M69 Prime Distortion review by MXR

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  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
MXR: M69 Prime Distortion

Purchased from: TOM's Durban

Ease of Use — 7
Getting a good sound out of the M69 is not hard. It sounds great right from the box. I'm not a fan of the tone knob, though. I've figured out how to get a nice sound out of it, but it could be built better. It ranges from deep and marshmallowy to extremely bright, but not a lot of nice things in between, at least for my setup. There isn't much of a manual. Its just a pamphlet that tells you what the already labeled knobs clearly indicate, and shows you a few suggested settings to get you started. There might have been some warnings too. Anyway. Not much of a manual.

Sound — 7
As a worship guitarist, and a lover of alternative and classic rock, I love this pedal. It's warm, and has a lot of sustain. Its not extremely high gain, though, which is both nice and not so nice. Its nice because you can play full chords at high distortion, and it still sounds pretty good, and as a lead sound it is epic. Its not so nice if you're looking for really BITING power chords, though. It doesn't really have the crispness of, say a DS-1. But its warm. Man, its warm. To give it a bit of a bite, I just put an overdrive pedal in front of it, and that solves it instantly. Cranking up the distortion all the way, there is a bit of hiss, and if you play an archtop like me, feeds back a heck of a lot! I just keep the gain at about 12 O'clock. Its plenty. The switch makes a really audible click when pressed, but none of it goes through the amp, which is nice.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I've played this pedal several times live, and it is yet to disappoint me. No switching sounds going through my amp, and even though it only has four little rubber stoppers on the bottom, it doesn't slide around too much. The switch itself is sturdy, and doesn't feel like it'll fail anytime soon. I think it would be safe to gig without a backup. This pedal has a matt, clay redish-brown colour. I really like the matt finish. Feels smooth, not overly flashy, and I think will last a long time before chipping. The knobs are solid, and turn smoothly. Not to fast, not too slow.

Overall Impression — 8
I've been playing guitar for about 2 years now, and electric guitar for just over 1. My guitar is an Ibanez AF75 TDG archtop, and my other pedals are a Boss DD-3, Ibanez TS9, and an Ibanez AW7. I play Christian worship and alternative rock. I love this pedal for those genres. It is an awesome match, especially for alternative (it might also be nice in Punk or classic rock). If I were to somehow lose this thing, man I'd be down. This is a really essential part of my sound. I'd definitely buy another. I love the warmth of this pedal. That was one of the main things I was looking for. I really am a bit disappointed by the fact that its not as aggressive as other pedals, but I fixed that with a bit of drive from my TS9. Oh! The knobs also have glow-in-the-dark paint on them, so you can see where your knobs are set in the dark. That really impressed me, however small a thing it is.

When I was considering buying this pedal, I was comparing it with the Boss DS-1. I liked the DS-1 because it was aggressive, but I fell in love with the M69 because of its warmth. The only things I wish this pedal had was better tonal control and a more aggressive, crispy, distortion. It is more like a really heavy overdrive than distortion, but hey, overdrive and distortion are pretty much the same thing.

Overall, I love this pedal. It sounds awesome, and even though it may need an overdrive pedal to make it sound more aggressive, but everybody does something similar anyways with their signal chain.

NOTE: I bought this pedal for the equivalent of $120 CAD. That is because I live in South Africa, and music gear here is taxed heavily making it REALLY expensive. The real price is more like $50 CAD.

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