Price paid: € 90
Purchased from: Used
Ease of Use — 9
The MXR Super Badass features 5 knobs, an Output knob which controls the overall volume, a Distortion knob which controls the gain, and a 3 band EQ with Bass, Mid and Treble controls. The Output knob is very hot and very interactive with the distortion knob, so it's going to need adjustment to fit well in your rig. Getting a good sound of this pedal is very easy. In fact, it's hard to get a bad sound out of it! The manual MXR gives is pretty useless like most manuals are on these kind of pedals, but it offers 3 recommended settings, to get started. The metal one sucks, but the others are very useable.
Sound — 9
Playing through an Epiphone SG G400 and a Line 6 Spider IV, on the clean channel with flat EQ I got these impressions from the pedal. The Super Badass aims to achieve the Marshall Plexi/JCM800 kind of sound like a lot of other pedals. It does that pretty well, I might add, with good response to picking dynamics, harmonically rich distortion, and good clean up by backing off the guitar's volume knob.
What separates this from other Marshall inspired pedals is its sheer versatility. The gain on it ranges from a clean boost, which fattens the tone a bit with the EQ flat, to a fairly high gain sound like early Metallica and Slayer. That gain range, along with its very useable 3 band EQ makes it a super tweakable distortion, probably the most versatile I've seen so far. The Super Badass Distortion lends itself really nicely to stoner/sludge metal like Melvins and Mastodon, due to its massive low end. Cutting the bass and pushing the mids however the gain gets tighter (not super tight, more on that later) and you easily get '80s hard rock and metal tones like Ozzy, Van Halen, Dio etc. Back off the gain and you're into Led Zeppelin and Hendrix territory. Back off the gain some more and you get a pretty good overdrive sound.
Honestly, the only thing I think this pedal is incapable of doing is super tight super gainy modern metal like Pantera, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Trivium etc. That is because the bass is too loose for that sharp sound, and the pedal gets noticeably noisy past 3 o clock on the gain dial (which is lots of gain, mind you). I give it a 9 due to that little drawback.
Reliability & Durability — 9
MXR pedals are known to be very reliable, and are used on stages by professionals and amateurs all over the world. This one is no different. It's built like a brick shithouse. Knobs feel pretty sturdy and seem like they'll hold up. They have a kinda heavy feel as you turn them as well, a bit harder to turn than my EHX pedals. The MXR casing on the Custom Badass line of pedals is said to be a bit thinner that the other MXR pedals, but it's still very solid and all metal. Giving it a 9 because I have not had it for long, and neither did the previous owner, so I don't know how well it will hold up for sure.
Overall Impression — 10
I play mostly heavy rock, punk, metal (not much modern metal though), classic rock, stoner, grunge, noise rock etc. And the Super Badass does a great job at these genres. Honestly though, it doesn't matter what I play because this pedal can do almost anything you throw at it. I would most likely buy it again if it were lost or stolen, unless I already had a Marshall amp. What this pedal lacks in character compared to a Rat, or a Big Muff (Marshall in a box pedals are not very unique sounding to be honest) it makes up for in versatility and great tones all across the spectrum.