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5 Best Distortion Pedals for Metal

 


Most recommended
TC Electronic Dark Matter
  • True Bypass
  • Gain, Level, Bass And Treble Controls
  • Voicing Switch
A good choice too
MXR M75 Super Badass
  • True Bypass
  • Highly Responsive Full Spectrum Distortion
  • Bass, Mid & Treble Controls
A good choice too
BOSS Mega Distortion 2
  • New Bottom Control
  • Tone Control – High & Low Frequencies
  • Extreme, Low-End Distortion
Wampler Triple Wreck
  • Completely True Bypass
  • Hard/Brutal Switch For Extra Voicing Options
  • Battery Connection
Blackstar HT-METAL
  • Patented Infinite Shape Feature
  • Clean, Overdrive & Super High Gain Lead Mode
  • Cascaded Valve Gain Stages

Choose the Best Distortion Pedal for Metal

Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Distortion Pedals for Metal

7 users answered this survey. Please help us improve this review!

28.57% of users selected TC Electronic Dark Matter, 28.57% selected MXR M75 Super Badass, 42.86% selected BOSS Mega Distortion 2, 0% selected Wampler Triple Wreck and 0% selected Blackstar HT-METAL. Every month we analyze your answers and change our rating.

There’s no question that Distortion Pedals are a key component of metal music. They give the heavy, brutal sound that is so essential in this genre. With so many different Distortion Pedals on the market, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. This article will discuss the different types of Distortion Pedals available and recommend some of the best models for metal music. This comprehensive guide with reviews of the top Distortion Pedals will help you find the perfect pedal for your metal sound.

TC Electronic EQ Effects Pedal

The TC Electronic EQ Effects Pedal is the perfect way to control your sound and achieve the perfect tone. With four knobs for extensive tonal tweaking, true bypass, and a wide range of sounds, this pedal will provide you with all the control you need to dial in your tone.

The Voicing switch also allows you to choose between vintage and modern tones, while the analog-drive circuit provides extreme dynamic range and lively response. And if that’s not enough, there are also two bands of EQ for even more tone shaping options. Plus, the Multiband or Hard noise gate modes give you creative side chaining options for even more sonic possibilities.

Pros
  • provides control of gain, level, bass and treble;
  • four-knob interface for extensive tonal tweaking;
  • true bypass;
  • super-wide range of sounds;
  • with zero loss of tone;
  • with a Voicing switch;
  • analog-drive circuit;
  • extreme dynamic range;
  • two-band EQ;
  • provides vintage-voiced distortion;
  • ensures sound with lively response;
  • state-of-the-art Multiband or Hard noise gate modes;
  • provides creative side chaining.

Cons
  • has a sloppy distortion;
  • low gain.


JIM DUNLOP MXR M75 Super Badass® Distortion Pedal

The MXR M75 Super Badass distortion pedal is the perfect choice for players who need highly responsive full spectrum distortion with lots of basses, mid, and treble control.

This 100% analog device provides tight knobs, a MID knob that cuts or boosts midrange frequencies, and an ultra-wide range of distortion gain. You’ll also appreciate the true bypass feature and the articulate sound without muddy lows. Plus, there are onboard effects like crunch, blues, and burn to give you even more tonal options.
The Gain control knob is sensitive enough to let you dial in just the right amount of distortion while the reliable metal housing ensures your pedal will withstand even the heaviest use. And don’t forget about the AC power supply or 9V battery operation.

Pros
  • highly responsive full spectrum distortion;
  • provides bass, mid and treble controls;
  • 100% analog device;
  • tight knobs;
  • MID knob cuts or boosts midrange frequencies;
  • ultra-wide range of distortion gain;
  • true bypass;
  • articulation without the muddy lows;
  • onboard effects: crunch, blues, burn;
  • sensitive Gain control knob;
  • highly tweakable three-band equalizer;
  • reliable metal housing;
  • AC power supply or 9V battery;
  • BASS knob cuts or boosts low frequencies.

