Friday, October 29, 2010

Antisocial Distortion

As a guitarist, too much distortion seems impossible, right? That’s exactly what I’m facing though. In the great game of trading pedals, I’ve ended up with seven (seven!) fuzz/distortion/overdrive pedals that I love. I realize for most people this isn’t a problem. But for me it is, I only want to have as many pedals as will fit on my pedal board and these guys all have to share space with a tuner, compressor, clean boost, and Line 6 M9 for mod/echo/verb. So this means I have to cull the herd. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working with the other guitarist in my band to blind test these pedals.

I’m hoping to start tonight with my “Marshall in a Box” pedals – the Lovepedal ProValve 1 and the Zvex Distrotron. My non-blind testing favors the ProValve but I’m as guilty as anyone else for falling for hype and the ProValve certainly comes with a lot of hype. And while it has two switchable gain settings, the ProValve is pretty much a one trick pony. It’s a well-done trick though, sweet, thick, cranked amp grind. The lowest gain setting sounds like an amp on 11, cranking any further just thickens the sound some but doesn’t really pile on more gain. I’d like this pedal more for rhythm if it had a little less gain. But for playing lead, it’s just amazing.

The Distortron on the other hand is far more versatile. It’s overall tone is a little rougher around the edges. It might be my ears, but the ProValve seems a tad scooped in the mids. The Distortron has plenty of mids and in doing so, played side-by-side with the ProValve sounds a little hash. But most of the testing has been done with my Weber Blue Pup equipped Vox AC4 (which is pretty mid-focused to begin with). I’m looking forward to running these guys through my Reverend Goblin and closed-back Avatar 12 tonight.

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