|When the Guitar is your voice|
First appearances of the Morpheus are good! A chunky well constructed solid steel box and a foot switch with 'Go Hard' written next to it. The glow in the dark graphics are a good idea too, especially on stage. Featuring Volume, Tone, Gate and Drive controls it can also be run with either battery or 9V power supply.
The Morpheus is a straight distortion box with an in-built noise gate, so you can really push out a huge amount of gain and cut out any feedback. The Gate control was also designed to make riffs more percussive at higher settings.
Basically these type of guitar pedal units are trying to get the best sounding tube amp into a small box at a small price. The G2D Morpheus (designed and hand-made in Auckland) retails for $425 NZD. I planned to pair it up and put it against a tube amp to see how it stood up, and what better way to test it than with a classic JCM 800 Marshall stack!
The first thing I noticed was the huge volume increase I got out of this box, and when used through the clean channel of the Marshall I was able to easily get a good range of metal tones, just adjusting the noise gate to suit. This is a real heavy metal box! If you're looking for that slightly overdriven AC/DC-type sound this is probably not the box for you. It didn't matter if the drive was on a quarter or on 3/4, it was just huge either way. I could switch between a nice loud clean sound to a massive crunch of metal in no time. So when used strictly by itself as your distortion provider it was pretty good. It lacked a little bit of presence even when I had the tone dial on full, but with a bit of EQ on the amp it was really good.
I then put it through the dirty channel with the Marshall gain at about a quarter, and this was even better! It was easy to get a good sound instantly, and you can quickly control the volume and amount of drive which is essential. It was a nasty brutal tone and with the extra presence of the tubes and the noise gate cutting out any unwanted frequencies, you could make it real heavy! This was how I thought the Morpheus sounded best.
Compared directly to the Marshall's natural gain on full, it couldn't compete with the tube amp, but when used in a combination with the tubes the sound was quite immense. But of course you had to sacrifice your clean sound a little, to get the best heavy sound.
As far as using this box as a volume boost for your solos over the top of your amp's distortion it was no good, it simply has too much drive so basically it must be used with a clean or just slightly dirty sound to get the best results.
When I saw the $425 NZD price tag I was thinking this better be good, and it was. I would say this is a better distortion box for the price than any other. Any metaller who doesn't have a very good amp would be well advised to give this a try as their main source of distortion. The ease in getting a good tone fast is the best feature and if you want a classic thrash tone or a full death metal sound you can just crank up the drive control. The in-built gate will take care of any noise issues and the general boost in volume is huge.
And it's locally made too! Aaaaarrrgghhh HEAVY metaL!