The redheaded stepchild of the bunch is the RD1 Rock Distortion
($79 retail/$39 street). Residing in a sonic purgatory between
the MD1 Metal Distortion and TO1 Tube Overdrive, the RD1’s
sound is reminiscent of a Marshall JCM 800, albeit without the
tube dynamics and personality. The MD1’s low-to-medium-gain
tones sound good, but the more you lean on the Gain knob, the
more biting the distortion gets—which may or may not be a good
thing, depending on what you’re after. The first half of the Tone
control’s range really thickens up single-coils, which I found very
useful with my Strat, and beyond the two o’clock setting it adds
a nice bite to humbuckers. The only bummer about the RD1 was
that I had to crank the Level control to more than two-thirds to
match unity gain, which doesn’t leave much volume headroom
for boosting solos.
KUDOS Good amp-style distortion.
CONCERNS Anemic output.
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