Maxon DS-830 Distortion Master pedal review

It's a stack in a box!

  • £189
  • $290

MusicRadar Verdict

This is a full-on distortion that offers a tightly focused and powerful sound.


  • +

    Powerful; plenty of tonal variation.


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The DS-830 is a distortion pedal that also features adjustable bass and treble controls. The Distortion Master has a claimed 59dB of boost available via its gain and level controls.

It's a large, very solidly built pedal like the rest of the series, but Maxon says that the size is necessary to optimise component positioning to minimise noise and colouration.


There's a great range of punchy distortion on tap here of the sort that can make a small amp sound like a cranked stack, especially with the bottom end beefed up with the bass knob - the two tone knobs, in fact, offering a wide tonal range.

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.