Cons
  • too much gain;
  • not enough clarity.


BOSS Mega Distortion Guitar Pedal (MD-2)

The BOSS Mega Distortion Guitar Pedal will take your metal and hard rock playing to the next level. This pedal produces an extreme low-end distortion that is perfect for modern metal and hard rock.

It features a balanced frequency response, so you can fine-tune the tone to perfectly match your 6 or 7-string guitar. The gain boost sustains regardless of level, ensuring that your solos will always stand out.
And if things get too heavy, the Bottom control lets you reign in the distortion without losing any impact. With its special dual-stage distortion circuit and 5-year warranty from BOSS, this pedal is built to withstand even the heaviest playing styles.

Pros
  • produces extreme low-end distortion;
  • for playing modern metal and hard rock;
  • matched to 6 or 7-string guitars;
  • balance between high and low frequencies;
  • gain boost sustains regardless of level;
  • Bottom control for bottom-heavy distortion;
  • adjusts balance between high and low frequencies;
  • a special dual-stage distortion circuit;
  • 5-year warranty from BOSS;
  • light indication Check;
  • input jack and output jack: 1/4-inch phone type
  • DC IN jack;
  • can be powered by a separate 9V battery;
  • rated output level: -20 dB;
  • works with all amps.

Cons
  • comes without cords, power or patch cable;
  • without adapter.


Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe Distortion Pedal, PINNACLEDELUXE model

Welcome to the pinnacle of distortion pedals! The Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe is a high-gain, crunchy pedal that’s built by hand and features a powder-coated finish for durability.

This pedal captures the classic “Brown Sound” and adds a healthy dose of gain to take your tone to new levels of distortion. The frequency emphasis on the highs can be adjusted to your liking, and an internal volume adjustment ensures you can set it to “11” without blowing out your eardrums.
Plus, there’s even an additional volume adjustment so you can tailor the gain structure to your own specific needs. And if that wasn’t enough, this pedal also has a foot-switchable boost switch and completely true bypass circuitry. Rock on!

Pros
  • high-gain, crunchy pedal;
  • hand-built model;
  • powder-coated durable finish;
  • captures the classic “Brown Sound”;
  • adds a dose of gain;
  • crunchy and dynamic pedal;
  • adjusts the frequency emphasis on the highs;
  • battery connection and 9-V power jack;
  • with extremely tweakable EQ;
  • foot-switchable boost switch;
  • internal volume adjustment to set it to “11”;
  • completely true bypass;
  • Boss barrel plug;
  • alters gain structure to take it from overdrive to distortion;
  • with an additional, internal volume adjustment;
  • interacts substantially with the Contour knob and Vint./Modern switch.

Cons
  • introduces a small amount of noise into the channel;
  • without cords.


Blackstar HT-METAL Guitar Effects Pedal

The Blackstar HT-METAL Guitar Effects Pedal is the perfect choice for any musician looking for an authentic valve design in a pedal format.

Fully equipped for stage or studio, this pedal offers two channels of operation, cascaded valve gain stages, and extreme gain and tone. The patented infinite shape feature allows you to dial in the perfect tone, while the emulated output speaker gives you a clean sound with overdrive and super high gain options.
The power supply is included, and silent switching ensures that your performance won’t be disturbed by noise issues. With three-band EQ and unique enhanced tone controls, the HT-METAL pedal is perfect for shaping your sound.

Pros
  • genuine valve design;
  • fully equipped for stage or studio;
  • 2-channel operation;
  • operates at 300V HT;
  • cascaded valve gain stages;
  • extreme gain and tone;
  • patented infinite shape feature;
  • responds like a valve amp;
  • emulated output speaker;
  • provides clean, overdrive and super high gain;
  • power supply included;
  • silent switching;
  • three-band EQ;
  • unique enhanced tone controls;
  • high integrity buffered bypass.

