The sound is awsome! The distorions are very smooth and refined. It sounds just the way my Ibanez Tube King would if only it had more gain! And that is the reason why I bought the XXL! The Tube King is great for classic overdrive tones, like AC/DC or Boston. But if you want higher gain, the Tube King just doesn't have it. That's where the XXL comes in. It has the gain and the fuzz. If you looking for classic 70's style fuzz and 80's style hard rock/heavy metal sounds, the XXL is the way to go! It sounds just like the guitar on my old favorite songs, like Foreigner Hot Blooded, or Tesla Modern Day Cowboy. You'll also get really good Metallica and Iron Maiden tones out of this box. The gain and tone is there for all of that!
I like playing with the Warp control. It's a little tricky to figure out at first because it responds to your ATTACK on your strings, not mainly to the overall tone. So, if you strum your strings and turn the Warp knob, you won't notice much difference because the attack event has already passed. It does have SOME tonal characteristics, but it mainly acts as a sort of compressor/swell. If you dangle a note by bending the string, you'll get some cool harmonics out of it.
You will also get cool distortion sounds by setting the Drive all the way down and by turning the Level knob about half way. Play with the Tone knob and your there! Turning the Drive knobs will add more grit if you go this route. Very Nice.
This box sounds a little bit better on my Solid State amp rather than on my tube amp. A few other people have mentioned this also. I have not noticed any distorted signals leaking through when the effect it off,however. The bypass seems to work well for me. Maybe they changed the circuit since the other people have bought theirs.
This category gets a 10. The sound is unbeatable!
It's built in a nice metal case. The top of the case is a nice polished design. I wouldn't want to scratch it up, though. It looks really nice. The footswitch is heavy duty and the knobs feel solid. This baby should last a long time.
It's a very cool box. You just have to read the manual and learn exactly how the controls work. Once you master them, you can recreate just about any classic rock or metal tone. You just can't be afraid to turn knobs.
I compared this to a BOSS Metal Zone, Rocktron Rampage, Danelectro FabTone and DaddyO, and a Bixonic Expandora. The BOSS MetalZone made my guitar lose all its punch and get lost on the mix. The Rocktron Rampage sounded horrible! I'm surprised because Rocktron products usually sound good, but they totally missed it this time. The Danelectro pedals sounded too buzzy on high gain settings. The Bixonic Expandora sounded pretty good, like ZZ Top, but $169 for a solid state stomp box, they could keep it!
This pedal sounds great and is a great way to recreate all your classic rock and metal tones. If you like the way a Tube King sounds, but wish it has more gain, this is a way to continue from where the Tube King leaves off. I would definately buy this pedal again.