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Distortion pedals compared

Overdrive pedals

This page contains audio samples and brief description of various distortion pedals. Overdrive and fuzz pedals can be found on separate pages. The classification of the overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedals is very hard to do unambiguously since many units can be used from smooth overdrive to nasty fuzz sounds depending on the settings. I do not claim that my classifications are "correct", I just happened to do it this way. :)

Recording Setup
Recording Setup
This page is not intended to be a thorough and deep analysis of each of these pedals, but might help you get a overall view of what different pedals sound like in the same environment with the same input sample. The samples are recorded straight through a Line6 Pod XT, so no amplifiers, microphones or studios were used. Therefore, the samples will not give the best achievable sounds that can be achieved from each of these pedals, but since all are in the exactly same environment a comparison can be made.

The recording equipment and method as evolved during the few years of the pedalarea existence, thus not all pedals are recorded in an equal way. Some pedals only contain one sample which was recorded with different input samples, so straight comparison is not quite justified, but I have left these samples since they might give some vague impression of the sound the pedal offers. The newer comparisons are made by playing these four samples with different settings through the pedals are trying to explore the different soundscapes these pedals offer. The volume levels might vary slightly from sample to sample, since exact adjustments of the volume levels is very hard with the tools used.

Danelectro - Daddy O.
Danelectro Daddy O
Danelectro was founded by Nathan Daniel in 1947 and produced amps, guitars and basses. Lately Danelectro has focused mainly on effects pedals. The Daddy O. is from Danelectros first pedal series and features controls for Volume and Overdrive as well as a three band equalizer (Bass, Middle, Trebble).
Danelectro Daddy O   Danelectro Daddy O   Danelectro Daddy O   Danelectro Daddy O   Danelectro Daddy O Circuit Board
Dod FX55 Distortion
Dod FX55
Produced from 1982-1986, the Dod FX-55 is quite similar to the MXR Distortion+ and offers controls for Level and Distortion.
Dod FX55   Dod FX55   Dod FX55   Dod FX55   Dod FX55 Circuit Board
Ibanez FC10 Fat Cat Distortion
Ibanez FC10
The Ibanez Fat Cat FC10 is from the 10-series and was produced from 1987-1989 in Japan and is very similar to the Proco RAT. It has controls for Volume, Distortion and Tone.
Ibanez FC10   Ibanez FC10   Ibanez FC10   Ibanez FC10   Ibanez FC10 Circuit Board
Ibanez MS10 Metal Charger
Ibanez MS10
The Metal Charger MS10 is one of the heavier sounding Ibanez units and was manufactured from 1986-1996, first in Japan, later in Taiwan. It has controls labeled Distortion, Level, Attack, Punch and Edge.
Ibanez MS10   Ibanez MS10   Ibanez MS10   Ibanez MS10 Circuit Board   Ibanez MS10 Circuit Board
Ibanez MT10 Mostortion
Ibanez MT10
The MT10 was manufactured from 1990-1992 and is based on a Mos-FET distortion circuitry. It has controls for Distortion and Level and a three band equalizer (Bass, Middle, Treble).
Ibanez MT10   Ibanez MT10   Ibanez MT10   Ibanez MT10   Ibanez MT10 Circuit Board
Marshall - The Guv'nor
Marshall Guvnor
Marshall has been in business already since 1962 and has offered a multitude of amps, studio equipment and also stomp boxes throughout the years. The first fuzz and wah that Marshall offered in the late sixties were build by Sola Sound and are today sought after and rare pedals. Marshall got back into the pedal business with "The Guvnor" distortion in 1989-1991 and has remained active in the stompbox business since then offering diverse effects pedals.
Marshall Guvnor   Marshall Guvnor   Marshall Guvnor   Marshall Guvnor
MXR Distortion +
MXR Distortion+
Soft and smooth overdrive with lots of tone. The early units from the 70's are distinguished from the script logo, which was replaced by the block logo at the end of the 70's. Reissued by Jim Dunlop 1987. A comparison of different MXR distortion+ units with lots of sound samples can be found in the article section.
MXR Distortion+ Pedal   MXR Distortion+ Script   MXR Distortion+ Script   MXR Distortion+ Circuit Board   MXR Distortion+ Circuit Board
Proco RAT
Proco Rat
The RAT made it's first appearance 1978 when Pro Co Sound (Kalamazoo, Michigan) released the first version of this pedal, which was going to be one of the most recorded distortion pedals of all time. During the years Pro Co has released a whole bunch of different versions, the most sought after being propably the large box versions from 1979-1984. This unit is a very early RAT 2 with pot dates to 1987.
Proco Rat   Proco Rat   Proco Rat   Proco Rat
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