“For me, The Distillery has three distinct uses: as a tone shaper to approximate the sounds of a humbucker or lipstick pickup using my tele; as a clean boost to push an amp; and as a stacker to push and eq fuzzes and OD pedals. The Distillery is musical and open sounding (not too compressed) in all three applications and is one of the most useful pedals I have… a keeper for sure. Looking forward to more offerings from ToneConcepts.”
Redgold (Source) NY, USA
“Just got one of these.. Two minutes of dialing and I was inspired. A half hour of jamming before I messed with the knobs again. This pedal can change the voice of an amp.”
Sounddjin, (Source) Minnesota, USA
“I got one a couple months ago. Seems to work well to dial-in/fine tune your tone. I’ve been using it in front of my Okko Diablo and Rook Royale & a couple of other OD’s I have. Seems to make my guitar jump out more in the band mix.”
ToneM1 (Source) Santa Clarita, CA, USA
“GREAT pedal, one of the best of this category, current or vintage. It’s one of the rare but refreshing examples of something that actually exceeds claims and praise; whether made by the company, the press/forums, or endorsers. It does what the rest promise, but either: don’t, can’t, won’t or just barely deliver, regardless of price point or era.”
Jim Cord, (Source) Plainfield, IL, USA,
“It seems like one of those pedals that you don’t realize it’s on until you turn it off.”
Stratburst, (Source) Toronto, ON, Canada
“I’ve used the Distillery since June, love it. Does just what it’s supposed to. The right side is a 20 db boost, guts punches it up, bleed tweaks the highs. I keep this on all of the time with the controls pretty low usually (9 o’clock-ish). I use the left side to change my sound during solos sometimes, the contour knob is pretty useful to fundamentally change your single coil vs. humbucker tone… so you can just hit that left switch and sound like a different guitar. I usually play a P90 Les Paul and a 52 hot rod Tele through one of those tweed covered Jensen Blues Jrs. I expect it’d let you dial in “your sound” easier on amps you don’t care for but have to use for whatever reason.”
binkydognose, (Source) Glendale, Arizona, USA
“I got the pedal today. It took a while to get here because they build them to order which is pretty cool. I’ll be doing a full video demo for my YouTube channel but for now just my first impressions.
I really like it. I finally get what it is (I think) and it’s exactly what I was hoping. It has 5 knobs and two foot switches. I think the two knobs on the right and the middle knob (3 total) are all affecting the boost function which is activated by the right hand foot switch. The “boost” knob controls the amount of boost (up to 20db I think). The “guts” knob is basically a gain knob and the “bleed” knob is a tone knob for the boost/gain function. It’s a great boost, if this section was the whole pedal it would still be pretty cool.
But then there’s the “contour” and “edge” knobs which make up the “shape” section of the pedal activated by the left foot switch. This really makes the pedal special IMO. The coolest thing is how the edge and contour knobs interact with each other. The manual had some suggested settings that were really helpful and really well described. Basically it shows 3 settings, one to add “sparkle”, one to add “presence” and one to add thickness or something (they have a better adjective in the manual I just can’t remember it right now). All the settings were right on. It was kind of unreal how accurately they were described and then how precise the sound was on each setting.
The biggest thing I kept hearing before I got it was that it’s a really subtle pedal that you barely notice is on. I didn’t find that to be true at all. Sure you can set it that way but I found it to be very noticeable at most settings.
I’m still getting used to the pedal. My fav thing so far is to use the shape side to thicken up my Tele’s neck pickup and then kick on a little bit of a boost. It sounds soooo good.
Like I said I’ll make a video and show some of the sounds, there’s a lot of them in this box. So far I really like it, it seems insanely versatile. Now I just have to figure out how to fit it in my tiny PT mini!”
Gary Osborne, (Source), Nashville, TN, USA
“I recently picked one up and love it. I play mainly 50s/60s Honky Tonk and Rockabilly music these days as my two main gigs keep me busy full time; so my days as half a dozen band’s hired gun are pretty much done.
