Featuring three gain stages that you click through with a rocker pedal, the VOD ($249 retail/$175 street) is a bit like having a three-channel amp right at your feet. The “I” shaped rocker is a clever design that allows the controls to be located on top of the unit for easy access. The VOD has concentric Gain and Level knobs for each of its gain stages (which are also indicated by separate LEDs), along with a shared set of Treble, Mid, and Bass controls.

This arrangement allows you to set three different distortion sounds, which—along with the straight sound of your guitar—effectively puts four sounds at your feet. The only bothersome thing is that the rocker switch feels quite stiff and clacky as you notch it between settings. (A second VOD we tested had a much smoother-feeling switch, so maybe somone forgot to lube the mechanism.)

Gig-FX has done a good job of packing a lot of functionality into the VOD, and the distortion sounds it delivers are happening. The pedal doesn’t have a huge amount of output—and the level is somewhat dependent on having all the tone controls turned up—but it’s a good choice for players who use a single-channel amp and would like to be able to instantly go from a mild bluesy grind tone to a heavier crunch sound to a wickedly overdriven lead sound—all without having to jump from one pedal to another, or even between different footswitches on the same pedal. This pedal does more than most stompboxes can manage, making it a cool choice for players who want a lot of options for their money.

Kudos: Provides three different preset distortion sounds. Clever operating system.

Concerns: Stiff rocker switch. Could use more output.

Contact: Gig-FX (978) 263-6432;