This is the first of the pedals I’ll be reviewing that I’m renting from PedalGenie.com. I’ll write a review about their service after I have a few rounds. I put this pedal in the wishlist mostly because I recently realized how awesome Tech21’s Liverpool pedal is, and wanted to compare with another pedal that was voiced in the Vox camp. How does this legendary pedal sound?
I love the simplicity of 4 knobs. I personally believe 4 knobs is perfect for overdrive/distortion pedals. Volume, Drive, Tone and… is the last V for Voice? In essence the Tone controls the treble and V is like a bass cut — the higher you turn that up, the less bass you will have in your sound, which is nice because the more gain you have, the more bass you’ll want to cut.
If you’re looking to this as a Vox simulator, then you’ll be disappointed. This is more of a distortion machine than a Vox emulator. In my mind its fuzzy low end and hairy mid range does remind me of the Brian May school of Vox tones, but it doesn’t seem to have that clear, sparkly chime, likes of the Edge.
The feel of the pedal is absolutely fantastic. It is ultra dynamic, uncompressed and responsive all the way up the gain spectrum. Predictably, the volume knob clean-up is awesome also. Thanks to its fat mid range it is very lively sounding even with the Drive up high, though it can get quite muddy if you don’t turn up the lower V knob also. It does low gain very well also — the verge-of-break-up range feels very, very natural. The Tone can go from brash fizz on top to dark and woolly — no chime here but it is very effective. Voice, I imagine you’ll end up somewhere in the 2nd half if you use this for its mid- to high-gain range. Otherwise it can get rather muddy even with Tone way up high. Its thick mid range also goes against in-between positions — again, it ends up sounding bloated and muddy, you don’t get the spank and sweetness you associate with two pickups in parallel.
In my mind this is a great pedal for someone who’s looking to do classic rock and needs a non-Marshall British voice. Your chord and harmonic vocabulary is probably traditional — barre chords, power chords, and so on. This will not do palm muting riffs or hard rock, as the bass is not tight enough. And since you can’t dial out the thick, hairy mid range, it’s not well suited for dense or dissonant chords.
But what it does, it does exceedingly well. The natural feel and responsiveness is among the best I’ve played, and the ballsy, fat tone screams rock n roll. The dynamic range makes it really fun to play chunky rhythm, though it’ll require your to have solid technique for playing leads, as its touch sensitivity reflects everything you’re putting in.
So it’s not a versatile pedal in terms of stylistic/tonal range, though it certainly has a wide sweet spot in terms of gain range — it sounds good low, mid or high gain. The main point here is, does its voice suit your music/playing? I think this is an either/or situation, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly. And if it suits you, then you will love this pedal.