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This article was originally published in issue #2
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Pedals are vital for emulating Joe Satriani's searing tones. Unlike players who rely mostly on their guitars and amps for overdrive, Satch uses surprisingly clean amp settings and relies on pedals to generate much of his sound - which could make this Vox Satchurator a key component in your rig. Fortunately, it's not a particularly expensive pedal (certainly not compared with some of the boutique pedals currently causing a stir).
The Vox seems to be pretty sturdily made, with a decent metal casing finished in a nice bright red. It has a pleasing retro look to it, helped by the presence of traditional chicken-head control knobs, which handle Gain, Volume and Tone. Usefully, there's also a 'More' switch, which adds extra weight to the gain - more noticeable at low levels than higher, when it is deliberately more subtle in its influence. There's also one other control - a Pad switch which allows you to put high gain effects in front of the distortion unit, if that's your taste. One thing we really liked is that you can turn down the volume on your guitar and it will clean-up really well. That's always a good test of a distortion pedal and the Vox passed with flying colours.
As Danny shows in our accompanying video, the Satchurator is capable of some surprisingly subtle distortion effects - particularly set around halfway. Hit the 'More' switch, at that setting, though, and the difference is quite dramatic. This is a definite plus for the Vox, because it' s almost like having two distortion pedals for the price of one, enabling you to have clean, rhythm crunch and searing overdrive both available from the one unit. Danny says that, to his mind, it's a definite improvement over the original Boss DS which Satch used for so long as a key component to his sound.
Were we impressed? Yes, we were. In fact Danny (who isn't, shall we say, exactly a stranger to distortion pedals!) fell for the Sathcurator and paid-out his hard earned money for our review sample (no, he didn't get it for free). Frankly, that's about as good an endorsement from a reviewer as you'll get.