9. Even though nothing is perfect, the sound quality of this pedal is amazing for what it is and how much it costs. There is some noise, but no more than any other overdrive/distortion type pedal I've used, and even then really only when the gain is dimed. When I tried this pedal at the music store I chose a Mexican standard strat to try it with, and they had me play through a small Fender solid state amp with an 8" speaker. Any amp with less than a 10" speaker is pretty useless in my book. Your guitar always sounds like you're playing through a transistor radio. But this pedal made that little amp sound like it was pushing a 12" speaker! The low end control on this pedal is it's secret weapon. After playing the pedal for about an hour I decided to purchase one and take it home. At home I plugged it into my Fender Champion 30 (solid state, 10" speaker) and tried both my Fender Mexican standard Strat and my Epiphone Les Paul. Both guitars sounded great. Again, the low end knob on the Monkey allows you to dial in more bass response for a fantastic punchy sound. My love is the blues, but I also play a variety of pop-rock contemporary Christian style songs at Church every week. The tone I was looking for with this pedal was SRV, Henry Garza (Los Lonely Boys) and Kenny Wayne Shepperd. I found it. Just the right amount of grit, and with the extra low end it just wails. Sustain is increased, too, I noticed. I am very happy with this pedal. It got it's first live performance test this Sunday (Easter). At church I play through a Marshall VS265 (solid state w/ 12AX7 preamp tube and two 12" speakers). The Monkey sounded fantastic. Again, if it could make an 8" speaker sound good, I figured it would flat out rock with a pair of 12". It did. Two other nice things about this overdrive unit. When you reduce or increase the amount of gain on the pedal itself, the output level stays consistent. No more having to readjust the output level every time I change the amount of gain. And the Monkey never sounds muddy playing chords. Nice and articulated on any gain setting.
I guess only time will tell, but seems solidly built, similar to BOSS but slightly larger. All metal housing, which Digitech claims is thicker/heavier than most other similar units. It is a fair bit heavier than a BOSS, so I would say their claim is probably true. The other nice thing is METAL input/output jacks. No plastic junk here.
Overall this pedal has provided the sound I was looking for, a punchy, bluesy, overdrive ala SRV, KWS, and Henry Garza. The overdrive it provides sounds better than that available on my Fender Champion 30 and my Marshall VS265, and I consider both amps to have better than adequate gain channels. The Monkey just simply sounds better. I plan on getting the Screamin' Blues eventually and use it in tandem with the Monkey. I tried the Screamin' Blues at the same time when I tried the Monky and was equally impressed. Sounds great, but with more distortion capability.