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There is a plethora of pedals out there based off of classics like Tube Screamers and Fuzz Faces, and it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole searching for one that differs just enough while maintaining the reasons they still endure. Vertex nailed it with their Dynamic Distortion. The standard distortion pedal control layout is here: Volume, Tone and Gain, along with a negative center 9v connection and 1/4” input and output. The Tone control is a bit different though, and acts like a hi-pass filter. Turning the control clockwise, increases the high end. Since this is kind of a TS-meets-Fuzz hybrid, the Gain control behaves as a boost at lower settings — increasing it takes the gain from overdrive to distortion and then into fuzztone territory.
For players who’ve waded through all the TS clones and mods out there, stop right now, this is what you have been looking for! That classic midrange bump is still there, but it feels a lot more refined, and as it enters distortion mode, it can get raspy, almost like a Rat pedal. But again, much more defined. Going further into the fuzz territory is glorious. It doesn’t get into hyper fuzz, but it’s rich and velvet-ish.
It reacts equally well with humbuckers and single coil pickups. The tone control is flexible enough to keep Strats from getting shrill, while maintaining high-end clarity on humbuckers. In the heavy distortion and fuzz areas, there’s no woolly-ness that normally comes with pedals at extreme gain settings – players who employ fuzz units but find they need to run a boost afterwards to keep from getting lost in the mix will love this! Open chords ring out nicely, while still retaining top end chime, and chunky rhythms have body, while delivering thump. Lead parts are fantastic, with plenty of sustain and richness. Like those classic pedals, this also reacts well to a guitar’s volume control, so for players who like leaving a pedal dimed, and ride their volume, this one is for you.
Other pedals play nicely with this as well, a boost placed afterwards didn’t yield any strange tonal sag. Total bonus.
The street price is $199, and considering it covers gain stages from boost, overdrive, distortion and fuzz it’s perfectly reasonable. It nails great tones along that range, it could very easily retire one (or three) pedals on most player’s boards. Our highest recommendation.
beyond excellent gain ranges; flexible tonal control.
ABSOLUTELY EFFIN’ NONE.