Price paid: $ 140
Purchased from: Sweetwater Sound
Sound — 7
My current setup consists of a Schecter C-1 Hellraiser loaded with Seymour Duncan Blackout pickups ran into an MXR 10-band EQ, the Jekyll and Hyde, and a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor (no ISP Decimator yet), running into a Mesa Boogie Roadster through a Diezel 4x12 cab. Boss DD-3 is ran into the effects loop of the Mesa. Jekyll: 3 Knobs: Drive, Tone, Volume, also Bass Boost switch Mainly I use the distortion channel on the Mesa, with the Jekyll as a slight overdrive/boost to get some extra harmonic qualities. The Jekyll sounds beautiful like this and cleans up well by rolling off the volume. Through the clean channel, it provides a substantial clean boost with the Drive all the way down and Volume all the way up. Also, boost is immediate as soon as volume is rolled past 0, which i have not found in a pedal yet. Drive function is very versatile, ranging from clean boost at 0, to a thick Overdrive that would be pretty substantial for almost any kind of rock. Tone knob is not quite as versatile as I would have thought. Rolling it all the way to 10 provides a jangly, trebly high end sound that hurts your ears a little, and rolling it to 0 gives some slight boost in mids and a much more prominent bottom end. Now, that being said, there is a Bass Boost button that cuts a lot of the high end out, and can really accentuate the bottome end if necessary (amt of boost is adjustable via an internal trim pot). Jekyll gets a 9 Hyde: 4 knobs: Drive, Mid, Treble, Volume, also Sharp/Blunt Swtich Hyde sounds amazing, as if it were Jekyll's big brother, not creating that "classic MetalZone crunch" (which I hate by the way), but more of an improvement of your original tone. As far as I can tell, the Hyde barely takes any natural qualities away from your tone (there is always a little suckage though), while still adding a crushing distortion that delivers more than necessary. There is such a thing as too much gain with this pedal in my opinion, but if anybody is a fan of black metal that sounds like your television after the cable company has shut you off, that is contained in this wonderful "home plate" as well. Treble has a decent effect rolling from 0 to 10, you can hear the bite become more and more prominent every little bit that you move the knob (I have backed away from my amp going "that sounds like shit!"), but if you are careful with it it will provide cut/boost where necessary, as will the Mid Knob. Mids are well rounded, however the more you turn the gain up, the more you will want to turn these down as the bite and bark that they provide at lower gain settings get lost in the distortion, and clarity is removed. Volume is the same as Jekyll. Sharp/Blunt switch is great for adding extra cut if necessary, but the Blunt side doesn't do a terrible amount unless your amp is waaaaaay up past normal practice volumes. Hyde gets a 7. Now, you can also combine both sides, which makes the tonal possibilities practically endless, and makes this pedal very fun to mess around with. That being said, the Noise Suppression circuit is terrible, as it takes forever (even with the trim pot maxed) for it to track and eliminate noise, so do NOT rely on the noise suppression contained within the pedal.
Overall Impression — 8
I've rambled on enough already so this will be short. This is a great sounding pedal, and if you can deal with the flaws I mentioned, it is a great addition to any rig. I'm not answering the age old question because if I broke into someones house and say a Mesa Boogie Roadster and a Jekyll and Hyde my mind would not go "decisions, decisions". This is one of the greatest Overdrives and Distortions in this price range and the fact you don't need to buy 2 pedals is an awesome bonus.
Reliability & Durability — 7
Steel housing is very durable. I have used this on several gigs without a backup and it performs great. Major con for most players is that while the switches are rated for 10,000,000 (yes, that is 7 0's)switches, getting them to activate can be troublesome sometimes. It is not a problem for me because it is on all the time in my chain, but for people who will want to experiment with both sides and combinations of sides live, will want to really get used to exactly how to stomp on it to get it to work every time (it is possible). because of stomping reliability this gets a major cut.
Ease of Use — 8
7 Knobs (3 for Jekyll, 4 for Hyde), 3 internal customization options, including 2 trim pots for amount of Bass Boost on the Jekyll side, Noise Suppression, and a switch to turn the Suprression on/off. User Manual is dummy-proof, absolutely flawless in explanation of how every knob works and interacts with each other, and great explanations of how to adjust the internal pots for further tone-molding. Overdrive circuit is the same circuit used in the Ibanez TS-808. However, i'm slightly irritated that the guy at the factory got a little happy with the WD-40 and the adjustment knobs can practically catch a gust of wind and throw all your settings off. Also, footswitches (while pretty) are slightly tempermental when stomping on them, as sometimes they do not activate.