Cons
  • can produce sizzle with increasing volume;
  • without cable to connect to the network.


Buyer’s Guide

Why Use A Distortion Pedal?

If you are a guitarist and want to create a metal sound, distortion is the essential pedal you need to use. It can make your clean tone into a thick and powerful distorted guitar sound. This effect is used by all-metal players from beginner to advanced.

Distortion Pedals are a great way to add grit, sustain, and volume to your guitar tone. They can be used to create heavier sounding rhythms or solos, and are an essential tool for metal players.

These devices can be used to mimic the sound of a tube amplifier being overdriven or to add their unique character to your tone.
You should also know that distortion pedals can be used to create a wide variety of other tones, such as classic rock, punk, and even blues. It can be possible due to the various controls that distortion pedals offer.

Distortion Pedals can come in two types: Solid State and Tube. The most common type is solid-state, which uses transistors to produce the distortion effect. Tube distortion pedals contain vacuum tubes that add natural overdrive and warmth to the signal. They are generally more expensive and are usually found in boutique pedals [1].

Analog and Digital Distortion Pedals

Distortion Pedals can be divided into two categories: Analog and Digital. Analog pedals produce a warmer, more natural sound, while digital pedals offer more options and flexibility. Many metalheads prefer analog pedals for their heavier tone, but digital pedals are gaining in popularity due to their greater range of sounds.

The main features of Analog Distortion Pedals are:

  • True Bypass: This means that the pedal does not alter your guitar’s tone when it is turned off.
  • Analog Circuitry: The circuitry of an analog distortion pedal is based on transistors and op-amps, which gives the pedal a warmer sound than digital pedals.
  • Nonlinear Tonality: An analog distortion pedal will distort your signal in unpredictable ways, adding to the heavy tone of metal music.

The main features of Digital Distortion Pedals are:

  • Presets: A digital distortion pedal can store presets for different sounds, allowing you to quickly change between them.
  • Modulation Effects: Many digital distortion pedals include modulation effects such as flanger, chorus, and phaser. These effects can be used to create metal sounds that are unique to digital pedals.
  • Controls: Digital distortion pedals typically have more controls than analog pedals, allowing you to fine-tune your sound.

Analog and Digital Distortion Pedals

Which type of Distortion Pedal is right for you? It depends on your personal preferences and the type of music you want to play. If you’re looking for a heavy, classic metal tone, then an analog pedal is probably best for you. If you want more flexibility in terms of sounds and effects, or if you play a range of styles including metal, then a digital pedal may be the better option [2].

How to Choose a Metal Distortion Pedal?

When looking for the best distortion pedal for metal, there are a few things to keep in mind. The most important factors are the tone and amount of distortion you need.

Another thing to consider is how versatile the pedal is. A good pedal should be able to produce a range of tones, from classic rock to death metal.

Finally, you’ll also want to think about price and durability. You don’t want to have to replace your pedal every month, so it’s important to find one that will last.

How Does The Pedal Sound?

When looking for a distortion pedal, the sound is important. You want to find a pedal that will give you the tone you’re looking for.

Many metalheads prefer pedals with a high amount of distortion. If this is what you’re after, then look for pedals with names like “metal zone” or “extreme distortion.” Metal Zone pedals are usually designed for heavier genres of music, such as death metal and thrash metal. If you’re looking for a classic rock tone, then you may want to consider pedals with less distortion.

Extreme Distortion means just that – these pedals will give you the most distortion possible. They’re great for shredding solos and metal rhythms, but they may not be suitable for every genre of music.

If you want a more classic rock sound, look for pedals with less distortion.
Pedals with names like “overdrive” or “distortion” should work well. Overdrive pedals are designed to produce the classic rock tone that is so popular among guitarists. You should also consider pedals with multiple distortion options. This way, you can find the perfect tone for your music.

How Does The Pedal Sound?

No matter what type of metalhead you are, it’s important to try out different pedals and see which one sounds best to you [3].

