Pedal powerhouse MXR has joined forces with independent effects builder Analog Man for the super-streamlined Duke of Tone overdrive pedal.
Dubbed a “vintage connoisseur’s dream come true”, the Duke is a reimagined version of Analog Man’s single-channel Prince of Tone pedal, which in turn was modeled after the flagship King of Tone dual-channel overdrive.
The King of Tone itself is a highly regarded classic among pedal purists, and was first conceived back in the early ’90s when Analog Man’s Mike Piera began modding a Marshall Bluesbreaker and subsequently designed his own version of the classic pedal.
In fact, the resulting pedal has become so coveted in recent years that the waiting list for an Analog Man King of Tone regularly reaches the five-year mark.
Order an original King of Tone (opens in new tab) now, and you might get it before the turn of the decade. With MXR’s latest offering, though, the two pedal brands aim to bring an identical-sounding, premium built pedal to the masses – one that has a reasonable shipping time.
As such, the Duke promises to add that same touch of warmth and grit to your existing rig, while allowing the “natural tone and feel” of “high-end” gear to shine.
Piera, who was approached by Dunlop for the collaboration, personally and rigorously tested the Duke of Tone to ensure identical thru-hole components were present.
In operation, the Duke sports a simple control layout comprising a trio of control knobs and a three-way clipping toggle switch. The parameters are all self-explanatory: Volume for output, Drive for gain and Tone for fine-tuning the sound.
The toggle switch, meanwhile, grants access to Boost, OD and Distortion modes. As the names would imply, Boost is said to deliver a “clean-yet-vigorous” bump, OD adds grit and compression and Distortion layers on more of each.
There’s also a true bypass footswitch – as is the case for all Analog Man pedals – employed in an effort to keep your signal as pure as possible.
It’s worth noting the quality of the components, too. Not only does the Duke boast the same thru-hole components as found on the King – as opposed to surface mount alternatives – it also comes loaded with boutique WIMA capacitors for premium signal path performance.
As a result, MXR vows the Duke of Tone will deliver “a warm-yet-clear-and-open sound that allows all of the nuances of your signal chain to come through, from your individual guitar strings to the dynamics of your amp’s tubes”.
Of the partnership, Piera commented, “I was very happy working with [MXR], the reason being to get these out to the stores. We don’t really have our pedals, especially these two – the King of Tone and Prince of Tone – in any stores because we can’t make them fast enough.
“I thought it would be great to get these in dealers all over the world with the same basic sounds and nice, small compact size,” he continued. “And the tones are all there. You don’t need to have something big to have good tone.”
The pedal itself isn’t currently on the Dunlop site, but is available to preorder from some UK retailers for £185.
It won’t be long before it makes its way onto the official Dunlop website (opens in new tab), though, so keep your eyes peeled there for updates.
It’s not the first time MXR has joined forces with an indie builder. Back in 2020, the brand collaborated with Paul Cochrane for a reissue of the much prized transparent Timmy drive pedal.