Suhr Riot Review

Name: Suhr Riot distortion pedal


Average Price: 240€

Overall Rank: 95 out of 100

Links to buy: 




Suhr, Product Overview

  • Distortion
  • Versatile high-gain distortion with the sonic characteristics and touch sensitivity of a high-quality 100-watt tube amplifier
  • Controls: Distortion, Level, Tone
  • Voicing switch
  • Foot Switch: Effect Bypass
  • Input 6.3 mm jack
  • Mono/stereo output 6.3 mm jack
  • 9 V DC power supply connection (coaxial connector 5.5 x 2.1 mm – minus pole inside)
  • Power consumption: 8 mA
  • Power via 9 V battery or 9 V DC power supply (not included, suitable power supply available under Art.409939)
  • True Bypass
  • Dimensions (W x D x H): 64 x 114 x 32 mm
  • Made in USA

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

PRO #1 Incredible and high-quality powerful sound

PRO #2 You will have the sound of a high gain head into an easy to carry pedal box

PRO #3 Versatile, infinite gain. It can be used as Overdrive or as Booster too

The Bad:

CON #1 Maybe too much oriented to Rock, but the tone and voicing switch helps a lot

CON #2 A bit noisy if you don’t use it with good cables

CON #3 Not very cheap


Why I love this pedal and I chose it

I’ve been trying many distortion pedals out there. I’ve owned many on my pedalboard and I always struggled to find something that sounds not like a pedal but like a true amp, so I can use it when I go around for gigs and clinics with the amp I find at the place.

The Suhr Riot fulfilled this need. It can be easily linked to my pedalboard as the only source of distortion (I have other overdrives and fuzzes too by the way), and I can regulate its distortion through the volume pot on my guitar.

Another requirement is that it has to sound not too much high-ended, always respecting the correct amount of middle frequencies, so I can stay in the mix without being covered from the sounds of the cymbals if I’m on stage with a loud drummer.

It has to sound aggressive if I want to play rough guitar rhythms but it has to be also “creamy” enough when it comes to playing the solos, without becoming too fuzzy.

The good thing about the Suhr Riot is that It sounds absolutely fantastic in every situation and with almost any (good) amp I’ve tried it with.

You can be sure to have with you a great sound in any situation, and you won’t need to have a dedicated amp to achieve that high-quality tube sound you aim for.

This is absolute gold for me.

Inside the Suhr Riot

It’s a very simple to use the pedal, with only three controls: Distortion, Level, and Tone.

The distortion pot regulates the amount of drive you will need to add to your sound. Disclaimer: the drive is practically infinite. When it’s turned down at 1-2 with the level at 8-9 it can easily be used as a booster too.

At 5-6 the sound starts already to be rougher and it becomes a nice-sounding overdrive. With this sound, you can move from crunchy rhythms to bluesy solos and back.

Pushing more on the Dist pot, you will achieve incredible high gain sounds for your rock and metal solos. You won’t need that Rectified Head anymore, you will have the sound of a great 100-watt head in a little case.

The sound goes from a screamy JCM800 to a squeezed Mesa Rectifier, it’s absolutely stunning for the rhythms and very powerful for your solos. The very good thing is that this pedal never goes too much on the high frequencies. This is a very important point when it comes to high gain distortion pedals: they mostly become too fuzzy and high-ended when you have a lot of gain. It happens to me a lot that I’ve to use an equalizer to cut out those horrible high frequencies that avoid my solos to be heard properly from the crowd despite I’m playing on stage with other instruments.

With the Riot, you will always have the correct amount of frequencies in your solos, without your sound becoming too fuzzy or confused. You will always have the correct amount of frequencies while being on stage, and the sound is always defined.

The level pot controls the amount of volume required. It’s important to mix it with your amp, in order to avoid volume peaks while going from the clean to the drive sound.

The amount of volume is incredible. You can boost a lot your sound if you regulate the pot at 7-8 already. The volume control will give more volume and definition, so you most probably won’t need a booster anymore.

Trust me it can be stupidly high, like very high volume!

Another good side of the volume pot is that it is transparent, it only adds the volume you prefer to the drive settings you’ve already decided. The more you go further with the volume, the more the sound becomes huge but its color remains the same.

The tone nob reacts well by cutting or adding high frequencies to the sound.

The voicing switch

This switch is something to look at too. It can provide some cool changes to your sound depending on the kind of nuances you will need.

On the left, it produces a natural tone that responds dynamically to your guitar’s volume control. The sound is smooth and balanced, perfect for both solos and rhythms.

The middle position is the one I prefer. It adds some mid-range to your sound, it is perfect for my solos.

The right position adds a high gain color while being a bit “vintage” at the same time. The sound becomes a bit more aggressive and it will help you to have more punch.

Other features

Report from the Suhr Page:

The True Bypass: Riot is a true bypass pedal. This function allows for the remote switching and the battery monitor feature. The relay produces less popping when switching the pedal on and off.

FX Link: The FX Link connector allows the pedal’s switching function to be controlled from an external switch, pedal board, loop switcher, or any other custom interface. FX Link also provides the ability to power up in the On/Off state.

Low Battery Monitor: Riot incorporates a unique battery monitor that alerts the user to low battery conditions. In addition, the battery monitor will automatically switch the pedal to True Bypass if the battery voltage is too low for the circuitry to correctly operate.


The Suhr Riot is a fantastic pedal, I gave him a very high score due to the quality of the materials and its sound.

It’s not very cheap and considering the amount of distortion it is also quite silent, but be careful to use good cables and connectors too on your pedalboard otherwise, it can become a bit noisy if used with high levels of gain. This is however a normal feature for distortion pedals, it is normal to have a bit of noise with high levels of distortion and the Riot is not that much noisy anyway. This is a great advantage that makes it stand up from the competition.

I personally use this pedal in every live gig I do and I’ve never ever had one only issue.