With its cascading Marshall-meets-Boogie tones, this Danish dirt box is a simple, oft-transformative delight.
Powerful variety of responsive high-gain tones. Makes small amps sound huge!
Decay can sound unusual at low-gain settings. Could benefit from a more powerful EQ.
LunaStone Deep Metal
With its oversized, comfortingly luminescent red lamp, dark finish, and diagonal control array, the latest from Danish stomp outfit LunaStone—the Deep Metal—is simple and handsomely evocative of WWII-era military electronics. And like said devices, its aesthetics belie the mayhem it unleashes. Innards consist of two PCBs that nearly run the length of the enclosure and face inward, thus concealing a view of the analog circuit's primary tone generators—a combination of clipping diodes and an op-amp driven by JFETs and BJTs (bipolar junction transistors). Designer Steen Grøntved says the goal of the Deep Metal was "an old-school heavy metal 'square sound.'" LunaStone certainly succeeded.
To test the manufacturer's claim that Deep Metal will make riffs and solos "sound huge" though a small combo, I employed an ESP LTD SN-1000FR with Fishman Fluence humbuckers and an Eastwood Sidejack Baritone DLX with Curtis Novak JM-WR pickups through a 2x10 Fender Vibrolux Reverb (sometimes along with a Fender Rumble 200 bass amp), and a 1x8 Fender Vibro Champ, in addition to Jaguar HC50 and Sound City SC30 1x12 combos.
Huge, But How?
Deep Metal's simple control set features just a soft-touch footswitch and level, tone, and gain knobs. As you might guess from its name, Deep Metal's lowest gain output is still fairly aggressive. And it's at minimum dirt that the pedal's most unusual characteristic—a slightly pulsating decay as notes fade—is most obvious. In most players' experience, this will likely feel quite unlike the response from tube amps. But the good news is that this somewhat industrial-sounding (for lack of a better term) characteristic in the decay sits well in the background—far enough to avoid being distracting. At minimum gain, Deep Metal also yields surprisingly dynamic, mellower sounds as you rein in your guitar volume.
Satisfying as the low-gain sounds can be, Deep Metal isn't about mellow. And, fortunately, as you increase the LunaStone's gain, the slight anomaly in the decay fades away, leaving in its wake a range of cascading, highly saturated classic-, thrash-, death-, and black-metal tones that cranked Marshall and Boogie fans will be at home with. To test how transformative Deep Metal can be, I began with the Fluence-outfitted ESP and my silver-panel Vibrolux Reverb set to clean tones and a middle-of-the-road EQ. Even with the cleanish Fender combo, Deep Metal facilitated everything from soaring, effortless legato runs to deep, chunking dissonance. But I was most impressed when I switched to the even smaller Vibro Champ and my Eastwood Sidejack, whose Jazzmaster Widerange pickups sounded both brutal and crystalline through the LunaStone. With a good mic, you could track an album's worth of evil through a rig like this, and the average player might never be wise to the fact that you didn't use big heads and 4x12s.
Apart from that odd decay at low gain, the LunaStone Deep Metal's only other slight shortcoming is its simplicity. While it delivers on the promise of making smaller amps sound big and mean, without a 2- or 3-way EQ, it's harder to get the balance of cut and body you might need when routing Deep Metal to a thumping 4x12 or both a guitar amp and a bass amp. Even so, Deep Metal puts forth a healthy range of big tones with no need for a menu or interface deep dive. For many of us that's a huge, huge plus.
The newer version packs more low end and increases the gain.
Copenhagen, Denmark (April 3, 2017) -- Following the successful launch of TrueOverDrive 1 at NAMM 2017, the Danish guitar pedal brand LunaStone now follows up with a new overdrive pedal – TrueOverDrive 2.
TOD 2 looks very similar to TOD 1. In fact, on the surface only the number on the silk print sets them apart, but once they are plugged in, it becomes clear that TOD 2 adds more low end and a little more gain.
“Guitar overdrive is very often a personal matter of preference,” says Steen Grøntved, founder of LunaStone. “And for some, a beefy bottom is the tone of reference so that is exactly what TOD 2 brings to the board. Overall, the core tone and transparency is the same as the original TOD 1, but with that extra low-end punch that fits certain playing styles and musical genres better. It is our goal to cater for all guitar players, so it was a logical next step for us to make this tweak, tuning the pedal differently to make sure there is a suitable TOD for everyone out there.”
Physically, the appearance is exactly the same as TOD 1 with diagonally positioned knobs that can be adjusted on the fly with the foot, a clearly visible LED and a soft switching footswitch with relay. All of which is united in a minimalistic Scandinavian design package.
The new TrueOverDrive 2 pedal will be on display – and demo – at the upcoming Musikmesse trade show in Frankfurt, April 5 to 8 2017, at Hall 11.0 C87.
Pricing: $149 / €149
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This rock-solid boost offers more than its one-knob setup might suggest.
It’s easy to dismiss one-knob wonders due to a perceived lack of bells and whistles. I’ve been guilty of that before, but LunaStone’s the Pusher is a devastatingly beautiful clean boost that is bound to shatter some expectations. One big question when it comes to a boost pedal is if it simply ups the volume or adds some extra gain, too. My preference is always for a straight volume boost, and the Pusher understands that. It gets me. With the knob at noon, it gives a healthy bump without infringing on the tone of my amp or the job of its neighboring dirt pedals.
It also found use as an “always-on” pedal at the front of my board. The increased signal breathed some tonal life into my Strymon Mobius (especially on the filter mode) and my Truetone Route 66. An extra little signal boost helps even out the various gain stages and gives more power to my guitar’s volume knob—a sorely underused tool. At less than a Benjamin, the Pusher is very affordable, doesn’t under-deliver, and, most important, doesn’t get in the way.
Test gear: Fender Stratocaster, Ibanez SZ320, Fender Hot Rod DeVille ML
A true clean boost. Plenty of power. Very quiet.
No battery option. Not enough gain for some players.
LunaStone Pedals The Pusher
Ease of Use: