Price paid: $ 140
Purchased from: RailHead effects
Sound — 7
I play the TUA through my Black Heart Handsome Devil head and cab, with an Eminence Swamp Thang speaker in it. For guitars, I mainly use a Washburn X50 pro FE with an EMG 81 in the bridge and an 85 in the neck. I occasionly play an ESP Xtone PC-1V with alnico pro II pickups in the neck and bridge. The name TUA stands for Total Utter Anihilation and that is exactly what this pedal is all about. The gain that this pedal creates is immense and I rarely find myself putting it past 10 o'clock. It creates a bit of noise, but I really can't picture any pedal that packs this much gain being silent. This pedal can take my devil into slayer, early venom or really any thrash type tones. It really doesn't produce that thick bass that shakes items off your wall though. Notes are articulate however and power chords sound great. I wouldn't recommend this for say Nu Metal, low end focused players, but thrash players should love it. Venom is a good example and this pedal is perfect for Welcome to Hell/Black Metal years, but not the best for say the recent album Hell. In the end, if you are looking for a pedal that can be your overdrive/distortion, this isn't for you. If you are looking for one of the highest gain pedals ever created, then you just found it.
Overall Impression — 7
I bought this pedal to use solely for slayer type tones and it does it very well. I have been playing for about 2 1/2 years, when life lets me. I was previously using a Boss ML-2(metalcore)and the Boss seems to pump a thicker, heavier low end into the amp than the TUA. The Tua however can get a much wider variety of sounds thanks to the presence control and the sensitivity of the other knobs. Of course the sensitivity of the knobs is what I love about it, but also what I hate. I find myself constantly tweaking it instead of just setting it and playing. If it were lost or stolen, however, I would replace it. Features I wish it had would be a built in noise gate, a bass boost Switch and maybe a knob guard like those that come with Hardwire pedals.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It's handbuilt in the USA, metal chasis, high quality Switch and knobs. The knobs are metal and solid and are actually screwed on, so they aren't going to pop off for no reason. It should be able to handle the rigors of the road no problem. Would I go without a back up? Probably.
Ease of Use — 6
For ease of use, I gave this pedal a 7. The pedal has controls for Level, Presence, Low, Mid, High and Gain. The controls are ultra sensitive, meaning that there is a huge difference in sound, with minimal movement of the knob. This is both a blessing and a curse. You can quickly dial in a good tone, but you are presented with so many sound variations that you may find yourself constantly adjusting the knobs to see what else you can find. My old distortion pedal had a level, low, high and gain, it was basically set it and foget it. I find myself messing the controls of the TUA a lot more. So, great tweakablity and variation of sound, but it may be more than some would like to mess around with.