What’s The Best Distortion Pedal For TR-909 Kicks?

What’s the best distortion effect for great kick drum sounds?

One way to find out would be to obsessively test 13 distortion pedals with a Roland TR-909 drum machine – which is exactly what Gear Fiend Mitch Wells did.

He ran a TR-909 bass drum through these 13 effects pedals, some of which are straight ahead distortion effects and others that focus on fuzz, filtering and lo-fi distortion:

  1. Dunlop Fuzz Face
  2. Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff with Top Boost
  3. Maxon OD-9
  4. Boss OS-2
  5. Boss DS-1
  6. Boss DS-2
  7. Pro Co RAT
  8. Tech 21 VT Bass
  9. MXR Bass D.I. +
  10. Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n
  11. Moog Moogerfooger Lowpass Filter
  12. Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi
  13. Elektron SidStation
The 13 pedals deliver a huge variety of effects. Which one do think delivers the best results?

13 thoughts on “What’s The Best Distortion Pedal For TR-909 Kicks?

  1. I like the last four kicks on the boss ds-2. I think it really comes down to personal taste like many things and what kind of song you are trying to work on. I used to have a cheap Art SG-1 and it fedback after every 909 kick and sounded so cool. Nice test though. Cheers.

  2. I prefer Tech 21 VT Bass, closely followed by the Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi, and I like Electro-Harmonix English Muff’n. All Boss pedals sound interesting to me, too. It’s good to know that if I stumble upon one of those somewhere… LOL Cheers! And thanks for the interesting comparison test.

  3. Nice to see a demo of some creative misuse of these pedals!

    Anybody got recommendations for an acid bassline synth (Revolution)?

  4. When I still had them, vintage mxr distortion plus or ibanez tubescreamer was amazing with 909s. The original DOD deathmetal pedal was super cool sounding too, great eq and very high gain. The best one I ever got with a 909 and 303 was through a Peavey classic 50 4×10 combo mic’d up. Sounds huge!!! Chellie, in order from lowest cost to highest (approx)…
    Korg monotribe
    Boss Dr202 (great bang for the buck)
    Novation a station (does great basses, polyphonic, great effects!)
    Paia fatman
    Atomosynth kraken
    Doepfer diy synth or dark matter can do good acid
    Novation bass station (rack version has CV, the KB is the BMF!!)***highly recommend
    Anything from acidlabs
    Quasimidi 309
    The good ol xoxbox
    Analog solutions trans bass

    There is a ton more but those are the best ones that came off the top of my head…

  5. Great test, This is true science!
    Dunlop Fuzz Face by far the best standalone here.

    Still, serious EBM and noise artists use several different pedals, in different combinations, for almost all sounds.
    So I guess each of these featured will have its use.

  6. boss ds-2 really sucks if you dont tweak it from the inside, a pure guitar pedal with no bass responce. dont get overwhelmed from the video, if you really use it to make kickdrum recordings you’ll understand how static it sounds and how harsh it is when pushed. also very noisy……

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