The MXR DD-11 Dime distortion pedal by Jim Dunlop was, unlike other Dime equipment made in conjunction with Dimbag himself. It features a cammo paint job, and some of the most aggressive distortion to come out of a distortion pedal.
When it comes to Dimebag’s distorted guitar tone, it isn’t all about being warm and pretty! It’s about being aggressive, and having plenty of headroom for those squealing harmonics. This pedal aims to reproduce that tight, razor-sharp tone that will always cut through a mix.
Having said that, this pedal isn’t all about treble. There are bass, middle and treble controls on the top of the unit, which means you can set it to your preferred sound.
It’s also pretty quiet, with very little buzz, or hum in between playing. Dime himself used a noise gate to cut the ambient sound of his amp out when playing more stop-start riffs. To be honest, if you run with as much gain as Dime used, you’d be stupid not to use some kind of noise gate.
Unless, of course, you love feedback, random hissing, or an overpowering hum?
However, despite the oodles of cutting, ‘shred your face off’ metal distortion that this pedal provides, there is very little extra noise. This thing is truly built for you to get your own ‘Vulgar Display of Power’, and you can even use it in front of an already distorted amp!
Although, noise gates are still very useful. I’m not saying you won’t need one in your set-up.
Also, when you scoop out the mids (a very common Metal tone), the pedal actually compensates for the perceived drop in volume. Dropping the mids is something I’ve always done to push the guitar back a bit in the mix (as opposed to more mids for the solo). So I’m not sure how useful this feature really is…
- Aggressive, tight and focused distortion
- 3-band EQ
- Scoop switch to cut mids
- Power: Dunlop ECB004 18 volt AC Adapter
- Phosphorescent ‘glow in the dark’ control stencil
- Heavy Duty Enclosure
- On/off L.E.D. indicator
What We liked…
The MXR DD-11 Dime distortion pedal has a tonne of gain, so if you’re looking for something really brutal this might be it. If you’re a fan of Pantera or Damageplan (or even similar bands) then you’ll love the high-gain high-energy distortion than comes with very little extra noise!
Dime’s tone is definitely in there! It comes with an instruction manual (if you’re the type to read that sort of thing…), which should help you find his exact tone. Of course, if you’re really after his tone, you might also want his guitar and signature amp too.
If you’re like me, and buy signature equipment because you like the tone of a certain player, but aren’t trying to be a clone, this is also for you. This pedal can get a range of heavy metal tones. This is what it’s designed for, right?
I mean, I wouldn’t expect to use this pedal on a sensitive blues, but it definitely has that kind of versatility. It’s just that it has a ‘mid scoop’ feature, which gives you the classic thrashy metal tone. Actually, I wouldn’t turn the bass or mids up too high for fear of becoming muddy.
So, just like his signature wah, this pedal is for more than just Dimebag fans. It’s actually a genuinely good high-gain distortion pedal. However, if you are one of those who really hate Dime’s tone, then you should probably stay clear of this one.
The EQ is nice and sensitive, giving you the option to get very close to almost any metal guitarist’s signature tone using one pedal. Provided, of course, that the guitarist in question uses solid state amps, and not tube distortion (and most do!).
Of course, pinch harmonics sound amazing on this thing! It’s a little bit easier to get those Dimebag-style squeals out the the guitar (not that they’re ever really easy to do…).
Also, it’s glow in the dark- which is a great help when you’re playing on a dark stage. If you’re only in your bedroom, or rehearsal room it still looks really cool, glowing like that. This feature is always a bonus!
What We didn’t like…
Well, there is almost no sustain, which can be annoying. It might be due to the lower noise output from the pedal, because sustain is usually boosted by feedback. It’s not a huge issue, but it makes the guitar feel strange, and a bit dead, to play.
Or, at least to me. Personally, I love guitars with sustain, and when the note dies off a little too fast, it’s frustrating. As I said, this isn’t a huge deal, and your audience might never notice, but you might.
Another thing is that this is designed to work with solid state, transistor amps. Tube amps can sound a bit weird with this much gain through them. They aren’t designed for that. Dimebag himself used a solid state amp.
Also, be careful of the volume and EQ settings. If you turn them up too high there is a risk of internal feedback occurring within the pedal itself. This is simply because there is just so much gain going on, and shouldn’t cause you too many problems if you’re careful.
That’s what you want for metal though, isn’t it? So much gain there are warnings about setting it too high? The downside of this is that it requires a lot of power (18V) and doesn’t use batteries.
It’s more expensive than your standard distortion pedal, and it might take a while longer to get used to, but it’s worth every penny! Especially if you’re after a similar tone to Dime, or just a great heavy, dirty and aggressive distortion tone.
Conclusions on the MXR DD-11 Dime Distortion
This distortion just exactly what it says on the tin- and then some. The MXR DD-11 Dime distortion is also exactly what it says- Dime’s distortion pedal. If you like Dimebag’s guitar tone and want to sound like him: get this pedal. It’s just a pity it can’t make us play like him!
If, however, you hate the sound of his distortion and prefer a warmer, lower-gain, tube amp sound: this pedal is probably not for you.