The Hard/Soft switch is subtle, but useful. It ups the gain and presence response in the Hard setting, while Soft gently tames the upper reaches of the high end and ever so slightly rolls back the pedal’s overall gain structure. If you’re looking for beaucoup output to slam the front end of your amp, the Gain Stage Red doesn’t really do that. It has a healthy amount of output, but low Gain/high Volume settings don’t yield any booster- type effects. In fact, my fave tones were everything all the way up and the switch set to Hard. This allowed me to take advantage of the Stage’s excellent dynamic response by riding my guitar’s volume knob to vary the amount of distortion. And since the pedal’s treble is so musical, you can conjure some super-sweet clean-ish tones with just a touch of hair. Pretty impressive.
Kudos: Extremely musical grind with a gorgeous treble response and throaty mids.
Concerns: Could use more output.