Quick Hit: Gervana Ji Wei Distortion Review

Five EQ bands and footswitchable mid-scoop boost converge in a stomp inspired by high-gain Mesas.

  Recorded with a Schecter Ultra III’s TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup into the Ji Wei and then routed to a Jaguar HC50 miked with a Royer R-121 and a Fender Rumble 200 miked with a Shure SM57, both feeding an Apogee Duet going into GarageBand with no EQ-ing, compression, or effects.
 

Ratings

Pros:
Decent variety of Mesa/Boogie-esque sounds. Respectable amount of gain.

Cons:
Lacks high-end clarity and note articulation. Could use more low-end oomph. Somewhat noisy operation. Street:
$149

Gervana Ji Wei Distortion
gervanapedals.com


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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.

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


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