Posts Tagged ‘Distortion’

Axtron OCT-5 Octaver

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Axtron-Octaver

What is it?
Axtron OCT-5 Octaver. Made in japan, possibly in the late 80’s or early 90’s.

The sucker for down octaves that i am, i just had to get this pastic thing. It wasn’t even that cheap, but these japanese plastic oldies do not come by that often. So i went for it. There aren’t that many of these moving around, even in the other brand names these were offered back in the day. The same circuit in the same enclosure was apparently sold also under Axtar, Pickboy, Columbus, Profile+ and Vision brands. The same effect. In the same enclosure. Not that uncommon for japanese units back then. This series apparently had ten different pedals in its catalog. Haven’t seen many others for sale anywhere. Possibly the folks having them are still convinced they are worhtless garbage. That assumption is not that far fetched.

Axtron-Octaver-guts1

The build quality is cool. Hand drawn traces and neat solder joints. The sin of japanese designers in the 80’s was the plastic housing. If these units were housed in a metal case, the sales would most likely have been higher. Nevertheless, the work looks good and the pedal utilizes the classic japanese two stacked board layout we’ve seen in many other units. The elctronic switching seems to be similar to old Boss and Maxon/Ibanez flip-flop switching done with two BJTs and the actual switching by FETs. The effect circuit seems to be created with two Sony branded 4558 dual opamps and a 4013 flip-flop for the octave divider.

Axtron-Octaver-guts2

There are three knobs that control the clean signal level, octave down level and the distorted octave down level. So it’s not exactly like the big sellers, OC-2 from Boss, MOC-1 from Arion and so on. The circuit seem to have something personal going on for it. But even though it may be well made and the design of the boards look promising, there are some caveats.

How does it sound?
This being the biggest one. It’s a well tracking down octave, that’s created in a same way others have divided octaves since the days MXR Bluebox was first out (there may be earlier examples, but Bluebox is good to mention). The distortion side of the effect also has a nice structure and texture. Nothing wrong with those. But. The overall level, even with all the knobs maxed is below unity. This renders the unit more or less unusable. For a collector and a freak for down octave dividers, this may offer some value, but for anything else. Nope. Not that much. If you are not a collector, do not spend more than 25 buck for one. It most likely will not be worth anything more than that. May the brand be any of the ones mentioned above.

Ibanez AW7 Autowah

Monday, December 1st, 2014

AW7

What is it?
Ibanez AW7 Autowah from 7/Tonelok series. Made in china, 2005.

Where Ibanez AW5 from soundtank series left me a little on the cold side by its sound and overall feel, the follower for the Tonelok series does things differently. To begin with, all  the control slots on the enclosure are in use. Two slide switches and four pots. Before checking the features, let’s take a quick look under the hood.

AW7-guts1

Board looks like all the rest of designs in this series, so no surprises there. There’s a factory schematic up at Ibanez.com. Which shows us that the design is a hybrid with a 13600 OTA envelope filter and a distortion. Slightly over engineered feel to it, but the board isn’t too packed and still looking pretty pleasing with all through hole construction.

AW7-guts2

Envelope driver and distortion are powered by those three JRC4558Ds.As usual, the pedal is made with five different circuit boards and those boards are connected by wires on clip terminals. The control board and the main board connect with terminal pins directly.

AW7-guts3

Neat, but nothing too exciting. But then, what comes to features.. Board may not be that packed, but the design is. Feature-wise. The envelope has two modes, wah and LPF (low pass filter). Wah mode takes the envelope to wider frequency range than the LPF, which takes some of the brightest highs away from the sweeps. Sensitivity and manual control the envelope. After those we have our drive control and a switch associated with that. On distortion off, the pedal acts as a basic envelope filter/autowah and disables the drive control. Two other modes of the switch activate the distortion. These modes let you choose the distortion to be in front of the wah or after it. This, in addition to wah/LPF switch gives out a lot of options for the tone.

A noticeable amount of features. In many ways the design and features squeezed in are impressive.

How does it sound?
Light years a part from its predecessor, the AW5. The optical envelope used in AW5 has its advantages, but so does the dual OTA based design on this one. The envelope part is decent sounding, but nowhere near the greatness of nine series classic, the AF9. AW7 doesn’t roll out nearly as much lows from the signal as AW5, but still more than AF9. This tri-comparison may feel a bit much, but bear with me. AF9 is a real milestone that is very hard to beat. On this one, i’m thinking the designer has added more features on modernization of AF9, trying to genuinely make it better. As an envelope filter (or autowah) the AW7 still stays light years away from AF9, but it has the firepower to take the AW5 out at any given minute.

