DigiTech DF-7 Distortion Factory

One of two modeling pedals in this roundup, the DigiTech DF-7 Distortion Factory ($150 retail/$100 street), packs seven pedal models based on various classic workhorse units—the Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer, DOD Overdrive/Preamp 250, Boss DS-1 Distortion, Pro Co Rat, Boss MT-2 Metal Zone, DigiTech Metal Master, and the Electro-Harmonix Big Muff.

The DF-7’s EQ, which is stealthily placed on concentric knobs, consists of Low, High, and Mid, with a Mid Frequency knob that adjusts the center frequency from 200Hz to 5kHz. For a bit of authenticity, the High control changes from its normal boost/cut configuration to a standard tone circuit on the TS-9, DS-1, and Big Muff models, and then into an active filter for the Rat model. As with the rest of DigiTech’s X-Series pedals, the DF-7 has two outputs—one standard (for connecting to your amp) and one speaker simulated. But wait, there’s also a Flexible Output Mode, which upon power-up give you a choice of three preset output schemes. Depending on which you select, you can run the speaker-simulated out to a mixer and the standard out to an amp, use both outs to drive a dual amp setup (sans speaker modeling), or activate speaker modeling on both outs.

The DF-7’s models are way in the ballpark of the originals, but the real fun begins when you start exploring the DF’s tone shaping capabilities, which are beyond anything the original pedals could provide. For example, messing with the sweepable mids on the Big Muff model yields some pretty sick-ass sounds—from Iommi on steroids to sweet, flute-like Eric Johnson timbres, to Davie Allan-style trashiness—while the ability to turn up the bass frequencies on the Tube Screamer model will quiet the throngs who bum at the puke-green classic’s lack of booty. A particularly hip model is the DOD Overdrive/Preamp 250, which excels at adding just a tad bit of hair and high-end bite to whatever (preferably tube) amplifier you plug into. All of the models are dynamic to your touch, and they acquiesce to the wishes of your guitar’s volume or tone knobs. All in all, it’s tough to argue with how much firepower the Distortion Factory brings to the table.