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Is there a great sounding, all-purpose, analogue distortion pedal that will go from a light overdrive to metal tones?

I recently replaced the speaker in my main amp and have cleans that put a big smile on my face. However, the cost was reduced gain on the lead channel – and I need (want?) more.

So it’s time to consider adding a distortion pedal and of course the choices and flavours seem to be endless.

I may have to go with one or more pedals but would prefer to go with a single box if possible and not a digital multi-effects unit.

Any suggestions?
 

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Dr. Scientist Elements would work really well for you. There's a boost section based off of the Cleanness, it can do very low OD, all the way to crazy distortion bordering on fuzz territory. It's super versatile.
The Elements is a tweaker's dream! You can do everything dirt wise.
If you prefer simple controls, the Rat is the best do it all distortion! :)
 

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Used Visual Sound V2 Jekyll and Hyde. I got the newer version one for $60 off Kijiji. It is still home plate shaped. The new company is Trutone and they are now regular rectangular shaped.

 

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Depends how much gain you want. My OCD covers me for anything I will want to do, including black dahlia murder style stuff.
 

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I use the Stephenson Stage Hog.

Actually a one-watt vacuum tube amp producing pre-amp tube AND power-amp tube distortion, which then drives your big amp. Expensive. The best. Still might not be what you want.

Just saying I spent more money experimenting with solid state stuff than the Stage Hog costs. Hard to find one to try in real life, which you definitely want to do before parting with the money. It is an EXTREMELY flexible unit, I will say, by way of encouragement, if you are considering the plunge.

There is a lot of nice solid state stuff out there. The Van Weeldon Royal Overdrive seemed fantastic in the YouTube, but it is as expensive as the Stage Hog.

Also impressed with the EArthquaker Palisades via YouTube. Half the price.

What is the budget?
 

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The Elements is a tweaker's dream! You can do everything dirt wise.
If you prefer simple controls, the Rat is the best do it all distortion! :)
A Rat is often overlooked for it's low gain attributes. A great all around pedal.
 

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There are pedals, like the Rat and OCD that cover a wide drive/gain range, and have enough output to push an amp hard without introducing too much distortion themselves. They cover a wide range, but really it's one sound with different degrees of druive and some variation introduced with EQ. Then there are pedals that employ different "distortion engines", such that a variety of qualitatively different tones and feels can be produced. The Brothers, Multidrive, Analog Drive, and Jekyll and Hyde are examples of that. I would agree that the Analogman King of Tone is also one.

I have a rack unit at home almost completed, where I went through my large schematic collection and assembled a dozen qualitatively different distortion engines from the last 50 years, that could be used one or two at a time, in any combination of series or parallel.
 

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Why don't you want to go with a digital effects unit?
 

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Steadly, Steadly, Steadly! There are a whole lot of things that digital does exceptionally well. But unless one is willing to spend big, distortion is not one of them. It's getting there, but it ain't there yet.
So what is the lowest cost unit in your opinion that "does" it?
 

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I think digital is there. For the sake of argument let's say its a different "there".
It's a super subjective topic and you'll probably change your mind a hundred times so good luck in your search.
 
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