Price paid: $ 170
Purchased from: http://noc3effects.com/
Sound — 10
Nick explained on his website that he wasn't going for a specific tonal reference when he was designing this pedal. He simply wanted to be able to get many of the amazing classic rock tones he grew up loving. Personally, I've been able to coax out acdc, the who, Rage Against The Machine and even early Metallica. Overall the tonality of the pedal is tight, punchy, crunchy and ridiculously articulate. It will not hide any mistakes whatsoever. It has no more gain than a stock JCM 800, which I like because it just adds to the clarity. The controls are volume, gain, treble, bass and a switch. The four knobs do exactly what they're labeled to do. The Switch controls how the pedal clips (for those that want to know, this pedal uses small LED's for clipping, no transistors that I can see). The middle position is the most 'open' and uncompressed. I find that this setting gives you the full clarity of the circuit and really allows every note to shine. The bottom position makes the circuit clip harder, compressing it just a little and rolling off just a little bit of top end. The top position is a 'middle ground' between the other two positions. It rolls of a little of the top end, but doesn't compress the signal. I will also say that this pedal has the most even sweep of any gain knob I've ever seen. It EVENLY distributes the gain across the entire turn of the knob. A lot of pedals will simply give you a little bit at a time until the last 1/4 turn and then things really open up. But this pedal allows you to really fine tune how much gain you want. I've owned several other boutique pedals who've claimed they do the same thing as this pedal, and this thing puts them to shame. Truthfully, it will be a hard fought battle to find any Overdrive that will knock this thing off my board.
Overall Impression — 10
I wanted this pedal to be my primary dirty sound. I don't like to play with a lot of gain, but I still want my tone to be neat and tidy with no 'extras' if you catch my meaning. This pedal is as tight as they come. The EQ is flexible enough to adapt this pedal to pretty much any amp you could throw it in front of. It looks Killer and sounds even better. I bought it so I could play rock and roll, and it delivers up a huge chunk of tone on a platinum platter of RAWK.
Reliability & Durability — 10
The inside of this pedal has the neatest wiring I've ever seen on that small of a circuit. Every component is perfectly perpendicular to the plane of the board. Each solder joint is the exact right size of the area it's in. Wires are neatly run at lengths that will allow for a little flex, but aren't needlessly so long as to lengthen the signal path. The only things Nick doesn't do on his pedals is the powder coating and silk screening. He sources all his parts, tests things endlessly and is the only person who constructs his pedals. Granted, this pedal has only been out for... 2-3 months maybe? But Nicks's reputation and the beautiful construction of this board are enough for me. I don't think a hurricane would have much affect on this pedal.
Ease of Use — 10
This is Nick's attempt to capture a 'sweet rock'n'roll' sound, hence, Rock Candy. It's a spectacular overdrive. It has four knobs and one switch, the functions of which I'll detail later. I have #15 out of the first 25 made. The significance of this is that the first 25 pedals have the 'bold as love' graphic whereas every one after the first 25 will have a 'standard' graphic but will still share the same electronics. The manual (a single, detailed sheet of paper) explains that the pedal MUST run on at least 9 volts to work properly, though it can be powered with anything between 9 and 18 volts. Nick explains in the manual that at 9 volts the most clipping takes place (ie, at this power level it's the most dirty) and anything above that gives the circuit more clean headroom. But on to what you came for.