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Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal   

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The Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds distortion pedal takes its mojo from the most respected amp tones on both sides of the Atlantic. These gui...Read More

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See All Tech 21 Distortion & Overdrive Effects Pedals

Loudmouth yobbo tones belt out in this killer Leeds distortion pedal.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds distortion pedal takes its mojo from the most respected amp tones on both sides of the Atlantic. These guitar effects pedals don't just have a single character, they have the whole cast, plot, and curtain call.

The Tech 21 SansAmp Leeds pedal's massive headroom delivers the rich bell-like clean tones that drove the classic UK rock and pop bands of the '70s. Lean into high-gain gear for a bare-knuckle growl that retains plenty of definition. Push Leeds distortion pedal harder and suddenly you are live at Leeds.

The SansAmp guitar effect's Level and Drive controls work like a traditional, well-equipped amp. Low, Mid, and High are active, providing a wider array of tonal possibilities. The Character knob is a continuously-variable control that moves seamlessly between different model voicings, covering vintage, high-gain, and face-melting lead tones. The SansAmp Leeds pedal's Character and Mid controls, and the speaker emulations, are all engineered to personify the specific amplifier traits and speakers associated with each amplifier type.

The SansAmp technology captures the warm, rich, natural tones of the most sought-after tube amplifiers. Within the parameters of each model's particular design, the controls provide you with access to specific tone shaping characteristics within the tube amplifier sound spectrum.

SansAmp products are designed to work seamlessly in both recording and stage environments. They can be used with almost any instrument, for any music style, and for multiple applications. Record directly to tape and disc or enhance previously recorded tracks. For live performances, they can drive a power amp and speakers, augment your existing amplifier setup, or run directly into the mixer of a PA system.

  • True Bypass
  • Level dial
  • Mid dial
  • Character dial
  • Drive dial
  • Low dial
  • High dial

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Tech 21SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal

(based on 5 reviews)

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Reviewed by 5 customers

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Excellent amp simulation

By Dylan

from Philadelphia, PA

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Buyer


  • Compact Design
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Responsive
  • Versatile


    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I am working with a Who tribute band that rehearses with everything direct to mixer -- all in ear monitors and no amps. This was a struggle for me as I am a big believer in tube amps. I tried a few other options before I found the Leeds. First I tried the Palmer Pocket Amp that sounded thin. Then I tried my amp head (a Vox AC15 clone) through a Mesa Cab Clone. That was better but still was lacking something. I also tried the T Rex Spin Doctor which sounded great in overdrive mode, but the clean mode really left something to be desired. Enter the Leeds. From the second I plugged it in I noticed a huge difference. And so did the keyboard player. He was like "what are you using -- I need to tell the other guitarist I work with to get that". So the rig I'm using is Gibson Les Paul > Digitech Mosiac > Crybaby Mini> Keeley Ibanez TS808 > Catalinbread DLS II > Tech 21 Leeds > 2 Ibanez AD mini delays > TC Hall of Fame Mini Reverb > TC tuner > direct box to mixing board. I leave the Leeds as an always on pedal with cab simulation running. I have it set up with the knobs all around noon. This way I can get a cleaner sound with the guitar volume rolled back and then get a good crunchy overdrive. I can then boost it with the Catalinbread for a power chord crunch and then hit it with the TS808 for leads. I have to say that this comes really close to the Townshend sound on the records. It was really inspiring to play through, especially after the mediocre tone I'd been struggling with up til now. I did try it at a live gig and found that I was getting approximately the same sound out of my amp (Goodsell Dominatrix 17), which has a really nice natural crunch tone, so I just left the Leeds off. But for a direct in device, I don't think it can be beat. Especially for the price as compared to other higher end modeling devices.

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    By Larz

    from Memhis, TN

    About Me Experienced

    Ask me a question


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


    • None

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Sound Shaper

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    The Tech 21 Leeds is exactly the preamp I was looking for and provides a seriously wide range of useful sounds. Most devices like this i've sampled seem to have about an inch of clean head room before jumping off the distortion cliff, while the Leeds excels in versatility.

    Pedal board chain: TC Elec Polytune, Barber Direct Drive, Tech 21 Leeds, vintage Japanese Boss CE-2 Chorus, TC Elec Ditto x2, EHX 44 Magnum solid state 44 watt amp, vintage Ampro 50's speaker cabinet w/ original Jensen speaker.

    The Leeds Character control is extremely responsive and (Drive at 10 o'clock) provides crystal clean to thick on the left side of '12 o'clock'. Turning it on towards '6 o'clock' really fattens it up. Increase the Drive to go from chunky to serious distortion.