Even though I primarily play solid state amps anymore, this pedal STILL does what it’s supposed to do. I leave the first channel on all the time. It’s gives me the liveliness and rich tone I love. I’m very much a “Fender” amp type of guy and this gives me that sparkle and chime and the fine tuning to not be an ice pick’y nuisance.
The 2nd channel adds a ton of flexibility that I’ve yet to really make use of, but so far I like dialing it in for a more 40’s Tweed tone..a bit more mid’y and honky a la Junior Barnard (while my main tone is more Campilongo/Roy Nichols/Kenny V into Gatton territory a la the Humbler Rockbilly era).
Essentially it not only gives me flexibility but consistency from room to room and amp to amp.
As a solid state guy, the one adjustment I made was putting it in the fx loop. MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
As of now my rig is ALWAYS and ONLY a Hahn 228 with single blade pickups by Carl Bradychok, USUALLY a Tech 21 Trademark 60, and a Korg Pitchblack tuner > Wampler Reverb > Midnight 30 Starry Night Delay > Distillery all through the fx loop.”
Adam Lopez, (Source) Denver, CO, USA
“Incredible “resource”, not simply a pedal. Those who dismiss with no personal experience with the pedal hold zero credibility to judge. The ability, tone, quality, singularly unique, results-reverse engineered development heritage of this game changer are without peer. Add to that the pedigree of the truly devoted all-star performing artist team onboard from concept to stage/studio, and there should remain no doubt around this miesterwerk.”
Compulsor (Source) YouTube
“I have had this pedal since it was initially released about 6 months ago
or so. Still getting a handle on it. I will say it works wonder with Fuzz.
- Fuzz that doesn’t “cut through the mix?” Solved.
- Fuzz with “not enough mids?” Solved.
- Fuzz that is a little woofy in the low-end? Solved.
- Fuzz that needs a little more bite in the upper register? Solved.
I am keeping mine on my board, because I have not
found anything I like better—including the Timmy.
I like it for how it allows me to shape my dirt section to suit whatever room I am playing in.”
la noise (TGP)
“I have The Distillery for a week now and I cannot remember having more fun with a pedal. I play mostly clean, but I also like a little hear every now and then. The Distillery really and truly makes you feel plugged right into the amp. And it makes you sound like you are plugged in directly too. The tone shaping is subtle but works wonders. If you played thru the pedal for a while and turn it of your guitar will sound lifeless and you cannot get that great sound back without switching the pedal on again. In other words, it is really addictive. You can get a decent amount of overdrive from the pedal by adding mids in the tone shaping section. But a mostly use a Jan Ray and Minibone for anything with more grit.
I really like this pedal for two reasons: fatten up my strat bridge pickup and leveling the output of my clean tone (with Distillery on) with my Jan Ray and and Minibone. The latter two need to be set up pretty loud…”
“I think it is a truly great and versatile pedal. If you have a single coil, you can get faux humbucker tones. You can use it as a clean boost (I would love for someone to do a vid shoot out with a Klon/Klone dialed clean). You can use it to goose fuzz and OD pedals, and/or radically change their eq. I’ve sold off a lot of OD/Fuzz pedals since getting the Distillery. And, as you said, it can help a subpar rig. It always sounds musical.”
Got the Pedal today and just wanted to post some initial observations.
Before I start, I must in all fairness admit that I am not a huge fan of OD/Dist/Fuzz pedals, though they have their uses and others have made them sound much better than me! I fell in love with amp OD and have purchased a number of amps in different power ratings to satisfy my needs. (I guess I’ve never heard an attenuator that I like, though I’ve never played through any of the really high-end ones – so there you go.)
That said, the Distillery is not an OD, but a boost that can really hit the amps front end hard (20db). I could very happily use this pedal with, for example, a tweed amp to get to pre-Eliminator ZZ Top territory, but that’s just scratching the surface, as it’s the second stage, or what they term “shape” where the fun really starts.
