017 | TC Electronic Dark Matter: A Closr Look at this Distortion Stompbox | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Welcome to episode 17 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We've got a fun one for you today. It's the TC electronic dark matter distortion, another pedal changing the music landscape.
Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly here with Siren Pedals.

Austin Bryan:
Hey guys, Austin Bryan here with Siren Pedals.

Scott Schwertly:
And today we're going to be talking about the TC electronic dark matter distortion pedal. If you love open distortion, then this might be the right one to add to your board.

Austin Bryan:
This is a pedal I'm seeing all over the place now, this dark matter distortion. Awesome man, really, really simple set up here with this distortion pedal. The settings, everything just seems like a pretty straightforward box.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, a very straightforward and it's super affordable about the same price of the classic sort of Boss DS-1. So looking at about a $50 to $60 spend to have one of these in your collection, so not too bad at all.

Austin Bryan:
I would say, for those that are out there debating on DS-1, if you're looking for something different for a distortion pedal, this is really a different voicing and a different sound to consider as opposed to the DS-1. So for the price, if you're looking for something different, you are in luck for there are other options.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, some even kind of go as far as putting it in the overdrive category just based on how open the distortion actually is. So it is kind of almost, I don't want to say a polar opposite, but it is uniquely different than the DS-1. Again, DS-1 being sort of that tight, sort of closed, or tight sound where this is, again, a little bit more of that open sound.

Austin Bryan:
Really to best describe this pedal, it captures a lot of the musical aspects of like an early Marshall Plexi Amp. So you're getting a lot more classic rock style tones using more cleaner bluesier type tones. So kind of on the transparency aspect, this pedal really does have an open voicing to it that it sounds a lot more natural and I would say less [gainy 00:02:22] and I would say more tuned in like an old amplifier would sound.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, just more transparent in general. So yeah.

Austin Bryan:
But yeah, if you love bluesy tones, you like crunch and grit, you're a fan of a lot of classic rock bands, if you're somebody who likes to just kind of plug up and go, this is definitely an option to consider for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
Good deal. So a little bit of background on this pedal. Fairly young, I guess. I guess the years seem to be flying by. Came out in 2011. So it's actually... I say young, but I mean it's really been out there for about nine years, so I guess it's... Yeah...

Austin Bryan:
It's been around for a short time, but it's now becoming a pedal that you're seeing more and more, and I think for a lot of folks that immediately would go to like a DS-1 or something for their start to distortion, for their first distortion pedal, this is a really, really good pick for just trying to kind of get a little more of what a natural amp tone would sound like. It has a very open character, so no matter how you use it, the natural tone of your playability and everything is going to shine through with that voicing.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And for those that have been following the podcast, you know that we've covered other distortion pedals in the past, obviously the DS-1, we've covered The Rat. Here at Siren, we have our very own Airavata, which is just another distortion pedal inspired by The Rat. Again, this is kind of on that other end of the spectrum for those that are new to the world of distortion, just to make sure that...

Austin Bryan:
Yeah, there's a lot of color in a lot of the gain, in the distortion for some pedals. This one is on a definite opposite end because I mean, contrary and we'll talk about some of the positives and negatives, but contrary to the name Dark Matter, it really seems to be more of a light matter to my ears and when I'm playing it, then I really associate with a dark matter because it's definitely lighter gain structure for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And we'll circle back around to that because, again, solid pedal, but if we did have to mention any sort of weaknesses about it, we'll circle back around to the name choice for this one. But if you're curious about folks that are actually using this pedal on their board, some famous folks, probably the most famous of them all that I saw just in my research about those pedals Duff McKagan from Guns and Roses. So as a bass player, this is one of his pedals of choice with trying to get that distortion sound.

Austin Bryan:
Which I could totally see it for a bassist because of that natural open tone. You'd want your natural base tone to cut through. And maybe you just want a slight bit of cut and maybe you want a slight bit of drive just ever so much, but still keeping the natural tone would totally make sense for Duff to use one of these. Vernon Reid from Living Colour. Andy Summers from The Police is actually credited on using one of these too, as well as Jared Dines who is currently a huge YouTuber. He's got a lot of videos and this is one pedal he credits to use.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, so I mean obviously a pretty impressive roster of musicians that are utilizing this pedal and rightfully so. It is solid, particularly if you like that type of distortion. As far as flaws, you kind of mentioned this already, but the name of the pedal's a little bit misleading. Dark Matter makes you think you're going to get more of that metal sound where again, it's the opposite of that. If you like metal, this is not the pedal for you. So we want to be very clear about that, but if you like those other tones, like we were mentioning earlier, classic rock, et cetera, this could be a really good fit.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. On its own, it's very, very much a kind of like a crank to amp. It's not the same aspect of like a heavy high gain, a beast pedal where it's full cranked gain. Everything is really super saturated. The name is kind of misleading. It really is because it really sticks a lot to what the sound of just a pushed amp would be. So it's not a dark tone or anything associated with metal. I'd say it's a lot more to what maybe some of your classic rock bands, your ACDC or Leonard Skynyrd. I mean, any of your bands from yesteryear that used Marshall Plexi's, that's kind of the sound that this pedal is really aiming towards more so than something like high gain, like metal pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And I know a lot of folks, particularly people that are really big fans of TC Electronic, they actually like to pair this with the MojoMojo pedal, which is a TC Electronics overdrive pedal. So that's actually a really nice pairing.

