MXR M104 Distortion+
MXR M104 Distortion+
content in English
pdecirce 02/08/2008

MXR M104 Distortion+ : Recensione di pdecirce (content in English)


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MXR is one of the best of the analog pedal companies, both in their sturdy metal box design and the uniqueness of their sounds. This pedal contains the similar thin sturdy steel design with a simple in out 1/4 on either side. There are two knobs, the left is gain or volume the right is 'distortion.' Please note that there have been many versions of this little box made; I believe there was a corporate shift during the 80s and it is desirable to find the original MXR analog pedals. I found this one in a music shop in '07 for $100.00 and it was a deal. The originals are super rare and are considered the 'godfather' in 80s metal and hard rock. The one I'm reviewing is an original from 1981 and is essentially the same exact pedal Eddie Van Halen would be using during the time. This is a true "Fuzz Box," before the tone was called that. It was just DISTORTION +. Interesting, it's got a '+' on it, it means there's more distortion than one without the '+'? Let's find out...


The only problem with this pedal is that it isn't really powerful, or even very useful, at low settings. Undoubtedly there are resistors that can be added to boost the distorted signal (one shop guy added such a transistor to an old Dist+ and showed me the tonal difference), but you've essentially got to 'put it on 10' on both dials to get the magical effect its renowned for. Well, not ten. There's more headroom and tonal space in the last half-inch of dial than in the rest of it. Reasons for this is that whenever tone (i.e. from your pickups and your pick) the pedal catches it kind of squeezes (compresses) and this sort of compartmentalizes the tone, essentially making it 'sound' quieter. So that's what the volume or boost is for. This pedal is almost exclusive to the hard rock, heavy metal, goth/industrial side of things, though if you get a little washy with other settings, you can hear the more progressive side of rock as well. For example in the old prog rock they would kick out some serious fuzzy sustain, probably in combo with this kind of pedal and a delay. It's absolutely sturdy and mine is held together with rubber bands.


Take a gibson SG and run it right through a dist+ into a marshall amp. Put both knobs at about 4:30 on the dial and turn up. Give it a strum...there it will be. Sense-shattering teeth grinding gothic goodness. To test whether this pedal could turn anything at all into a 'heavy metal machine' I ran a thin strung Telecaster into a Blues Junior Fender amp. Not exactly Merciful Fate setup, if you know what I mean. Since Fenders have less 'mid-rangey' tone, they aren't the best choice for 'heavy metal;' well it still completely crushed. Seriously, one of these old pedals in good working order with the right gear and perhaps a tube driver and you won't NEED a distortion channel. You'll have one in your pedal chain already. I'm still trying to get that "Steve Howe" or "Steve Hackett" out of it and for that kind of music it's a little trickier. But for in your face crunch, this little box is stomp-ready.


This is a classic analog pedal, and even if you end up with a newer model, it should be plenty of juice to rock with. The box is indestructible and while it may not be the most diverse of pedals, it's an absolute classic for genres of heavy metal, hard rock and anything with serious grind.