TC Electronic’s Dark Matter is a small, extremely affordable and equally as effective distortion pedal. At the moment, it’s one of the go-to budget choices if you’ re looking for best dist boxes for metal. Today we’re going to take a closer look and show you what it’s capable of.
Where most brands in the business try to recreate the vintage vibe, TC Electronic is all about the future. In other words, their goal seems to be cramming as much performance as possible into the smallest available chassis. That is definitely a way to describe TC Electronic Dark Matter. It is small, simple and ultimately rugged. The chassis inspires confidence in a sense that you could easily put it through its paces on stage without it failing. In terms of finish, there isn't really much to look at. However, TC Electronic is known to pull off aesthetics out of simplicity. Aside from the Dark Matter logo, you are basically left with plain white labels over black background. That is perfectly fine, though. This thing wasn't really meant to be something to look at, but rather a source of uncompromising gain. Fortunately for us, that is exactly what we got.
The control layout and selection perfectly matches what this Dark Matter is all about. You get four knobs, two of which are your standard Volume and Gain. The other two form a two-band EQ that lacks mid controls. Even though that is a massive turn off for some, the lack of mids in the EQ doesn't really hurt the sound that much. In a classic TC Electronic fashion, there's also a little toggle switch. Where it usually functions as a Tone Print control on most other TC Electronic pedals, on Dark Matter it alters the low end. You could say it gives the sound a bit more girth. Knobs we have just mentioned are few, but more than enough to dial in a face melting distortion. Considering how affordable Dark Matter is, you can't really hope for much more than this anyway.
What does this pedal sound like? That is the main question that everything comes down to. Imagine a tube amp that is pushed to its very limits. We are talking the edge of vacuum tube failure. That is what Dark Matter sounds like. It isn’t an overdrive, but it shares some of that aesthetic. With that said, it can be extremely versatile, covering a full range of sonic profiles that go from classic rock to modern metal. It all depends on how much gain you push into the tone, as well as how you dial in the EQ. We have easily managed to squeeze out a proper chugging dist out of this thing after only a few minutes of experimentation. The controls are fairly intuitive and the pedal is mostly silent when not in use. In all honesty, it does far more than we have expected from it.
At the end of the day, TC Electronic Dark Matter distortion pedal is a perfect choice for metal heads on a budget. The amount of gain is more than pleasing, while the controls make it a simple and practical tool. It is a proper metal package that offers a proper performance.