Sunday, March 3, 2013

Zvex Box Of Rock Clone

According to Z.Vex website 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". Whatever.. the Box of Rock seems to work equally well on slightly overdriven blues tones and there's is also a separate boost section based on the Super Hard-On circuit.

I hardly ever use distorted tones, but this pedal is versatile enough to suit my playing style. Just don't crank it up to 11 son! Since the idea behind the BOR design is a cranked Marshall amp, I tried to make some simple aesthetic choises that would suit the theme. Marshall style graphics, knobs and a big ass jewel light.

Here's the circuit I built on a vero board. IvIark from Guitar FX Layouts -site designed the layout. BTW those guys are making some serious DIY history: at this time there's way over 450 verified layouts on that site. That is amazing! The Box of Rock design itself is pretty straight forward: three cascaded Super Hard-On circuits, a basic tonestack and another SHO stage (boost) at the end.

This was the first time I ever used water slide decals. The decal was pretty easy to apply, but there was some minor tearing and lifting after I applied the lacquer (as you can see from the final picture). Well, you can't win all the time.

...and here's the finished pedal:

The led indicator is for the BOR-side of the effect, so there's no separate indicator for the boost-circuit. The decal is pretty sensitive and I had to use those nasty white plastic washers on the foot switches to prevent tearing. There's some errors on the finish, but overall this thing looks pretty cool.

How does it sound like? 

My Box of Rock clone sounds crunchy, fat and works very very well with humbuckers. There's plenty of gain on tap, but the effect sounds pretty amazing with lower gain settings too.

Direct link to Youtube:

I like it best when the drive is just slightly turned up and you get a hint of crunch and compression. The tone control works almost like a high end roll-off. I mainly set it almost all the way up since the pedal is pretty dark sounding. The boost section is pretty neat and it definitely adds some extra life and sparkle to your guitar sound. There's A LOT of gain available, so you can really cook your tube amp with this one. Rock on!