Friday, January 16, 2015

ZVex Distortron

Last year I built a tagboard ZVex SHO clone.

It was nice.

Clean to very nasty and pretty cheap to build.
It also sounded really good.

Then one day it stopped working.

I tried debugging it, but the  accursed thing would not come back to life (even with a new transistor).

The accursed circuit went back into a box for another day.

I decided that I'd try to find a real one online for cheap (I'm not super cashed up).
Unfortunately that didn't pan out, but something else did.

I'd just finished an exam (which was conveniently located a short walk from my favourite shop) and had a few dollars in my pocket that I had been saving up for such a conjunction in locality & circumstance.

They didn't have any SHO's in store, but they did have a ZVex Distortron.

From what I can tell of the online reviews, this pedal doesn't really get the love that it deserves.

I imagine that has something to do with that its named fairly conventionally and isn't particularly eye catching. People are fickle and these things do count for many of them. I say they're missing out for being snobby.

This pedal is well made, has a small footprint and most importantly sounds good at any volume or setting.

It can clean up fairly well, though it always has a little bit of menace around the edges.
That my friends, is exactly what I was looking for in a dirt box.

It gives a massive amount of boost and a huge amount of dirt if you want.

The subs make my Princeton rumble something fierce but the 3 way switch takes care of that.
There is a lot of tonal variety and sounds great through an amp and equally good driving a series of pedals into a DI rig.

I didn't have a JTM45 to play into as recommended on the ZVex site, but I do have an Epiphone Valve Jr and a Fender Princeton. It sounds great in both amps and I imagine that it would sound great in any amp that you care to use.

Anyway, my advice is go try one out and judge for yourself, other people's opinions will only get you so far.


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