Please note that although this is called a "distortion" (hard clipping) pedal it is actually an overdrive or "soft clipping".

Overall Impression — 10
I play hard rock/heavy metal and this is a very good pedal for that. I would definitly get an EQ to go with this, because that's when this pedal really "shines". I've been playing 2 years now and This kicks the Boss MT-2 Metal Zones Butt big time. It's not so noisy, so you can clean boost with a EQ despite having many sliders in high postion. I would be very upset if it were stolen since I would have to buy another and they are rather expensive ($114 list price) but still the pedal is definitaly worth the price and I would buy again. I love the growl low end it gives and the amazing Randy Rhoads tone you can achieve with it. I strongly reccomend buying this pedal IF you Are getting a 10 band equalizer with it. If not, then you wont be able to get really Heavy and smooth tones with this, only crunchy AC/DC style tones. That EQ is essential. If you don't have and EQ you may be better suited to a different pedal. Finally This is an oveverdrive not a distortion Despite the namesake.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This pedal is very realiable and is hard to break. The paint is rather poorly done: chipping and scratches are common place and as a result, the asthetics of the pedal won't last forever (unless you take exremely good care of it). However, the actually sound quality remains intact. I would definitly use this without a backup.

Ease of Use — 10
The MXR M-104 Distortion+ features 1 output knob and 1 distortion knob. The output knob was designed to control how much of the effect is applied however It serves more as a "Boost" rather than an effect "master volume". It still controls some of the volume function, since setting it to 0 will result in no sound. The distortion knob will control how much gain is applied and controls(to a limited extent) the tone of the Pedal from the Smooth, Saturated Tone of Randy Rhoads to the light crunch of Sugar and AC/DC. The absence of a tone knob is not an issue and I prefer this setup since I use a! 0 band EQ to ajust the sound. Very simple to use.

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