Austin Bryan:
Yeah. So I mean, one perk of this pedal being as transparent as it is, it would pair very, very well with and stack very well with other distortion and boost pedals. So depending on how you want this thing to sound, you could combine it with some other TC Electronics, like the MojoMojo or any of the other options that you prefer. And you could pretty much get the gain structure of this pedal and through your end chain to sound the way you'd like and another thing to note, the voice switch. So it does have a modern slash vintage voicing switch. So if you want to get more of a vintage amp characteristic, you can bump it. If you want to go towards a more higher gain, you flip it down. But even that gain difference, I don't notice too much of a change in that voicing. So, play around with it, see what you can get out of it, but it still sounds very open regardless, even with that voicing switch.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And for those, obviously this is a podcast. You're just hearing us talk right now. Just so you can kind of visualize what this pedal looks like, it's got four knobs on it. You got a gain knob, a level knob, a base knob, and then a treble knob with that voice toggle switch that we're talking about. So lots of versatility, definitely a lot of great things you can do with it. And given that it's called the Dark Matter, it's a black pedal. You know, the stomp box looks pretty nice. I like the enclosure. It's got a great aesthetic to it.

Austin Bryan:
The Single battery screw removal screw on the back is a really, really cool concept. The bass and trouble knobs actually like notch in the middle so for folks that kind of like to set and forget, and usually just like to keep things at noon, that's awesome. So a really, really cool feature on that pedal included with that battery screw on the back. So...

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, so I mean really, if we kind of had to headline this for you. If you love distortion and you like just experimenting with new things for 50 bucks, this is one definitely worth checking out. It's not going to break your bank and it'll just give you some versatility, some diversity with your distortion options.

Austin Bryan:
I agree. And if you're really just trying to capture some of your favorite classic rock bands, you're trying to kind of capture just an idealized, just on a budget, want to capture some of their tones, this would be a great start.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, for sure. So yeah, definitely something worth checking out. So if you're curious to see what this actually sounds like and what we're referring to here, we're going to plug this thing in, again, as usual, we've got our Tele here at the office. We're going to connect them up and let you guys hear what this sounds like.

Austin Bryan:
So that was the TC Electronic Dark Matter distortion, a solid, solid staple of a distortion pedal. Very nice open sound. You could really hear the sound of the Telecaster, we were demoing through all of the gain. It's a great pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's a good one. Super affordable. Not going to break your bank account. Yeah. If you want to just sort of enhance or diversify your collection of distortion pedals, this is a good one to add to the mix.

Austin Bryan:
Absolutely. It's a great pedal for the price that it's at. And if you're really looking for Marshall Plexi style tones on the fly, this is a great option.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, that's what we wanted to cover today. Again, this was the TC Electronic Dark Matter distortion pedal. Join us next week where we're going to actually be talking about the Digitech Brian May Red Special pedal. So if you love Queen, if you love all those classic Queen songs and tones, you're going to want to stay tuned for this episode because we're going to unpack how those tones can actually be captured.

Austin Bryan:
It's an awesome pedal. It's become a collector's item now. Overall, it's a very unique effect pedal and the fact that you can actually... You're actually pulling from clips almost of the sounds of those like recorded guitar parts. Like they captured them digitally into the pedal. So it'll be a fun one to dive into for sure.

Scott Schwertly:
It's fun. It's impressive. Again, if you love Queen, you're going to love this pedal. It's a gem.

Austin Bryan:
So yeah, we're pumped to dive into that one.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And on that note, if there are certain pedals that you want us to cover in future episodes, please don't hesitate to reach out. We welcome all the comments, all the feedback, all the pedal recommendations. You can reach us at hello@sirenpedals.com. Again, that's hello@sirenpedals.com. Send us your recommendations of pedals you want us to cover and we'll add them to the list.

Austin Bryan:
Please. It's so cool. We're getting to pick out all these pedals and we're going through, finding all these different options to present to you guys. But what we would really love is to know what's something you would like for us to cover. What's something you're curious about? So yeah, don't hesitate. Let us know, shoot us an email. Let us know in the comments. We'd love to see what you guys are into.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. Well, until then have a great day, have a great week and we will see you next time.

Austin Bryan:
See you all later.

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