Posted by
Dec 18, 2020

Maxon SSD-9

Maxon just unveiled a custom version of their Sonic Distortion called SSD-9, (as in Super Sonic Distortion!) created by their legendary engineer Susumu Tamura, and developed according to suggestions from professional guitarists who owned the original SD-9.

Here’s the list of modifications:

• Dramatically increased output level to push signal chains harder and allow for use with a
wider variety of guitar & amp combinations.
• The center frequency of the Tone control has been shifted for a greater emphasis on
lows & lower midrange
• Attenuation of the 1K range that can make the stock version sound “fizzy” in higher
settings.
• Several component tolerances changed to allow for operation at 18 VDC – a popular
request from Guitarists looking for improved headroom & less compression.
• True Bypass Switching

You can hear the Maxon SSD-9 in the video below. You can find the story of how this pedal was born in the paragraph at the bottom of this post.

The Maxon Custom Shop and Mr. Tamura are proud to present the Maxon SSD-9 Super Sonic Distortion!

The Super Sonic Distortion mod is one of those “happy accidents” that sometimes occur when you’re attempting to achieve one thing but stumble across something completely different than what you intended.

For many years, Fusion Guitar great Scott Henderson has used the stock Maxon SD-9 in his live board – he’s even called it the “best distortion pedal ever made.”

However, Scott only uses the SD-9 at very specific settings, and has stated that the Tone control is too harsh if set past 9 o’clock. Mr. Tamura, who is an avid fan of Henderson’s, set out to develop an improved version of the SD-9 based on Scott’s suggestions.

He analyzed Scott’s tone from various recordings, and researched his guitar rig to determine how the pedal interacted with other components of the signal chain.

Mr. T increased the output level of the pedal dramatically in order to push signal chains harder and allow for use with a wider variety of guitar & amp combinations. He also shifted the frequency range of the Tone control for a greater emphasis on the lows & lower mids while attenuating the 1K range that can make the stock version sound “fizzy” in higher settings.

In addition, Mr. T changed several component tolerances to allow the pedal to be run at 18 VDC – a popular request from Guitarists looking for improved headroom & less compression.

While Scott Henderson still prefers the stock SD-9 to this new version, everyone else that has heard and played the pedal have been floored by its rich, thick tone and amp-like qualities and response.

While Mr. Tamura continues to work on a mod for the SD-9 that will meet Scott’s exacting requirements, we’ve decided to offer the SSD-9 mod to players as a full-featured alternative to the tried & true original.