Tech 21 XXL Original

Tech 21 XXL Original

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XXL Original, Distortion from Tech 21.

6 user reviews
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Tech 21 XXL Original tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Tech 21
  • Model: XXL Original
  • Category: Distortions
  • Added in our database on: 04/26/2004

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Tech 21 XXL Original user reviews

Average Score:4.9( 4.9/5 based on 6 reviews )
 5 reviews83 %
 1 user review17 %
Value For Money :

Marc0's review

Tech 21 XXL Original
- Analog distortion
- Solid-state :p
- in/out, DC 9V


It couldn't be easier, a pedal with 4 controls; level, tone, warp, drive. Simple and effective, the controls influence sound the way they should.


As mentioned already, the Warp is a rare control that gives the effect a particular touch and character. Personally, I think this effect is not very versatile, it can be used for everything and, at the same time, for nothing... Its tone is very distinctive, either you like it or you don't. Personally, I think this distortion is a bit "dirty." Nevertheless, it's a very good effect for people looking for an original and not-so-common sound. The Warp and Tone controls change everything, but the pedal's character is always there, and it's due to that distinctive tone that it lacks versatility.


To sum it up, either you like it or you don't, but you have to try it, that's the only way you'll form your own opinion. I give it an 8 for the originality of its tone.

deicide's review

Tech 21 XXL Original
Simple distortion pedal with 4 controls: level, tone, warp and drive. I paid for it the ridiculous amount of $50.
Bought it secondhand.


It couldn't be easier to use, I have no manual (but frankly speaking there's no need for a manual since making settings on the pedal is child's play).


For me, the distortion is effective. I've noticed that the pedal is really sensitive with the guitars I play. I've used this pedal with 3 guitars, a fernandes strato, a les paul-style hohner with dual humbuckers and a third guitar also with 2 humbuckers, I use a big combo that acts as a power amp, since it doesn't have any overdrive nor preamp controls.
With the hohner, the distortion sound was very good and with the level at 8 o'clock, tone and warp at 9 o'clock, and drive to max, I can get thrash/death sounds: cannibal corpse, megadeth.. With the two other guitars and the same settings the sound turns lifeless, ghostly... In short, it turns shitty when compared to the sound you get with the hohner. I can only conclude that the pedal requires a high-end guitar with a high-power bridge pickup. I don't know if the hohner is mahogany or not, but the wood and the pickups are crucial factors.
In my opinion, this pedal ought to do the trick for fans of korn, linikn park... Especially with a 7-string guitar, because I always sounded like a hardcore/neo guitarist before finding the settings I was looking for, but I have never had the opportunity to use it with a baritone guitar.


I've been using it for 7 months.
It sounds very good with gear with guts! Then again, Page Hamilton of Helmet uses it with his VHT PITTBULL ULTRALEAD
Compared to a metalzone, the xxl doesn't sound artificial and doesn't have a tendency to spit its guts out straightaway.
You really need to try it before you buy it (it's a head that costs $3000 all the same...).
Le Taz12/05/2007

Le Taz's review

Tech 21 XXL Original
Small overdrive/distortion pedal (it's truly somewhere in between), with a very "boutique" tone. Gain, level, tone, warp (which controls the type of harmonics, solid-state/tube, progressively).


It's easy to dial in if you have a good pair of ears, and even if you don't. The distortion rate is not very high (average for metal), and it's a bit noisy.


I struggle to find good distortions, with a guitar that sometimes makes my life pretty hard (mid-scooped sound with a lot of output power, so the sound is muddled or fuzzy-yuck sometimes). This one is one of the few that respects the sound of my guitar. Its tone is not very shapeable, so you'll need to work with it. I'd say it has a '70s rock sound, without being a fuzz, it's perfect to play Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple. It's neutral in a way, so it will leave you enough room to create your own sound depending on your amp.

The warp control is not a gimmick, it will allow you to define the modernity of the tone. This is one of the rare distortion pedals that allows me to turn down the volume pot on the guitar and get an almost clean sound, which means it respects the sound of the guitar!


I use it with a Delta Blues, when I need a more rock or more modern sound than with the built-in overdrive.

The noise is a drawback. The first finish in brushed aluminum was nice, but you'll find it in a more discreet black casing, but it's the same pedal.

I tested quite a few other models, I won't tell you what I think about the DS1, Rat, because it's a matter of taste, but they don't convince me, like many other "new" products (mxr-cae, visual route 66, bbe, etc.). The small marshalls, which are really flexible (sometimes in excess, like the jackhammer, which can really turn into a Rube Goldberg machine) don't have any personality. The Blackstars don't really offer results on a par with their technology (and their price tag), but they are certainly more "classy" in terms of sound than the Vox, which are more biting.

No, for the time being, I haven't found a better solid-state pedal than the XXL. Xotic is the only brand I haven't tried yet.

moosers's review

Tech 21 XXL Original
Tech 21's XXL Original is a distortion pedal that can be used with any electronic instrument. I've only used it with electric guitar, and it's also worth noting that the also make an XXL specifically designed for bass and one for guitar as well. It's an analog pedal and it has 1/4" connections for input and output as well as a jack for your power supply. It isn't rack mountable as it's a foot pedal.


Using the Tech 21 XXL Original isn't very difficult as it's got some pretty basic parameters to work with. The three basic ones that you see on pretty much all distortion and overdrive pedals are it's parameters for level, tone, and drive. However, it also has a knob for warp, which is a unique parameter to this pedal and essentially seems to work as a resonance filter. A manual shouldn't be necessary here.


The sound quality of the Tech 21 XXL Original is outstanding all the way around. There is a reason that these pedals are quite popular and it's mostly because of the great sound it's got. It's a really thick and meaty sort of distortion, and it's definitley more of a traditional distortion than overdrive or fuzz. The warp parameter opens up a new palette of sounds, as this isn't a typical parameter and it allows for some really cool potential manipulation to your sound.


The Tech 21 XXL Original is definitley a pedal you should consider if you're looking for a distortion pedal for your guitar or otherwise. While it wouldn't necessarily be my first all around choice, it's still a very good one and is a pedal absolutely worth exploring. The price is pretty reasonable for a pedal of this type, but this isn't going to be the best bang for your buck out there. This pedal is definitely the real deal, it's just a matter of what color you'll prefer...

Tech 21 XXL Original images

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Other names: xxl original, xxloriginal

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