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Zvex Box Of Rock

author
Paul Gonzalez
• Sunday, 16 May, 2021
• 7 min read

As much as I love this pedal, I’m not gonna lie and say that it’s perfect because it’s not. It’s designed to simulate the classic overdrive “everything on 10” sound of the 1966 Marshall JTM45 amplifier.

rock box zvex vertical sonic reverb
(Source: reverb.com)

Contents

If you’re not familiar with that sound, simply think of early Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix with their huge Marshall stacks. Fun fact: this pedal is a favorite of J. Masc is of Dinosaur Jr.

Moving on, the Box of Rock is a clean boost and distortion that is housed within one unit. VEX became well-known in the world of guitar effects because of its Fuzz Factory, but continued to gain a following with the Box of Rock.

You can use your guitar’s volume to control the amount of distortion you need, all the way down to very clean and clear with most drive settings. The silk screened version has a “Distortion Engine” (not a typo) stomp switch.

The hand-painted version’s stomp switch on the right is labeled ROCK because their paint brushes are apparently too wide for so many small letters. It’s very similar to the WHO boost circuit, but with refinements to make it sound less glassy and more like a standard amp input.

So if you’re having trouble with “thin” tone, the box of rock is the solution. And when you play it through a Marshall amp, it gets the sound into maximum rock n’ roll without killing the ears.

beano tone box
(Source: squidguitarinc.wordpress.com)

Fully up, and you get a warm but rich rumble as you wind-mill through some power chords. Yes, it sounds great when cranked, but it’s also a beast when used as a little drive to recreate an amp on the verge of break up.

I actually remember the day that I got this pedal, I couldn’t stop playing and seeing what kinds of sounds I could get. My favorite setting is to use the boost side halfway up which drives the front end of the amp.

The standard 9v (3mA) power input is located at the back and is also far from harm’s way. Speaking of the battery, it lasts a long time since the pedal requires such low power.

Set the drive to either give you a warm edge, or crank it up for some classic rock n’ roll tones. It’s also better to roll off the guitar’s volume because the Box of Rock cleans up very nicely.

This way, you can keep your mini-Marshall fully up at all times while having the ability to control the dynamics from the guitar. You will likely set the boost around 25-40%, which is a very husky kick in the pants when doing lead solos or doing more emphasis on the rhythm chops.

zvex excellent reverb limited clear rock edition box pedals fuzz effects
(Source: reverb.com)

However, it doesn’t play nice with some other pedals and bluesy amps. That’s why a popular EQ setup on the old Marshall JTM45s was to set everything to max, then roll off the bass.

This pedal can give you a very light overdrive with just a little extra grit, and all the way to filthy. The Dexter Box of Rock circuit was designed specifically to recreate the sonic experience of a dimmed Marshall JIM non-master volume amp.

The Box of Rock works beautifully as a boost / distortion circuit for any amp, but it is highly recommended that you plug it into a clean Marshall at least once for the intended effect. The Icebox of Rock is extremely sensitive to your guitar's volume control, and on all but the most extreme distortion settings will clean up to a pristine spit-shine as you roll back the volume knob.

The boost section and the drive and boost controls on the Box of Rock are based on ZVex's infamous Super Hard-On circuit, but with a few alterations to make the tone somewhat less glassy and more like a standard amplifier input section. Also like the WHO, the boost and drive knobs will crackle somewhat when in use, which is both expected and perfectly normal for this design.

The FOR boost section has been placed after the distortion section (or “distortion engine” as Mr. Vex calls it) to enable it to hit the front end of your amp like a sledgehammer to the breadbasket, and to boost solo spots and other parts that you might want to be really obnoxiously loud. The Z. Vex Dexter Box of Rock is operated by either a 9V battery or a 9 Volt Negative Pin Boss-PSA-type AC adapter.

rock box zvex painted hand effect vintageandrare vexter overview audiofanzine
(Source: www.vintageandrare.com)

Due to the low current draw of this pedal's design batteries should last quite some time. Dim LED's and poor performance indicate the necessity of a battery change.

The Vex Dexter Box of Rock is warranted from manufacturing defects for a period of 2 years. In this video we demo and review a very cool effect called the Vex Was...

The Box of Rock ™ is Z. Vex Effect's first “distortion” pedal, highly specialized to simulate the “everything on 10” sound of a classic Marshall JTM45 non-master-volume amplifier. You may use your guitar's volume control to adjust for the exact amount of distortion you need, all the way down to very clean and clear with most drive settings.

It is very similar to the Super Hard-On pedal boost circuit, with refinements to make it sound more like a standard amp input and less glassy. A DC power jack (standard Boss configuration with center negative) is provided on the side of the pedal.

The USA Centers have plain engraved aluminum enclosures and are made in America. The parts inside are identical to the hand painted model.

box rock zvex clone enclosure pedal finished
(Source: www.jurimusic.com)

Overview: The Box of Metal is an aggressive high-gain pedal with a highly-effective built-in switchable gate which dramatically reduces noise and unwanted feedback. Its gain and tonal characteristics are somewhat similar to high-gain tube amplifiers that have been the staple of hard rock and metal sounds since the 80s.

The gate is very useful for cleaning up any noise between palm-muted chords and lead phrases, but may be switched off to initiate feedback or to stretch out soloed notes that are fading into noise. Switching off and on the gate is silent so the gating action of the pedal can instantly be changed during any part of the performance to fluidly integrate soloing and palm-muted chords.

When fully clockwise, palm-muting will create an audible thump and bumping the strings will open the gate. Midrange: Adjust to accentuate or scoop out mid.

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Sources
1 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metta_World_Peace