Today Music Critic will be comparing the Pro Co RAT2 to the MXR M104+. The team take this task very seriously - two products enter, but only one can leave. If you find this article interesting, you might also want to read The Top Distortion Pedal for Heavy Metal & More in 2018
Contestant number one is the Pro Co RAT2. This thing couldn’t look more 80s if it tried. The typeface, the dial graphics. Everything about it screams arena rock, and pleasingly, that’s exactly what you get. This model is of course a reissue of the legendary RAT distortion pedal from 30-odd years ago, and is a wonderful reflection of the original.
The challenger is the MXR M104+. Another reissue of a legendary pedal, the Distortion + is the pedal of choice for that 70s/80s hard rock and metal sound. It achieves this through the use of some fairly hefty distortion, but with soft clipping that helps to ensure that you get a really nice bite, but that everything stays in harmony. It’s a very, very nice sound that you simply can’t find in a lot of distortion pedals, though it won’t be suitable for all genres.
What we really love about this pedal is the way that it sits neatly in the gap between overdrive that isn’t quite aggressive enough, and distortion that’s just a bit too much. It’s ideal for screaming leads, but can nail a really controlled, compressed rhythm guitar too. The middle dial - the ‘filter’ - is also a very neat addition that allows you to either cut out some of the higher frequencies, or roll back and let your guitar shine through unrestrained.
It is reasonably versatile too - if you really crank it up, you end up with some real fuzz that sustains well, but on the lower end, it can sound like a quality overdriven tube amp. Just a very nice sound all-round.
|HEAD TO HEAD COMPARISON|
|Pro Co RAT2||MXR M104+|
+ Legendary distortion pedal
+ Unique distorted sound
+ Incredible build quality
+ Nails the 80s hard rock tone
+ Great looking, well made chassis
+ High-end product
|WHAT OUR TEAM THOUGHT|
|This is a hugely versatile pedal, with truly excellent sound and wonderful build quality. It’s not a super-budget option, but the price is very, very impressive indeed. You’ll struggle to find a better pedal in this price range and overall the bang for your buck might just be unbeatable in the market.||If you want to sound like your favourite 80s hard rock or heavy metal guitarist, then this is probably the pedal for you. It produces a unique sound thanks to that quiet clipping, and comes in a quality package. The price is in the mid-to-high range, but we think it’s worth it to be able to pretty much guarantee yourself this tone.|
You might also be interested in Music Critic's in-depth article on this topic, The Top Distortion Pedal for Heavy Metal & More in 2018.