Peavey Dirty Dog: Review and User Guide May 2011

Today a review for the Peavey Dirty Dog pedal. It is classified as a distortion pedal, but there are many people, please read some of the reviews here: who are somewhat confused by what this pedal can do.

The pedal does contain two channels, one for “Lead” and one for “Crunch”.
The controls for both channels read like:

                Bark               Bite            Growl
           (Post Gain)        (Treble)      (Pre Gain)

Funny names, for some people downright annoying, but I think it should not be too hard to get used to them  as their function is pretty standard for the guitarplaying crowd.

Furthermore, on the “Lead” Channel there is a “Boost” button, which does not need any further explanation as to what this one does. On the “Crunch” Channel there is one more control left: a button which is called “Trash”, this one reduces the mids, when you switch it on it gives you a warmer sound, more tubby feel if you like. I will come back to this button with a video to back up its sound.

There are two toggle switches, one for “Bypass”, and one to switch from “Lead” mode to “Crunch” mode. There are LEDS to show you in which mode you are. The “Bypass” is not true bypass but it is very convincing and a great feature in itself.

Okay that is about it as far as the layout of the controls goes. Pedal works with a 9 volts powersupply or a battery. If you are using Boss type of plugs you will need a adaptor plug to get the same kind of socket as what most Boss pedals use. The polarity is similar to those of Boss pedals which means ( if you do use an adaptor socketplug) you can daisy chain your powersupply and run all your pedals of one powersource.

I tested this pedal with both Single Coil guitars (Fender Strat.) and Humbuck guitars (Gibson Les Paul), used both valve amps and transitor, small amps and stage amps. In all my testings the results were similar as in that the Humbuck guitars were exaggerating the sounds more (as one would expect), gave less detail ect. The stage amps made everything louder but not really different in sound.

                        Dirty Dog Used on its Own:

Using the Dirty Dog just on its own with no other pedals to interact, the “Lead” channel can produce a somewhat disappointing sound: With the Pre Gain on 12.00 0’clock the pedal produces a lot of bass, you need to work the Treble control to get a workable sound. When you are expecting a lead sound you will be in for a shock as this mode just adds more gain but not really a good strong, solo sound.
The “Crunch” channel is much better in this respect: It does what it tells you on the tin, but it can do it much better read on………….

As far as giving you distortionsounds right out of the box this pedal may be somewhat disappointing but heh, let us reduce the Pre Gain control, work that Treble knob a bit and make up for it with the Post Gain control. Now you are talking!! as this pedal does clean up wonderfully in both the Lead Mode and Crunch Mode, dial in more Treble and it still remains clean, does get a little grainy but does not add any more distortion as what so many other pedals will do when you add on treble.
Why is this so good? Isn’t this supposed to be a distortion pedal?  Read on………………..

                      Let Us Now Bring In Your Favourite Distortion Pedals:

Place them in front of the Dirty Dog and let the Dirty Dog do its trick on your pedals: In the “Crunch” mode the pedal can add a lot of extra treble, in the “Lead” mode it can add a lot of bass, adding more body to almost any pedal. I tried it with some of the most populair pedals like the Boss BD2, SD1, OD3, HM2 and the Ibanez TS9, all of them being stock, not modded or anything, and the Dirty Dog makes any of these pedals so much better: The SD1 sounded very creamy in the “Lead” Channel, the TS9 did get more body in both channels (Stevie Ray Vaughan, anyone???), The Boss OD3 gave extra shine on the Dirty Dog, more colour, especially when the tone control was opened up more. The HM2 in the Lead Channel could give me a real convining Marshall JMC 800 sound on both channels.

                     Overal Conclusion:

The pedal is designed to give a kind of Valve sound, it does this in the Power amp stage. When you play your chords hard you will experience that “dint in your sound” as any Valve amp will do when pushed hard. When you place any distortion pedal after the Dirty Dog this feature will be less noticeable. Experiment with the placement of your pedals, in any way you do it, the Dirty Dog will make your pedals and amp sound better!

This pedal can best be viewed as an enhancer for your sound, not a distortion pedal on its own. However as a clean bass/treble boost I would be quite happy just to use the Dirty Dog on its own as it is excellent in this mode

Its biggest selling point? The fact that it turns a One Channel amp into Three Channels. Cool! Combining this with any of your favourite pedals this does give you a lot of sound to work with from your amp.
One of its weakest points must be the fact that using this pedal as a distortion on its own it can be somewhat of a disappointing experience. 
What about the whining sound mentioned in some of the Harmony Central reviews and other posts on the net? Good question! Yes, that can be a problem, I had it too, but it can be repaired by any amptech, and after that you will be happy with a good working pedal which will last you for a long time to come. Heh what can go wrong with distortion pedals eh? 

                     Last But Not Least:

The one thing I was going to mention but have not done so far is the Trash contol on the Crunch Channel: When you push this button it does give a less direct, somewhat warmer sound. Listen to this song here. The guitarsolo which starts at 2.07. A TS9 and the Crunch Channel with the Trash button switched engaged will get you close to that sound!

                      For Who is This Pedal?

If you are into enhanced, expansive sounds from your amp and you like pedals and tweaking you can not go wrong with this one. You can use it for studio or live playing. If you are a “One Amp and Guitar” kind of guy you my not like this one.
What kind of guitarstyle? Any really, as this pedal puts a nice shine on any moderate- or more extreme gain pedals.

Have a great blast making music and playing guitar and hope to see you soon again,