Biggest culprit is the the distortion an the tone it has. Which is ok, but not great or not even particularly good. Slightly on the thin side and slightly boring. One can get decent late 80’s and early 90’s lead tones out of this, but it’s all still a special effect that i’d describe as novelty pedal. To sum it up, this sounds way better than AW5, but still not as good AF9.

Danelectro DJ21 Black Coffee

Thursday, November 27th, 2014

DJ21-BlackCoffee

What is it?
Danelectro DJ21 Black Coffee Metal Distortion from Mini series. Made in china around mid-00’s.

Finishing up with the Dano mini series with the last unit. With this one i’ve finally covered each and every one of these plasticky things. Some were surprisingly good, some very decent to say at least and some were.. Well. Not that great. It’s been an interesting journey, neverthelessx. Black Coffee is the straight on metal distortion of the series. Straight on and nothing else. Like many others in the series, construction is all SMD on two stacked boards.

DJ21-BlackCoffee-guts1

Design consists of thee dual opamps and couple of transistors. Quick search on it shows that user Bernandduur has a traced schematic up at freestompboxes.org forum (you require an user account to see it). The main thing about the design is that the circuit is pretty close to Fab Tone from the original series. No gain control when compared to its predecessor, it’s just fixed at maximum setting. That equals to a lot of gain. Tone controls are gyrator for lows and variable low pass for highs. Decent design and it doesn’t hurt that it’s not a straight on copy of some other brand’s design.

DJ21-BlackCoffee-guts2

So we have our level, lows and highs controls with standard Danelectro electronic bypass switching. EQ is rather powerful, but it has nothing on Boss HM-2 and HM-3. Even mentioning those two in this post feels wrong.. Biggest downsides come from the plastic housing, switching and..

How does it sound?
Sadly, not that great. I think the value differences and other slight changes between this and the Original series Fab Tone are enough to put some distance between the tones. Gain content and decent metal style hard clipping or wave folding elements are where they should be, but something makes this just sound and feel hollow and empty. Lack of true low boom is the biggest culprit in its sound. That doesn’t appear to be missing from the Fab Tone, so i think it’s safe to assume that all of the component values aren’t the same between the two. This sounds like a fine plastic toy, but it is still a rather dull one trick pony. Not totally awful. But there are number of better sounding death metal tones for the same price around. And those aren’t plastic nor do those feel like it. I’d say this one has collector value only.

DOD FX76 Punkifier

Monday, November 24th, 2014

DOD-FX76-Punkifier

What is it?
DOD FX76 Punkifier from FX series. Made in USA late 1995.

I find the back catalog of DOD FX series to be very interesting. There are a lot of great designs and original ideas in there. And there are a number of boring and dull designs. FX76 Punkifier is not dull. At all. Got mine for a fair price in original box and papers. And additional bottom plate with velcros on it. This way the original plate with rubber mat and serial number wasn’t harmed. For that, i want to express my biggest thank yous for the seller.

The main feature of this design is blendable fuzz/distortion. Not too many of good ones in this dual effect genre around. So my initial feeling was that this may be good, but epectations weren’t too high. I rarely check demos out, because those may skew my view of sound and feel. I need to play with a box to know how it behaves. Demos with unknown players, unknown guitars with unknown pickup setup and unknown amplifiers doesn’t really cut it for me. Even if you knew the name of all the variables above, you’d still have to be acquainted with all the gear to make a educated estimate of how everything works. Sure, the youtube demos will show you the ballpark, but not where you are seated.

DOD-FX76-Punkifier-guts1

Build quality is per all the other FX serie boxes of the era. Neat and somewhat beautiful. Carbon resistors, mylar caps and so on. Quite standard thing to look at. There is a floater schematic online, but it may be incorrect (at least it seems that way to me when comparing it against the actual board), so i won’t be posting it or even a link to it. I hate erroneous schematics. You can find it using your favourite internet search engine. I believe it has most of the topology correct, but devil in the details. Anyway. The base topology (minus the electronic switching) goes as follows; From the input – Input buffering, splitter amp to send the signal two ways. Path one is for a controlless fuzz that could have been designed by Devi Ever, but with a few elaborate and weird ideas on it. Most interesting part may be the reference voltage fed to the transistor bases via 22M resistors. Path two takes the signal to OD250 on steroids style overdrive/distortion circuit that has its own gain control. The outputs of these two paths are then blended together with a pot and this signal is passed to a tone control. Which is followed by volume control and output buffering.

