Review: Ashdown Engineering NM2 Double Distortion Pedal

A big issue with bass effect pedals — especially distortion — is not losing low-end definition.

One minute you’re playing nice with the guitarists in your band. The next minute you’re trying hard to not get lost in the mix.

It’s not just you; it happens to the best of us, even Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters, who has to battle with Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and Dave Grohl.

Ashdown Engineering just released the NM-2 Nate Mendel Double Distortion pedal. It’s a multi-functioning pedal that offers two distortion tones that you can switch on and off through one or two amplifiers. The standout feature is this pedal's simplicity. It’s basically two distortion pedals with only level and drive knobs. There’s absolutely no EQ on this pedal.

Take a minute ... take deep breaths. This is a good thing; it keeps things honest and protects you from those low-end-robbing thieves out there!

The knobs from left to right are: Input (how much of your signal enters the pedal), Drive Mix 1 (distortion level for channel 1), Master 1 (master volume for channel 1), Drive Mix 2 (distortion level for channel 2) and Master 2 (master volume for channel 2). There are also a few toggle switches on the NM2 — a meter on/off switch, a 10dB boost for channel 2 and the option to bridge both distortions.

The meter isn’t just for show. Often, distortion sounds louder than it really is. When you stomp on the distortion, you want people to know it! The meter lets you accurately compare your levels between all three channels (bypassed clean, distortion 1 and distortion 2).

Some less exciting, but worthwhile features: The NM2 can be powered by a 9-volt battery or a negative center pin 9-volt power supply. There are two output jacks, which allow you to use one or two amplifiers. The chassis is made of durable aluminum, which should handle some casual abuse.

The Clips: These were probably the most fun clips I’ve ever made. On the right side, I had my Hartke LH1000 into a Hydrive 4x10 cab. On the left, I had a Gallien Krueger 400RB into an Ampeg SVT cab. My bass of choice was a Fender American Standard Jazz bass.

Clip 1: Both amp setups in stereo with the pedal bypassed.

Clip 2: The right side is still set to clean; the left side has a light overdrive on.

Clip 3: Both sides distorted.

Clip 4: The pedal only plugged into one amp in mono with the Drive cranked up and played with a pick.

Street price: $169

You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at

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