The world of audio and musical equipment can be a tricky one to navigate at the best of times. With so many different products, conflicting opinions and confusing reviews, it’s hard to know what’s actually the best product for your needs. Luckily, the team at Mixdown have put in the legwork for you, sifting through the spec-sheets and putting the products through their paces to bring you Mixdown’s Picks - a new series of expansive, category defining product guides across our digital channels. Anything that has made the cut has rated highly across the board with the Mixdown staff, garnering a unanimous tick of approval from our staunch critics.
This time around, we're dissecting the huge range of essential effects out there for stage and studio, exploring everything from rugged multi-effects units through to boutique overdrives and vocal plug-ins.
Fender MTG Tube Distortion
Key Features: Fusing flashy chrome-brushed designs with wide-ranging, powerful tones, Fender’s recent run of effects pedals have been of the upmost quality, casting the classic brand in a whole new light in the eyes of many players out there. Their flagship distortion pedal, the MTG Tube Distortion, is proof that the company are heading in the right direction with their new stompboxes, with the So-Cal titans linking up with boutique amp guru Bruce Egnater to deliver a pedal that’s abundant in features and suitable for just about any style of playing you can throw at it.
As any guitarist out there will know, there’s nothing that trumps the sound of an overdriven valve amplifier, and it’s apparent that Fender are big fans of these tones too, integrating an actual NOS US-made 6205 preamp tube into the MTG to provide both its namesake and impeccable sounding distorted tones alike. There’s also a versatile three-band EQ to shape the frequency of your signal, while a Tight control allows you to tweak the low-end’s gain articulation, which is a nifty tool for flicking between rhythm and lead tones. A Level and Gain control lets you sculpt your sound even further, and there’s even an independent boost circuit with its own Level and Gain controls to bump up your signal and slice through the mix.
Elsewhere, the MTG Tube Distortion delivers a sleek, ergonomic chassis, which is made all the more appealing by its brushed finish and the radiant LED amp jewel embedded in the centre of the unit. There’s even a toggle switch on the top of the pedal to toggle the backlit LED knobs on and off, which is a thoughtful touch for anyone using the pedal in a darkened onstage scenario.
Mixdown Says: From spanky clean boosts to chugging overdrives and full-blown, high-gain carnage, the MTG Tube Distortion handles it all. The Tight control is a godsend for shaping the nature of the pedal to suit bluesy solos or crunchy chords, while the independent boost is a welcome feature for when you really want to make a part stick out. Bumping up the mids and tweaking the Gain and Tight control creates a beefy tone that’s suitable for hard rock and alternative styles, and with a humbucker-equipped guitar, you can even achieve a tone that borders on being usable for metal - plus, that 6205 preamp tube sounds incredible.
Overall: With its slick looks, stunning valve-driven tone and Bruce Egnater-aided design, the Fender MTG Tube Distortion would be a welcome addition to any pedalboard - don’t snooze on this one.
Check out the MTG Tube Distortion in greater detail at Fender's website.