Distortron vs. Formula No. 5

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by amp48, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. amp48

    amp48 Member

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    I've heard they sound similar.
    Which would you prefer and why?
     
  2. vintage saddles

    vintage saddles Supporting Member

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  3. digiTED

    digiTED rock > talk

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    I've owned them both and didn't find them terribly similar. They're both great for different things.
     
  4. Axis29

    Axis29 Supporting Member

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    With mild tweaking of knobs, they sound EXACTLY the same.

    I had a Distortron and live it. I bought a Formula #5 because of the hype.

    The Formula lives up to the hype 100%! It's an awesome pedal. I loved it, but then I started going back and forth between both pedals... My buddy started tweaking the knobs and within five minutes, you couldn't tell the difference between one and the other. I was hitting notes and he was pressing both buttons at the same time.... I couldn't believe my ears!

    I did keep the Distortron... Simply because of the mids switch. It's quicker for flipping back and forth between single coils an humbuckers. Plus, I knew I could get more for the F#5.

    They are both great pedals and I would never regret recommending either one!
     
  5. Tweeker

    Tweeker Supporting Member

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    I must agree with digiTED. I own both pedals currently and have for a while. I consider them to be voiced very differently. The ZVex Distortron is the same circuitry as the Box Of Rock. The original design is supposed to emulate Marshall crunch - check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAWfrRwjf9A&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLB17FC1F213BD4DC8
    The Catalinbread Formula No5 is well represented by this video file: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xLVclVB6LM

    If you need a WIDE RANGE of settings, the Distortron is the winner between these two. It can go from clean boost to what you hear in the above link. It has more range than the original Box Of Rock and no boost switch, but a three way subs switch for matching low end to your rig (there is no mids control).
    The Formula No.5 is more limited in range and is not as versatile, but really delivers that Tweed amp greasy raunch. More sound files are available on the product page: http://catalinbread.com/FN5

    I currently prefer the Formula No5 because I like a slightly thicker looser sound these days. I had used the ZVex pedal as my go to pedal for a few years. Both are great.
     
  6. monkmiles

    monkmiles Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't have thought they would sound similar, but perhaps they do? I never played a Formula 5 but have had a Distortron for a while.

    The notion probably comes from any similarities between cranked Fender tweed overdrive tones to very early Marshall tones. The Distortron and Box of Rock are shooting for JTM45 tone. The JTM45 was based on the Fender Tweed Bassman. The Formula 5 is based on Fender 5e3 tweed tones, whereas the Bassman was a different circuit I believe. But they're both pedals, not amps, shooting for an amp sound...so it wouldn't surprise me if they can be dialed in to have some overlap.
     
  7. Tweeker

    Tweeker Supporting Member

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    Sure, there's some overlap. But I think it comes down to your rig, your playing style and how discerning an ear you have. Sometimes all my damn overdrives sound like the same slice of dirt.
    But listen for yourself...what do you think?
    2:30 - 3:00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAWfrRwjf9A&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLB17FC1F213BD4DC8
    0:48 - 1:23 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xLVclVB6LM
     
  8. Dashface

    Dashface Member

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    I have yet to find an actual use for my Fno5. I bought one because I thought the idea sounded great, but somehow I just plain can't get the sounds I was hoping for out of the thing. Ah well.
     
  9. vintage66

    vintage66 Member

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    I found the key to be finding a clean sound on your amp that it sounds good with-it doesn't work with amp overdrive. Once I got over that and decided to dial it in as if it were a seperate amp (tweed) and not as an on/off pedal that I could use on the fly, I started liking it for what it is. It's a character pedal imo, and it does a pretty good tweed sound. I watched a few youtube demos and one compares it to an old tweed deluxe and it actually sounds better imo (it's not exactly the same but it cuts better). There's another one where the guy just plays and it sounds really good. Once I set my sights on that sound, I found it was there, I just can't use it like I use a tube screamer.
     

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