Review: Decibel Eleven Dirt Clod Distortion Pedal — Video

It’s not uncommon to see four, five or even 10 different distortion effects in many guitarists’ pedal boards these days.

But in addition to weighing a ton and taking up a lot of room on a crowded pedal board, having that many pedals can cost as much as a good amp.

If you wish to explore a wide variety of distortion tones but don’t want to spend a fortune or break your back hauling around a mission control-sized pedal rig, the Decibel Eleven Dirt Clod distortion pedal offers a versatile and affordable alternative with its ability to save ten different presets.

FEATURES In essence, the Decibel Eleven Dirt Clod combines analog distortion circuitry with digital control. The pedal features four simple but versatile controls that allow users to dial in a variety of overdrive and distortion tones. The Dirt knob controls gain, and when it is pressed down it toggles between a thick, heavy distortion that can be pushed to fuzz-like grit and a compressed, focused distortion that is ideal for smooth, singing solos. The Core knob controls the amount of midrange boost or cut, and the Crystal knob performs in a similar fashion but on treble frequencies. The Mass knob controls the output level and provides a significant amount of boost when turned all the way up.

Two footswitches on the top panel allow users to toggle between two different presets in bank mode or scroll through up to 10 presets in preset mode. Preset or bank mode is selected upon powering up the pedal. Users can also limit the number of presets accessed in case they want to scroll through only two, three or four presets instead of all ten. MIDI In and Thru jacks allow the use of a MIDI controller to select presets or control any of the knob settings.

PERFORMANCE While the Dirt Clod is very versatile, its operation is simple and elegant. Saving sounds and accessing modes requires little more than holding down a knob or footswitch for a few seconds. The names on the knobs may be a little colorful, but once you’ve used them it’s easy to remember they’re basically gain, midrange, treble and level controls.

The Dirt Clod’s overdrive and distortion tones are very satisfying sonically, producing everything from bluesy grit to modern metal punch and speaker-ripping fuzz. The tone controls are somewhat conservatively voiced, so no matter where you set them the tone always remains clear and well defined.

MANUFACTURER Decibel Eleven,

Preset mode provides access to up to ten different presets, while bank mode allows users to switch back and forth between two different presets.

Two different distortion characteristics are accessible by pressing down on the Dirt control knob.

THE BOTTOM LINE Providing instant access to up to ten different distortion presets, the Decibel Eleven Dirt Clod is the perfect solution for overdrive and distortion junkies who love to explore a wide variety of tones and textures.

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Chris Gill, Video by Paul Riario

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.