Inspired by the old MXR Distortion+, the Gold Box distortion ($140 retail/$119 street) sounds like distortion used to sound before the word “preset” was invented: toothy, raw, and searing. The character of the distortion is best described as old school—but not in that creamy, fancy, woman tone, impress your buddies at the blues club kind of way. Instead, the Gold Box rips. Think Randy Rhoads, think old-school metal, and think wound up. With my Telecaster, I ran the Gold Box in front of the Dr. Z EZG- 50 and was greeted with a cranky midrange response and an extended top-end sizzle. The pedal’s bass is natural sounding and tight, excelling with open-back 1x12 enclosures as well as closed-back 2x12s. The string-to-string clarity is stunning, even with a lot of distortion on tap.
Oddly enough, this aggressive musicality more than makes up for the fact that the Gold Box doesn’t clean up particularly well when you turn your guitar’s volume down (it does respond beautifully to a lighter picking touch, however), and it doesn’t really have the kind of oomph to be a clean boost. But the Gold Box still rules with a mighty fist as its tones simply work, and it’s a blast to play. Couple that with the fact that there aren’t a lot of boxes that do what the Gold Box does, and you have a winner.
KUDOS Badass old-school rock distortion with awesome musicality.
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