Price paid: $ 159
Purchased from: smallsoundbigsound.com
Ease of Use — 8
Being an overdrive, it's not particularly hard to find a sound that works. There's a bass and treble knob for some tone sculpting, but it sound fine when both knobs are all the way up. The voltage knob is also nice but again, it sounds fine all the way up. It takes, at the most, 30 seconds to dial in a good tone. The pots are a bit sensitive however, but that's mostly because of it's versatility. The controls are slightly fiddly in this regard, but once you learn how far the pedal goes to get a certain sound, it's just like using any other pedal.
Sound — 9
Literally one of the most versatile overdrives I've used. Just tweaking with the volume and gain pots alone gets you tons of results. I ran my Peavey Rotor EXP into my Peavey VTM-60 with only the overdrive in between.
On the low-gain input with the volume on my guitar knocked backed to maybe 6 or 7 on the neck pup, the gain on the Mini knocked all the way down, and the volume on the Mini at roughly 2 or 3 o'clock, I got a nice clean boost that cleaned up my tone and gave my tone a bit more punch. Rolling the volume pot on my guitar back to 10, I got a nice, deep, fuzzy overdrive that was very natural and warm. Pushing the volume pot on the Mini got me even more distortion with a nice distortion that are reminisce of the classics like Hendrix. Putting the gain at 10 o'clock and swapping to the middle position we start getting into hard rock territory with warm, natural distortion perfect for bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Bringing the gain to 12 to 2 o'clock starts getting into metal territory with the pedal only vaguely hinting at trasistor-ey sounding distortion. Going all in, we start hitting fuzz territory with the signal getting a slightly crushed yet still keeping a distinctly overdrive sound. This is all into the clean setting and we've gotten everything from a great clean boost to thick distortion with hints of fuzz.
And as with most overdrives, putting this in front of an already overdriven amp gives great results. Knocking the volume back to 12 or 1 o'clock and bringing the gain up just a touch toward 9, you get a nice heavy metal sound that is very natural, organic, and warm. It lacks the sterility of other overdrives and kicks a bit more life into your tone.
Compared to other overdrives, this pedal is much fuzzier. The distortion it gives is more organic and tube-like. This may put off a handful of players who want a pedal with more bite, especially those looking for a pedal for heavy metal in the vein of djent, death metal, and progressive metal. This pedal has a lot of gain on tap, being able to drive a clean amp into metal territory alone. It can also work as a clean boost or even a cut depending on where you set your knobs.
Reliability & Durability — 8
Despite being small, this pedal feels just as solid as any Boss pedal I've laid my hands on. The enclosure is strong, the knobs are reliable, andthe footswitch is perfect. One minor issue is that the voltage pot is scratchy, but I don't find much use in this control personally and it's virtually a non-issue. Being handbuilt in Philadelphia, I can assure you that you're going to get a quality and sturdy product. Being small, it might not be a bad idea to have some sort of backup, but I'd be comfortable if I didn't have one.
Overall Impression — 9
I play mostly metal but also play a lot with clean settings. Versatility is important to be since I'm dipping in and out of different types of music all the time and I'll never know what I'll want to play next. Being hand built, it's obviously been made with great care. It sounds great and I can find a good tone for just about everything with this pedal. If it were stolen, I'd probably buy a F-сk Overdrive which is essentially this pedal but with more features. I personally can't think of anything else this pedal had other than what features the F-ck Overdrive had, but hey, I bought a Mini, not a F-ck Overdrive.