DOD-FX76-Punkifier-guts2

This design has many great ideas on it and it is far from just recycling standard fuzz/distortion ideas. If i was to redesign this, i would probably hook up a fuzz texture control for the fuzz circuitry and have that as a dual pot in conjuction with the OD/Dist side distortion control. That could make it even better, but this is f*n amazing as it is.

Controls are name in the DOD’s 90’s methods. Making them next to unintelligle. Punk, Spikes, Slam and Menace. Yup. Way to go. There were others in that time who did similar things when naming their controls. Creative, yes, but not very useful. Little use gets you accustomed to these names though. So it’s not that big of deal. There’s a bit more reading about this unit on America’s Pedal website. Check it out.

How does it sound?
Just perfect. It doesn’t sound much like any other box you’ll ever hear. I’m giving absolute all praise for personality in tone. When distortion side is maxed and fuzz side toned down, there is something reminding me of OD250, but not much. The fuzz side has it all. It is loud and the tone is the same what you get from blowing a nuclear warhead in your bedroom. While the fuzz is just sick, it still has some aspects that act like vintage Tonebenders. No. I’m not comparing it to Tonebenders. That wouldn’t be right at all. It is modern and powerful, with its roots on vintage tones. In addition to those features, the tone control is usable and can peak the highs in ear piercing manner.

This is not the pedal for blues players. This is a pedal for those who want a personal, weird, piercing tones. One of my all time favorites for a dirt box. Superb. I don’t know what more to say.

Nux AS3 Modern Amp Simulator

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Nux-AS3-MAS

What is it?
Nux AS3 Modern Amp Simulator. Made in china around mid to late 00’s

I don’t know what it is. I really can’t point my finger to one particular thing on these and say; “this is why i like Nux Effects!”. But i do. Or least i did. I recall talking to people about how Nux is the solid brand that can turn the low brand value, cheap chinese pedals around. Unless they decide to start OEM’ng their designs to other brands that have low brand value to begin with. This, one of my mildest nightmares came into reality in mid october 2014. I noticed that at least one chinese retailer was offering the Force and Core series effects with another brand name. No. Please don’t do that. Nux was the only modern chinese brand that didn’t have a six year old graphic designer and they didn’t save money on all the wrong places (just on few key places, but not on all). That day was very sad day for me. But what can i do? Nothing. So let’s just forget that misfortune for now and focus on the unit on hand.

This Cherub/Nux series that i like to call “The First Series” hasn’t let me down yet. The overall feel of the boxes is solid and firm. The cheapest feel comes from the battery compartment lid, which in my opinion is placed rather geniously. The user can change the battery without lifting or even tilting the pedal. Not that i know a lot of people using batteries, but still. I think this is just the kind of ingenuity these factory built pedals need today. More on the feel, the pots in this series are not the cheapest kind and they feel solid too. Now, to open this puppy up.. Modern autorouted look. But still neater and more solid looking than current Bosses. And the rest of the manufacturing methods leave no bad word in my mouth.

Nux-AS3-MAS-guts1

And once the board is flipped over.. Awww. It reminds me of US made DOD FX series board. Warm and fuzzy feeling with its all analog, all through hole construction. The pots are mounted on their own daughter board.

Nux-AS3-MAS-guts2

I’m not aware of the exact topology of the circuit and thus, can’t analyze it much further at the moment. Looks like this has two TL072s and one 4558 for opamps. The D2-D3 silicon diodes look like they might be clippers. I’m not going much further in this guessing game, but even the design looks rather solid. While i do like this box like a young man likes his date, there is one caveat.

