Classic amp distortion has seen a revival over the last couple of years. That creamy, slightly compressed tone is incredibly versatile and the pedals fits almost any amp and setup. The V-2 from Vick Audio promise to capture the tone and power of a large tube stack. Here’s my review.
As you might have guessed, or already read in other reviews, the V-2 is based on the Pete Cornish G2, which David Gilmour used extensively in 2005-06. The G2 is in turn similar to a Big Muff, with some of the sonic qualities of a RAT.
The Rat has always been one of my favourite pedals and a go-to unit for recording. The G2 utilised everything that was great about the RAT, gave it a bit more of everything and took it closer to the tone you get when plugging into the front end of a hot Marshall or similar. Big Muffs and moody fuzz pedals are great but there’s something about that timeless sound of a cranked tube amp that’s hard to beat.
The V-2 isn’t actually a G2 clone. In fact, Vick Audio decided to use silicon diodes instead of germanium transistors, which gives the pedal a unique tone of its own. The V-2 is really something different – in all positive ways! The V-2 is housed in a sparkling metallic T-Rex sized chassis, with controls for volume, tone and sustain. It features true bypass switching (buffer engaged when activated) and it runs on 9V Boss-style adapter (no battery).
The first thing you notice is that this is indeed something different. It’s got much of the creamy saturation and sustain of the G2 but it’s much more open sounding, with more low end and a crispy top. In fact, it sounds like a mixture between an early 90s Sovtek and the G2. There’s definitely a amp-like character to it but also a lot of that raw and edgy Big Muff tone.
It says in the description of the pedal that it’s got plenty of headroom but unless they’re referring to the huge amount of distortion you can dial in, without getting any nasty overtones, it’s a bit misleading. There’s no clean tone anywhere. But, this is a distortion pedal and whether you got low output single coils or hot humbuckers, the V-2 will provide a full bodied tone no matter what.
With the volume dialled above unity gain, you get that smoothness and mild compression, similar to a hard driven tube amp. With the volume backed down a hair and the gain almost full up, you get some wonderful harmonics similar to a Big Muff and silicon fuzz.
The tone control responds very well, with a wide sweep, from dark rhythm tones to crispy fuzz. Unlike the G2, which can sound pretty fizzy and thin, with the tone set high, the V-2 stays warm and musical. The gain stage also seems to be more linear, maintaining much of the tone at extreme settings.
Another huge plus is the low noise level. Even at high volume and gain settings, the V-2 stays impressively quiet and focused.
You can’t really compare this to a G2, or even the many clones like the Buffalo FX Evolution and Toptone DG2. As already mentioned, it’s more like a Big Muff but with that amp-like quality to it. Whereas most distortions tend to lose much of their character on typical bedroom setups and low volume, the V-2 can handle pretty much anything, making a excellent alternative for many other high gain pedals out there. I also found it very easy to record, with that slight mids boost and fat lows helping out.
The V-2 is a cool sounding distortion, with some unique qualities that I haven’t heard in any other pedal. Highly recommended if you’re looking for that classic British tube amp tone, with a twist! Check out vickaudio.com for more details.