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ZVex Box of Metal
Overall Rating
Submitted: March 1st, 2018
by BDJohnston
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Sound Quality
From a heavy pounding boom to a sizzle reminiscent of Dimebag, it’s possible to dial into several different tones with ZVEX’s Box of Metal.  What really stands out about this pedal is how its heaviness still manages to cut through the mix incredibly well.  The YouTube demo below demonstrates various settings on the Box of Metal, as well as a composition. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpBthrM_rLw Now, what should be made clear is that even when the GAIN is turned right down (with the pedal on) there is plenty of distortion and drive.  This obviously picks up and becomes dirtier and without increasing the volume very much (and so, you can go from a filthy crunch to more traditional metal without having to fiddle with the volume knob).  Another point to note is that the GATE works exceptionally well… so well that it should be turned almost all the way down or turned off when wanting to play lead with some modest sustain.  Having said that, when the GAIN is turned up about half-way (or more) you literally can stop your power-chord on a dime!  There isn’t even a hint of noise or artifact sneaking through the circuit.  Best yet, the Gate is completely silent, and so you can click on and off as desired without introducing any transient noises.
Reliability/Durability
This pedal is about as metal as they get… not only in sound, but in construction.  Encased in steel, the Box of Metal also has metal switches and metals knobs.  And so, if you damage it you are far too rough with your gear.  The standard 9v (10mA) power input is located along the side and next to the guitar’s input (it also works on a 9v battery, which comes with the pedal and lasts a long time since it requires such low power).
Price/Value
There’s enough tonal variation with The Box of Metal that anyone into the Metal genre will make use of it; and I think most people will recognize the quality of the sound to be reminiscent of 1980s high-gain amps.  What makes the pedal even more diverse is that you can set your amp to super clean to crunch and can make very good use of it.  My video demo is on pure clean, but with some added crunch you can get even heavier and thicker tones.  The one unfortunate thing is that once you click the pedal off (for complete bypass) you cannot use the Gate – it works only when the pedal’s Gain is on.  Other than that there’s no downfall with the Box of Metal.
General Comments
It’s not exactly plug-and-play, but the amount of tweaking required is not unreasonable – depending on your amp and guitar, as well as the sound you want to achieve, you certainly have to fiddle with the Bass, Midrange and Treble.  The Gate needs only modest experimentation, as it’s either completely off or kicks in quite nicely at only a quarter turn.  The Gain is already pretty intense when turned all the way down, and I find there’s a sweet spot around 11 o’clock if you want a heavy distortion with some grind to it (beyond 11 o’clock you get more sizzle).
Reviewer's Background
Brian Johnston is a guitar gear enthusiast.  He enjoys developing reviews and demo videos to let others know about equipment he likes and uses.  His YouTube channel is CoolGuitarGear
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