Boss currently make three effects pedals geared towards heavy metal players looking for a lot of distortion:
- Metal Zone (MT-2)
- Metal Core (ML-2)
- Heavy Metal (HM-2W)
In this article I’ll be directly comparing these three pedals to help you decide which is the best to add to your electric guitar rig.
Images link to Amazon
Let’s start with the closest two sounding pedals of the three, the Metal Zone and the Metal Core.
Metal Zone vs Metal Core
The Boss Metal Zone (MT-2) has more mid-range compared to the Metal Core (ML-2) meaning it cuts through the mix a bit more. The ML-2 sounds more scooped with less lower-mids and instead a more of a bass and treble peak.
The Metal Zone as a result sounds a bit richer compared to the Metal Core which sounds more a bit more artificial and has more low-end.
It’s hard to describe the differences so check out this YouTube video where you can listen to them back to back.
Metal Zone vs Heavy Metal
The Boss Heavy Metal HM-2 has a signature chainsaw tone which is synonymous with Swedish death metal of the ’90s. The HM-2 sounds more fuzzy compared to the MT-2 which has a tighter low-end.
The HM-2 is a more specific pedal which achieves a certain tone that you may either love or hate. Although the MT-2 is probably equally as polarising, it is a bit more versatile and can achieve more usable tones compared to the HM-2.
Check out this YouTube video to hear a comparison of these two pedals.
All three pedals have a level and distortion control. The level control adjusts the volume and the distortion control adjusts the amount of gain and saturation.
In terms of the EQ controls, the Metal Core ML-2 and Heavy Metal HM-2 both have a “low” control and a “high” control.
The Metal Zone MT-2 has a more complex EQ section. The two EQ dials are actually split into two, giving you 4 EQ controls. The first dial is split into separate “high” and “low” controls. The second dial controls the mid-range frequencies and again is split into two so the lower dial controls the frequency and the upper dial controls the level.
It’s worth noting though that on the Heavy Metal HM-2, the “high” control actually adjusts the level of two filters in the mid-range frequencies rather than the treble.
One extra thing to mention here is that the new Waza versions of the Metal Zone (MT-2W) and Heavy Metal (HM-2W), have a mode switch. In the “custom” mode you get some more gain and a a tweaked EQ curve. At the time of writing there isn’t a Waza version of the Metal Core.
The other specifications of the three pedals are all pretty much identical except for the battery life. The Metal Zone MT-2 and Heavy Metal HM-2 have much longer battery life (24 hours on an alkaline battery) compared to the Metal Core ML-2 (5.5 hours on an alkaline battery).
This is because the ML-2 has a higher current draw which may be significant depending on what power supply you are using.
The pedals are all the same size: 73 mm wide, 129 mm deep and 59 mm tall and share many more of the same specifications including:
- Nominal input/ output level: -20 dBu
- Input/ output impedance: 1 M ohm
- Recommended load impedence: 10 k ohms or greater
- Bypass: buffered bypass
- 1/4″ input and output jack
- DC-in jack
Here are links to each pedal on Amazon so you can check the current prices:
Check out my in-depth comparison between the Boss DS-1 and DS-2 pedals.