sounding distortion, Dark Blue II produces a very decent range in output and
drive. When the Distortion is low there
is some grain to the tone and a hint of bite.
past 12-noon, however, and the Distortion has a fatter and grainier quality and
remains surprisingly clear in the mix even when maxed out. Now, there are two stages or modes of
distortion: Symmetric (II) and Asymmetric (I), the former of which has a warmer
and more classic distortion sound, whereas the latter has a touch more
saturation and sizzle. Overall, Dark
Blue II is meant to provide a slight edge to your tone at the very least and
hard rock when cranked if you decide to go there. It may not be a hi-gain pedal in the modern
sense, but it does a good job at pushing an already dirty amp or signal (with
Dark Blue IIâ€™s Distortion around 9-10 oâ€™clock).
As well, it cleans up nicely when dialing back on a guitarâ€™s volume (a
heavy rock tone can sound more easy rock).
Both of these aspects are demonstrated in the accompanying video.
A standard-sized pedal, Dark Blue II measures about 113
mm (L) x 67mm (W) x 48mm (H) or 4.4 x 2.5 x 1.88 inches, and weighs 230g/8oz. The heavy-duty metal chassis has eye-catching
alphabet graphics with white knobs. The three
knobs (Distortion, Level and Tone) are heavy plastic and will withstand normal
use and abuse. The toggle switch that controls the type of
Distortion (Symmetrical vs Asymmetrical) has decent stiffness and snap when
clicked from one position to the next. All
knobs have exceptional quality pots (smooth
and very solid when turned without any static or noise). The footswitch (on/off) produces a solid
click when engaged or disengaged. The
toggle switch is next to the Tone knob and is safe from a stomping foot. The
output circuit has been redesigned from the original Dark Blue to increase
output level, but also boasts high-end audio components (carbon resistors and
Panasonic, Wima and Silver Mica capacitors), true-bypass Neutrik jacks, Alpha
16mm faders, and is protected against overvoltage and reverse polarity. The cable input/output and power supply all
are located along the sides, and so some modest care is to be taken when used
(to prevent foot slippage and possible chord input/output/power output damage). Dark
Blue II does not run on batteries and requires a 9VDC power supply (I suspect
under 100mA of power, although not clarified on Doc Music Stationâ€™s site).
An upgrade from the
original Dark Blue, the new version of this pedal includes an input circuit to
work under compression and to clarify the distortion (so that it cuts better in
the mix and retains its tonal characteristics).
This distortion pedal is based on a JEFT OP amp TL072 â€“ this means
plenty of warm and grainy textures to drive your signal. At 189 Euro it is a typically-priced pedal
that has excellent quality of sound with a boutique flavor. You can choose either a warmer distortion or
a tighter and more aggressive distortion via a toggle switch (selecting from a
symmetrical to an asymmetrical distortion).
The tone cleans up well when you crank the distortion and dial back on
your guitarâ€™s volume, and also adds a delicious bite to an already driven
signal (while keeping Dark Blue IIâ€™s distortion around the 9-10 oâ€™clock
mark). Rhythms are very chunky and thick
with a tight bottom end, whereas lead lines sound full and harmonically rich.
Dark Blue II is simple to
use. The Level knob controls how loud
you want the signal, and Dark Blue II does have some serious headroom and
volume (start with this set at 9-oâ€™clock).
The Tone knob controls the degree of bass and treble in the signal and
does not seem to exaggerate any particular aspect (the bass does not sound
excessively fat and the treble does not sound shrill). The Distortion knob controls how much grain
and drive you want, which varies from very modest at around 9-oâ€™clock to
exceptionally thick and heavy when cranked full. As well, you can decide on whether you want
that distortion to sound more aggressive and saturated with the â€˜Iâ€™ position (asymmetrical)
or warmer and fatter with the â€˜IIâ€™ position (symmetrical).https://docmusicstation.fr/en/distorsion/29-dark-blue-2-3172668150353.html
Brian Johnston is a guitar gear
enthusiast who likes to develop reviews and demo videos on stuff he likes. His YouTube channel is CoolGuitarGear.