TC Electronic Dark Matter Review – Distortion Effects Pedal

Overview

Guitar effects pedals have been around for several decades, even being used by some classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and iconic guitar heroes such as Jimi Hendrix. The unique tones that guitar effects pedals give an instrument elevate riffs and solos and most of the time, allow artists to create legendary pieces that many guitar players all over the world try to recreate. Over the years, guitar effects pedals have come a long way in terms of tone variety and versatility. Many pedals nowadays offer different voicing settings, EQ, and even digital features that sometimes allow a single stompbox to contain over 50 effects - maybe even over 100.

Despite the introduction of new and unique tones, and digital iterations of beloved effects, one guitar effect that many guitar players still prefer the vintage profile of is overdrive and distortion stompboxes. Of course, this makes sense as many of us want to sound like our guitar idols who played with vintage effects several decades ago - Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

The TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion pedal is a great sounding pedal that offers the classic distortion sound while keeping all the useful modern features, while still allowing you to select a more modern-sounding voicing. TC Electronic is known for its high-quality pedals that are well-loved by guitar players worldwide. They produce reliable and great-sounding pedals that pretty much last forever due to their extremely durable build.

With the Dark Matter, TC Electronic introduces a new distortion stompbox to their lineup with a voice toggle to allow guitar players to get the classic cranked distortion amp tone. It also features more control knobs compared to their other distortion effects, the Grand Magus. If you'd like to learn more about this pedal, this TC Electronic Dark Matter Review will help you decide if it's a great addition to your rig.

Should You Get It?

The Dark Matter Distortion is a perfect choice for guitar players looking for a classic sounding distortion effect. Fans of the legendary AC/DC band will love this pedal as the voice switch will let them get pretty close to that Angus Young sound. The Dark Matter is also great for guitar players looking for a distortion stompbox that has a 2 band EQ for total control over their tones.

Furthermore, knowing that this pedal comes from TC Electronic will give peace of mind as they produce some of the most reliable, gig-ready pedals. What's even better is the versatility of this pedal's circuitry - setting the drive at unity gain will allow this pedal to act like an overdrive - perfect for those who want a pedal that can be used for heavy rock distorted sound or a sweet blues-rock overdrive.

Make

Model

Details

TC Electronic

Dark Matter

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion Pedal

PRO's & CON's of TC Electronic Dark Matter

Before we dive into our review, let's look at some of the pros and cons of the TC Electronics Dark Matter Distortion Pedal:

Pros

  • An extremely durable chassis to protect the internal electronics
  • Bass and Treble EQ control knobs
  • True bypass switching
  • Voice switch to taper your signal's low end and helps with achieving classic distortion
  • Affordable price considering the level of build and sound quality

Cons

  • Not usable as for metal genre
  • Too similar to some amp overdrive channels

Features and Benefits

Features

In terms of features, TC Electronic definitely nailed it with this one. It has all the control knobs you'll ever need for an amazing distorted effect, as well as a voice switch that allows you to taper your signal's low end and get some classic rock riff tones that get very close to some famous guitarists' tones. What's great about the Dark Matter is the usable range of distorted sounds you can get from the Gain knob.

While many pedals seem to get too muddy or fuzzy before even getting to the maximum setting, the TC Electronics Dark Matter provides guitar players with an entire gain knob range to play with without getting a mushed sound. Setting this gain knob lower gives you a nice and sweet overdrive sound that's perfect for some blues rock, a'la Eric Clapton. This only proves how much attention TC Electronic puts into their pedals and how they use high-quality electronics and well-designed circuits.

Another great implementation to the Dark Matter is bass and treble control knobs, allowing guitar players to shape their tone and go for a more specific sound. This cannot be done with other high gain pedals that only have a single knob that controls the pedal's mid-frequency output. This is a feature I'd love to have on some of my other high gain pedals that sound great but can't seem to hit a specific EQ that I prefer. Aside from this, the pedal also has a standard volume control knob that varies your signal volume or adds gain if you stack this pedal before another high gain effect with a slightly lower volume setting.

The TC Dark Matter distortion pedal also has true bypass switching, so you can rest assured your tone is not sucked out or colored in any way when this pedal is disengaged. The chassis is also built like a tank - seriously, you can go on several years gigging every day with this thing and I bet you it's still good to go. As the cherry on top, the TC Electronic Dark Matter has an LED indicator to let you know if it's engaged, which is especially useful for low light conditions while performing. For all these amazing features you're getting from this stompbox and getting that assurance of quality from TC Electronic, the price is just too good to pass up - it's a total bang for your buck.

Controls

Next up for this TC Electronic Dark Matter review is a brief discussion on the controls. First of all, the pedal has a Gain knob that allows you to adjust the effect's drive or intensity. Right beside this is the Level knob, which controls your volume. Below these knobs are the 2-band EQ, with the Bass knob allowing you to adjust your signal's low-end frequencies, and the Treble knob letting you adjust your high frequencies. Between the knobs is the pedal's voice switch to get a boosted or tapered low end. Of course, below all these is the pedal's footswitch for engaging or disengaging the effect.

Sound

In terms of sound, the Dark Matter is an excellent Marshall Plexi amp-like distorted effect. I can't say I can name another pedal that does an amp-like distorted effect as well as this pedal at the same price range. For an affordable price, it's very impressive. The dynamics of your playing are not lost in the distortion and you can flex your playing articulation all you like for those juicy solos. Furthermore, the voice switch is just wonderful.

You can get some John Petrucci, Angus Young, or even Jimmy Page tones by playing around with a simple toggle switch. Overall, the sound is not very compressed and is extremely responsive - not to mention the very wide range of gain levels you can play around with by turning the Gain knob. In fact, the pedal sounds so great that it would be difficult to not find an amazing sounding setting by simply fiddling around with the controls.

For a demonstration of the pedal, refer to this video:

In Conclusion

If you want an extremely versatile, responsive, and well built amp-like distortion, the Dark Matter is the best bang for your buck. For its affordable price, you're getting a high-quality product from one of the most trusted pedal manufacturers out there. If you're a fan of classic rock, or if you're simply trying to find your own "signature" distorted tone, look no further than the TC Electronic Dark Matter.

You can check it out on Amazon and get one for yourself through this link:

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