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Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal  

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The Hot-Rod Plexi distortion pedal is inspired by vintage amps of the same nickname that transforms any amp into a modded-out, roaring Plexi head. Pl...Read More

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OVERVIEW

A compact distortion pedal designed by tone guru Andrew Barta at Tech 21 to achieve classic Plexi tone.

The Hot-Rod Plexi distortion pedal is inspired by vintage amps of the same nickname that transforms any amp into a modded-out, roaring Plexi head. Plexi’s are known for tight responsiveness and the classic roar and volume that brings the toughest guitarist to their knees. Tone seekers used to take the legendary Plexi heads (tremolo version) and replace the tremolo circuit with an extra 12AX7 preamp tube to “hot rod” the gain stage. While those hulking stacks are known to sound best cranked up to ear-bleeding levels, this pedal can painlessly transform your existing amp without lifting a finger. With the Hot-Rod Plexi, you can completely change the personality of a clean amp or use it as an instant mod to a dirty amp.

In Stock mode, it’s as if you have the signal path from the input jack to the speaker jack (without the speaker emulation) of a stock ‘68 Plexi. Hot engages an extra “12AX7” pre-amp gain stage. With its own level control, Hot can kick in up to 28dB of pre-amp boost -- a pretty insane amount of gain. The Thump control adds the low end found in a sealed 4x12” cabinet so that even an open back combo amp can sound like a half stack.

FEATURES
  • Portions of Tech 21's SansAmp technology have been incorporated into the Hot-Rod Plexi to generate organic tube amp distortion characteristics
  • Tone is a very musical, specialized low pass filter that cuts the high end without losing mids or getting muddy
  • Drive adjusts the overall amount of gain and overdrive, similar to when the output section of a tube amp is being pushed
  • Thump takes care of the low end for the resonant frequency of a 4x12 cabinet
  • 1/4" high-impedance input
  • 1/4" low-impedance output
  • Silent-switching, custom footswitch actuator
  • 100% analog circuitry

Pick up the classic muscle car of distortion pedals today. Order now!

SPECIFICATIONS

Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal

  • Actual size: 3.75" x 4.75" x 2.0"
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Operable with 9V battery (not included) or optional DC power supply (Tech 21 Model #DC2).
Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
Tech 21Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.5

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (14)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

89%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality (14)
  • Responsive (14)
  • Compact (8)
  • Versatile (8)
  • Good selection of effects (4)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Performances (13)
    • Home studio (7)
    • Outdoor events / games (7)
    • Professional recording (7)
    • Amateur recording (5)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Experienced (13), Professional musician (5)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Sounds like a real 68 Plexi!

    This is a very nice and new product from Tech 21 who always make awesome gear for decent prices and its U.S. built too. Keep in mind that this pedal is designed to sound...Read complete review

    This is a very nice and new product from Tech 21 who always make awesome gear for decent prices and its U.S. built too. Keep in mind that this pedal is designed to sound just like a real 68 Marshall Plexi tube amp and it does just that. Back in the day people would mod their Plexi's for a bit more punch and gain and the Hot knob lets you dial that mod in and the Hot foot switch lets you activate this mod sound. You get a stock sound and a hot rodded sound with just one pedal. Great! Now let's get to the stuff you really want to know.
    For those of you wanting to get the legendary Eddie Van Halen super modded Plexi Brown sound this pedal is not for you. It sounds like a stock/modded 68 Plexi. This pedal is great for blues and classic rock but doesn't go anywhere near metal. This is a good thing for many people because almost all Plexi pedals on the market either dont sound like Plexi's at all, or have too much gain in attempts to imitate the Van Halen sound. But... You can place an overdrive pedal in front of this box and get metal approved gain even better than using the Hot feature it comes with.
    This pedal can also be used as a gain boost in front of an already overdriven amp with great results although it original intent was to be placed in front of a clean amp. Overall, it's a great pedal, it sounds how its supposed to sound, it's well designed and solidly built with great components and it is versatile enough as long as you understand that it is imitating the classic 68 Plexi.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Maybe I got a bad one.....

