The Riddle of the BOSS MD-2 (Mega Distortion)

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Before you read this thread, I want to preface by acknowledging that this might be a controversial opinion. If you like the Mega Distortion, that is great and I really would love to hear, what you like about it. I just want to share my experience and would like to know how you feel about this pedal.

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So, I own the Boss MD-2 for quite a while now. I bought it for very cheap, and thought to myself, that a pedal called Mega Distortion surely should fit into metal genres. Since the Boss MT-2 (Metal Zone) is flawed but all in all a quite useful pedal, the Mega Distortion could be a welcome addition.

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The Metal Zone you can use as a preamp stage, distortion and perhaps even as an overdrive. It is quite versitile in that way and the very similar layout of the MD-2 had my hopes up.

I have tried to use it a couple of times and I am completely puzzled by this pedal, to be honest. It is a blurry mess. Trying my best, I was able to get it to somewhat work for precise riffing, but it is a compromise for anything complex.

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Yes, not every pedal needs to be able to get you to a kind of distrotion, that allows for every note to be clearly audible. However, if you go for a messy distortion sound, I don't know why anyone would go for the MD-2. There are so many messy distortions, that have a pleasent sound and many more precise distortions like the Metal Zone, you can dial in a blurry and ugly sound as well. I can not imagine any scenario where there isn't another option that would do a far better job than the MD-2. You can make it work, if you really want to, no doubt, but it is very clearly never the best choice, as far as I see it.

What were the folks at Boss thinking with this one? What were they going for? I don't understand what music they had in mind designing this. It is messy, hideous and that's all you get.
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1/10 Very weird.
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You took a chance and bought a pedal for cheap and it didn't work out. No biggie.

I try to stick with the classics for exactly that reason: legions of other players have already figured out which ones are good. Big Muff, Rat, OD-R, Screamer, Klon, Blues Breaker, DS-1, SD-1, BD-2, etc. Sometimes the OG pedals, or circuits based on them (e.g. Plumes is my favorite Screamer style pedal).

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I don't like the midrange presence of BOSS pedals, I've owned about 4 or 5 of them.

I do like the Behringer knockoffs, but to be fair those are not similar.
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I've seen Justin Broadrick of Godflesh with one in his rig a few times over the last few years (he's an old JCM800+HM-2 guy like me) and well, Godflesh and his guitar tone is still as heavy as its always been..

It could be your amp, your guitar, your pickups, a whole world of reasons it doesn't sound good on one rig but will on another. My HM-2's, even the newer Waza model, sound like absolute crap with my Les Paul (Duncan JB pickups) but sounds like pure evil with my single coil Telecaster or my Duncan Distortion loaded Strat. Its also not really nice with my DSL20 combo, but through my JCM800 or my Vox AC, it will destroy things. Same with my Superfuzz, my Fuzzface, LPB1, etc.. The only 'all purpose' distortion pedal I've ever found that seems to work with one rig to the next consistently are my old Rats.

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My MD2 is on indefinite loan to a bandmate (band currently inactive) who was using it with a (Schecter) Bass VI. At one gig we were lucky enough to use another band's Ampeg SVT stack, and that chain sounded amazing for those songs.

Mostly on guitar I found it was overcompressed and prone to feedback, but that was into solid-state amps. The best gain settings seemed to have both gain knobs at similar levels. I think as with the MT2 or DS1 it is possible to do useful things with the tone control but it needs a delicate touch and the right relationship with amp settings.

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Funkybot's Evil Twin wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2024 4:16 pm You took a chance and bought a pedal for cheap and it didn't work out. No biggie.

I try to stick with the classics for exactly that reason: legions of other players have already figured out which ones are good. Big Muff, Rat, OD-R, Screamer, Klon, Blues Breaker, DS-1, SD-1, BD-2, etc. Sometimes the OG pedals, or circuits based on them (e.g. Plumes is my favorite Screamer style pedal).
Yes, it's no big deal. I'm just wondering what the designers had in mind with this one. The pedals you have mentioned I like as well.
RunBeerRun wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 6:18 am I don't like the midrange presence of BOSS pedals, I've owned about 4 or 5 of them.

