The DistortronTM is the gifted little sister to the Z.Vex “Box of Rock”. It is highly specialized to simulate the “everything on 10” sound of a classic Marshall ® JTM45 non-master-volume amplifier. You may use the DistortronTM effectively with many different amplifiers, but to get the sound I heard when I de- signed it, try it through an old-school non-master volume Marshall at least once. You may use your guitar’s volume control to adjust for the exact amount of distortion you need, all the way down to very clean and clear with most drive settings when the gain switch is set to “Lo.” Let’s go over the controls:
- DRIVE: Sets the amount of distortion. Start around 1:00 o’clock.
- TONE: Adjust for treble content. Start around 2:00 o’clock.
- VOL: Adjust for output vol- ume level. Start around 9:00 o’clock.
- GAIN Switch: “Lo/Hi” lets you choose standard “Box of Rock” gain level or a slightly boosted level.
- SUBS Switch: “2-1-3” lets you choose the full “Box of Rock” sub amount (3) or two different lower levels of subs depending on your amp’s needs.
- DRIVE: The Drive is based on my original Super Hard-On gain control, so it may crackle when turned. This is perfectly normal. That’s why it says “Crackle Okay” by that knob.
Plug your guitar (or any effect’s output) into the right hand input jack. Plug the output into an amp or other effect’s input. Rock out. Set the subs switch so there’s just enough low-end for your amp. Try turning up the gain all the way but leave the gain switch on Lo. This is the maximum gain where you can still turn down your guitar and get a completely clean tone if you need it. With the Gain switch on Hi you can get more singing sustain with feedback at moderate amp volume. Try using your rhythm pickup with the tone control turned all the way down for a vintage bluesy howling lead sound.
I recommend that you try the Distortron last in your pedal chain, just before the amp. You can set the amp for your favourite clean tone, set the DistortronTM for your favourite distortion tone, and if you’re using a booster pedal as well, try it both before and after the DistortronTM to experience the different results... before the DistortronTM will give you more sustain, while after will give you more amp volume (or drive, if you use a distorted amp sound.) If you have other distortion pedals, don’t leave them in the closet! Many distortion pedals sound amazing into the DistortronTM. You may discover a whole new love for your old distortion pedal collection!
The best way to complete this pedal is to run it through a JTM45 Marshall amplifier head/cabinet on a warm clean set- ting (try strapping the channels, setting the volumes below 3, and setting all other controls to 6 as a start point.)
If the performance of your pedal seems diminished or the LED becomes very dim, it’s time to change your battery. Remove the four screws on the bottom of the pedal and carefully remove and replace the old battery, putting it back exactly in the centre of the pedal on edge so that it is gripped tightly by the lid when it is screwed back in place.
Uses one 9V battery (preferably alkaline, but the unit is shipped with a carbon-zinc battery.) The low current operation of this pedal’s circuit will give you extraordinarily long battery life. Current draw is approximately 2mA. A DC power jack (standard Boss configuration with center negative) is provided on the side of the pedal. Use a high-quality 9V adaptor for all high-gain effects!