“Kudos to Jack White and Donner for creating this great-sounding and affordable piece of hardware”: Donner Triple Threat review

Donner/Third Man Hardware Triple Threat pedal
(Image credit: Third Man)

Combining three analog effects in a small package with a low price tag makes the Triple Threat an outsider among today’s boutique boxes. However, it all makes sense considering that Jack White conceived this sleek little multi-effector for his Third Man Hardware line, partnering with Donner to produce the pedal in China. 

Offered in standard black and limited-edition yellow finishes, the Triple Threat features distortion, phaser, and echo effects that are arranged in right-to-left stompbox order, each of which can be controlled with a trio of small knobs. There’s volume, gain and tone for distortion; level, rate, and depth for phaser; and level, feedback (repeats), and time for echo. 

Yellow rubber surrounds on the knobs make them easy to grip and more identifiable on the black top panel. Even though they’re close together, I didn’t find it a problem to reach down and turn them in live situations. Roughly the size of a TV remote, the aluminum-alloy enclosure has front-mounted input and output jacks, a center-negative jack for the included nine-volt adapter, and an LED above each foot switch to indicate on/off.

Donner/Third Man Hardware Triple Threat pedal

The Triple Threat is offered in standard black and limited-edition yellow (Image credit: Third Man)

With a circuit that delivers quality tones without excessive noise, the Triple Threat’s distortion is easy to dial in for lead and dirty rhythm, and it was responsive to the volume controls on our test guitars, which included an Epiphone Joe Bonamassa 1963 SG Custom and a PRS SE Swamp Ash Special that’s armed with a variety of humbucker and single-coil options. 

The Threat’s gain is in the range of an SD-9 and pedals of that ilk, and there was plenty of output to overdrive the amps we used it with: a Fender Deluxe Reverb and ’48 Dual Professional, and a Vox AC15. 

I liked leaving the distortion on and going between clean and grind by riding the guitar volume, and the pedal’s tone knob could also be turned down quite low for creamy distortion that didn’t sacrifice clarity. The circuit doesn’t impart a lot of midrange color either, which allowed the guitars’ distinctive personalities to come through, even at high gain levels. 

The phaser is a good choice here, and I like how you can set it for stony MXR Phase 90/EHX Small Stone swirl, as well as shimmering sounds that can nudge into chorus and rotary territory, depending on how you set the depth and rate controls. 

The effect has the analog sweetness that’s so vibey and cool when used to round off the highs like Eddie Van Halen would, adding color and meaty texture in doing so. The circuit does suck signal, so it’s nice that there’s a level control you can adjust to keep from losing punch when the phase is kicked on.

Donner/Third Man Hardware Triple Threat pedal

(Image credit: Third Man)

The all-essential effect here is echo, and it’s a good one as it’s bone simple and effective, offering warm, tape-style delays that can be dialed in for everything from short, reflective, and slap-back effects to ambient echoes of up to 600ms that fade out with progressively grainy repeats. These can be made to trail on endlessly when you want to create spacey sound effects by manipulating the time and level knobs. 

Note that the latter only adjusts echo volume and does not boost output. Here’s where a dedicated output level control would be handy, although the format would have to expand slightly to accommodate it (in which case, why not add a tuner while you’re at it?).

As it stands, though, the Triple Threat is a cool multi-effector, and an ideal thing to put in your gig bag when you need just a few effects in a package that takes up less floor space than a lot of single-effect pedals. Kudos to Jack White and Donner for creating this great-sounding and affordable piece of hardware that nabs an Editors’ Pick Award. 

Donner Triple Threat – Specifications

CONTACT Third Man Records

PRICES Standard edition $99. Limited edition, $129 

CONTROLS Distortion: volume, gain, tone. Phaser: level, rate, depth. Echo: level, feedback, time

I/O Input, output, 9VDC power jack (adapter included)

FOOT SWITCH Three all-metal on/off foot switches with buffered bypass

EXTRAS Aluminum housing. Soft rubber surrounds on the knobs make them easy to grip

SIZE 7.5” x 2.5” wide x 1.0” tall (LxWxH)

WEIGHT .78 lb


KUDOS Small, elegant design that offers three good-sounding effects 


Art Thompson
Senior Editor

Art Thompson is Senior Editor of Guitar Player magazine. He has authored stories with numerous guitar greats including B.B. King, Prince and Scotty Moore and interviewed gear innovators such as Paul Reed Smith, Randall Smith and Gary Kramer. He also wrote the first book on vintage effects pedals, Stompbox. Art's busy performance schedule with three stylistically diverse groups provides ample opportunity to test-drive new guitars, amps and effects, many of which are featured in the pages of GP.