M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion review by MXR

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  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Sound: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.1 (38 votes)
MXR: M78 Custom Badass '78 Distortion
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Price paid: £ 86

Purchased from: Thomann

Ease of Use — 7
In theory its a very easy to use pedal, four knobs controlling output, gain, 100hz and tone with a switch labelled "bump" for a mids boost. Not the easiest pedal to try and get a decent tone out of the box really, found myself tweaking it for ages, still tweaking it in fact after a year in fact, always sounds too bass-y. But I guess when you do find the tone you like you can just keep tape the knobs down. Other than that the device is easy, simple on/off footswitch (true bypass) with status LED, backplate unscrews to get to the battery compartment, could be a pain for battery users but the power draw is quite low so you probably don't need to access it too often.

Sound — 7
I needed an overdrive pedal and after trying numerous pedals I wasn't all too impressed by I settled on the modified OD after hearing raving reviews of it and getting some decent tones out of it in a shop. Maybe it's just me and my style but I can't see what the big fuss is about, I get some good overdrive sounds out of it but it's nothing amazing in my opinion. I've spent far too long adjusting the tone and 100Hz knob with and without the bump switch to try and get the "perfect" tone. Don't get me wrong this pedal does a wide variety of overdrive sounds very well, I just can't get the EQ to sit perfect for me. I find OD to be much more of a personal effect than fuzz or distortion though so try it yourself! Still use it for all my blues stuff up into rock and stacks GREAT with my MXR '78 distortion pedal.

Reliability & Durability — 10
In terms of build quality you can never go wrong with MXR. I've never had one of their pedals break on me, they're sturdy compact metal boxes that sure can take a beating. Absolutely no complaints here, nothing but minor scratches on the casing after a year of use. The only thing that looks like it could potentially break on the entire thing are the knobs which are just standard plastic. Everything else could probably survive an atomic blast. The finish isn't painted on either, it's a beautiful gold brushed aluminium (unless you got the special edition with gold flakes on it, can't speak for that).

Overall Impression — 7
I usually play a wide variety of music from blues to metal and obviously as an OD pedal this doesn't really cover the latter of those two genres but it does stack nicely with my distortion pedals to give an over the top sound nonetheless. The pedal does give you a large degree of freedom over the EQ with two controls and a switch. The tone is pretty standard although I find anything below 12 gets muddy pretty quickly, the 100hz knob is a nice feature allowing you to control the bass/mids range and the bump switch increases volume and mids really. The 100hz knob is a bit unorthodox and maybe works with some people but I can't get it to sit right, even at 12 where it's neither cutting nor boosting, I don't know I just think it might have been better to put a standard 3-band EQ in but a lot of people seem to love it so I guess it's a personal affair!

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