Decent variety of Mesa/Boogie-esque sounds. Respectable amount of gain.
Lacks high-end clarity and note articulation. Could use more low-end oomph. Somewhat noisy operation. Street:
Gervana Ji Wei Distortion
Ease of Use:
The Chinese-made Ji Wei aims to replicate the tones and functionality of high-gain Mesa/Boogie amps. The rightmost footswitch activates distortion dialed with the seven top-panel knobs—low, mid low, mid, mid high, high, level, and gain—and a 3-position toggle that’s labeled “boost” but seems more like a gain-level selector. The left stomp engages a mid-scooped boost inspired by the footswitchable 5-band EQ on many Mesas. Two internal trim pots adjust the boost’s low and high frequencies, and a third fine-tunes levels between the boost and distortion effect.
Ji Wei does indeed capture much of the scooped-and-saturated essence of a Boogie dialed to match corpse paint. However, I found myself expecting a little more fine-tunability from a 5-band setup. Even with the mid-high and high knobs cranked, treble lacked clarity and note definition. Likewise, though I simultaneously routed the pedal through both a brawny-sounding 50-watt combo with an oversized cab and a cranked 200-watt 1x15 bass combo, maxing Ji Wei’s low and low-mid knobs left me wanting more muscle. (I tested the same setup, with both amps at the same volume settings, with a simpler, similarly priced dual pedal featuring a gain channel and a separately footswitchable boost set to scoop mids, and achieved heavier, more articulate tones, even with less available gain.) Even so, the Ji Wei does yield a respectable variety of useful metal and hard-rock tones at a reasonable price.
Test gear: Schecter Ultra III, Jaguar HC50 running in tandem with Fender Rumble 200 1x15 bass combo