    I REALLY wanted to like this pedal.I got it on S.D.O.T.D. but the jokes on me because I had to pay the shipping to send it back,and MF charged me the shipping that...Read complete review

    I REALLY wanted to like this pedal.I got it on S.D.O.T.D. but the jokes on me because I had to pay the shipping to send it back,and MF charged me the shipping that was initially free.So that's around 20 beans out the window.Running a clean signal,I could not get a good sound out of this pedal-maybe you will have better luck.In the future,unless it's a "tried and true" pedal like a TS9,Mxr carbon copy,ect. I will be trying all my pedals before buying.To me,this pedal sounds very processed and fake,with static like "artifacts" left in the signal.That is unacceptable to me,so I sent it back.I own a MI crunch box that sounds MUCH better than this thing.Buyer beware...

    Reviewed by 19 customers

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    4.0

    Nice Pedal

    By LenAP

    from New Jersey

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Good sound
    • Reliable Build

    Cons

    • No True Bypass
    • Placement Of Battery

    Best Uses

      Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

      This is a very nice pedal for certain applications. The sound quality is up there with some other boutique plexi pedals like the Wampler Plextortion and Hao Rust Driver. It certainly gives you more tone options that the Rust Driver, which is one knob and one switch. The boost button is a very nice extra feature, which can be quite useful in certain applications. It would be great if you could adjust the gain on each channel individually, but you cannot - it is strictly a boost. I also found the "thump" knob to be quite useful. You can dial in pretty heavy distortion on this thing.

      The cons, and they turned out to be big ones for me, are as follows. First, the battery compartment in on the bottom of the pedal and protrudes past the box. So, while it's fine if you use the little rubber legs, it's difficult to securely attach the pedal to a pedal board. Second, and this may not be an issue for most people: the pedal has a buffer rather than a true bypass. While you get the benefit of silent switching and the buffer seems to be of higher quality than the ones companies such as Boss use, the pedal does affect your tone when off.

      Overall, I'd say this is a very good product. Especially if you're running out and can only grab one pedal - given the boost feature, it can accommodate you very well. In this setting, the battery access is a plus since you don't have to use a screwdriver to open up the case and change the battery. Obviously, different story if you're using a pedal board and an adapter. In most live applications, no one will notice the difference in sound between this and a more expensive or true boutique pedal, or any change in tone due to the buffer bypass.

      This is a more versatile pedal than most plexi boxes out there. But, as with everything there are some trade offs. I wound up returning mine after a couple of months, but I think it would be great for a lot of people (I would have kept it myself if I didn't have other plexi pedals which suit me a little better).

      Comment on this review

      (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Beats Most MIAB's in Sound and Value

      By Trem

      from 90210

      About Me Experienced

      Pros

      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Responsive

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Events
        • Home Studio
        • Performances

        Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I've owned the Boss DS-1, Wampler Pinnacle, the Carl Martin Plexitone -original with boost-, and the CMAT Mods Brownie. This pedal sounds soo much more natural and more like a Marshall than any pedal I've ever heard. It has that warm grind and that organ-like string definition that we all love.

        What I like about the HR Plexi is its ability to do those classic Marshall tones (awesome for rhythm, AC/DC) and then add some hair for some creamy leads or just straight-up '80's rock sounds with a tap of your foot. Add a delay, reverb and a phaser to it and you're in =VH= heaven. Add the Mooer Pitchbox to your signal chain, select Detune set to -1 and now you're on stage with Van Hagar in Toronto 1995. I really used to like the CM Plexitone, but I grew tired of the Sssshhhh to every note. I tried the Brownie next, which was better than the Plexitone, but it sounded a little sterile to me, whether using 9v, 12v, or 18v for power. I then took a gamble with the HR Plexi and luckily this one gave me that 'Aha!' moment and put a grin on my face immediately. It is so easy to get a good sound.

        I have no use for a 100watt Marshall head or an insanely expensive Fargen Baby Plexi-in-a-box. I like simple, and good value. I just need the one tube-based sound, a good clean (Fender), a good drive/boost (Marshall) and I'm happy. I really like the Blues Junior and had been looking for a dirt pedal. None have impressed me as much as this pedal - it has prompted me to write my first-ever review on MF.