The pedal feels pretty substantial. The switches seem sturdy, and it looks built to last. The paint job is nice and the distillery graphics are pretty cool! I popped off the bottom (4 screws a la MXR), and the pots, PCB etc, are all clean and nothing seems cramped or jammed in. So far, so good!
The two page (each back and front) manual gives sample settings, and gave me a good place to start.
The available boost is quite substantial, and luckily the boost level is smooth and not at all jumpy. The “guts” knob is an extra gain stage and doesn’t seem to mush out. The boost side’s tone control (“bleed”) has a nice sweep – does,t seem to muddy up neck HBs. OK, so much the better!
The second stage, or “shape” is where the power lies. Essentially, it’s a filter (“contour”) and a Q control (“edge”), but this isn’t like any I’ve used outside of studio equipment. Unlike something like the old Systech Harmonic Energizers, this is more of a scalpel to the Systech’s Bowie knife. It’s seems to have been designed as a sculpting tool to be used directly on pickup signals, if that makes sense. I think I’m going to have to play with these settings on each set of pickups I own. That said, I could get one Strat’s bridge pickup to sound darn-near a second one with a Callaham base plate -fatter, yet more focused. Actually, I could dial in much more of that effect without screwing with the basic sound of the pickup itself. Cool.
I was very pleasantly surprised at what it can do with a Barden Gatton bridge pickup. I was considering swapping it out for the newer version that is designed to be a bit fatter. I don’t feel I have to do so now. The pickup does sound fatter, though not “bigger.” (I don’t think it’s possible for a Barden to sound bigger!) What I’m excited about is that I feel I may b able to dial in alnico “warmth” as desired. The ability to do that at will alone makes the pedal worth it for me, but I’ll have to experiment more before I can categorically state this to be possible. I am stoked, though!
I’ve only very briefly played a PAF-style HB through the box (Duncan Seth Lover) but there appears to be a lot of shaping to be had here as well. Again, lots of experimentation is the order of the day.
One slight disappointment is that it appears that you cannot engage the shape controls independently of the boost function – only with the boost engaged. The good news is that the boost is wonderful, and if desired, can be set to unity, so that between the boost’s own controls and the shaping features, you can have two sounds that are either subtly different or substantially so.
This weekend I will have access to a friend’s Klon, so I’m interested to see how close one can come to it’s boost signature. Hmm…
OK, this isn’t a full review, but my interest is certainly piqued. Some more experimentation is needed, but this is a very clever design that has a lot of potential applications. This doesn’t seem to be an effect that will “sit” on your sound, nor does it seem that there should be any problems with how you sit in a mix – actually, this pedal seems perfect for making this better. Again, we’re not dealing in vast differences, e.g. those between a clean signal and one through a high gain OD, but it seems to be able to do things I’ve never been able to do with a floor pedal. More to follow, for sure.
“The Distillery is hard to categorise except to say it is an unorthodox EQ box that offers a little compression, boost and distortion.
The Distillery operates as an up to 20dB boost on the right button. The left button adds its tone-shapingg tools. There is a Contour control that operates as a parametric frequency center, but it doesn’t just sweep low to high frequencies. It seems to sweep clusters of frequencies in the same range, but not linearly – again, a very musical control. The Edge knob seems to control the amount of oomph you get from the Frequency cluster while the Bleed Knob lets you roll off some high frequencies. Once more, it’s not a treble control – it just seems to help with harshness rather than darkening the sound overall. The Guts control pushes a midrange saturation. Depending on how hot your chain is, you can introduce a bit of distortion here to use as an effect, but you’d be better served using an overdrive or distortion box.
The goal from The Distillery isn’t really to be an ‘effect’ per se, but to give you a reshaped sound – sometimes as dramatic as changing from a humbucking to single coil sound and vice versa. Or rounding the notes. Or giving you that piano attack on the low strings without thinning out everything else. For me, The Distillery is an essential on-all-the-time boxes.
The Distillery has become indispensable for my main board.”
Bob (uburoibob on JazzGuitar Online), YouTube, Rochester, NY, USA