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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

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.

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

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 21 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (15)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

90%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Responsive (16)
  • Excellent sound quality (15)
  • Versatile (9)
  • Compact (8)
  • Good selection of effects (5)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Performances (15)
  • Home studio (9)
  • Outdoor events / games (8)
  • Professional recording (8)
  • Amateur recording (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (15), Professional musician (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

AWESOME CRUNCHY GREEN PEDAL

Bought 2 of these via the MF Stupid Deal of the Day hoping to use them both on my board for my main 2 sounds, 1 as a cleaner sound that breaks up if...Read complete review

Bought 2 of these via the MF Stupid Deal of the Day hoping to use them both on my board for my main 2 sounds, 1 as a cleaner sound that breaks up if you dig in and 1 higher gain. After a long series of different pedals I feel like I've finally found the combo I'm looking for!

Simple and easy enough to use - as with all Tech 21 gear the knobs are super sensitive and have a lot of range so remember a little goes a long way. For example - at rehearsal last night I needed more high end. Just bumping up the tone a tiny fraction of a turn (maybe 1/8" of travel if that) did the trick whereas on "normal" pedals it may have been a quarter turn. My base tone is a Tech 21 Trademark 60 amp set to cleanish Fendery sound. Using these through that amp sounded great - very warm, not too harsh, and although I have the drive knob maxed out on my high gain Plexi pedal every little nuance was legible. If I let up on pick pressure it cleaned up nicely - very responsive to both string attack and volume knob tomfoolery. Also very easy to play around with feedback (the intentional/good kind). There is some hiss but only really noticeable on the pedal where I have the DRIVE maxed - and I can only really hear the hiss while not playing. It's a dirt pedal, it's gonna make noise.

As far as the sound I've been shooting for goes, imagine early 70s Ace Frehley + Brian Setzer (I play Gretsch hollowbodies) + Jeff Beck if that makes any sense. With this setup I'm as close to that as I've ever gotten and feel like my 6 month dirt pedal search is finally over. I finally had that "aah - there it is!" feeling, and it didn't take too long to get things dialed in.

The knobs as you can see are LEVEL TONE THUMP DRIVE and HOT. Level and DRIVE are self explanatory. TONE is kind of a hi-cut knob on steroids. Maxed out things are crispy, and mellow out as you dial it down. Thump is low end that's sort of felt more so than heard ("the resonancy of a 4x12 cabinet" as the press release states). I'm sure it greatly depends on what you're using the Plexi through but I had to keep the THUMP dialed back to about 10 o'clock to avoid a "farting out speaker" sound (it wasn't my speaker, just the thump sound itself being a little too much for my amp the way I have it dialed in - I have a lot of low end in my base tone already).

And now the HOT switch/knob which per the product description "engages an extra '12AX7' pre-amp gain stage". I found this to be more of a noise-engaging/"why did they include this" switch in my bedroom and kept away from it. It wasn't until rehearsal when my band was in the middle of a song and I wanted a little extra punch at certain times (on BOTH my clean and dirt Plexis) that I found out how I was going to use them. They don't act as a volume boost, but rather thicken things up nicely and give emphasis when needed. A little too noisy for my liking to leave on all the time, but great for highlighting certain riffs/movements - it's great to have 4 separate gain stages at my feet like that. I had the HOT on both pedals set at about 9 o'clock and will probably leave them there. There's a ton of gain in these pedals to be had with that knob - I can see where noise would get to be an issue if you get too carried away with it, but that's just kind of common sense with these kinds of stomps.

I've read on some online forums people complaining about no MID knob - the MID is usually the first thing I reach for to dial back and scoop out on any pedal like this but honestly I don't think it's necessary with this pedal. The TONE and THUMP give more than enough tonal landscape to work with so if you're a mid-scooper like me, don't knock it until you try it.

Build quality is the usual brick (you-know-what)house reliability I've grown to expect from Tech 21. Solid, silent foot switches. I've been using various T21 amps and stomps for over 10 years now and never had a problem - being that they seem to use the same housing as with the BOOST & Character series, all of which I've used, I don't foresee any issues. LOVE the dark green sparkly finish, it's the icing on the cake.

No real room for improvement here as far as I'm concerned. A built-in speaker simulator might have been nice to allow direct use but that might just be the Character series pedal user in me missing that.

If you're on the market for a Plexi pedal, check this one out and take some time to get to know what the knobs do. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Another fine job from the mind of Andrew Barta/Tech 21!

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 21 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Better than a Tube Screamer

By 

from Michigan

About Me Experienced

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Good Marshall type tone
  • Responsive

Cons

    Best Uses

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

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

    I've been trying to dial in more of a rock tone on my Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue and thought I'd be done when I added a Tube Screamer. I was wrong. The sound was way to compressed sounding and quite honestly it sounded like a duck farting. After researching and watching a lot of videos and reading a lot of articles I settled on this pedal. I couldn't be happier. I dialed in exactly what I was looking for rather quickly. I tweaked it a bit more and I couldn't be happier. I know have a very versatile amp that sounds really sweet for blues when played clean with some reverb and a nice rock amp when I kick in this plexi pedal. I have a Marshall JVM205H Half Stack as my main set up so this new set up is a nice option to have when my main set up isn't a good fit for the situation. I'm extremely happy with this purchase. Highly Recommend this pedal.

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    (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    4.0

    vintage duel channel distortion

    By 

    from Florida

    About Me Experienced

    Pros

    • Dual Channel Overdrive
    • Good Selection Of Effects
    • Responsive
    • Versatile

    Cons

    • No True Bypass

    Best Uses

    • Home Studio
    • Performances

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

    The pedal does emulate the plexi crunch but can get hairy, especially on the hot channel with a lot of competing frequencies. The pedal acts like a class A amp so gain effects volume and so forth so there is some dialing in to find the sweet spots. Good news is that there are quite a few. Different amps are going to change the character of the sound as well. Sounds great through my fender deluxe, my vox AC-4 custom is best at lower volumes. I do play tele's and the tone is VERY responsive to the controls on the guitar. I will put it in my lineup for my cover band and use it for my main crunch, rhythm channel. I'll use the hot channel only on a couple songs where I have to go from crunch to crunchier, like "santa monica," "shine," and a couple others.

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    4.0

    Nice Pedal

    By 

    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).

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      (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Beats Most MIAB's in Sound and Value

      By 

      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).

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        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        My search is over

        By 

        from NC

        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.

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            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            The best sounding distortion pedal ever!

            By 

            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.

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              (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Tech 21 delivers a winner.

              By 

              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.

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                (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                Fender Amp, Marshall Sound

                By 

                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.

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                  (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  marshall in a box

                  By 

                  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!

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                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    already a favorite

                    By 

                    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.

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