057 | Vertex Dynamic Distortion V2: A Closer Look at this Hybrid Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 57 of the Sonic Renegades Podcast. We're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have another Vertex pedal. In fact, we haven't covered a Vertex pedal since episode four. With that said, today we're going to be talking about Vertex's Dynamic Distortion pedal. This thing has been an absolute joy over the last couple of days and weeks, and we can't wait to unpack it on the other side.

Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you today. Hope you are having a fantastic week. Well, for today's topic, we're going to be talking about the Vertex Dynamic Distortion, specifically the V2 model of this. This is the black and green version, so black enclosure with the sea foam green equivalent typography. So yeah, this has really been an absolute joy, as I mentioned in the intro. It's been fun to play with it over the last couple of days, and excited to share with you guys what it's all about and just our initial thoughts on it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. It's a really versatile distortion pedal and kind of gets into the fuzzy territory. But yeah, just overall, just super versatile, a really great pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. I know they've marketed this thing as a hybrid pedal, so you get with it that classic germanium fuzz from the sixties, in conjunction with, really, tube screamer-like tones from the eighties. That combination there really is what gives it that Dynamic title, which I think is a perfect fit for what this pedal is all about.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, the great thing is you can really tap into what this pedal's really good at by utilizing the volume on your guitar. No matter how high you have the gain, if you roll back the volume on your guitar, it'll clean up very much like a classic fuzz. But also, if you open it up, you get a little bit more of that mid-range than you would with a fuzz. So it's like a fuzzy distortion, but with more mid-range.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, that's the perfect way to describe it. I know that's exactly what my experience has been like with it as well. So yeah, if you're new to this pedal, if you've never heard about it before, maybe you're considering picking one up, it's actually been around for a couple of years now. In fact, it actually came out in June of 2016, specifically June 27th of 2016. Obviously, built by Vertex, based in California. And again, what we're talking about today is the V2 version of this. So again, the black with the green typography.

I do believe I actually saw, preparing for this episode, I did see that they have a sea foam green version, where they actually changed out the tone knob to now be a body knob, which sounds like it does the same thing. But if you're all the way down, it's sort of fat tones. If you then turn the knob right, you're going to get into more thin territory. I can't determine whether it's a version three or not. It looks like it's just a slightly revised version two. But again, that version two model is the one we're discussing today.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I think it's just a limited release and maybe a relabeling of it. But yeah, I haven't played that one per se, but it's been a while since I've even played this one. I mean, the first time that I played the Dynamic Distortion was probably around the time it first came out. I was trying it out at a dealer and I didn't really know what to think of it. I liked the tones I was getting, I liked the fact that it was dynamic, like it said, but I couldn't put my finger on what it is. As we were talking, and as we've been just talking about it this morning, and researching on it, finding out that it is a hybrid does really help to narrow in on the kinds of tones and the kinds of things that you can be looking to do, and the tones that you can be looking to get when you have a pedal like this. So, I mean, it's really great for the person who does like that fuzz and tube screamer tone, if they would maybe stack those in some way, it's perfect for that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I agree. I feel like it's a very specific sound, so you have to have something maybe in your head that you're trying to chase or capture, but it does feel very specific. I know the reason for me actually picking up this pedal is, as I've made clear on this podcast, I'm a big fan of Jonny Buckland. In fact, I've got a new video going up on our YouTube channel here in the days or weeks ahead, part of our Magical Tone series, about how to sound like Jonny Buckland. Obviously, Jonny Buckland, for those who are also fans of his work, he obviously uses things like a RAT, specifically a vintage style RAT. Uses a tube screamer, I believe it's the TS-9 that he's using. And he also uses a tone bender, and those three pedals are a big part of his sound.

You may be thinking, "Well, what does this have to do with it?" Well, the great thing about this pedal is it takes all of that and puts it into one box. You get that fuzzy stuff that we're talking about, that he can grab from his tone bender. You're getting that tube screamer type stuff. And this pedal also does a really good job at capturing some of those RAT sounds as well. So that was the reason, that was the motivation for me picking up this pedal. But again, that is a very specific tone. Again, that whole Jonny Buckland sound is kind of its own thing. If that's what you want, this pedal does that pretty well. If that's not what you want, then again, that dynamic offering may throw you off a little bit.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. It's definitely one of those that's really great if you're looking for something to change up your tone, to maybe challenge how you've typically viewed distortion, or even fuzz. If you're typically a fuzz guy and you're looking for something to just challenge the way you play, and maybe something that makes you think a little bit differently about how you're playing, what you're playing and how you're utilizing the volume on your guitar, the controls on the actual pedal, it's a really great thing to just expand your horizons, as far as your versatility as a player and just using different effects.