    The active Tone knobs provide large return for small adjustments and with low output pickups (Drive at 10am) there's a nice dry-wet volume balance around 'noon', so there's headroom in both directions for guitars with different output levels.

    The Leeds' extreme tonality allows the EHX 44 Mag bright switch to be set to 'off', something not achieved with any other drive pedal i've tried with it. And, the Leeds makes that little solid state foot pedal amp's sound indistinguishable from small tube amps powering the Ampro speaker cabinet, a unique, unexpected and happy development.

    The Leeds takes the Barber Direct Drive well and allows it to be used for instant access to anything from mild speaker breakup sound, like an old Supro or Silvertone, to overwhelming monster mush with a quick turn of its own drive knob from minimum to danger.

    I generally leave the Leeds' speaker simulation on, but defeating it still offers entirely useful, darker sound. I've not tried recording with it yet, nor have I, addictive as it is thru the pedal board amp, tried it thru one of my tube heads/amps.

    Not only do i commend and recommend this pedal, I won't be without it as it far exceeds my expectation of 'another fun pedal' to 'absolute necessity'.

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    (7 of 8 customers found this review helpful)



    By gino lattarulo


    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I owwn the the California model of this series. bought it because they are advertised as an amp simulator and thought it would be a good back up in case my amp blew at the wrong time. I actually don't use an amp anymore after playing a few clubs with this pedal in my chain. Last week we played Charlotte Motor Speedway and I decided to use an my amp for the first time in awhile. We get ready for sound check only to find that a tube is blown so I tell the sound guy to run me direct and my amp just became a prop in the background. After the show, a guitarist from the opening band said he really loved the sound I got from my Traynor amp. When I told him I was direct and playing through the Tech 21 he nearly fell over.

    If you are a regular touring or clubbing guitarist, these pedals will make your life much easier. No amps to lug around and more stage space. Thank you Sansamp !!!!

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    (8 of 8 customers found this review helpful)


    Great character pedal from Tech 21

    By Jay Swartzfeger

    from Pittsburgh

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    This is the second SansAmp pedal I own, along with the Para Driver DI. The para driver is a great sounding box, albeit a bit generic -- which is a good thing. This Leeds pedal allows me to dial in a bit of character to bring some color to my tone.

    The character knob really does work for both clean and driven tones. For my tastes, having the character knob pegged to max is a bit much; the cleans are too chimey and the driven tone is far off in vintage land. But at 2 or 3 o'clock the it's pretty much the best of modern and vintage tones.

    I chose the Leeds over the British and Oxford simply because it seemed to be the most versatile tone-wise, and other reviews had mentioned that the Leeds had the 'best' (subjective) clean tones. I've got agree, as I really love what this pedal brings to the clean tones with some character dialed in.

    I used this with both my Les Paul and Fender Jazz and both sound great. The bass with a little bit of drive and character sounds ridiculously good, reminsicent of The Ox/Entwistle.

    Also, special mention for the clarity and definition of the driven tones here -- aggressive but clear. This is a fantastic pedal!

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    (16 of 17 customers found this review helpful)


    Analog !!

    By Voodoohighway66

    from Boulder

    Comments about Tech 21 SansAmp Character Series Leeds Distortion Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I?ve had the tech 21 Leeds pedal for about a week now and am very happy with it. It seems like all their SansAmp pedals (I own five) are exceptionally good in re-creating the type of amp that they represent. I?m sure this is because they are analog and not digital. Compared to your digital amp emulators such as line 6 injured in Digitech these just sound much more alive. After playing through one of these you will never go back to a digital emulator again, ever. The Leeds pedal, when played on the cleaner settings has a very rich almost brass like horn midrange and is very articulate and chimney. I used the pedals strictly for recording, the way I do it is I run two pedals for stereo recording. Typically I run the Blondie (Fender Emulator) through one channel and run either the Leeds, VT Bass, Liverpool or Oxford for the second channel. You can get an incredible variety of very full and rich sounds by doing this. As the last step I also run it through a ART Pro Channel Tube Mic Preamp to make the sound even warmer. In general the cleaner sounds seem to work best.The disadvantages of this pedal are the controls are very sensitive and you cannot save presets, so you need tape and a pen to mark your settings, or else it can take a long time to figure out how you had previously set it up. Another disadvantage as compared to a digital amp emulator is that you need to buy a separate pedal for each brand of amplifier. But then again it?s better to have a handful of killers sounds than a hundred sounds that all sound lifeless! I?ve been spending three years trying to get a guitar sound in the studio that I was happy with, and have always been very disappointed. This is the first time that I was able to get the sounds I was looking for.

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