Tube Screamer designer Susumu Tamura supercharges the Maxon SD-9

Maxon Super Sonic Distortion Pedal (SSD-9)
(Image credit: Maxon )

Maxon Custom Shop has released the SSD-9 Super Sonic Distortion pedal, which seeks to improve upon the sounds of the stock SD-9.

Designed by Susumu Tamura – the brilliant brain behind the Tube Screamer and former-head engineer at Maxon – the pedal was conceptualized as a loud, full-frequency, amp-like drive pedal with fantastic note articulation.

Described as a "happy accident", development on the SSD-9 began when Tamura dove into fusion great Scott Henderson's rig to find out how the SD-9 interacted with the rest of his pedalboard.

Taking onboard his findings – and the suggestions of other guitarists – Maxon has sought to offer an updated version of the SD-9 which aims to deliver tube amp-like qualities and responses with big, distorted sounds.

The minimalist pedal features new true bypass switching and three control knobs to sculpt the sound, including distortion, level and tone. In a bid to produce a "rich, thick guitar tone", the latter has had its center frequency shifted from the previous circuit, now placing greater emphasis on the low and lower-midranges for beefier, less "fizzy" sounds.

A further diversion from the original SD-9 circuit is a dramatically increased output level, an addition that aims to make the SSD-9 more compatible with a wide range of guitar / amp combinations by pushing signal chains harder for more bite. Hear the results below.

The Maxon SSD-9 is available for pre-order for $199, with the first 50 units sold being hand-signed by Mr Tamura himself.

Visit Maxon FX for more info.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.