I use it mostly as a clean boost, and to me it sounds a lot like a tube screamer with a bit less of that mid peak and a bass control in this context, which by the way is how i'm reviewing it. The treble control feels and sounds a bit different, but not much. Is there some kind of magic to the tone as some reviews suggest? not to me. I find it to be a good tube screamer alternative, especially if you like them but wish they had more low end. to that end the monkey is the choice. But other than that i doubt you'll find it much differnt. It could very well depend on the amp tho. So this could accont for the glowing reviews. Maybe my amp doesn't bring out the magic in this pedal.
In short i would say that if you have a tube screamer you should probably not bother with this pedal unless you need the extra low end. If you don't have a tube screamer and are looking to get something along those lines, then i'd say check it out. The basic character of the tone of this and the tube screamer all things being equal (as in EQ amd drive/volume set to sounds as similar as possible) is different, but to be honest not enough to call either the better pedal.
if you intend to use it as a distortion pedal instead of a clean boost, there too the difference isn't huge. But the momkey has a little more drive. i don't care for either pedal for this use.
Gotta be good.....all metal with good old metal jacks bolted to it and a strong housing. In a pedal like this the only thing that can go wrong would be the switch. taking the pedal off as you do to access the battery you can see it's a circuit board mounted switch. One of those typical tiny momentarys. These are not perticularly reliable, but then most every mass produced pedal made today has the same switch. So it's as good as any other at least. So as solid as this thing is i'll take off 1 point for the switch since many botique pedals have a real DPDT footswitch that is not only more reliable but is total bypass.
As i said, the features make it a slightly better alternative to a tube screamer, which is the category it's definatly in. But the thing is, the features are not enough better to make it the better choice if the tube screamer has a bit better tone to your ears. After all, thats the bottom line. And also consider as noted earlier that if you like screamers but more low end is a big one for you, then the monkey is without a doubt your pick.
But in summation i can't honestly see what the big buzz i read here is about. Good pedal at a price that makes it a great buy if you're in the market for a TS type unit. But if you have a TS or the like then no matter how cheap it is it's not worth buying unless you find the tone to be much better or the bass boost a major concern. personally i'm still using the screamer as much or more.