Every guitar player needs a reliable and great-sounding distortion pedal in their pedalboard. Distortion pedals add extra dirt and growl to your tone to be able to deliver powerful riffs and solos. They transform your clean signal into a textured and gritty distorted tone for those intense riffs and screaming guitar solos. Distortion effects are widely used in various genres including heavy rock, blues, metal, alternative rock, and sometimes even pop.
It is worth noting that distortion pedals are different from overdrive pedals, which are meant to push your amplifier past its headroom for a slight crunch or very subtle distortion. Distortion stompboxes offer extra grit or dirt to your signal without having to push your amplifier, giving you that signature distorted sound even at low volumes.
Every seasoned guitarist who's had experience with effects can name their favorite distortion pedal. But for beginners or those new to building a pedalboard, picking a distortion pedal can be an overwhelming challenge especially with the vast amount of stompboxes out there from many different manufacturers. Picking out a distortion pedal can boil down to your budget and your preference in terms of tonal characteristics.
The M75 Super Badass Distortion from MXR is a great choice in terms of value, features, build, and sound quality for a distortion stompbox. The MXR Super Badass pedal sounds great and delivers a wide range of tones with its versatile control panel including a 3-band EQ, which will be discussed further on in this review. MXR did a great job with this pedal and is a great go-to pedal if you can't decide which stompbox to get for your rig. The manufacturer has other similar products such as Distortion+ and Distortion III - but in terms of versatility of an MXR distortion, Super Badass wins the comparison.
Although MXR pedals are known for their reliability and high quality, there are other great choices from its competitors such as the Boss DS-1, TC Dark Matter, and the Pro Co RAT. However, the M75 holds its own and is praised as one of the best sounding distortion effects in the market nowadays. Despite its pure analog circuit, the MXR Super Badass Distortion can pull off modern tones and is a great fit for any rig. This MXR Super Badass Distortion review will provide you with everything you need to know about the stompbox.
Should You Get It?
The MXR Super Badass Distortion is a perfect choice for guitar players who want a reliable distortion pedal that's ready to go out of the box. It's also a great choice for those who want more sound-shaping capabilities in their distortion pedal. The M75 has EQ controls that most distortion stompboxes don't have, which is why it's the go-to of people who are after a specific tone.
While there are other more popular distortion effects such as the DS-1 and Pro Co RAT being rarer due to the demand from the mainstream market, the M75 is usually easily found and provides tones that are comparable to the aforementioned alternatives. Because of this, it is a great choice for those who want to build a simple yet great sounding rig without having to scour the market for popular stompboxes or break the bank by spending on pedals listed for resale.
Features and Benefits
MXR's M75 Super Badass Distortion is just like other stompboxes from the brand - simple and intuitive, but very sophisticated-looking. Despite the lack of graphics and design, the stompbox looks well-built and elegant; one look and you can already tell that this thing sounds great. Its silver case is well built and will last you several years and countless performances before even showing a dent. This thing is built like a tank and you can rest assured you can take it anywhere with you without having to worry about dropping it or stomping on it many times during a gig. Furthermore, the case is relatively slimmer than the other pedals from MXR and is also more lightweight. This makes it perfect for maximizing space in your pedalboard to make room for other effects.
What steals the spotlight in terms of features is the MXR Super Badass Distortion's 3-band EQ. I've always wanted this feature on my other stompboxes as it allows for more flexibility in shaping the tone that comes out of the pedal. Instead of just being equipped with a treble adjustment knob, the pedal also has knobs for bass and mid, allowing you to get a tighter low end if you want, or punchier mids if you want to cut through the band's mix when you engage the pedal for a solo.
Additionally, this MXR stompbox has true bypass switching to ensure that no color is added to your tone with the pedal disengaged. The pedal seems to overpower other effects, making it a bad idea to stack it with other overdrive or distortion effects. However, if you're not planning on stacking overdrive or distortion stompboxes with the MXR Super Badass Distortion, then this isn't a problem. Another drawback is the limitation of how much effect saturation can be squeezed out of this thing. This may be a deal-breaker for those who want extremely high-gain distortion but for those who want a classic or milder distorted tone for genres such as hard rock or alternative rock, the M75 will be able to deliver all the tones you need. In terms of features, the MXR Super Badass is packed with practical and very convenient implementations that sets it apart from most of the other alternatives in the market.
The M75 Super Badass Distortion from MXR has a total of 5 control knobs. The Super Badass has similar effect parameter knobs as other alternatives, having an output and distortion control above its EQ knobs. The output control knob allows you to adjust the level or volume of the signal that leaves the pedal, while the distortion control knob allows you to adjust the intensity or saturation of the effect that is applied to your signal. Below these two encoders are the bass, mid, and treble knobs.
The bass knob adjusts the low frequencies, the mid knob adjust the mid frequencies that give your guitar that punchy tone to cut through the band's mix, and the treble knob allows you to adjust the high frequencies in your signal. Playing around with the equalizer will allow you to dial in your ideal tone and provides flexibility in tone shaping that almost no other pedal can offer. Just like other pedals, below the LED indicator is the stompbox's footswitch to engage and disengage the effect.
There is a reason that the MXR Super Badass Distortion is hailed as one of the best choices out there in the market - it just sounds really good and badass. As mentioned earlier in this review, the tones you can get out of the Super Badass are very impressive due to the built-in equalizer. This MXR pedal can do anything from making your guitar produce that powerful heavy riff to making your guitar's tone scream through the mix with a smooth distorted crunch.
Dialing in your ideal settings and hitting the "sweet spot" in your tone will make this pedal one of your favorites. You can set the Super Badass to a low setting to get close to an overdrive sound or crank it up for heavy rock tones and fuzzy sounds. With this stompbox, I was able to recreate some tones from Led Zeppelin songs as well as modern songs from Arctic Monkeys.
Paired with a wah pedal, some Hendrix classics can also be played with this MXR masterpiece. The versatility of this MXR pedal is what makes it such a great go-to for beginners who have no "ideal" tone or preference when it comes to distortion. However, this does not mean it's only for newbies - the sound quality and tone-shaping makes it just as perfect for performers and recording professionals.
The sound quality of the MXR Super Badass is certainly not surprising as MXR has come up with other great sounding pedals. But what sets the M75 Super Badass apart from other alternatives is its equalizer which allows you to attain specific tones for whatever genre or songs you are going to play.
For a demonstration of the pedal, you may refer to this video:
If you want a great sounding distorted tone for heavy rock riffs and intense guitar solos that will elevate the sound of your guitar, the MXR Super Badass Distortion is a great stompbox. MXR implemented equalizer control knobs for versatility and produced a great sounding pedal that lives up to the MXR reputation of high-quality products. It's a great way to get a smooth crunch sound that resembles a cranked overdrive effect through a tube amplifier without having to max out the volume of your guitar.
A classic distorted tone is essential for guitar players and many beginners and pedalboard newbies may get lost in the sea of hundreds of distortion stompboxes available. Seasoned players may also want its equalizer feature. With the versatile MXR Super Badass, guitar players can achieve a wide range of great-sounding distorted tones and make their guitar sound "super badass" as well.
You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link: