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Joyo US Dream review

Impressive imitation distortion

  • £37
  • $60
The Dream is based upon a highly sought-after boutique distortion

MusicRadar Verdict

It's hard for us to fault the US Dream, especially at this wallet-comforting price - it's high quality, high-gain and overflowing with tone.

Pros

  • +

    Value for money. Great distortion tones.

Cons

  • -

    Limited features, but what it does it does well.

This Chinese company seems hell-bent on impressing us, and with the US Dream, Joyo hopes to do it again: here, we have an out-and-out high- gain distortion box, which aims to replicate a heavily overdriven valve amp.

But if that purple exterior looks familiar, it's because the Dream is based upon a highly sought-after boutique distortion, but for a lot less moolah. Control-wise, it's simplicity itself: three knobs for volume, tone and distortion, all in a metal enclosure with true bypass switching - nice.

"In terms of tone, this stomper is no nightmare, either - it's got more gain than you'll ever need"

In terms of tone, this stomper is no nightmare, either - it's got more gain than you'll ever need, yet all of it is entirely usable thanks to the flexible tone control and low noise levels. Although the pedal's called the US Dream, there's a real British character to the lower-gain settings, while the heavily saturated tones found at the gain knob's higher ranges will fulfil your wildest shred-based desires, letting pinched harmonics fly and legato licks soar.

However, what's most impressive is the amp-like way in which the pedal responds to your playing; no matter how gained-up your tone is, you can always roll back your guitar's volume knob or reduce your pick attack to clean it up. And although we liked it best with a bridge humbucker for tight rhythms and fluid leads, it reacts well to different pickups, too.

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com (opens in new tab), in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).