How does it sound?
And it is the sound. This is most likely a predecessor of the black AS-4 from the later series and the circuit has been revamped for that release. This earlier one works nicely as a light dirt driver, but it’s hollowness and mids leave a lot to wish for. While this pedal is way greater than its follower on the outside, the better version made its way to the cheaper feeling later version. The bright side is that the EQ section is powerful and working well (i’m guessing gyrators). So i’m left with mixed feelings. As an overdrive effect, this is a lot better than many Tubescreamer derivatives, but as a full blown preamp, not so much. I believe these have out of manufacturing line for a while now. So if you can score one for ridiculously cheap, i’d suggest you go for it. It may not sound like much, but there is some usability in there.

Plus this unit reminds us all what potential Nux had before they changed to cheapest parts and resorted in OEM manufacturing for even lower end brands. World is a cold place.

Ibanez TK999HT Tube King Distortion

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

TK999HT

What is it?
Ibanez TK999HT Tube King Distortion. Made in china, late 00’s.

Not sure if the TK999HT is currently in production anymore. Ibanez site doesn’t list it and many european internet shops don’t have it on their listings. At least not any more. This high gain distortion is somewhat impressive by its appearance. The box is huge and heavy. The rubber pads on the bottom plate are something like 40mm in diameter, while the box itself measures 15x15x5 cm. Enclosure isn’t aluminium.

As the features go, we have the usual drive/level controls, a three band EQ with low/mid/high controls and a presence switch. Since the amount of gain is very high, there’s also a “Void” control. This is your noise gate. Other Ibanez boxes have had the same feature, name some high gain distortions from 7-series. The box feeds itself on a 12V AC power supply and has its own transformer and rectifier diodfe bridge inside.

TK999HT-guts

In a sense, this configuration reminds me of those hybrid guitar amps that exploded in popularity in the 90s. In fact, this comes pretty close, minus the output amplifier. Dirk Hendrik has drawn a schematic of this one too – here. Even without the noise gate and power supply section, the design is taken one step further from the basic boxes we see more often. In essence, we have input buffering, followed by driver amp and gain control. After those there’s two tube driver stages, a buffer to decouple the tube. After that, there’s presence switch and tone controls. All three tone controls have their own cutting/boosting gyrators. Followed by output buffering. Void circuit in on mode, is attached in parallel with the effect circuit. Dirk’s schematic doesn’t disclose what’s the voltage being fed to the tube, but it sure isn’t the same 12V DC being fed to to rest of the circuit. Complex and somewhat impressive.

If i was to come up with one, biggest negative side to the design, it would definitely be the location of the tube. The ventilation is sufficient, but the previous Tube King boxes had the tube in plain sight, making it simple to swap for another type of tube if desired. This time the tube is placed so that it’ll require disassembling most of the insides to get to the tube. Somehow reminds me of older cars versus newer cars. One should be able to change the burned out headlamp by oneself. At least in my opinion.

How does it sound?
Modern High-Gain. Maybe slightly too modern and too high-gain for my personal taste. Due to amount of gain, the noise gate (or Void) is a good thing to have. While this may be a bit too much in distortion department, the output level is high enough to use the unit as a soaring lead monster. Due to it’s nature, i don’t see myself using this for base sounds on any set of settings. But as a solo distortion? Yup. In that scenario the pedals shines. And bright.

Ibanez DS7 Distortion

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

DS7

What is it?
Ibanez DS7 Distortion from 7/Tonelok series. Made in taiwan, 1999.

One of the Tonelok series early birds. Somehow i have a feeling the DS7 was discontinued earlier than the rest of the bunch. I think i see a point in this. Anyway. This one doesn’t have any other controls but drive, tone and level. First thing that comes to mind is, could this be just a revamp of Boss DS-1? But then again. It’s Maxon/Ibanez were are talking about. Even though the designers may have borrowed certain snippets from MXR and EHX in the 70’s, i haven’t seen much borrowing happening since. Or at least after the 80’s. And once the bottom plate is removed, the board sure looks like it doesn’t have much to do with anything simple.

DS7-guts1

At this point i was like WTF. Ibanez DS7, the dullest unit of the series, and the main board looks like that? Once we take and flip the board, the sight is something completely different. Apparently some other units in the series use the same drill layout as a base and due to this the board’s bottom looks like there is hundred things going on. While in reality there are just ten.

