Boss MT-2 Metal Zone Distortion Guitar Pedal Review

One of the most famous effect units of the BOSS company is the MT2 model, also known under the more recognizable name – Metal Zone. It is so well known because you can get high-quality aggressive distortion with its proper tuning, which is typical for heavy music.

No wonder, that distortion effect pedal BOSS MT2 is considered one of the most desirable among guitarists. Juicy and rich distortion, combined with convenient sound settings and an equalizer, as well as the quality and durability characteristic of BOSS – all this provides the guitar console with a well-deserved fame. The pedal offers extremely long sustain, heavy medium and low-frequency sound, typical for overloaded amplifiers.

This BOSS pedal is made in a one-piece metal case, and therefore we are confident that it will survive even a nuclear war. Of course, like any other electronic musical equipment, the pedal may break, but the probability of this happening without guitarist’s fault is minimal. In any case, with a live performance, we advise you not to forget about insurance.

Features and technical data:

  • Input Impedance: 1M Ohm
  • Output Impedance: 1 kOhm
  • Supply Current: 20 mA (DC 9 V)
  • Power supply: DC 9V: 9 V battery, adapter
  • Recommended load resistance: 10 kOhm
  • Input noise level: -110 dB or less (IHF-A)
  • Control:  DIST knob, EQUALIZER knob, LEVEL knob, footswitch
  • OUTPUT INPUT AC adapter connectors (DC 9 V)
  • Weight and dimensions: Width: 73 mm Depth: 129 mm Height: 59 mm Weight: 0.4 kg

Boss Metal Zone MT-2 Overview

  • Sound: 9
  • Build quality: 9
  • Design: 10
  • Features and functionality: 9
  • Overall rating: 10

The BOSS MT 2 pedal was designed to provide powerful and heavy distortion in one compact device, and many pedal manufacturers have the same goals. However, only a few of them can achieve this in practice. The unit is equipped with a 3-band equalizer, a mid-level control, and Volume and Gain knobs. It is worth noting that it is not so easy to get a good sound with this guitar pedal as it might seem at first glance. However, this is a consequence of the fact that the guitarist has a good set of settings to control the distortion effect. Anyway, if you have experience with guitar effects gadgets, you will likely get the sound you want. A proper instruction and setup guide for beginners will help you with this.

Both beginners and mid-level guitarists will undoubtedly be grateful to BOSS for the instructions included. This manual incredibly facilitates the understanding of the gadget controls. And another nice feature – you can immediately try out the presets. The manual contains the following settings – heavy metal, fuzz and others. For the future, we recommend you record your own settings for the effect pedal since the Metal Zone settings are individual for each type of amplifier equipment.

It’s worth saying that it is far from being as universal as it is common to think. The moment of sound (I mean the real, good and high-quality sound, and not “sand itching”) at this pedal occurs only when interacting with a tube amplifier. I tested it quite tightly and used it with several amplifiers: Peavey JSX, Yerasov Detonator, Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, Marshall JCM 2000 TSL100. With all listed above amps, the pedal sounded very dignified, without sand itching.

The most exciting moment happened when I put it in the return of one of these amplifiers (later, I did this trick with all of the amplifiers mentioned above). The pedal also sounded quite confident, and without an unpleasant high-frequency sound. Of course, the nature of each of the amplifiers brought its color to the sound.

I liked the effect of the pedal in the Peavey JSX and Mesa Triple Rectifier the most. Also, I enjoyed the return at Yerasov Detonator. Marshall sounded pretty evenly both back and forth, but I liked the sound’s richness a little less. By innate curiosity (or stupidity), I stuck the pedal in the Ibanez TB100H return. Here I got a “full bouquet” of itching, rattle and drill. To conclude – it can be used only with tube amplifiers.

I’ve primarily used this pedal with an Ibanez SZR520 guitar (EMG81 and 85 pickups). This pedal has a very clear (if I may speak so about distortion effect) and rich sound. Although to get the perfect result, like with any other distortion effect, it’s still worth using noise-canceling equipment (for example, BOSS NS2 guitar noise-canceling pedal). I’ve tuned the pedal to sound in the thrash and death metal styles, and despite the almost maximum gain, the sound was without noticeable interference. Honestly, I would not advise professional guitarists to use the BOSS MT 2 with expensive tube amplifiers, yet this pedal is great for training and practice. Definitely, for those who have recently started learning to play the guitar and want to master the real heavy sound, buying a Metal Zone is a great choice. The console does not always sound crystal clear, but for most guitarists, the BOSS pedal will meet all expectations. Do you want to play death metal or thrash metal guitar? The excellent drive overload compensates not very warm sound, and some scarcity of high frequencies will not decrease a wide range of heavy music to play – from Iron Maiden to Pantera.

I’ve tested this guitar unit mainly as an effect pedal for playing in aggressive styles like Classic Metal and Death Metal. However, it is suitable for any extreme playing style. Metal Zone works off invested money for 100%, giving out an overloaded sound. If you are playing professional tube equipment, I doubt whether you’ll want to connect this pedal to your effects loop. But if you need a compact device to get distortion effect on a limited budget that can satisfy the ears of almost aфny heavy music fan, the MT 2 pedal is right for you. The only serious drawback of this distortion pedal is the high greed for the batteries. Therefore, I recommend you to buy a network adapter.

A few words about this device’s functionality: an equalizer with a parametric midpoint saves the situation when you need a slightly different character of the sound. In this regard, it is universal. The gain supply is just frightening. When using a guitar with relatively powerful pickups (i.e., Seymour Duncan TB6) you don’t need to tune more than half of the gain. If you twist more, the sound begins to be strongly compressed. While experimenting, I’ve found an exciting way to use this pedal (although I’m sure I’m far from original). In my pedalboard, I put the compressor in front of everything, and it’s always on, both on the clean and the drive. Thus, I can reduce the gain on MT2, and put it somewhere on one third, maybe a little more. A tight overload is received, with a good “bow” and good sustain, but it is not overcompressed, and perfectly fits into the mix of a live band.

And finally, about the unpleasant. As knowledgeable people told me, in 2002, the BOSS decided to change the circuitry network of this device to reduce its cost. The difference in sound is not extreme, and it’s hard to notice it, but when comparing the “before” and “after” pedals, the reality is disappointing: the previous version is better than the current. So it is highly recommended to catch some skilled master and ask to clean the components, changing everything dubious to expensive counterparts. Without even interfering with the circuitry network, the sound will dramatically improve.

Summarizing all my thoughts, I can say the following: the pedal is more than worthy, especially in terms of price/quality. But there’s one crucial moment. It should be used strictly for its intended purpose, and only in such a case, it will please its owner with a good and tasty sound. Of course, this is not the best distortion pedal among the existing ones, but I have not found an alternative to this pedal for my pedalboard in this price category yet. Listen, try, experiment, and then you can find your own distortion sound.

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