Review: ToneConcepts Distillery Overdrive Pedal
When ToneConcepts set out to make a new stomp box, it did the unthinkable by asking guitarists what they wanted that was missing from the plethora of pedals already on the market.
The result is the Distillery pedal, which, despite its name, does not make vodka or whiskey but rather is a clean boost/overdrive pedal that allows guitarists to brew up their own signature tones.
Observant readers may note that a bajillion clean boost/overdrive pedals are out there already, but the Tone Concepts Distillery is truly different, from the way that it virtually becomes an integrated part of an amp to the incredible variety of natural-sounding tones it delivers.
The Distillery pedal functions as a transparent preamp that provides up to 20dB of adjustable volume boost. It also has controls labeled “guts” and “bleed” that provide an extra gain stage and passive tone control, respectively. The shape circuit—which can be added to the boost function via the shape footswitch—is a versatile filter EQ.
It includes a contour knob that rolls off high frequencies and emphasizes mids as it is turned clockwise, and an edge knob that adjusts the filter’s Q, making the EQ curve’s shape wider as the knob is turned clockwise. Other features include bright-red LEDs that illuminate when the boost and shape sections are engaged, true-bypass switching, mono 1/4-inch input and output jacks, and nine-volt power via either a battery or optional power adapter.
The Distillery’s preamp performs like an extra power amp hitting your amp’s front end, delivering impressive dynamics, crunch and definition without compression or fizz. The Shape section provides an impressive variety of natural tones that can make your guitar sound fatter and warmer or even make humbuckers sound like single-coils. Although the shape section functions differently than most EQ sections and is not immediately intuitive, it encourages guitarists to use their ears rather than their eyes to dial in the tones they want.
STREET PRICE $179
MANUFACTURER Tone Concepts Inc., toneconcepts.com
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Tone Concepts Distillery pedal greatly expands the distortion textures and tonal versatility of a guitar and amp setup while preserving your rig’s basic character and personality.