All About The Mids

When it comes to distortion pedals, the mids are important. The mids determine how much punch and clarity you get from your tone.

If you want a powerful distortion pedal with lots of bites, then look for pedals with a lot of mids. This will give you that heavy metal tone you’re looking for. Conversely, if you want a classic rock sound, then look for pedals with fewer mids. This will give you a warmer tone that is perfect for blues and classic rock music. The warm tone of a pedal with fewer mids is also great for jazz.

Again, it’s important to try out different pedals and see which one gives you the tone you want. Be sure to listen to the distortion pedal in a band setting, so you can get an idea of how it will sound when you’re playing with other instruments.

EQ Parameters and Features

When looking for a distortion pedal, it’s important to consider the EQ parameters. This will help you find the perfect pedal for your music. EQ is short for equalization, and it’s the process of adjusting the tone of a sound.

Most distortion pedals have three EQ parameters: bass, mids, and treble.
These settings allow you to adjust the tone of your sound. For example, if you want more bass in your tone, then increase the bass setting on your pedal. Conversely, if you want less bass in your tone, decrease the bass setting.

Some distortion pedals also have additional EQ parameters. These can include things like presence or resonance. Presence affects how present the distortion is in your tone. Resonance determines how much high-end is added to your distortion.

It’s important to consider these additional EQ parameters when looking for a distortion pedal. They can help you find the perfect tone for your music.

Some distortion pedals also have built-in effects. These can include things like reverb, delay, and chorus. If you’re looking for a pedal with lots of effects, then be sure to consider pedals with this feature.

Some pedals have more or less bass, while others have more or less treble. You also need to think about the gain and level controls on the pedal. The gain control determines how much distortion you get, while the level control adjusts the overall volume of the pedal.

Many metalheads prefer pedals with a lot of bass and treble. The extra bass gives your tone that heavy sound you’re looking for, while the extra treble adds clarity and punch. If you want a classic rock tune, then look for pedals with fewer bass and treble frequencies.

Build Quality

When shopping for a distortion pedal, it’s important to consider the build quality. The last thing you want is a pedal that breaks down on stage.

Most distortion pedals are made from metal or plastic. Metal pedals are heavier, but they also tend to be more durable. Plastic pedals are lighter, but they may not be as durable as metal pedals. Your choice can depend on your playing style. It means that you can use it for gigs.

Build Quality

It’s also important to consider the footswitch. Some pedals have a stomp switch, while others have a toe switch. The stomp switch is easier to use, but the toe switch is more durable.

Finally, you need to think about the power supply. Most distortion pedals use a standard nine-volt battery, but some pedals require an adapter. Be sure to check the power requirements before making your purchase.

Price Range

Distortion pedals can range in price from around $30 to $300. It’s important to consider your budget when shopping for a distortion pedal.

If you’re on a tight budget, then consider pedals in the lower price range. These pedals typically have fewer features, but they still offer great tone options.

If you have a bit more money to spend, then consider pedals in the mid-price range. These pedals offer more features and flexibility than lower-priced pedals.

Finally, if you want the best of the best, then consider pedals in the high price range. These pedals offer incredible tone options and lots of flexibility. They also tend to be durable and reliable.

Is There A Difference Between Metal Distortion Pedals & Other Distortion Pedals?

The short answer is yes. Metal distortion pedals are designed to provide a more aggressive and heavier tone, whereas other distortion pedals can be used for a wider range of genres.

That said, there are many metal distortion pedals on the market that can cater to a wide variety of players and styles. So it ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a pedal.

Other Distortion Pedals include:

  • Blues distortion pedals: Designed to provide a warm, vintage sound for blues and classic rock players.
  • Fuzz pedals: Originally designed to replicate the tones of old transistor radios, fuzz pedals can be used for a variety of genres including metal, punk, and grunge.
  • Overdrive pedals: Often confused with distortion pedals, overdrive pedals are designed to provide an ‘overdriven’ tone that is popular in classic rock and blues music.

