Price paid: $ 100
Purchased from: Pro Guitar Shop.com
Sound — 9
I'm using it in front of a new Vox AC15 tube amp, and my guitar is a PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow, a mahogany body, two humbucker guitar. I use it with a Vox wah, a Fulltone OCD, and a EHX Little Big Muff. With the gain cranked all the way to the max, it does get kind've noisy on high volume levels, but it's tolerable. This could be a combination of other factors though, like 1) it's in front of a tube amp 2) it's a dist. pedal 3) It's on a 1 Spot daisy chain; and you usually want to use a noise gate with any dist. pedal in front of a tube amp. The dist. is very Marshally. Think of the Crunch Box as a Marshall-in-a-box. There's a mid-gain emphasis with this pedal, so although it'll do metal quite nicely, you'll need a separate EQ if you want a scooped-mids kind of rhythm 'chunk' sound. This pedal will do from light crunch/higher-gain blues to Slayer. The versatility is impressive. It can do Led Zeppelin, then crank the gain know and crank out those modern hardcore riffs. I love the lead tone I get out of this pedal. Smooth, defined, and yet still raunchy and rock n' roll like a cranked JCM800. The rhythm tone is great for older metal. I get a surprisingly tight metal rhythm tone with this through my AC15. Palm mutes are THICK, like the chick behind the register at your local Hardee's. Yum.
Overall Impression — 9
I bought this to suit my higher-gain needs, and it's been doing that perfectly. From Van Halen to Slayer, this thing covers everything I need it to. If this were stolen I would buy it again, because it opens up a whole lot more possibilities for me. The AC15 is pretty low gain, which is really what I'm after, but I like to mess around with Slayer riffs time to time, and this is why I bought this. This pedal is absolutely perfect for what it aims for. High-gain, Marshall-y tone in a box. It absolutely rocks.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal looks very reliable, like most boutique pedal I've seen. It's a fully metal enclosure (painted hot rod red I might add) that looks like it could take a serious beating. The knobs are set-screw knobs, very similar to the ones on the Fulltone OCD. They won't be coming off accidentally anytime soon. One thing I'll mention is that the jacks on this pedal are VERY snug. I have to tug almost unreasonably hard to get my cables out of them. I though my Big Muff had stiff jacks, these won't let go of your cables for dear life. You don't have to worry about accidentally tugging out a cable at a gig, you'll just tug the Crunch Box. You can literally carry the thing by a cable plugged into the jacks. I would definitely gig with this pedal without a backup. This thing can take anything you throw at it.
Ease of Use — 9
This pedal is a pretty straight-foward pedal, which makes it easy to get a nice tone out of it. It has three knobs: Volume, Tone, and Gain (which equals distortion.) Straight out of the box you can just set the tone to noon, gain to your preference and you've got a good tone. I prefer to turn the tone to about 1 'o clock, seems to add clarity to the distortion.