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.
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.
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.
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.