Price paid: $ 200
Purchased from: Musician's Friend
Sound — 10
I am using a Vox AC15C1, as well as a Peavey Valveking 112 both stock. I tried it out first with my Ibanez RGA42FM with stock active pickups. Also, I used my PRS SE Custom 22, ESP LTD EC-1000 Deluxe and a Jay Turser Strat copy. To this point I had primarily used either my EarthQuaker Devices Hoof or just a ModTone Speedbox for my dirt. The Sovereign is a great addition to my collection and really could replace numerous pedals because it is so versatile. In standard mode this pedal is an aggressive Overdrive and a light organic distortion that is very dynamic. When playing last night I could play some Raconteurs and White Stripes songs in standard. It can clean up exceptionally well to a light blues tone. There is also the bright and even switch for the voicing of distortion... So this is all great and all but I ordered a distortion pedal. The boost mode completely alters the sound of the pedal giving you a big stack sound and it can get to a Metallica sound. There is a Mid Behavior knob and tone to further shape your sound and scoop or boost those mids. This pedal is not really designed to be a Triple Wreck, so if that is your thing buy it. The Sovereign does distortion very well though and it is the tightest and most clear pedal I have used by far. With the gain cranked there is no muddy tone at all and harmonics are insane as well. So, basically I would suggest for Raconteurs, Led Zeppelin, Boston, Black Sabbath, Wolfmother and really for most distortion sounds. You sort of have to try it to know what it does because I was sort of skeptical as well but it is a great pedal.
Overall Impression — 10
This pedal fits my style of music because I play blues, rock and some hard rock. I have yet to try in Drop D tuning but I might crank it up and see if it works with my band for heavy metal. The bottom end is much better than most distortion pedals so I think it may work. If this pedal was stolen I would buy another or perhaps consider a Dr. Scientist The Elements as it is versatile as well. Two hundred dollars can be a bit much to spend on a pedal. Everything I have heard is positive about Wampler Pedals though. There is nothing that I dislike about the pedal I like the Mid Behavior knob though as it allows you to really shape your sound. I compared it to pedals such as the Crunch Box, 1-800-Gain and Wampler's Plextortion. This pedal was capable of more useful sounds than the others. The Plextortion is a Amp-In-A-Box model so it is built specifically to emulate a Marshall '80s sound. The Sovereign, as stated by Brian himself, is simply the best sounding general distortion he could make.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The Sovereign Distortion is a very sturdy pedal and I believe that I could take it anywhere and it would be fine. I am not overly cautious with my gear, especially pedals, because I just expect them to work for me. The pedal has not been available for very long really and I have only had it for a short period of time, but I expect it to be my go to pedal for quite some time. It has a 5 year warranty for parts and such. The pedal is smaller than I thought it would be I guess, but all of the switches and controls are smooth and feel strong.
Ease of Use — 9
The Sovereign is very easy to use and get great tones out of. Some of the controls are interactive with one another though and thus impacts the overall volume of the unit. I really haven't had a pedal that does this before as I increase the middle frequencies the volume tends to increase significantly. Overall, in each of the modes of the Advanced Gain Structure controls I can find multiple sounds that are all usable. It is also important to point out that this pedal is surely the most versatile I have used and I have heard it from almost everyone that owns one. There is a lot of hype, but the pedal lives up to it. Simply because it has quite a few options and controls I give it a 9/10 because it's not your average three knob distortion.