Purchased from: Ebay
Sound — 10
I currently run a Epiphone Zakk Wylde Buzzsaw w/ EMG-HZ (passive P.U.'s. Currently waiting for my guitar to come back, upgrading to EMG 81's & 85's), down to my Silver Dragon, DOD 7-band EQ, Seymour Duncan pickup Booster (For solo's), and a Zakk Wylde Signature Wah pedal then to my 50W Marshall MG series DFX (Solid State). The manual said to adjust my amp to get the best 'clean' sound, and then adjust the knobs on the Silver Dragon once it is engaged. I used the DOD EQ to take the tone moulding a little further to tweak it. With or without this EQ this pedal sounds like the clip does. I've had a DOD supra distortion and a few other distortion but they sounded way to thin or flat. But this pedal sound full and warm, to insane over the top distortion. I noticed that it'll tend to squeel with feedback once the 'Awaken' Drive is at max, and with the 'Slayer' mode engaged and the 'Intensity' level at around 2 or 3 o'clock. 'Awaken' is the tube running by itself, with the 'Fire' being the gain level for the tube. And 'Slayer' mode is the solid state distortion mode (which can only be engaged once the 'Awaken' Drive is on) and the 'Intensity' is the gain for the 'Slayer' mode. That is the only problem that I had encountered with this. There is a slight hiss (As with other distortion pedals I've tried) when you mute the strings with both the 'Awaken' & 'Slayer'. The unit runs off of a 13V AC adapter only (No batteries) for this so the power will not fade or thin out on you. And I was able to emulate the tone of bands such as: Metallica, Slayer, System Of A Down, Hellyeah. There are more bands that it can sound like other than what I have mentioned above.
Overall Impression — 9
I mainly play Metallica and Hellyeah tunes. And this is a pretty damn good match for these styles. I've had this pedal for a 6 months now and has been my main distortion ever since then. My search for a versatile distortion pedal is over!! I had bought the Rocktron Zombie Rectified distortion not realizing that it was meant for a tube amp. I have a solid valve state amp (I think), and it sounded nothing like it did on the sound clips. Way too thin sounding, just a trebly sound. If I had asked a question about the Silver Dragon unit, it would have been: "Can the 'Awaken' mode and the 'Slayer' mode be played independantly and simultaniously?" And: "Does this pedal sound like it does on the Sound Clip?" No, the 'Awaken' mode is like a pre-gain stage, and the 'Slayer' is like a post-gain stage. The 'Awaken' has to be engaged in order to get the 'Slayer' pumping. And this pedal does sound like the soundclip, even better on my current setup. It is a no brainer that if this was lost or stolen would I replace it - "In a heartbeat!!" I love the tone from this pedal, I was after a tone like 'Slipknot' and 'Hellyeah' and this pedal does those tones really well. I just wish I can review this pedal on a bigger amp and with active EMG's but I think most people reading this probably (No offence intended here)have a small amp like mine, this will make your amp growl. I wouldn't say that I hate this pedal, but it would be awesome if they can manufacture a pedal that had a 12AX7 pre-gain, and a EL34 post-gain pedal. That would be my dream pedal, cause I can't afford a big tube amp.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal is totally reliable and I would (and have) definately use this on gigs w/o a backup. Not too sure how much abuse the tube can take, but the durability of the housing keeps on performing for me every time I plug it in. This unit proudly displays it's 12AX7 pre-amp tube on the center of the unit. It even glows a cool orangish red color to let you know the the dragon is breathing fire. Probably the best power indicator light that I had seen on any effect pedal I've owned.
Ease of Use — 9
I had heard the soundclip for this unit on Musicians Friend I believe and it was the tone I was looking for. So I ordered it via ebay. Out of the box it was straight forword, just added it to my chain of effects. The controls were kind of wierd at first, but it explains the names in the manual which I was familiar with fairly quick. Once you know the knob meanings, it was real easy to find a good tone.