Price paid: $ 110
Purchased from: Guitar Center
Sound — 8
Once you jump the hurdle of figuring this damn thing out, you'll uncover its heavenly sounds. Generally speaking, this pedal is a fuzz with a massive amount of gain and a very prominent bass response at most settings. However, it's an incredibly versatile thing, owing to the amount of control you have over the tone. You can go from some smooth, low gain Fuzz Face-esque tones, all the way to some over the top insanity. My personal favorite sound is a high gain, post-metal sludge ala Baroness and Isis. It tends handle drop tuning and palm muting surprisingly well. The only thing to watch out for is that is doesn't necessarily clean up well with a volume knob roll-off, and turning the "Filter" knob too far to the bass end of things will muck up really quickly. I use an Xaviere Jazzmaster knock off and some MIM Fender Strats and Teles. I use DiMarzio instrument cables and Planet Waves patch cables. The amplifier I use is a Jet City Amplification 20w head, which powers a matched 2x12 speaker cabinet. It stacks well with a slightly overdriven preamp setting and really shines on high-volume settings. My chain goes Guitar->EHX LPB-1->Boss BF-2->MXR Smart Gate->Dunlop DVP-1->Way Huge Swollen Pickle->Dod DFX9. I structure my chain this way because this pedal is insanely loud and the Smart Gate really can't handle it. It's better to have it afterwords, so you only have to bear the hissing and not the feedback. Overall, I personally find it to be my favorite pedal, but I do have to dock a few points for noise and muddiness.
Overall Impression — 9
This has quickly become my favorite distortion sound and I use it rather extensively. It's not necessarily for everyone and certainly takes some getting used to, but overall I could not have made a better choice with my purchase. I would pretty much have to replace it were anything unfortunate to happen to it.
Reliability & Durability — 8
The thing is built like an aluminum bunker and during the period I still could have taken it for a refund I made a point of testing out that switch. It holds up to the abuse pretty well.
Ease of Use — 6
While not quite as finicky and sensitive as, say, a Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, this pedal's various knobs and settings will take a while to get used to. Especially since what passes for the user manual is just as unhelpful as the handful of demos you'll be able to find. The three big knobs, "Loudness", "Filter", and "Sustain" function much as you'd expect them to. However, the external and internal trim pots are where you'll do the most tweaking. All the trim pots work in a counter-clockwise fashion, eg, the farther you turn them to the left, the more extreme that parameter becomes. "Scoop" on the front of the pedal allows you to adjust how pronounced the midrange scoop of the "Filter" knob will be, from completely flat to unusably scooped. You'll hear this most with the filter knob set to 12:00. "Crunch" allows you to control the overall level of compression. On the inside of the pedal, "Clip" allows you to blend between two sets of clipping diodes. This is the least explained control on the entire pedal. Basically, the more you turn it counter clockwise, the more you get a harsher, modern day fuzz sound. The more you turn it clockwise, the more you get a vintage, smooth fuzz tone. "Voice" allows you to adjust how intense the "Scoop" trim on the front of the pedal will be. Overall, the pedal gets knocked down on this simply because so few places give you an actual explanation for how the trim pots actually work.