        It does compress quite a bit at higher gain levels but so does a cranked Marshall '68 Plexi. The controls are extremely responsive, you do need to take some time to find the sweet spot for your individual amp. I use this pedal in front of a Fender Humboldt Hot Rod (PGS Blues Junior). I found 'Drive' to be useful no further than 2, 3 o'clock due to hiss and loss of string definition, and the Hot switch can also get noisy, no matter what the setting. Tech21 indicated in an email that they tried to emulate the Marshall Plexi in every way, with hiss being par for the course in any cranked, Hot Rodded Marshall. Lastly, the switches on this pedal are phenomenal, so smooth. Tech21 has a winner on their hands with the Hot Rod Plexi, IMHO.

        Tech21 is about to come out with the new 2014 model of this pedal, which features a 'Punch' control (mid-range) instead of the 'Thump' control (bass or resonance control).

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        My search is over

        By Chris

        from NC, USA

        About Me Experienced

        Ask me a question

        Pros

        • Brown Sound
        • Dynamics
        • Resonance
        • Sparkle
        • Touch Sensitive

        Cons

          Best Uses

            Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

            This pedal gives me the sound in my head. Couple it with a good tube amp on the edge of break up, and you are in heaven. Use it with a couple of good tube amps and a stereo delay, and it is unreal: a better brown sound than EVH in 1978.

            The dynamics and touch sensitivity are righteous. The resonance is killer. The Tech 21 videos show how close Barda got to the real thing. It sounds superb, and you don't need 100w and a 4x12 to get you there. I would buy another in a heart beat if this was stolen. This blew all of my dirt boxes off my pedal board. I've sold them all.

            Comment on this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The best sounding distortion pedal ever!

            By GTRPLR

            from Jackson Tn

            About Me Experienced

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

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

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Events
              • Performances

              Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

              Over the years I've used several different distortion pedals. This, by far, is the best I've ever heard. The tone is awesome. Also the pedal s very versatile from a little distortion to a lot the pedal never "losses' it". I play everything from new country to classic rock. It will forever be on my pedal board.

              Comment on this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Tech 21 delivers a winner.

              By Thudstick23

              from East Coast, USA

              About Me Experienced

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Authentic Sounding Pedal
              • Compact Design
              • Excellent Sound Quality
              • Responsive

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Driving A Tube Amp
                • Home Studio
                • Performances

                Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                Got this pedal on a SDOTD,after reading about it and watching reviews on various gear sites. It arrived super-quick and despite being labeled "B stock" appeared to be new in box with no discernible flaws cosmetically speaking.

                After taking a little time to read up on the control layout I started experimenting with some of the various amps I have around to see what we could dial up. I ran a strat loaded with ALn2 pu's and a Les Paul with ALn 5/2 pu's.

                Into my Orange Micro-Terror (tube pre/solid state power) the amp was a bit shrill on the high end, but some usable tones.(I find that the micro-T is not as pedal friendly as I'd like sometimes.)

                Next up, tried pairing it with my trusty Tech 21 Trademark 60 practice amp(solid state)-as expected it sounded very good,a little lacking on thud mostly due to a 1x12 cab, but a great sound using the DI into a recording preamp.

                Then finally, I ran it into my all tube Bassman 100 head, feeding a nice open back 2x12 cab I like to use for live stuff. WOW! That was the golden ticket there-huge sounding and VERY close to a plexi sound.It's a pity I can't crank the big rig up more often at home-it sounds so massive! The L Paul sounded especially good in this configuration.

                The pedal gives a very good tube like "feel" when you roll back guitar volume,even with my smaller solid state amps. The tone controls are fairly sensitive,with small adjustments being the order of the day. My only criticism is that the "on" switch is placed on the left side of the pedal,and the "hot" is on the right,which seems counter intuitive to me-but its a minor quibble.

                Tech 21 has always made great products, and this one does not disappoint.(esp at the supercheap price the SDOTD had it for!) Would buy again at full price if (Gods forbid) something happened to it.

