Why the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal delivers that early 90's metal sound.

That Metal sound. You either want it or you don't. Like most pedals, it's a distinct spice you want to add to your expression. Well… if Metal is your game, enter the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal.

It was originally released in 1991 and is considered one of Boss' best selling pedals of all time. Yet, when you get into the court of public opinion, you will ask yourself; “how could a pedal, with the real title of ‘best-selling' have almost an equal amount of detractors?” People who just absolutely hate its sonic output.

From my findings and experience, tone is always subjective. As you, the artist, you get the freedom to choose whatever sound you like. And, I think in this overview I have discovered where many people, who are new sound manipulation, mess up how this stompbox can deliver – and it does.

Again, the key to making this pedal “rage” and give you that blistering metal sound you're after is to play with, and dial in, its distinct mid range EQ settings.

I know you want the chunk chunk squeal sound reminiscent of early Metallica and Slayer! Here we go.

Pedal Details.

It’s a sizzling distortion pedal with unique dual-gain circuitry. In addition to the LEVEL and DIST controls it has a 3 band sweepable parametric equalizer that gives you complete control over how this pedal will punch.

Some would say it gives you an ultra-saturated “over the top” sound with huge mids and lows that emulate a stack of overdriven amps. Hence “metal” is the name of the unit itself, which would make it perfect for any hard rock or metal guitarist.

Metal over the top….? No….. Ha! That’s why we love it.

With that as its goal, the Boss MT-2 Distortion Guitar Pedal also provides super-long sustain for all your Yngwie Malmsteen/Dimebag Darrel/Randy Rhoads inspired solos.

The three-band EQ with semi-parametric Mid control offers a wide range of extreme distortion genre textures. And, as with all distortion pedals, the cable connections are mono in/mono out.

With BOSS products, as many would say, they're built so well that they'll survive a nuclear holocaust. To add to that, it comes with the BOSS 5-year warranty and it sells for the average retail price of $89, so you won't have to rob a bank to take it for a spin.

What does it sound like?

We’ve put together a few of the best YouTube videos out there so you can hear the range of what this pedal can do.

Metal pioneers, like early Metallica, were clearly an inspiration for this pedals' tone.

Metal pioneers of the late 80's, like early Metallica, were clearly an inspiration for this pedals' tone.

Dialing in the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal.

The LEVEL knob will stay pretty consistent once you’ve placed this pedal in your signal path. If you’re jumping between your “clean sound” with the pedal off and your “metal” sound with the pedal on, ideally they will be equal in volume or with the level set on the MT-2 to where you get a nice volume boost when you want to jump out and go into beast mode.

And with the DIST knob, dial it up or down to put just the right amount of edge on your signal.

Don't effing scoop the sound!

Now, for new guitarist just starting out, there are some fundamental EQ things you need to know about that will help make this pedal shine.

Mainly, the settings you have on your guitar/effects/amp when you play alone at home and practice are going to be way different from when you're playing in a band live or laying down tracks in a recording session.

So what are we after here? You must know that the mid range frequencies in the spectrum of human hearing is the lifeblood of a guitars' voice. It's where its most home in a mix and will have the space to jump out in front of the other instruments when its time comes.

Who owns the bottom end of the sonic spectrum? That's the bass and kick drum. Who owns the high highs? Think the sizzle of drum cymbals.

So even though you want the “thud” you get when your going “chugga chugga chugga” in your rhythm section, it has to be EQ'd to not take up the space where the bass and kick need to be doing their thing.

Again, for guitar in all its genres, It’s often best to accentuate the mid range frequencies of your guitar tone, and some select highs and lows, which you can do with this pedal with its High/Low shelving knobs and midband parametric EQ.

Now let's dial it in.

Remember EQ is a balance between subjective taste and the realities of placing multiple instruments in a mix with each other. The secret to this pedal is to NOT dial out the wrong mids, but rather boost the right ones.

On this device, the MID FREQ knob controls the 200Hz to 5kHz range of frequencies. You can then either boost or cut the frequency with the inner knob titled MIDDLE.

As a general rule, when guitars sound “muddy,” cut the sound from the 200Hz area. Though quickly dialing the MID FREQ knob to the right, or clockwise, will help to boost the 250 – 500 Hz area, which is known to be the fundamental of a guitars' sound.

You can also get a lot of presence by turning the MID FREQ knob to around the 2 to 3kHz position. Avoid boosting the 1kHz zone if you don't want what is considered a tinny or horn sound. And know that if you crank that MID FREQ knob all the way clockwise, you will get into the 4- 5kHz part of the spectrum where guitars can sound too hissy – especially with all that added distortion and high end that this pedal can deliver.

From there I would sweeten the sound by boosting the both the LOW and HIGH knobs to about 2 or 3 o'clock. If it gets too muddy pull back on the LOW knob. If the sizzle part of this pedal is killing you, play with dialing back either the HIGH knob or the METAL knob.

So you can see right there, you have a choice in how you want this pedal to serve you. Play with both cutting and boosting the right frequencies on this pedal and I think it will shine greatly for you.

Confused? Don't worry. EQ is a whole other bitch to appease. The above info is just there to help you. Again, dial this pedal in how you want and enter the Metal Zone!