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Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal

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The Dirty Little Secret has earned itself a well-deserved reputation for replicating the sound and feel of a classic-era Marshall amplifier, supplyin...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Classic Marshall sound stuffed into an awesome pedal.

The Dirty Little Secret has earned itself a well-deserved reputation for replicating the sound and feel of a classic-era Marshall amplifier, supplying one of the most iconic guitar sounds in music. When the JFETs used as the base for the Dirty Little Secret were discontinued, and as the designers' stock of them began to dwindle they knew they had to find ones still being manufactured. However, rather than simply re-voicing around these new JFETs, we decided to push the envelope and provide an amazingly robust feature-set, from ever evolving listening and circuit skills, and pure power of intention. This isn't just "a" Marshall in a box, it's the most versatile and dynamic Marshall-style overdrive out there!

The "Super Lead" mode expands the range of the DLS MkII with more gain available and more control over your tone sculpting with the addition of the midrange control while still enhancing the touch-sensitive dynamic qualities that make the DLS so great to play. The gain range now goes from classic plexi all the way to modified JCM800 levels and can get even more raw and open than any previous DLS.

The "Super Bass" mode is a new voicing that gives you the tone and gain structure of a Marshall Super Bass (which is very similar to a JTM45 or JTM50/100). This mode was voiced to really hone in on that elusive in-between "not quite clean, not quite dirty" response that old tube amps were so good at getting. And it was specifically voiced to make fuzz pedals sound great.

The Dirty Little Secret (DLS) is an overdrive pedal designed to bring you the sound and response of a classic Marshall amplifier. It, like the other pedals in Catalinbread's Foundation Overdrive range of pedals, is designed to be a "foundation" pedal - it is your "always on" pedal that forms the core of your guitar sound which you can enhance and embellish by adding boosters, fuzzes, filters, and other overdrives in front of it - just like you would in front of a real amp. And the reason you can leave it always-on is that you can get a great clean sound just by rolling your guitar's volume knob back! That's the way the old school Marshall players did things!

FEATURES
  • Complete redesign with two Marshall modes
  • Super Lead and Super Bass to suit your sound
  • Fantastic cleanup with your guitar's volume control
  • Ideal for stacking with fuzzes, ODs and boosts
  • Exact tonestack circuits from SL and SB amps for true-to-amp response

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Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
CatalinbreadDirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.7

(based on 13 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (10)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (12)
  • Responsive (12)
  • Versatile (9)
  • Compact (8)
  • Good selection of effects (3)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (12)
  • Home studio (10)
  • Professional recording (10)
  • Amateur recording (9)
  • Outdoor events / games (9)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (9), Professional musician (4)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

The Closest Thing To A "Marshall In A Box" I've Found

After years of playing a digital modeling amp, I got the urge to do a 180 and go back to analog. I had the incredible fortune of coming across a 1967 Fender Bassman head...Read complete review

After years of playing a digital modeling amp, I got the urge to do a 180 and go back to analog. I had the incredible fortune of coming across a 1967 Fender Bassman head that I was able to rebuild, and decided to use it as a clean canvas for creating sounds. Since it obviously has the "Fender" thing covered, I looked around for something to take care of the Marshall side of things.

As soon as I saw a demo video for this box, I was hooked. The Dirty Little Secret is not your typical overdrive or distortion box (although by dialing back the gain, it makes a dandy boosst). No...this thing is way more dynamic than most distortion boxes. By using FETs (which is the closest thing to a tube that's available as a semiconductor) instead of clipping diodes, you can go from a fairly clean (just a touch of hair) to full on distortion with your guitar knob. And unless you get crazy with the treble, the distortion doesn't get fizzy or splattery.

In addition to the 5 knobs on the front, there's an internal adjustment pot for the Presence, and a switch to select between a Super Lead and Super Bass....that switch can really change the tone.