I do like the Behringer knockoffs, but to be fair those are not similar.
With the MD-2 and MT-2 the highs are especially bad. I dial them in a little bit, because it makes it easier to track but I EQ them out later on.
mothra wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 9:36 am I've seen Justin Broadrick of Godflesh with one in his rig a few times over the last few years (he's an old JCM800+HM-2 guy like me) and well, Godflesh and his guitar tone is still as heavy as its always been..

It could be your amp, your guitar, your pickups, a whole world of reasons it doesn't sound good on one rig but will on another. My HM-2's, even the newer Waza model, sound like absolute crap with my Les Paul (Duncan JB pickups) but sounds like pure evil with my single coil Telecaster or my Duncan Distortion loaded Strat. Its also not really nice with my DSL20 combo, but through my JCM800 or my Vox AC, it will destroy things. Same with my Superfuzz, my Fuzzface, LPB1, etc.. The only 'all purpose' distortion pedal I've ever found that seems to work with one rig to the next consistently are my old Rats.
I have to check out Godflesh then. That is a good point, I might want to try it with different amps/guitars.
imrae wrote: Fri Jun 21, 2024 11:27 am My MD2 is on indefinite loan to a bandmate (band currently inactive) who was using it with a (Schecter) Bass VI. At one gig we were lucky enough to use another band's Ampeg SVT stack, and that chain sounded amazing for those songs.

Mostly on guitar I found it was overcompressed and prone to feedback, but that was into solid-state amps. The best gain settings seemed to have both gain knobs at similar levels. I think as with the MT2 or DS1 it is possible to do useful things with the tone control but it needs a delicate touch and the right relationship with amp settings.
I can see it working on bass guitar, but I would be worried about the low end, since this is a guitar pedal. I'm going to try to keep the gain knobs closer next time. The MT-2 has extremely effective controls. You really have to make the tiniest adjustments you possibly can to get it just right.
★★★ One can enjoy a wood fire worthily only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet. ★★★
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Never tried the MD-2, but I've had a Metal Zone....and sold it pretty quick. I still own an HM-2. It's pretty much a one trick pony IMHO but when you need that trick it does it.
And yeah, Roland/Boss is not my general go to for dirt but they have their place. That being said I totally agree with this statement:
The only 'all purpose' distortion pedal I've ever found that seems to work with one rig to the next consistently are my old Rats.
My '84 Rat sounds great with almost every guitar and amp combo I've thrown at it.
You took a chance and bought a pedal for cheap and it didn't work out. No biggie.
Yeah, the classics are classics for a reason. But I take a chance on almost every cheap pedal I can. Most suck to be sure and I've learned to avoid certain brands. That being said, I have been pleasantly surprised by a few of 'em.
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The MD-2 was released at the height of the "Alternative Rock" movement of the mid-90s. It was just another flavor in the ol' crayon box for those grunge-influence bands left in Nirvana's wake. It sounds messy on purpose. Just like the HK Warp pedal that was released around the same time. They have their places, but I wouldn't keep either on my board as a main-stay.

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https://youtu.be/WY3Jun-OKjo

From the video above by Leon Todd I get the impression that the Boss MD-2 is leaning sonic wise to a British upper mid frequencies pronounced high-gain Marshall in a box sound. So JCM800 on steroids and beyond with lots of gain.

Some questions:

1. What sound are you exactly after? Can you post an audio example of your favorite guitar sound you are trying to replicate with this pedal?

2. Do you run this pedal into a clean amp or into an amp already driven/distorted?

If you're running into an amp with clean setting then dial amp's eq till you hear a neutral sound frequency wise. No scooped mids. No pronounced highs or bass and no bright switch engaged here. "Boring" neutral clean amp setting. It's just for testing this distortion pedal.

:wink:

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