DS7-guts2

There is a factory schematic around the webs as a floater. It can be found at least in here. These factory schematics are horrible to read and interpret (i may need to redraw it for myself as this one hurts my eyes. And brains.). But if we focus, we can read it. We have input, bypass and switching buffers, obviously. For the main circuit, there’s a driver amp followed by a hard clipping diodes shunt to ground. Then there’s most interesting part. Quad gyrator based tone control. Nope. This isn’t borrowed from DS-1. In fact, it has very little to do with any basic distortion design i’ve seen.

DS7-guts3

Rest of the box is per Tonelok series standards. Control board, jack boards and bypass board with indicator LED. Build and design quality are also on par with every other Tonelok box.

How does it sound?
Sadly. It sounds rather dull, faceles sand hollow. But due to boards being with through hole components and the gyrators are in plain sight, one should be able to tweak this to their liking. For gain and level controls, the ranges are sufficient, but nothing out of the ordinary. After seeing how the tone control is made,  i just had to give the unit another test run. Yes. Knowing gives a very different view to the tone control’s behaviour. It is powerful, but may it be how powerful ever, the fact remain. Dull, faceless and hollow. With being rather noisy. Not a bad modern distortion, but not anything great either. Falls in somewhere between metal distortions and those ugly sounding 80’s plastic things, while not being either. Strange bird. This seems like one of those units people throw away with trash. When you see one for 15€, grab it. It may not be good, but it’s definitely worth that 15€.

Danelectro CD-1 Distortion

Saturday, October 4th, 2014

CD1-Distortion

What is it?
Danelectro CD-1 Distortion from Cool Cat series. Made in china around 2009.

The number of good sounding units in this series seems to be on the rise. Took me a while to get one and to tell the truth, this didn’t come too cheap either. But i wanted one, so i went out and got one. Simple as that. One part of the attraction was that all there was on the internet was just a couple of guesses about what the circuit could be. Usual guesses pointed out this being a derivative of the “standard” Danelectro distortion, the Fab Tone from original series. Granted, that design may have been circulating in the brand’s catalog more than enough. But. Since there were nothing more than guesses based on nothing around, i felt it like a duty to shed a little light on this subject. I’ll say one thing before going any further. The box feels and sounds nothing like the Fab Tone.

CD1-Distortion-guts1

Opening the box up, no surprises at this point. Just a standard Cool Cat series jack and switch board inside. But as we all know, the effect itself is on that other board. Four transistors and a dual opamp. At first glance, the first transistor looks like it’s a buffer, and there’s two separate pairs of clipping diodes. Nope. No clue about what’s it based on, at least not just by taking a quick look at it.

CD1-Distortion-guts2

But several hours, a multimeter, a few liters of coffee and several packs of smokes. Yup. Now we know. At first the design didn’t ring any bells, even though it should have. So, we have an input buffer, followed by a non-inverting clipping amplifier with diodes in feedback loop. Then we have hard clipping stage, followed by dual gyrator-based tone section and a buffer for output.

CD1-Distortion-guts3

Design is, in other words, pretty impressive distortion design. At the moment of my trace it really should have been obvious to me. Anyone ever heard of a distortion unit called Distortion Master? Here we have that, almost verbatim, with slight modifications on the tone controls and the gyrators they control. May that mean whatever, but still, we have $200 sound in $40 package.

How does it sound?
Very good. Not too far from those distortions that try to capture the feel of old Marshall amps pushed to the max. Not too high in gain, but well balanced and sufficient. Gain control goes from overdrive tones to big distortion sounds. EQ section works well and sounds like you really don’t have any need for a separate mids control. I would go so far to call this one of the greatest rock distortions. In one word, usable. But we should remember it is heavily based on an existing pedal that is currently manufactured. Still. Wonderful sound to have in one’s toolbox of sounds.

ProTone Pedals Body Rot II

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

ProTone-BodyRot2

What is it?
ProTone Pedals Body Rot II Distortion. Made in USA around early 10’s.

Once again, a pedal that the original owner put up for sale as defected unit, for peanuts. And once again, i had no choice but to grab it asap. I do not own too many small brand boxes, so i must admit being excited. There wasn’t much information about this particular pedal available. Just the marketing speak, which was more of a typical attempt on hype raising than actual good and informative product description. So all i had to begin with was a marketing praise and nothing else. So without hesitation i opened the unit up as soon as it arrived.