In the Super Lead mode, there's a lot of gain available. With resonably hot pickups and a 70's Les Paul, I can start coaxing some dirt from the pedal with the preamp at 10:00. With a lower output guitar like my Firebird, you'll get to about 1:00 to get the same effect. Dime the preamp control...and you've got all the distortion you need with either guitar. And my favorite aspect of this setting is where the mid control is voiced. I usually find them voiced to low...almost in the mid bass region. This one is spot on.

Switching to the Super Bass mode changes the center frequencies of the tone controls and drastically reduces the amount of distortion that you can develope with the preamp control. You even have the option to run the pedal at 18V, which really opens up the range and headroom. Built like a tank...this thing will last!

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Not bad, but not what I was expecting

Let's start with the good:

- It had a pretty cool sound (although, not quite what I imagined)
- Seems built to last, very solid construction
-...Read complete review

Let's start with the good:

- It had a pretty cool sound (although, not quite what I imagined)
- Seems built to last, very solid construction
- Sleek, compact design

As for the bad:

- For the price, this thing should be able to power itself, or come with a power adapter. I know its a minor annoyance, but its there.
- The effects had a really "phaser" like quality to them that I didn't expect. Not sure if it replicated the Marshall sound. The tone was just not what I was expecting, but some might be satisfied with it.

OVERALL:

This pedal could definitely be useful to someone, but it was just not the sound I was looking for. I would say definitely try it before you buy it. The lack of 9V battery capability is annoying for a pedal at this price point, but not a deal-breaker.

Reviewed by 13 customers

Displaying reviews 1-13

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

The Closest Thing To A "Marshall In A Box" I've Found

By Austin Ken

from Austin, Tx

About Me Professional Musician

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Responsive
  • Versatile

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

    After years of playing a digital modeling amp, I got the urge to do a 180 and go back to analog. I had the incredible fortune of coming across a 1967 Fender Bassman head that I was able to rebuild, and decided to use it as a clean canvas for creating sounds. Since it obviously has the "Fender" thing covered, I looked around for something to take care of the Marshall side of things.

    As soon as I saw a demo video for this box, I was hooked. The Dirty Little Secret is not your typical overdrive or distortion box (although by dialing back the gain, it makes a dandy boosst). No...this thing is way more dynamic than most distortion boxes. By using FETs (which is the closest thing to a tube that's available as a semiconductor) instead of clipping diodes, you can go from a fairly clean (just a touch of hair) to full on distortion with your guitar knob. And unless you get crazy with the treble, the distortion doesn't get fizzy or splattery.

    In addition to the 5 knobs on the front, there's an internal adjustment pot for the Presence, and a switch to select between a Super Lead and Super Bass....that switch can really change the tone.

    In the Super Lead mode, there's a lot of gain available. With resonably hot pickups and a 70's Les Paul, I can start coaxing some dirt from the pedal with the preamp at 10:00. With a lower output guitar like my Firebird, you'll get to about 1:00 to get the same effect. Dime the preamp control...and you've got all the distortion you need with either guitar. And my favorite aspect of this setting is where the mid control is voiced. I usually find them voiced to low...almost in the mid bass region. This one is spot on.

    Switching to the Super Bass mode changes the center frequencies of the tone controls and drastically reduces the amount of distortion that you can develope with the preamp control. You even have the option to run the pedal at 18V, which really opens up the range and headroom. Built like a tank...this thing will last!

    (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great Pedal

    By chrisk78

    from Canada

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive

    Cons

    • Power Adapter Not Include

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

    This pedal is freaking awesome! Having tried the real thing, this thing gets really close to the classic marshall sound.

    (2 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    Not bad, but not what I was expecting

    By lafazman

    from Agoura Hills, CA

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Responsive

    Cons

    • Limited Selection Of Effects
    • No Power Adapter Included
    • Not Self-powering

    Best Uses

      Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

      Let's start with the good:

      - It had a pretty cool sound (although, not quite what I imagined)
      - Seems built to last, very solid construction
      - Sleek, compact design

      As for the bad:

      - For the price, this thing should be able to power itself, or come with a power adapter. I know its a minor annoyance, but its there.
      - The effects had a really "phaser" like quality to them that I didn't expect. Not sure if it replicated the Marshall sound. The tone was just not what I was expecting, but some might be satisfied with it.

