Certain guitars and amps have become desired collectables because they just happen to have gotten something right. The 1966 Marshall JTM45 amp head is such a beast. If unfamiliar with this amp simply think of early Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix with their huge Marshall stacks. ZVEX landed on the map of guitar effects because of its Fuzz Factory, but continued to gain a following with its Box of Rock, which emulates the 1966 Marshall JTM45. Below is a YouTube demo that goes over the pedal’s sounds, but also and how it interacts with different bass, mid and treble amp settings.
The ZVEX Box of Rock operates in a very straight forward manner. You have the VOLUME control (which needs to coordinate with the volume on your amp or other interface). There is a TONE control, which dictates how much bass or treble is in the signal. The DRIVE is also the distortion, giving that ‘tube breaking up’ quality… and ZVEX has done such an excellent job on mimicking a Marshall amp sound. A touch of Drive gives some warmth, but once you dial up to 50% the pedal begins to shine. Up full and you get a warm, but rich rumble as you wind-mill through some power chords, just like Townshend of yesteryear. The BOOST is a re-tooled ZVEX Super Hard-on, which gives you 50x boosting, but is more transparent and less glassy. Best yet you can use the Boost on its own or with the Drive.
Encased in steel, the Box of Rock has metal foot switches and plastic knobs. The foot switches are far enough removed from the knobs that there shouldn’t be an issue of damage caused by stomping. The standard 9v (3mA) power input is located at the back and far from harm’s way (it also works on a 9v battery, which comes with the pedal and lasts a long time since it requires such low power).
If you’re looking for that classic rock sound so prevalent with groups from the mid 1960s to early 1970s, the Box of Rock will be up your alley. Similar to the ZVEX ’59 Sound (which emulates the 1959 Fender Bassman) it is not a diverse pedal, but does it’s one thing very well – true to its design and purpose – to sound like a 1966 Marshall JTM45. The Box of Rock is destined to become a classic, just like the amp it replicates.
EASE OF USE
This pedal is about as straight forward as it gets. Set the VOLUME relative to the volume setting of your amp (or other device). Set your TONE relative to the settings on your amp, e.g., how much bass or treble do you want in the signal? Set the DRIVE to give you a warm ‘edge’ or crank it up for some classic rock tones (and by rolling off the guitar’s volume the Box of Rock cleans up very nicely so that you can keep your mini-Marshall up full all the time while controlling the dynamics from the guitar). The BOOST likely will be set around 25-40%, which is a very hefty kick in the pants when doing lead solos or wanting more emphasis on some rhythm chops.