- Published: 19 February 2021 19 February 2021
Hello, Effects Fans!
Today we announce our new MT-10 module. Actually, we were going to announce it on Monday. However, we didn’t have electricity and there was water pouring out of the ceiling, so we got distracted. Luckily, plumbing and building electronics have some commonality. In electronics you solder copper wire covered with insulation. In plumbing you solder copper pipe covered with insulation. Power is back on, I fixed the pipe, and the sun is out, so things are looking up. At least until enough stuff thaws that we can figure out what repairs are necessary beyond some new ceiling...
Our MT-10 module compares to the Ibanez MT-10 Mostortion pedal. The Ibanez MT-10 Mostortion made a brief appearance on the market beginning in 1990 and was yanked in 1992 or 1993. That would suggest a pedal that had little appeal. However, if you go looking for one, they are difficult to find (since not many were produced), but also very expensive. Why so expensive if they aren't that good? And why are used ones so often re-housed in different enclosures?
We have a theory about the MT-10. Our theory is that it was marketed as a distortion pedal, but there were plenty of better distortion pedals at the time, so it didn't catch on. However, it is a great boost and overdrive. Many in the know in Nashville have been using them that way for years. They are very popular in that group of players, sort of like the Nobels ODR-1 (see our Teledrive). They are often rehoused because the originals weren't true bypass and had some cheap jacks and switches unlikely to stand up to the abuse of the road. Players not only use them, but are even willing to go to the trouble to rebuild them to get that boost/overdrive tone. Danelectro released a near-duplicate of the circuit recently as their Roebuck pedal. The main difference between it and the original is the introduction of an optional clipping diode switch, a common option offered by boutique builders for many years.
The circuit uses a MOSFET op amp to produce distortion that sounds similar to tube distortion. The tone stack comes between the two distortion stages, giving you some control over how the distortion sounds. it is pretty unusual to find a 3-band tone stack on an Ibanez pedal, or most other brands for that matter. That gives you extra control, particularly over the mids. Scoop or boost, anyone? And all 3 controls, Bass, Mids, and Treble, have a good range of control. The clipping design is a bit odd. The circuit uses a MOSFET input/CMOS output op amp to get some of that tube-like distortion FET technology offers. But the clipping is symmetric pairs of silicon diodes. More tube-like clipping generally results from asymmetric clipping, which would be a pair on one side and a single diode on the other. And why not MOSFET clipping? In addition, pairs of diodes reduce the clipping, compared to a single diode per side. Reduce the clipping in a distortion circuit? That may be the reason why it didn't catch on as a distortion pedal. At low Distortion levels, the pedal is cleanish. Cranked all the way up, it maybe gets past "heavy overdrive", but it doesn't really go into high gain, high clipping distortion. The tone is fairly tube-like, though. The result is that it sounds more like a driven amp with a good tone stack than a distortion pedal. But if you called it a boost/overdrive pedal instead, you have a winner - right, Nashville?!
We offer several mods for our MT-10 module, but we'll only mention a couple of them here. As you know, the more bass you let into a distortion stage, the better your chances of getting mud out the other side. So those trying to use or mod the pedal as a distortion would find a Bass Cut option useful since the circuit lets in quite a bit of bass and the tone stack comes after the distortion, meaning you can’t control the bass going into the distortion. So we offer a Bass Cut option.
The circuit uses soft clipping diodes to generate distortion. While the stock config is pretty good for overdrive, we like having clipping options. That provides an easy way to get another base tone option. Crunchy red LEDs? An asymmetric design or MOSFET transistors used as diodes for more tube-like tone? It’s a pretty good option to experiment with, which is probably why Danelectro added it to their Roebuck.
Or maybe you want to go “all in” on the boost/overdrive and let the distortion go. If so, we can bump up the voltage to give you more clean headroom.
The standard config is pretty good, but maybe some tweaks give it that little extra "something, something" you might be looking for. However you configure it, we encourage you to think of it as a boost and overdrive rather than a distortion. Probably not what you want for high-gain metal, but blues, country, and classic rock, oh yeah. Should be good for stacking with other drives, too.
By default, it lets a fair amount of bass through, so you bass players may want to check it out. We also have an option to change (increase, decrease, or both) the amount of bass going through, so it can be further tailored to your liking.
You can see the details about our MT-10 module at: MT-10. Or look for it in the Distortion Modules section under Products -> Modules -> Modules By Type.