M104 Distortion Plus review by MXR

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  • Sound: 2
  • Overall Impression: 2
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 6 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.9 (28 votes)
MXR: M104 Distortion Plus
0

Price paid: $ 40

Purchased from: A Friend

Sound — 2
This is where I was incredibly shocked about this pedal. I play Blues-Rock on a custom Les Paul style guitar with Seymour Duncan humbuckers through a Marshall Class 5 tube amp. I was looking for an Overdrive that would take my slightly dirty signal and boost it into a thicker Overdrive for soloing. I want to stress that I did not buy this pedal expecting mass amounts of distortion, I simply wanted a boost that added a little bit of drive. I was highly disappointed when I kicked this pedal on. It seemed to do almost nothing. With the Output at noon, it actually made my signal quitter and didn't even come back up to the original volume until about the 2 o'clock position. Even with the output maxed there was only a very slight, barely noticeable volume boost. It was about the equivalent of flicking the volume knob on your amp from 2 to 2.3. The distortion knob didn't had a whole lot of distortion either. Even with both knobs maxed there was very little boost. All it did was sort of fuzz up my original sound. I tried this pedal over a clean setting on the amp and got a unpleasant mild Overdrive that was very trebly and sounded like a cheap transistor practice amp. I was very very disappointed in this pedal. I knew that it would only be a mild overdrive, but it didn't even produce that. I have no clue how these things got as popular as they have. I have read many reviews that say this pedal was intended to boost a slightly dirty amp, and that's exactly what I wanted it to do, but it just didn't deliver.

Overall Impression — 2
I was sorely disappointed on this one. I love MXR products, but this one just puzzled me. I did end up picking up MXR's Overdrive and love it. If you're looking for something to boost your solos and add a little bit of grit to your sound, this is not the pedal your looking for, which is surprising considering that is what this pedal it known for. I really wanted this pedal to have a use, but I simply could not find one. I was surprised that this wasn't enough gain and punch for me considering I play only mild gain type stuff. I ended up selling this pedal because it just was of no use to me. I won't give it a 1 since it does add gain to a clean amp, but it's a unpleasant Overdrive and that's all I could get this pedal to really do.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This thing is build like a tank. It should not break and would most likely last for years and years of playing. MXR makes quality pedals build wise.

Ease of Use — 10
This pedal is very very easy to use. It has a Output and Distortion knob in addition to the normal footswitch and in out jacks. It also has an AC adapter if you would like to bypass the battery.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Way Cool JR.
    I love these pedals IMO they sound great and have plenty of Drive. But they are best used as a Distortion pedal not as a boost in front of a hard driven tube amp. If these were good enough for "Judas Priest" and "Randy Rhoads" I would say they are great for lower and higher gain tones.
    Iommianity
    westley23j wrote: Would it still sound good playing The Fathomless Mastery? I highly doubt that. ML-2 is the best all rounder for extreme music. This MXR is for more vintage tones. i listened to the fathomless mastery, and all i have to say is "how can you listen to that?! i dont hear ANY sense of melody. just lots of blast beats. anyway, i have a newer version of this bad boy and i think its a pretty good little pedal. if it was stolen, i probably wouldnt replace it, simply because i cant find a spot for it in my live rig, but in a studio environment, i think its awesome as an OD.
    For the record, I don't like Bloodbath at all, but I generally listen to death metal with my ears.
    higherworlds
    have you people even played fulltone, or maxon, or modded keely stuff, i like the classic tone of the D Plus, mixed with a EQ pedal and a good fuzz (if you know what good tone actually is) and your in tone heaven. The only thing good about Boss pedals is there reliable.
    K!!LsWiTcH
    Iommianity wrote: westley23j wrote: Would it still sound good playing The Fathomless Mastery? I highly doubt that. ML-2 is the best all rounder for extreme music. This MXR is for more vintage tones. i listened to the fathomless mastery, and all i have to say is "how can you listen to that?! i dont hear ANY sense of melody. just lots of blast beats. anyway, i have a newer version of this bad boy and i think its a pretty good little pedal. if it was stolen, i probably wouldnt replace it, simply because i cant find a spot for it in my live rig, but in a studio environment, i think its awesome as an OD. For the record, I don't like Bloodbath at all, but I generally listen to death metal with my ears.
    just wanna state that the guy only said that this pedal isnt suited for modern extreme tones and a couple said no thats wrong because its not suited for modern tones. guy only said that this is for a more vintage sound. jeez lol
    gent2590
    I was looking for an Overdrive that would take my slightly dirty signal and boost it into a thicker Overdrive for soloing. I want to stress that I did not buy this pedal expecting mass amounts of distortion, I simply wanted a boost that added a little bit of drive. I was highly disappointed when I kicked this pedal on.
    Why you think that this pedal would give you that sound you're looking for. That's like going to see a Gwar show expecting to hear Steve Winwood tunes ...and then writing a review on UG complaining they didn't play "Higher Love"
    Aethen
    I'm confused, in the first review he wanted an overdrive pedal.... so why'd he get a distortion pedal, and complain it didn't sound like overdrive?
    Goldtop11
    gent2590 wrote: I was looking for an Overdrive that would take my slightly dirty signal and boost it into a thicker Overdrive for soloing. I want to stress that I did not buy this pedal expecting mass amounts of distortion, I simply wanted a boost that added a little bit of drive. I was highly disappointed when I kicked this pedal on. Why you think that this pedal would give you that sound you're looking for. That's like going to see a Gwar show expecting to hear Steve Winwood tunes ...and then writing a review on UG complaining they didn't play "Higher Love"
    Aethen wrote: I'm confused, in the first review he wanted an overdrive pedal.... so why'd he get a distortion pedal, and complain it didn't sound like overdrive?
    You guy's missed my point. First off, if you look up the history of this pedal, it is meant to be an overdrive. It's called a distortion plus because it's supposed to be a "plus" to the distortion you already have, that was MXR's original use for it. Second, I would understand your guys' complaints on my post if I had given this a poor review for too much distortion, but it wasn't anywhere near enough! If it sounded like distortion I wouldn't have complained that it didn't sound like overdrive. I complained that this unit didn't do much of anything at all, that was my point.