Price paid: $ 220
Purchased from: pedalspluseffectswarehouse.com
Ease of Use — 9
Super super easy to use. I don't see how anyone can screw this up. Set volume, set gain, set EQ and you're away. Some more fancy additions like the clipping switch on the B channel are not that useful in my opinion but that's because I don't turn the gain up on that channel enough to hear a difference. Not much more can be said about this for an overdrive pedal. I'm more of a set and forget guy too which doesn't help me reach my character count. No internal dipswitches or anything because its all on the top. Switching for which channel is first is very very useful too. I often swap on the fly.
Sound — 7
I play a range of styles from sludge to post rock to blues. I use a Hiwatt Custom 50 with Fane speakers as my main amp. This is one channel. I use many other effects with it but I'll start with just the overdrive itself. I found channel A to be very nice with single coils at a low gain tone. Fattens everything up a bit. Unfortunately very little headroom on this channel. Fortunately this channel sounds way better than the other for higher gain which is how I now use it. Think stage 3 OD.
Channel B I use solely as a clean boost, because through both my hand made strat and my les paul, any manner of clipping sounds awful. It sounds like there is a furry mess behind an otherwise clean guitar signal over the top, and this becomes more dominant of the mix as I turn up the gain. Great clean boost though, can be transparent or not depending on how you set the EQ.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The hardware is solid and the footswitches I doubt will cave on me. All of the knobs feel solid as do the jacks and power input. Finish is still going strong after 2 years of gigs. Nice small enclosure too which helps. I don't see this going out on me at any point. The mini switches are holding up well too. I'm not too rough with my gear but as we all know, accidents happen sometimes. It's been chucked in bags and dropped and no marks even on the exterior. Nice job Xotic. The knobs turn smoothly too at all positions etc. I would not bother with a backup for this pedal at a gig.
Overall Impression — 7
For anything heavier than classic rock, this won't cut it. But that's not why you'd buy this pedal. It's at its best at lower gain settings on both channels. If it were stolen I'd probably buy a full drive 3 instead because of how I currently set the knobs, but if I had an amp that had 2 channels I'm sure I'd get it again. As a primary drive I do not find it preferable to some much cheaper options. The tone is very unique which is awesome in some settings and great stacked. Works great with both channels on before a soul food with gain at 3 o'clock.