As far as drive pedals go, the Gran Torino is relatively modest in its operation, though the effects pedal specialist does stress that this humble stompbox is enough to “enrich the natural sound of your rig with the warm, organic sound of classic tube amps”.
Now, it’s not been confirmed whether this is a like-for-like recreation of the now-discontinued Il Torino, and while there is a slightly reformed control layout (and a snazzy new chassis), the under-the-hood similarities suggest the Gran Torino is indeed a revival of the beloved drive box.
At its core, the Gran Torino once again recruits MOSFET tech in an attempt to harness tube preamp gain structures, which in turn aim to deliver greater dynamic response and touch sensitivity.
The controls have been tweaked, though, if only for appearances. While the Il Torino – which was designed by guest Custom Shop engineer Carlos Sorasio in 2014 – had Treble, Mid and Bass knobs, the Gran Torino instead opts for Hi, Mid and Lo.
This time out, there are also Volume and Gain parameters, which have been drafted in to replace the Il Torino’s own Master and Gain knobs.
Of course, these can all be expected to perform identical functions, and as such the parameter name change looks to be nothing more than a rudimentary refresh. In other words, it looks like the Gran Torino will still steer players to those cherished Il Torino tones.
That much will be aided by the return of the OD/Boost switch, which accesses the pedal's two distinct modes. The first offers “smooth, mellow overdrive”, while the latter is all about cleaner notes and richer sustain.
Other appointments worth noting include the Class A low impedance output driver to preserve signal chain integrity.
Of its latest release, MXR says, “The Gran Torino Boost Overdrive amplifies and enriches the natural sound of your rig with the warm, organic sound of classic tube amps, from clean boosting with rich sustain to smooth, mellow overdrive.
“Get the MXR Gran Torino Boost Overdrive for organic boosting and goosing that you can tweak to match any rig.”
It looks to be a pretty savvy release from MXR, which is clearly catering to those who have been clamoring for the Il Torino’s return over the past few years. However, here comes the catch: the Gran Torino is also limited edition.
That means, if you’ve been waiting for its return, you’ll have to be quick off the line to avoid missing out again.
The MXR Gran Torino will be available for $150 on May 1.