      OVERALL:

      This pedal could definitely be useful to someone, but it was just not the sound I was looking for. I would say definitely try it before you buy it. The lack of 9V battery capability is annoying for a pedal at this price point, but not a deal-breaker.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Marshall In A Box

      By Stulanger

      from KY, USA

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Compact Design
      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Good Selection Of Effects
      • Great Dynamics
      • Responsive
      • Touch Sensitive
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

        Still getting to know this pedal and trying it in different orders on my pedal board but so far so good. I wouldn't normally shell out this kind of money for a pedal since there are so many good pedals out there for under a hundred but the demos on Youtube sounded so good I had to give it a try. I am so glad I did. I had been running a Visual Sound Open Road as my always on pedal and a VS Drivetrain as a boost with an Electro-Harmonix Big Mu**-tone wicker (with guitar volume rolled back) for added dynamics through a Peavey Delta Blues 115. The DLS sounds better by itself than my other three pedals do stacked. It has all the warm, blooming dynamics of the Big Mu** Pi but with a tighter and more defined bass. Chords sound full and articulate through the DLS and there seems to be a hint of voltage sag when the master is run up around the 10:00 position and you dig into the strings. I keep it on the super lead setting as the VS Open Road covers the low mid character of the super bass mode on the DLS. When I run the VS Drivetrain into the DLS I can get a good 70's - 80's era hard rock/metal tone. I run the Open Road pedal after the DLS for a fat, lead boost. I really couldn't be more pleased with this pedal and I wouldn't trade it and my Peavey DB for a vintage Marshall Bluesbreaker. If I had one small gripe it would be that the switches for the super bass/super lead modes and the presence switch are located inside the pedal and I hate having to open up a pedal to adjust things. However it isn't a big deal as I leave it on the SL mode all the time and I haven't felt the need to mess with the presence control.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Not a secret anymore!

        By Sunny

        from Florida

        About Me Professional Musician

        See all my reviews

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Excellent Sound Quality
        • Responsive

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances

          Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

          The best Marshall emulation I have ever played. Love the Super Bass Mode.

           
          5.0

          pedal is great for marshall sound

          By devilmaster12

          from philadephia

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Events
            • Home Studio
            • Performances
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

            Pedal do not come with power supply and this great for Marshall jcm-800 sound for cheap. Not everyone can afford a jcm-800 from Marshall.

             
            5.0

            Marshall in a Box and More

            By DanTheHobbit

            from Japan

            About Me Experienced

            See all my reviews

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Excellent Sound Quality
            • Responsive

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Amateur Recording
              • Events
              • Performances

              Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

              Honestly, this is better than the Marshall pedals I've owned. Catalinbread really did a number with this one. The controls are simple and responsive. I've played this through my Fender, my Vox, and my Orange, and I was satisfied with the tones reached. Aye, 'tis an impressive secret indeed.

               
              4.0

              Great pedal

              By Jackman

              from Folly Beach S C

              About Me Professional Musician

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Compact Design
              • Excellent Sound Quality
              • Good Selection Of Effects
              • Responsive
              • Versatile

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Amateur Recording
                • Events
                • Home Studio
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                If you are looking for a pedal that gives you a true Marshall sound this is the one to buy.

                 
                5.0

                Buy this pedal

                By Ol' Man Rox

                from Superior, Az

                About Me Experienced

                See all my reviews

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Compact Design
                • Excellent Sound Quality
                • Responsive
                • Versatile
                • Very well built

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Amateur Recording
                  • Events
                  • Home Studio
                  • Performances
                  • Professional Recording

                  Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                  This is a keeper... One of the best and most used pedals on my board. I love the tone and the versatility. It even makes my old solid state amps sound great. It sounds awesome with my Dual Terror. I'm glad I bought this pedal. You will be too.