Your choice can depend on what style of music you’re playing and the type of sound you are after. It means that if you’re looking for a metal distortion pedal, it might be worth checking out some of the popular metal-specific pedals on the market. However, if you’re after a pedal that can do it all, there are also many great multi-purpose distortion pedals available. These all-purpose models often have more features and options, giving you greater flexibility to dial in the perfect tone [4].

Things to remember when buying guitar pedals for metal

Choosing The Right Pedal When Playing Metal

Distortion pedals come in all shapes and sizes and can provide you with different effects while playing music, so it’s important to find the right one for your playing style.

There are a few things you should consider before purchasing a distortion pedal: the type of music you play, the sound you’re looking for, and your budget. If you’re into heavier styles of metal such as death or black metal, then you might want to look for a pedal that offers more saturation and distortion.

On the other hand, if you prefer thrash or power metal, then you may want something with less distortion for a brighter tone. Keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to distortion pedals, so experiment until you find the right one for you.

Minimizing The Effect Of Gain On Your Tone

One common issue that metal players face is unwanted noise and feedback when using Distortion Pedals. This can be caused by the pedal’s gain knob, which amplifies the signal going into the pedal.

To minimize this effect, try turning down your guitar’s volume control a bit before hitting the distortion pedal. This will help “clean up” your sound and make it less noisy. You may also want to experiment with different settings on the pedal itself until you find one that suits your taste. Among other effects, distortion pedals can also be used to create a unique tone for your guitar.

Getting the Right Pedal for Your Style

It can be tough to find the right pedal when there are so many different options on the market. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a distortion pedal:

  • What type of music do you want to play?
  • How much distortion do you need?
  • Do you want any other effects besides distortion?

Once you’ve answered these questions, it will be easier to start narrowing down your choices. For example, if you’re into death metal, then you might want to look for a pedal that offers lots of saturation and distortion. On the other hand, if you prefer thrash or power metal, then something with less distortion may be more suitable.

Getting the Right Pedal for Your Style

Keep in mind that each player has their playing style and it’s important to find the pedal that suits you, not someone else. Playing style can be understood as the music you want to make.

If You’re Into Heavier Styles of Metal:

  • Try looking for a pedal that offers more saturation and distortion.
  • Turn down your guitar’s volume control before hitting the pedal to clean up your sound.
  •  Experiment with different settings until you find one that suits your taste.

If You Prefer Thrash or Power Metal:

  • Look for a pedal with less distortion for a brighter tone.
  • Keep in mind that each player has their playing style, so find the pedal that suits you.

The Distortion Pedals for jazz are different from the Distortion Pedals for metal. The differences can be in how much distortion is used, what type of distortion is used, and if other effects are included.


FAQ

What is the best Distortion Pedal for heavy metal?

There is no definitive answer to this question as different people prefer different pedals for their styles. However, some of the most popular distortion pedals for metal include the Boss Metal Zone MT-Z, Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer, and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi.

What pedal should I use for metal?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, some pedals that are popular among metal players provide a thick, aggressive distortion tone that can be perfect for metal music. Moreover, many of these pedals also have extra features, such as built-in gain boosts or EQ adjustments, that can help you fine-tune your tone to perfection.

What distortion pedal did Metallica use?

There is no definitive answer to this question as Metallica has used a variety of distortion pedals throughout their career. However, some of the most popular pedals that have been suggested include the Boss DS-one, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808, and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi.

What pedals did Kurt Cobain use?

Again, there is no definitive answer to this question as Kurt Cobain used a variety of different distortion pedals throughout his career. However, some of the most popular pedals that have been suggested include the Boss DS-one and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi.

What distortion pedal does Ola Englund use?

Ola Englund, the guitarist for The Haunted and former member of Feared, uses a variety of different distortion pedals in his rig. However, some of the pedals that have been suggested include the Boss DS-one and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi.

