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Weehbo JVM Drive vs. Amptweaker TightMetal: The Hammer and the Razor

Holzar1988

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,817
Anyone that's read a MIAB thread the last year or so has probably seen a post from me recommending the Weehbo JVM Drive, which is the best pedal of that style I've come across.

This week I snagged an Amptweaker TightMetal, and I thought I'd do a little comparo.

First of all, these pedals are not quite in the same category. The Weehbo has a modern, high-gain Marshall voicing (obviously based on the company's latest JVM line). The Amptweaker TightMetal was designed by James Brown, the father of the 5150 amp, and it's got a more, surprise!, "metally" feel to it.

I didn't expect the TightMetal to replace the Weehbo, but to be perhaps a notch past it in terms of bringing das brutz.

That said, there's a lot of overlap here, and each pedal arguably reveals something different about the other.

The JMV Drive delivers big, crunchy Marshally high gain goodness in spades. It's simply a thick, middy, massive sounding take on that sound--and the most amp-like of any I've tried (including Dr. Scientist The Elements, Surh Riot, JHS Angry Charlie, Emma ReezaFRATzitz, Walrus Iron Horse, Tech 21 GT2, Greer Sucker Punch and Amptweaker's own TightRock, the latter of which is the closest second of any in that list). It puts a smile on my face every time I hit a distorted chord.

The TightMetal is another high gain beast, one with a pretty different feel. It's got more gain on tap, but not a huge amount more. It's also got a cutting clarity to it that I imagine would absolutely slice through a mix. I'm not sure bright is the right term, but like presence turned up to 11, even with the tone controls all the way down. It's a more modern, brutal and scooped sound, and its attack is lightning fast. Want downtuned, crushing, fast response? This is your pedal. Not surprisingly, it's much tighter than the Weehbo, which has a bit of spongy Marshallness in the bass.

Playing the pair back to back is an eye-opening experience. Switching from the Weehbo to the TightMetal, you go from thick, chewy mids to ripping, slicing gain. The TightMetal has loads more clarity and sizzling high-end sheen to it. It's almost enough to make the JVM feel muddy when I switch back to it.

After a while, though, those qualities also begin to fatigue my ear, and switching back to the Weehbo's chunky 'n' fat thump provides some relief.

In short, both highlight something the other doesn't do as well as they go about their different approaches to high-gain mayhem. I keep trying decide which I like better, but I think I've decided that they're just different beasts that probably have different, albeit broadly similar, applications.

I'd describe the Weehbo as a hammer and the TightMetal as a razor, comparatively. And both are fantastic, sonically "destructive" tools ... in a good way.

Another note: the built-in noise gate on the Amptweaker is freaking brilliant. This thing is dead quite. I never thought the Weehbo was excessively noisy before, but next to Amptweaker, its high-gain hiss is much more readily apparent. I also suspect from the reading I've done that Amptweaker's new TightMetal Pro addresses some of the EQ, slice and sizzle observations I've made here for those who might find them to be too extreme.

I don't do much recording, but if that changes in the near future, I'll post some clips.

In closing, if you're looking for a high-gain beast, these both get the job done admirably, one with a more Marshally voice, the other with a scooped, modern-metal attitude. Don't think you could go too wrong with either. They're both fantastic pedals and worth the investment.
 
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blobe

Member
Messages
783
i didn't play the tight metal, but the jam was very, very good. (and yes, it adds nothing to the table)
 

FLYING V 83

Gibson Geezer
Messages
5,598
Every pedal I've had with the word "metal" on it had that 'fatiguing' shrillness also, with one exception:
Rocktron Metal Planet
Yeah, it's cheap & mass-produced, but did the metal thing better than anything else with much less "razor" and a ton of low end.

In the end though, I prefer the tightness of a Mesa sound for metal (thumps your chest but doesn't rip your ears to shreds) and the thickness of a Marshall for all other distortion duties.
 

Holzar1988

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,817
Every pedal I've had with the word "metal" on it had that 'fatiguing' shrillness also, with one exception:
Rocktron Metal Planet
Yeah, it's cheap & mass-produced, but did the metal thing better than anything else with much less "razor" and a ton of low end.

In the end though, I prefer the tightness of a Mesa sound for metal (thumps your chest but doesn't rip your ears to shreds) and the thickness of a Marshall for all other distortion duties.
That makes total sense. I find myself wanting a pedal that has the best qualities of both. But that's probably chasing a chimera that doesn't exist. :) Probably won't stop me, though.
 

BluesHarp

Senior Member
Messages
8,574
This thread is right up my alley as ive been hitting high gain pedals here lately.

One of the two pedals I had next to try are the Bogner Red, Weehbo JVM, and Amptweaker Tight or Fat Rock.

The pedal im selling now is the XTS Atomic and the one ive got on the way is the Weehbo Mastiff.

Im comparing everything to the JHS Angry Charile.. which is a great JCM 800 Marshall sound, but id like something with better eq control and close or similar gain.

The Mastiff is Marshall high gain with bass, mids, and treb.. really excited to try it out, even though I found very few people who had even tried one.

The "mesa" reasoning makes a lot of sense.. since I want lots of gain, tight low end, but not all that ear piercing presence or excessive bite.
 

Lullabies

Member
Messages
2,054
In the end though, I prefer the tightness of a Mesa sound for metal (thumps your chest but doesn't rip your ears to shreds) and the thickness of a Marshall for all other distortion duties.
Yepp I'm a Mesa distortion guy too.. Both amps and pedals (Wampler Triple Wreck )
 

Drak

Senior Member
Messages
5,055
I'd really love to see someone review that TightMetal with some sort of EQ, either a Fromel or maybe a graphic in its own loop, I've guessed it would be mind-blowing what options it could open up.

I would guess with a little EQ tweak you could make it a FatRock or maybe a TightRock or something else.

I remember one thing about the TM pedal also is that it's designed (doesn't have to, but designed to) to go in the effects loop and totally bypass any preamp coloring which allows it to be used with many otherwise crappy amps, so I'm always curious if reviewers put it in the loop and bypassed their own preamps what difference it would make.
 

FLYING V 83

Gibson Geezer
Messages
5,598
This thread is right up my alley as ive been hitting high gain pedals here lately.

The "mesa" reasoning makes a lot of sense.. since I want lots of gain, tight low end, but not all that ear piercing presence or excessive bite.
I've had an MI Megalith Delta on my board close to a year now, longer than any other high gainer has ever lasted, FWIW.
Gives me that "Mesa" sound in spades, much moreso than the 4 Tube Zones from MI I've had over the years.

Actually, another cheaper pedal that got good Mesa tones was the AMT R-2.
 

Holzar1988

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,817
I'd really love to see someone review that TightMetal with some sort of EQ, either a Fromel or maybe a graphic in its own loop, I've guessed it would be mind-blowing what options it could open up.

I would guess with a little EQ tweak you could make it a FatRock or maybe a TightRock or something else.

I remember one thing about the TM pedal also is that it's designed (doesn't have to, but designed to) to go in the effects loop and totally bypass any preamp coloring which allows it to be used with many otherwise crappy amps, so I'm always curious if reviewers put it in the loop and bypassed their own preamps what difference it would make.
FWIW, I run mine with an Empress ParaEQ behind it to help with external EQing to taste. It helps quite a bit with the issues I've identified. I haven't tried it actually in the pedal's loop yet, nor have I tried the TightMetal straight into my amp's effects return yet, either.
 






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