well, first of all, this pedal really rocks; sounds like a freakin' marshall tube head. when i tested it (on crappy playtoy-wannabe 15watt practice amps no less), it ran over the metal zone pedal and pretty much every other distortion i tried. i think that what really makes the sound for this pedal is the extra bass (note the metal zone doesn't have extra bass...), which is vital for what i play/write (nirvana, soundgarden, googoodolls, emo-rock (a la live), jars of clay, grunge, hardcore, and anal-retentive atonal crap...). the only other pedal that held a candle to it was the boss overdrive/distortion (which might have been better since it had a similiar sound, but was cheaper; stupid me....). i also had a guy i know whos been playing for about 20 something years check it out with his 60watt boogie and washburn semihollow and he said that it rocked... anyway, it really makes my semicrappy 25wattlaney sound awesome (the distortion sucks, but you can get some good clean sounds out of the amp, by the way)... i'm not worried about the guitar, which is my pride and joy: a left handed epiphone casino (has p-90s); the guitar rocks. as far as noise, i haven't detected any, and the sound quality definitely isn't weak. i usually keep the distortion at about 9:00 and the level at 12:00 (vol. levels on the guitar are usually between 6-8 for the bridge pu and around 7 on the neck), and that usually produces all your pumpkins (this pedal is excellent for pumpkins stuff...), nirvana, grunge/hardcore sounds. the only thing is that my amp speaker cant handle the bass this box puts out; you almost need a sub or anything bigger than a friggin' 10" speaker.
lets see, i've had it for six months, and i don't think there's a blemish... i'm not really rough on my gear, but i've heard boss could take on anything short of the universe collapsing. as far as gigging w/out a backup, that's not even a question...
'kay, like i said this pedal rocks; i love everything about it and hate nothing about it really. in the unlikely event that the nearby nuke plant explodes and my pedal gets a resulting ding or what have you, then i would definitely get another one, and if anybody stole it i'd beat them over the head with it, in which case their head would get more damage than the pedal (i should probably get a permit for it). i have only been playing guitar for a year or so, mainly for songwriting purposes (i.e., i write more than i play other people's work...), but this pedal has great tone. oh yeah, i also play keyboard (for about 13 yrs.) and recently tried it with a vintage roland jupiter7 i play on, and if you turn the level and bass all the way up, the treble and dist. all the way down, then you can dial in some freaky sounds with the onboard hammond sound (i tweaked that up a bit also...). so, even though it's mainly a guitar pedal, you can really use it w/ anything. if you're looking for a dist. pedal then this is probably the only one you'll need.