What is the difference between a Distortion Pedal and an overdrive pedal?

Distortion pedals provide a much more aggressive, heavier distortion tone than overdrive pedals. As such, they are often used by metal players to get that thick, crushing sound. Overdrive pedals, on the other hand, offer a more natural-sounding distortion that can be great for blues and rock music.

How do you get a modern metal tone?

There is no definitive answer to this question. However, some tips that can help you get a modern metal tone include using a distortion pedal with a lot of gains, using high-output pickups in your guitar, and turning up the bass and mid frequencies on your amp. Additionally, experiment with different pedals and settings until you find the sound that you are looking for.

What is a good cheap distortion pedal?

There is no definitive answer to this question as different people have different preferences for distortion pedals. However, some good cheap distortion pedals include the Boss DS-one, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808, and Electro-Harmonix Big Muff Pi. These pedals offer a great tone at a fraction of the price of some of the more expensive options.

How do I choose a Distortion Pedal?

First, consider what type of music you want to use the pedal for. Distortion pedals provide a variety of different tones, so make sure that you find one that will fit your style. Additionally, consider how many features the pedal has and whether those features are important to you. Finally, always try out different pedals before purchasing to see which one sounds best to your ears.

How many Distortion Pedals do I need?

Again, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, most guitarists only need one distortion pedal to achieve the tone they are looking for. Additionally, using multiple distortion pedals can lead to a lot of sound-clashing and noise, so it is generally best to stick with one pedal if possible.

Should fuzz go before or after overdrive?

Fuzz pedals should go before overdrive pedals in your signal chain. This is because fuzz pedals add a lot of gain and distortion to your tone, which can overload the circuitry of an overdrive pedal and cause it to distort prematurely. By placing the fuzz pedal first, you ensure that all of the distortions come from the fuzz pedal rather than the overdrive.

What order should my pedals be in?

There is no definitive answer to this question as different people have different preferences for pedal order. However, a good starting point is to put the distortion pedal first in your chain, followed by the overdrive, then modulation, time-based effects, and finally spatial effects. This order will ensure that your distorted tones come first, followed by more natural-sounding tones.

How complex do you want your distortion pedal?

Distortion pedals come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, with some offering more features than others. If you want a pedal that has a lot of controls to shape your tone, then choose one of the more complex options. However, if you just want a basic pedal to provide an easy-to-use distortion, there are plenty of simpler pedals available as well.

What’s the difference between fuzz, overdrive, and distortion?

Fuzz pedals provide a very heavy and distorted tone, whereas overdrive pedals offer a more natural-sounding distortion. Distortion pedals are a combination of fuzz and overdrive, providing a much more aggressive sound than either pedal on its own. Additionally, overdrive pedals tend to be used for blues and rock music, while distortion pedals are often used by metal players.

Is a pedal with loads of settings and knobs better than one with only a few?

This is entirely up to personal preference. Some guitarists prefer pedals with a lot of controls so that they can precisely shape their tone, while others find too many options overwhelming and prefer a simpler pedal. The choice can depend on the type of music you are playing and the sound you are looking for.

Useful Video: BEST METAL DISTORTION PEDAL

Conclusion Paragraph

So, if you are a metalhead looking for the best Distortion Pedals to help you create your signature sound, this guide is for you. The Distortion Pedals are the devices that you plug into your guitar to change its sound. There are many different types of distortion pedals on the market.

This article has outlined some of the most popular pedals on the market and what they can do for your music. But remember, it ultimately comes down to personal preference – so try out as many different types of pedals as possible to find the one that gives you the tone you’re after. 


References:

  1. https://musicianshq.com/why-is-a-distortion-pedal-necessary/
  2. https://mixdownmag.com.au/features/sound-advice-the-difference-between-analogue-and-digital-effects/
  3. https://tonetopics.com/the-8-best-distortion-pedals-for-metal/
  4. https://articles.boss.info/whats-the-difference-between-overdrive-and-distortion/