M116 Fullbore Metal review by MXR

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  • Sound: 3
  • Overall Impression: 5
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Ease of Use: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 5.8 Decent
  • Users' score: 7.9 (81 votes)
MXR: M116 Fullbore Metal
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Price paid: $ 84

Sound — 3
Well, it's definitely metal. You need to use it on a CLEAN setting with your amp or it will just sound like mud. Once you do that, you can get a pretty good Metallica sound rather easily. I say pretty good because it definitely sounds a bit unnatural, but it's not bad. The problem though is the need to run the amp clean with it. With my 100 watt Marshall and the master volume on the amp at 10, I can't get enough volume to compete with my drummer unless I start to bring the gain up a bit. But if I take the gain past about 3, I start to get distortion from the amp and it's not a good mix with the pedal. So the pedal really only works if you're planning to play at home by yourself in your bedroom. Unfortunately, that means I'm boxing it up to return it right now and have to give it a low rating here.

Overall Impression — 5
I play a lot of different types of music. I definitely have a thing for 80s hair metal, but this is NOT the pedal for that. I do cover a few Metallica songs though and I wanted a way to quickly Switch between a full metal setting and a clean setting (e.g., for the changeover in Master of Puppets at the 3:32 point in the song). My amp is a single channel deal, so changing between metal and clean usually takes stomping on a few pedals and turning a few knobs. This potentially could have fixed that for me, but in the end it doesn't play nicely enough with the amp's natural distortion, so it forced me to keep the volume too low to play with a live drummer. As a result, it's heading home. I should note that I did like the noise gate function. I have an ISP Decimator G String and love it. But the ISP unit's main selling point - that it's pretty transparent in operation - makes it not quite "noise gate-y" enough for metal. So the gate on this pedal was a nice feature.

Reliability & Durability — 6
One of the knobs on mine came apart on the first day. There's an inner sleeve on the knob that separated from the outer sleeve. It only took a drop of super glue to get it back together, but that's not the best sign of durability. Other than that, I can't really say as I've only had it a couple days and am now sending it back.

Ease of Use — 9
There are a lot of knobs, but it's actually pretty easy to use and straightforward. There's a Switch for the mid scoop and one for the noise gate. The lower three knobs are an EQ (bass, mid, treble) and the top three are volume, gain, and the frequency center of the mid adjustment. Even on the lowest gain setting, it's still too heavy for some types of metal. Also, the mid scoop Switch might be a bit too extreme. I preferred just backing off with the mid control knob and leaving the mid scoop Switch off.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    thedeaduk
    [b] I could not agree more. I hated this thing to be totally honest. It is way too digital sounding. I am playing through a Peavey 5150, and it just makes my amp sound like aluminum foil going through a blender.
    Why on earth would you buy any distortion pedal (maybe an exeption for a TS-9) when playing through a 5150?
    Lopez72
    rubbieh wrote: you guys bitching about the tone either: a)Bought the wrong pedal for your needs BEFORE trying it for yourself. You get butthurt bacause you made a stupid decision like a child, and come bitch on the guitar forum. b)You have the attention span of a toddler and can't spend the half hour or so it takes to tailor the sound to your preference. This thing does a wide range of metal applications fairly well. Maybe not "80's" enough for some, but this is for metal of a more extreme direction so to speak. I am picky about tone, this gets the job done.
    see the thing is, once you've experienced what its like playing with real tube distortion, pedals like this, and almost all the Boss and Digitech pedals just sound too fake. Theres no depth to these distortion pedals
    mcamp1230
    Lopez72 wrote: rubbieh wrote: you guys bitching about the tone either: a)Bought the wrong pedal for your needs BEFORE trying it for yourself. You get butthurt bacause you made a stupid decision like a child, and come bitch on the guitar forum. b)You have the attention span of a toddler and can't spend the half hour or so it takes to tailor the sound to your preference. This thing does a wide range of metal applications fairly well. Maybe not "80's" enough for some, but this is for metal of a more extreme direction so to speak. I am picky about tone, this gets the job done. see the thing is, once you've experienced what its like playing with real tube distortion, pedals like this, and almost all the Boss and Digitech pedals just sound too fake. Theres no depth to these distortion pedals
    +1 I used to love my Boss MT-2 untill I got a real amp(Mesa DC-3) and discovered what good tone/overdrive sounds like. The only drive pedal I use now is a boost.
    jimivonhendrix
    I got a nice sound from my Strat style guitar with this that wasnt to tinny (usually its tinny no matter what). It involve turning down the highs upping the mids and a half way house bass. Also turning the gate off and gain down does wonders as the sound takes on a more natural sound. Dont know if itll work for you guys but its worht a try
    rockgodman
    Ha i love how half of the comments are people using this pedal through their amp that ALREADY has alot of distortion. You bought an amp with distortion but you want a distortion pedal? Marshalls and Peaveys aren't exactly known for their cleans. Rarely do ds pedals sound good through high gain amps, especially solid state pedals. The man a few comments above me is right: once you have heard real tube distortion you will never waste your money on crappy digital ds pedals again, especially this one.
    westley23j
    i was always searching high and low for a great metal pedal and never found the ONE, but always had one i could settle with in my chain. i upgraded to a MESA Roadster, and i havent used a distortion pedal in YEARS. real tube distortion is where its at. if you are that picky about tone, splurge and buy an amp that you are happy with. everything else will fall into place.