If you’ve ever visited an instrument store, you’ve probably seen a BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone. It’s one of the most widespread heavy distortion pedals, and it’s been around since 1991.
After a series of less successful metal distortion pedals in the ‘80s, the BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone was here to stay. Although they’ve developed other heavy distortion pedals since, the MT-2 remains their heavy metal flagship.
It’s been roughly 28 years, and the MT-2 is still in the zone with a massive reputation. With its intense metal distortion and low price, it’s easy to see why it’s a favorite among young metalheads. But let’s see how well it holds up these days.
BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone Sound
It’s easy to find both praise and criticism of the BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone. However, this is due to it being so common and well-known among people with varying preferences. In truth, it’s a powerful dist box with extensive tone controls. Therefore, it’s all about how you use it, and what you play with it.
The tone has a hot crunch to it, and a compressed feel with long sustain. It’s fat and heavy, so to speak, and thus good for shredding. Since there’s an equalizer, the sound is very malleable.
With a pedal this wild, you should take it slow when making adjustments. With the distortion knob at 12 o’ clock, you’ll get plenty of crunch, and there’s rarely a reason to go further. That’s a rookie mistake. Also, you’ll want a guitar with metal-friendly humbuckers, ideally EMGs. Otherwise, your signal will get too noisy. Thick strings will also help.
Who are some famous BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone users? You’ll find most prominent examples in the ‘90s scene. Nu Metal guitarists like Disturbed’s Don Donegan and Korn’s Munky and Head are well-known examples. The MT-2 is also behind the guitar sound of the band Converge.
Ironically, most well-known examples aren’t even metal guitarists. Other examples include Rod Jones of Idlewild and Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro. That says a lot about the pedal’s versatility though.
BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone Features
Regarding the build quality, it’s an unmistakable BOSS pedal. It’s the same shape and size, built like a tank, but it’s black. It looks metal, and it’ll withstand years of heavy metal treatment.
The Boss MT-2 Metal Zone was among the first pedals to use dual-gain circuitry to create intense distortion for heavy metal guitarists. It still has this same design with op-amps clipping the signal in series.
Now, the most distinctive feature is the three-band EQ with two small knobs on top of two bigger knobs. The lower knob on the left controls a low-shelf filter to boost or cut low frequencies. On top of it, there’s a smaller knob for the high-shelf filter, to enhance or tame the sizzling treble.
The other dial stack sets the frequency and level of a bell filter, letting you scoop or bump up the midrange. These latter two are what people often get wrong, so it’s worth doing some research and playing around to find your perfect shredding tone.
To the left of the EQ dials, you’ll find the Level knob which sets the volume. The Dist knob on the right determines the distortion amount. Remember that sometimes, less is more.
- Size: 2.9 x 5.1 x 2.4 inches
- Weight: 15 ounces (including battery)
- Input impedance: 1 megaohm
- Output impedance: 1 kilohm
- Nominal output level: -20 dBu
- Bypass: Buffered
- Power requirement: 9-volt battery or PSA AC adapter (not included)
These are good stats, although the noise level can get intense and there’s no true bypass. Therefore, putting a noise gate after the MT-2 is a good idea. On the positive side, it makes a good buffer pedal for long effect chains, restoring the tone lost by true-bypass pedals. See detailed specifications here.
Is BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone the Best Metal Distortion for You?
There’s plenty of gain on tap, it’s versatile, and the price is low. This makes it an excellent distortion pedal for those new to metal, in particular. However, it’s a formidable all-rounder that can rock big stages and crowds in the right hands.
If you want to compare it against other options, my article about distortion pedals will help you. That concludes this BOSS MT-2 Metal Zone review. Thanks for reading.