Price paid: € 49
Purchased from: Thomann
Ease of Use — 5
The basic concept of the pedal is rather easy - put in a battery, plug in your guitar, kick on the switch, let it rock. However, the controls are complicated to use, taking some time to dial in the sound wanted, and the outer knobs of the double-axis potentiometers are rather difficult to handle. The controls are overly sensitive, a one-degree-turn of a knob making a world's difference between sounds. Thus, it might be rather hard to reproduce a sound once found.
On the plus side, the battery is easy to replace. It is put into a cavity on top of the pedal, protected by a cover held by thumb screws, which (hence the name) can be unscrewed without further tools. The pedal automatically turns of when no input cable is plugged in, saving battery power. Two bright, light blue lights on either side of the switch clearly indicate the status of the pedal (on/off).
Sound — 8
The pedal is equipped with a 3-band EQ with semi-parametric mids, meaning the mid frequency can be chosen with a knob. The EQ consists of two double-axis knobs, one for bass/treble and one for mids/mid frequency.
I use it to play pretty much anything distorted, in lack of other pedals. It takes some fiddling with the knobs to get the tone I want, because even the slightest turn of the knobs makes a pretty big difference.
I played everything from "Johnny B. Goode" (Chuck Berry, rock'n'roll) over "Hell's Bells" (AC/DC, hard rock) and "Who Wroten Holden Caulfield" (Green Day, punk rock) to "Enter Sandman" (Metallica, heavy metal) and "Tears Don't Fall" (Bullet for my Valentine, metalcore).
To get an overdriven sound, the gain must be turned low, mids up, and treble down. The pedal can't hide its primary purpose, metal distortion, for anything beyond 8 o'clock gain is in the distortion area; but to throw in a quick cover of something less heavy, or to get a variety of tones in one pedal, the Reaction Distortion is more than enough for beginners or people on a budget.
The manual delivered with the pedal states the pedal is true bypass, I tested this by removing the battery and found it to be true. The pedal generates some noise when turned up, but not much more than I think is normal for distortion pedals. The switch is silent (in the signal) and does not make any relevant noise when used, at least nothing one would detect without an audio editing software. The mechanical click might be picked up by the mic depending on the distance between the amp and the pedal.
I give the song 8/10 points for sound. It does its job perfectly well and is versatile beyond pure hi-gain sounds. The 2 missing points are due to the overly sensitive EQ controls.
Reliability & Durability — 8
I haven't have the opportunity to test the pedals reliability "in battle" yet, but it looks solid enough. The pedal has a metal casing, the knobs are made of metal as well. The battery is protected by a metal cover next to the Boss-style foot switch (pedal instead of button switch). The pedal weighs somewhat heavy (metal casing), and looks pretty indestructible, except for the fragile-looking double knobs, which are slightly higher than the pedal - hence the 8/10.
The battery cavity is protected enough, the battery doesn't have much space - enough to hold it and easily replace it, but not enough to move too much.
Overall Impression — 8
The pedal has fulfilled all requirements set by me, looks solid, and sounds good. It fits many styles of music - more or less good, but never badly - I play, from hard rock over punk to any kind of metal. "Softer" genres like blues or rock 'n' roll can be played with this pedal, but not in a way doing justice to the genres - which is not what the pedal is built for, anyway. It is quite versatile for a metal pedal, albeit unnecessarily complicated to use, and its looks - dark blueish-gray and black - fit the scene's (perceived) image.