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MI Audio Crunch Box v3:
The Crunch Box is a high gain British distortion at its best!
The following commentary was provided by MI Audio founder, Michael Ibrahim.
The wait's over! The Crunch Box is finally here. This pedal rounds out my overdrive/distortion/fuzz pedal collection. I had one goal in mind with this pedal, namely to create a pedal which captures the huge crunch of a Marshall on steroids. I am VERY happy with the results.
Simple and straight forward, just gain, tone and volume. The Crunch Box has some similarities to the Tube Zone, in the sense that the design is based on a multiple clipping architecture (the signal is clipped 3 times). However, there are significant differences which make these two pedals sound quite different from each other. The Tube Zone is designed to have a very 'broad' sonic footprint. The Crunch Box on the other hand has a strong mid-presence to it, similar to the great British amps. Also, the Crunch Box has a relationship with the Blues Pro, since the tone shaping is similar to the Blues Pro.
The results is really quite spectacular. In the lower gain range, the tone is very punchy and throaty. There are some great classic rock rhythm sounds to be found in there. As the gain is wound up, the Crunch Box develops a beautiful singing lead tone. The tone is shaped in a way which makes the pedal very touch sensitive, and variations in picking technique produce a very big difference on tone. Pinch harmonics are a breeze. I have put in there more gain than anyone should need, but due to the way I handled the pre-overdrive tone shaping, the pedal always stays tight and each pickup retains its character, including single coils.
I have talked to quite a few Crunch Box owners, and I've pooled together their comments to improve the already amazing design. I have improved the Crunch Box in the following way:
- Wider Tone control sweep with more top end - The new Crunch Box has more top end. The new Crunch Box with the tone set to 1 O'clock is about the same as the original with the tone control dimmed.
- Updated Volume Control Sweep - The Crunch Box has a lot of volume up its sleeve. In fact, many users found it difficult to dial in, because the volume control was so sensitive. So in order to help with this, I've changed the taper of the volume control. Now 12 O'clock is close to 'neutral'
- New internal Presence Control - Like the Tube Zone, I've included a presence control to help control the 'shape' of the pedal. By winding up the presence control, the lows won't feel as powerful (which some people found to be a bit too much). Also, this creates the effect of giving the pedal even more top end. So with the new Crunch Box, there is no chance that the pedal will be too dark.
Many Samples Here
REVIEWS & USER COMMENTS:
HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEW 8/4/2006:
"At first with the tele I was a little disappointed. I felt that it was just like the Blues Pro on steroids. Then after an AB comparison of the two side-by-side the Crunch Box won me over. The 335 definitely delivered the goods and true to its name, with singing sustain, and bone-crunching distortion. It played very well with all other pedals. The voicing of the Crunch Box and the Blues Pro are very similar and go well together. When you play with them both on it's just over the top. With the treble booster you get the late 60s top-end sustain that Eric Clapton had with Cream to Black Sabbath sound. With the Soul Bender, it led me into a dark, mysterious place that frightened me. Then kicking on the treble booster at the same time as the Soul Bender, the treble booster and the Crunch Box, I thought I would split my skull in half. It worked very well with the Wah-Wah pedal and it reacted well to backing off on guitar volumes. I think it's a great stand-alone pedal and it interacts with other pedals very nicely."
HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEW 7/20/2006:
"The sound of a hot-roded Marshall in a box. A high gain pedal that doesn't sound scooped (I HATE scooped out mids, yuck!) or fizzy, what a concept! Singing leads and thick crunch with good clarity, if you need a British style high gain pedal, look no further. Forget about mass produced junk (Boss Metal Zone aka "box O bees") or the modded DS-1 nonsense. For about $100 this thing smokes them all, and it's very quiet even with the gain maxed."
HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEW 7/14/2006:
"I'm a very proud rhythm player,in one loud rock band.My 57' Gibson reissue Les Paul likes this box much better than my Strat,with either my Mesa Blue Angel,or Fender Blues Deluxe.It's a solitary box when I use it,no other effects,quiet enough to use without a noise suppressor,and is just downright sizzling hot,very tasty,extremely powerful chords,it takes over.Me and the bass player get a groove going,then the drummer,Then the lead guitarist can find his place in the mix.Has made the biggest difference in my sound and tone so far,as an effect.On the treble strings,reminds me of my Sparkle Drive,with the clean boost cranked,and is 100 times more powerful than a TS808 circuit.After you set up your amp and this box,your main controls are your guitar knobs,and you can rely on that,and that's the best thing about it!"
ALL HARMONY CENTRAL USER REVIEWS