This pedal may be dedicated to the Blues (and the tones associated with the genre), but Blues Delight II certainly acts as an effective drive to push higher-gain amps, due to its very clean to dirty range in both distortion and drive. On a clean amp you can achieve full-bodied tonal improvement, but also get into the realm of crunch and edgy lead (this will depend on how clean your amp is, of course, and I demoed on The Countess’ clean channel, which is very clean and slightly glassy).
The reason for such broad responses is that this pedal has three positions (Clean, Soft and Hard) that affect the Drive knob. The Clean mode definitely is clean, offering very mild boost and fullness to the notes, particularly if the Drive is not up too much. The Soft mode pushes the signal somewhat hard, to add edge to the notes, ideal for crunch and moderately intense lead tones (relative to the Blues); soft mode uses MA858 diodes placed in the loop of the operational amplifier (chip). Hard mode increases drive and distortion for a more searing and saturated tone; it places the diodes at the output of the operational amplifier. In all, there are several combinations when you combine the three modes with varying degrees of drive and with a clean vs. driven amp channel. Moreover, like many amplifiers, there is a trim pot under the hood of Blues Delight II that allows you to adjust how much Presence you want in the signal, from very dry to very sparkling. Overall, Blues Delight II allows you to achieve varying degrees of tube amp warmth while respecting the character of the gear you’re using. I did not demo the Presence trim pot inside the pedal. I liked the setting at the half-way point, which added some sparkle, but did not make the guitars sound bright. When turned all the way down I found the pedal sounded a tad dark or dull, but all the way up it sounded too bright. Of course, that would depend on your pickups and preamp/cabinet choices, and so consider my preference in that regard.
GENERAL USE: There are a lot of options with this pedal, and so some experimentation is required with the Blues Delight II, particularly with different pickups (on the same guitar or other) and depending on the gear used. In other words, there are several options, which I’ll address in brief. The three knobs are straight forward enough, being Drive, Tone and Level. How much push, how loud and what EQ you want can be dialed in quickly. However, this pedal also has three settings of Clean, Soft and Hard, all accessible via the toggle switch and all of which need to be coordinated with the Drive (specifically). The Clean mode (center position) produces a very dramatic and open sound – very much like a clean boost, although with the added Drive as set by that knob. The Soft mode pushes the signal harder than Clean, in case you want that added energy in your tone. The Hard mode increases distortion and overdrive even further. Overall, the sound can range from very full and broad without adding any notable distortion and all the way up to edgy Rock lead. The Blues Delight II has one other trick up its sleeve… or in this case, under its hood. There is a Presence adjustment (a blue trimmer) that allows you to add sparkle to the signal. The demo included with this review has the Presence set midway. Blues Delight II does not run on batteries and requires a 9VDC power supply.