ProTone-BodyRot2-guts

Ok. Handcrafted  from start to finish. Lots of work put on those offboard wires. All pots handwired. All industry standard Alpha pots, except for one (which definitely does not feel like all the others). Standard chinese 2PDT stomp switch controlling a millennium bypass. At this point i needed to know what was wrong with it. LED lit up, but there was no signal passing through the device. First thing i noticed, was a 220µF power filtering capacitor. Rated for 10V. This puppy looked like a puffer fish. So i obviously swapped that for a new one, rated at 16V. The heart of the design is a single 2N5088 transistor, followed by a LM386 power amplifier. Traced my way from the input to that power amplifier and its output was dead.

ProTone-BodyRot2-guts2

Swapped the chip for a new one, and yes. The pedal was back to its original  glory. Since i had the unit open already, i snapped a few photos and posted them to a known stompbox forum. One kind soul called Manfred traced the unit from these photos and component values i picked up. It was quite interesting to find out that the pink component that looks like a resistor in weird color, is actually a capacitor. You can find the schematic from Freestompboxes.org, if you have an user account there.

ProTone-BodyRot2-guts3

Best part for the last. Just look at it. And not to mention that this “groundbreaking, all new” design is actually a few component values away from another well known german high gain metal distortion design. Somehow i knew it. If the marketing is all about raising hype, then there must be something wrong with either the manufacturing methods or the design found inside. I think this pedal will easily take years of use and abuse, but it still doesn’t feel that professional to me.. It’s not all bad though.

How does it sound?
Actually, very good. I do find that minimum settings for gain is killing the signal pretty stupid (as i do find all the designs that go quiet with anything else or more than the volume knob). I haven’t played with the design this is obviously based on, but this one sounds good. Mean, super high-gain, with very nice EQ section. Did i already mention it offers a lot of gain? Good metal distortion, either way. If you really want one, i’d suggest contacting the manufacturer instead of getting one from the store. The store price for a new unit seems a bit steep.

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Boss-DS2

What is it?
Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion from compact pedal series. Made in taiwan, february 2003.

Probably the best known as Kurt Cobain’s distortion of choice. I had to get one out of pure interest. I sourced all the Nirvana CDs as used ones last spring. Since there are now expanded reissues out of each and every one of those, one can score the original CDs for pennies. Sure there’s some nostalgia in there, as i (and probably half of planet’s population within certain age range) did listen to those records a  lot when i was in school. I think Nirvana’s grunge was the last “boom” of guitar music to reach an audience as huge as it did. Of course there were a few bigger attractions after it too, but nothing as huge (Green Day’s Dookie craze, scandinavian action rock, etc. etc.). Anyway. As i listened through the discography, i felt like it would have simply been the sound of AC/DC-styled marshall stack maxed instead of somewhat puny DS-2. But as the internet lets us believe, Cobain was apparently a fan of Fender amplifiers. And those aren’t exactly known for their powerful overdriven tones, so the sound had to come from somewhere else. Ok, ok. I promise. No more talk about Cobain on this blog. There’s a schematic up at distortionpedals.org.

Boss-DS2-guts1

Modernish traces and the board looks rather full. If we look at the schematic, we find at least four gain stages and as most interesting single feature – no opamps. All the distortion is coming for all discreet design. Two JFETs and two BJTs do create sort of a discreet opamp for the distortion control. In addition of those, we see soft and hard diode clipping stages. The circuit does remind me a bit of the design inside BD-2 Blues Driver. Only remind. The similarities aren’t that notable. As features, we have the standard gain/tone/level setup. Plus something called a Turbo mode. The electronic turbo switch seems to add a lot of punch to the first gain stage. One can use a latching remote switch to toggle the mode on and off.

Boss-DS2-guts2

The electronic and board design, build quality and, well. Everything else is on par with the whole Boss catalog. Not super interesting, but i see nothing wrong with it either. Nice box.

How does it sound?
Like a machine that transforms squeeky clean amp to a Marshall stack with everything maxed (or with all settings louder than everything else). Two modes are for high gain distortion, or even higher gain distortion. With the gain setting one can get rather Marshallesque overdriven tones as well, but the brightest shine is still on when that control is maxed. All the controls have sufficient, usable ranges. The amount of distortion isn’t has high as for MD-2 Mega Distortion, but still high. There is slight overdrive-style mid hump present, which without a doubt a feature. This pedal doesn’t sound bad at all. It sounds pretty much  the same as the guitars on those Nirvana albums.