http://www.toneconcepts.com/pdfs/TheDistilleryManual.pdf explains it accurately.
The right side is a 20 db boost, guts punches it up, bleed tweaks the highs. I keep this on all of the time with the controls pretty low usually (9 o'clock-ish). I use the left side to change my sound during solos sometimes, the contour knob is pretty useful to fundamentally change your single coil vs. humbucker tone... so you can just hit that left switch and sound like a different guitar. I usually play a P90 Les Paul and a 52 hot rod Tele through one of those tweed covered Jensen Blues Jrs. I expect it'd let you dial in "your sound" easier on amps you don't care for but have to use for whatever reason.
Hey. I just found out I won one! Would love any more info you could give me on it. Is it a low-gain overdrive? What separates it from others? What is the second switch for?
I've used the Distillery since June, love it.
Does just what it's supposed to.
Great! Paul is sending me the weekly winners and we'll make an announcement once the TDPRI giveaway is over naming the winners and sending out The Distillery pedals to their lucky new owners!
Now about your question! I approached a number of our artists in Jan. 2013 (before NAMM) to ask them to join a collaboration to develop new products together. I asked them "what's missing, what do you need?" and what came back was the request to design something that would make any amp sound "better".
While this would include backline Fenders Deluxe Reverbs, Hot Rods, etc., it would also have to work with Vince Gill's amazing backline, Steve Lukather's Bogners and our other artists vintage amps, etc.
What we designed is a power, transparent, boost with a tone shaping circuit. The pedal was extensively on stage (prototypes during sound checks, etc.) and tour (final prototypes) tested prior to release for about 6 months, starting with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, Nels Cline, Dweezil Zappa, Vince Gill, Jim Campilongo, Billy Gibbons, Steve Lukather .... all the way through to Pat Metheny.
We're using the same artist testing process for our upcoming releases (including a great dedicated Overdrive) that are forthcoming. Some surprises in store.
As for The Distillery, once tweaked and set, you really notice it when its off (i.e. its like something is missing). It gives lots of bloom and air to the sound particularly at volume. That's why many artists have it in an always ON position and use to to pair with their amps (Vince Gill, Steve Lukather, David Hidalgo). It is really intended to enhance a great guitar + amp combination ....
We'd really like to get feedback from the winners as to how the use the pedal.
As you'll note from our artist quotes, many of the artists use it in a distinct and personal way.
As for its OD qualities, its not designed to be an OD but it is designed to integrate with an amp, pushing it into OD territory organically. All of the functions are interactive as well so its a pedal for mature (experienced) players who can tweak and tune it with their ears.
Lots coming over the next three months from us .... with something to be announced next week.
I'm posted my impressions in my NPD thread:
"I got the pedal today. It took a while to get here because they build them to order which is pretty cool. I'll be doing a full video demo for my YouTube channel but for now just my first impressions.
I really like it. I finally get what it is (I think) and it's exactly what I was hoping. It has 5 knobs and two foot switches. I think the two knobs on the right and the middle knob (3 total) are all affecting the boost function which is activated by the right hand foot switch. The "boost" knob controls the amount of boost (up to 20db I think). The "guts" knob is basically a gain knob and the "bleed" knob is a tone knob for the boost/gain function. It's a great boost, if this section was the whole pedal it would still be pretty cool.
But then there's the "contour" and "edge" knobs which make up the "shape" section of the pedal activated by the left foot switch. This really makes the pedal special IMO. The coolest thing is how the edge and contour knobs interact with each other. The manual had some suggested settings that were really helpful and really well described. Basically it shows 3 settings, one to add "sparkle", one to add "presence" and one to add thickness or something (they have a better adjective in the manual I just can't remember it right now). All the settings were right on. It was kind of unreal how accurately they were described and then how precise the sound was on each setting.
The biggest thing I kept hearing before I got it was that it's a really subtle pedal that you barely notice is on. I didn't find that to be true at all. Sure you can set it that way but I found it to be very noticeable at most settings.
I'm still getting used to the pedal. My fav thing so far is to use the shape side to thicken up my Tele's neck pickup and then kick on a little bit of a boost. It sounds soooo good.
Like I said I'll make a video and show some of the sounds, there's a lot of them in this box. So far I really like it, it seems insanely versatile. Now I just have to figure out how to fit it in my tiny PT mini!"
I thought it might serve as a tone shaper, a 'more' pedal. Always on. Subtle but enhancing. That kind of thing.
It was too subtle for moi. Testing the extremes I could get obviously useless sounds, like you can with most any pedal if you try. But dialing it in, trying to actually use the darn thing... Nothing. The invisible pedal.
I can see it selling really well:
"Doesn't hurt your signal!"
Wish I could have heard yours ... PM if you'd like with details (i.e. where you bought it, etc.).
Were you getting sounds like this:
No, nothing like that! I really think mine must have been disconnected inside somehow. You know, you expect it's going to do something, and when it arrives, it's SO subtle, yeah, I can almost hear it... No, actually I can't. I went away and came back to it with fresh ears. No difference.
I played both s/c and humbuckers through a Fendery rig. Probably my SFDR. Great, bright, clean tone. The pedal was like glass. Completely transparent. Uselessly so
I think I purchased from CME, and I returned the pedal after a day or two.
EDIT: it reminded me of the time I was trying to dial in my board, and couldn't get it quite right... Played for an hour before I realized I'd bypassed the whole thing. Almost sold the whole board that very day. The Distillery was actually ON, because as I said in an earlier post, I was able to get 'something' at the extremes. Not useful sounds, but to prove it was on... But then trying to dial in useable sounds, it sounded zero different from my normal rig. I don't get it.
Can you PM me or email me the details of your purchase?
We haven't heard of a problem with any Distilleries sold by CME (and they've sold a lot of them) so I'd like to track this problem down and analyze the pedal.
P.S. My direct email: seraphim (at) toneconcepts.com