Scott Schwertly:
For sure. I know, as far as artists, I know we were talking earlier about, there's not a ton of artists that use this, but those that do use it come from two separate worlds.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, there is Tosin Abasi, who's definitely in the metal space, without a doubt. And then David Ryan Harris, who is more in the... I mean, I know he's played with John Mayer, and he does his own solo stuff that's very much in the pop blues lane. I mean, just thinking about the differences there, I mean, two very different sounds, two very different players, but they're able to both make really great use of this pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. It's really hard to deny just the ease of use of this pedal. If anybody gets one of these in their hands, you're going to find that it's pretty straightforward. It almost can be a little bit deceptive, because you've got, really, just three knobs. You've got a volume knob, a tone knob and a gain knob. Yet just with some subtle tweaks and stuff you can get into this dynamic territory that we're talking about.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, one of my favorite things about this pedal in particular is that while, like you were saying, the controls are deceptively simple, but at the same time, everything is usable. With everything all the way up, it's usable. With things all at noon, it's usable. With things dialed back, it's usable. So it's one of those pedals where there's really not like a unusable setting on it. Because most pedals, for me, I've found that most pedals have a range of use. Typically, if you go outside the bounds of that, you're going to get yourself into trouble, as far as it might not sound good, or just not be usable for what you're trying to do. But I feel like, wherever I put the knobs on this thing, I could find a place for it, you know?

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, absolutely. It's definitely versatile in that regard. And like you said, highly useful from many different approaches, which, yeah, just another reason why I like this pedal so much. Well, if you guys are curious to actually hear what this thing sounds like, I know we're talking a lot about dynamic, specifically dynamic distortion. If this is your first time to pursue learning more about it, we want to go ahead and demo this for you now and we'll get everything connected. Eric, what guitar are you going to go with today?

Eric Wilson:
I'm going to go ahead and use the Les Paul for this one.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. Well, we're going to get that all set up guys and we will see you on the other side.

Eric Wilson:
All right. That was the Vertex Dynamic Distortion. It's a really great, really usable pedal. I definitely recommend checking it out if you are looking for something a little bit different, or if you are looking for that very specific fuzz and tube screamer type tone.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I think different is a great keyword, and I know we've been using the word dynamic a lot. It's interesting, because I actually bought this off of Facebook Marketplace and the guy told me, "Yeah, this is really dynamic." And I'm like, "Yeah, yeah." I took it home and I'm like, "Yeah, it's really dynamic." It's really hard to explain, but hopefully that shined through as you were hearing that demo there about... Yeah. It's a different kind of distortion, and either you're probably going to love it or hate it, and I guess you'll be the ultimate decider of what's the best fit for you.

One thing we did not discuss actually earlier is that, if you are wanting to pick up one of these, it's definitely in that boutique range. Street price is 199. If you want to get them used, obviously can probably find them for maybe one 160, 170. So yeah, you hopefully can find some great deals out there. But again, if you're looking for something a little bit different, a little bit more dynamic, as we're talking about, this is a great fit to add to your collection.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, just adding to the collection of buzzwords. Just add dynamic up there with transparent and organic, whatever the other ones are.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. There's a lot out there, for sure. Well, there you have it guys, that is the Vertex Dynamic Distortion. Join us next time, I'm super pumped about this next episode. I've been wanting to cover this pedal for quite some time. We're going to go back into the world of delay. This is a pedal that has really just captured by heart, I wish I would have bought it years ago, but I did not. This is a pedal that actually has competed, quite competitively, for the delay pedal spot on my board, and that is the Line 6 DL4 delay modeler. Now, I have pedals like the Timeline by Strymon, I've got the Boss DD-500, and got to say, this one often is on my board instead of those, and for good reason.

So really excited to really talk about that pedal and what it's all about. It's got a rich history, lots of people use it. Yeah, it's probably one of my favorite purchases of 2020, even though it came out decades ago.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I'm really excited to talk about that one. I haven't gotten a chance to play that one in a long time. It was actually the first delay pedal I ever played, so definitely excited to talk about that one.

Scott Schwertly:
Me too. We will catch you guys next time. Until then, have a great day, have a great week and we'll catch you in the next episode.

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