                Comment on this review

                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Fender Amp, Marshall Sound

                By GibsonLover

                from Windsor, Ontario

                About Me Novice

                Pros

                • Excellent Sound Quality
                • Good Selection Of Effects
                • Responsive

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Performances

                  Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                  I have never written a review before, but this pedal deserves one. I run it through a Fender Blues Jr clean signal. Sounds like a Marshall with all the dials to ten. You get a great over driven sound but don't have to make your ears bleed with the volume level. I now have the best of both worlds the clean sounds of a fender when I want or the Marshall dirty crunch with the pedal on. This is by far the best pedal I have bought so far out of the ten I own.

                  Comment on this review

                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  marshall in a box

                  By Big Daddy

                  from New Jersey

                  About Me Professional Musician

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Compact Design
                  • Excellent Sound Quality
                  • Responsive

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Performances

                    Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                    love the thump knob! This thing makes my fender hot rod sound like a closed back marshall! great for when you need that hard rock/metal swang! boom!

                    Comment on this review

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    already a favorite

                    By joelthegreek

                    from rancho cucamonga

                    About Me Experienced

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Dial In Tone
                    • Excellent Sound Quality

                    Cons

                    • All Good No Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                      this pedal is super easy to dial in and remember where sweet spot is. It has a very good balance of highs and bass. this pedal might be the definition of amp like. not a buzzy fizzy distortion but clear notes off the strings kind of springy sounding. versatility with extra gain dual buttons.They really work, unlike my Bogner Ecstasy Red, which is up for sale. quiet too.

                      Comment on this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      A+

                      By wb

                      from SD,California U.S.A

                      About Me Professional Musician

                      Pros

                      • Compact Design
                      • Excellent Sound Quality
                      • Responsive
                      • Versatile

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Performances
                        • Professional Recording

                        Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                        I have grown up and gig with Marshal half stacks all My Guitar playing life, from the 80's all the way to early 2000. I have owned a 1973 50 watt Plexi Marshal, DSL,TSL and gig with all of them, so I know what it sounds like.
                        I know the feel and responsiveness of EL34's and 12AX7's as well as Celestion Green backs,V30's,GT75 speakers that always complements the cabinets. Unfortunately as we get older it becomes obvious that luggin around a heavy half stacks from gig to gig for 18+yrs had to end. I have been giggin with 1x12 or 2x12 solid state fender amps with good Eminence speakers in them the Last 13 yrs.
                        And this new Tech 21 Plexitone Pedal has come the closes to what I've describe above! I gave it an A+ Because it came the closes to what I've described. The + is for being a solid state amp friendly pedal! I have tried many other Brands of pedals the last 10 years that claim to sound and have the responsiveness of a "Marshall" and they do sound great in front of a tube amp but not in the front of a solid state amp. I highly recommend this pedal specially if you've switch to a light solid state amp for gigs and still get scary close to that Marshall sound!

                        Comment on this review

                        (4 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        2.0

                        Not what I expected

                        By G

                        from New Jersey

                        About Me Experienced

                        Ask me a question

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                          Cons

                          • Limited Selection Of Effects
                          • Not Responsive
                          • Poor Sound Quality

                          Best Uses

                            Comments about Tech 21 Hot-Rod Plexi Analog Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

                            When I first saw this pedal I new it was a must have. Finally a pedal to give me a nice warm "brown" tone. I figured it would give me raspy cleans and a thick crunch with its "Thump" knob. Even Tech 21 promoted it with a youtube video of it with a Lp and strat demo. I was excited because it sounding great. However this wasn't the case.

                            This pedal is advertised incorrectly. I have played on several Marshalls including plexi's and it sounds nothing like it. To see if there was a difference I tried it in on a Mesa single rectifier half stack and a Vox AC 15. It had a very noisy, tinny overdrive that had no body on it. To me it felt more like a booster pedal that wasn't fully thought out. Also this pedal creates a ton of background his and noise. It also makes a fuzz sound if you turn anything up too high.

                            Overall, if your reading this you want to make sure you know what you are getting into because you have doubts. I do not recommend this pedal because for one the price is too high, and second the tone quality is horrible. If you can find one used or in store, try before you buy.

                            Comment on this review

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