                   
                  4.0

                  Truly a Marshall in a box

                  By Jim

                  from Florida

                  About Me Experienced

                  See all my reviews

                  Verified Reviewer

                  Pros

                  • Excellent Sound Quality
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                  • Must open up the back for additional mods

                  Best Uses

                  • Amateur Recording
                  • Events
                  • Home Studio
                  • Performances
                  • Professional Recording

                  Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                  I use this on the clean channel of a Mesa Rectoverb 50 combo. The difference between the Mesa distortion and the DLS gain is like night and day. The DLS is much smoother with kind of a boost in the low mids, creating a rich overall sound. Certainly has enough gain to mimic 80s hard rock, But I back off the gain and use an Ibanez TS9 on top as a lead boost. This provides an excellent solo sound. Blues, blues/rock, classic rock, 80s era, this pedal delivers the goods.

                   
                  5.0

                  Awesome Pedal! Amazingly Realistic Tone

                  By Old Rocker Dude

                  from WNC

                  About Me Professional Musician

                  See all my reviews

                  Ask me a question

                  Pros

                  • Amp-like Tone And Dynamic
                  • Compact Design
                  • Excellent Sound Quality
                  • Responsive
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Amateur Recording
                    • Events
                    • Home Studio
                    • Performances
                    • Professional Recording

                    Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                    This little pedal is amazing. I own a Marshall DSL-50 so I know what a Marshall amp sounds like. The Dirty Little Secret not only captures the tone, but also the feel and picking dynamics of a real amp. With the internal switch in the SL position, the overdrive ranges from Paul Rodgers / Free type crunch all the way to cranked JCM800. I put a Maxon OD808 in front of the Dirty Little Secret and it sounded just like the Lead 1 channel of my DSL-50 when I drive it with the Maxon. It really is that realistic. With the switch in the SB position the range goes from a cleaner, mellower sound like the Hendrix tone on "the Wind Cries Mary" or "Little Wing" One of the reviewers below stated that the pedal didn't produce the tone he was expecting. He must not have been looking for or known what real Marshal tone is. He also stated it had a phaser-like quality. I didn't hear anything even remotely like a phaser sound so I don't know what the guy was hearing. It definitely wasn't coming from the Catalinbread DLS. Heck, the DLS even sounds good in front of my son's Crate transistor amp. Really good - just like you're playing a tube amp. If you are looking for a good realistic Marshall tone, look no further. This pedal is it!

                     
                    5.0

                    Turns my Fender DR into a Marshall

                    By Stix

                    from Denver, Co

                    About Me Experienced

                    See all my reviews

                    Ask me a question

                    Pros

                    • Compact Design
                    • Excellent Sound Quality
                    • Responsive
                    • Versatile

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Home Studio
                      • Performances
                      • Professional Recording

                      Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                      Excellent Marshall like tones, and very versatile.

                       
                      5.0

                      Kick butt

                      By Dagw00d

                      from SLC,UT

                      About Me Experienced

                      See all my reviews

                      Ask me a question

                      Verified Reviewer

                      Pros

                      • Compact Design
                      • Excellent Sound Quality
                      • Responsive
                      • Versatile

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Amateur Recording
                        • Events
                        • Home Studio
                        • Performances
                        • Professional Recording

                        Comments about Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Amp Emulation) Guitar Effects Pedal:

                        Sounds great. Kicks a clean fender type amp over into marshall territory pretty nicely. Everything sounds less flat and more articulated somehow. Hard to describe. Watch catalinbread's demo videos, in part 2 he uses this pedal with a strat and a fuzz. That's what sold me on it.

                        Also, this pedal works very well with my fender mustang 1 modelling amp and a bugera v5 tube amp and a smattering of other pedals; fuzz, distortion, and wah. I pretty much leave it on all the time unless I want to get back to that fender chiming clean sound. This pedal improves the sound of anything remotely distorted or overdriven or fuzzed.

                        Displaying reviews 1-13

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