Vox Satchurator

“THIS LITTLE RED BOX IS A MONSTER TONE generator.” So says the man himself, Joe Satriani, about the offspring of his partnership with Vox, the Satchurator distortion box ($160 retail/$129 street). Designed to Satch’s demanding specifications, the Satchurator is, according to its namesake, “the most musical, most dynamic, multi-function distortion pedal I’ve ever played through.”

Visually, the Satchurator is drop-dead gorgeous with its metallic red paint job, classy indented Vox logo, understated graphics, and chicken-head knobs. The controls—Gain, Tone, and Volume—are as straightforward as can be. The plot thickens when you add in the More button and the Pad switch, both of which take this pedal out of the realm of the ordinary.

To check out the sonics, I plugged the Satchurator into a Victoria Golden Melody, and tested it with a PRS SC 245 and a Fender Strat. I set the Gain at its lowest setting, Tone and Volume at high noon, Pad off (switch down) and hit a chord. The tone was punchy, with a good grind that was very reminiscent of a nice tube amp. Rolling down the guitar’s volume cleaned it up easily, with no real treble loss. This is a great oldschool rhythm tone that works well for AC/DC-style open-chord bashing and Hendrix-y double-stops on a Strat. Without altering the knobs, I hit the More button. That upped the gain and the balls for a thicker, slightly louder tone that was still nicely dynamic. You definitely get some of the Satriani tonal mojo at this setting, making legato runs and squealing harmonics a lot easier.

Switching off the More button and turning the Gain up created more of a hard rock sound that was totally alive with harmonics. This was perfect for Van Halen riffing and massive power chords. The Tone knob has more than enough range to accommodate bright single-coils or wooly humbuckers, and it was easy to find the sweet spot for any guitar. At the higher Gain settings, the More button takes you right into infinite sustain territory. It’s not as much a volume boost as it is a distortion generator, adding girth and saturation. The Pad switch— another feature specified by Satriani—is an esoteric addition that is designed to make it easier to place a high-output wah pedal or other boosting effect in front of the Satchurator pedal without unduly squashing the input. The Satchurator’s tone, dynamics, and overall harmonic character are all glorious, no matter what guitar is fed into it. It seems perfect for any guitarist who, like Satriani, is the main voice onstage and tends to stick with a meaty, singing lead tone. Because it’s so dynamic, the Satchurator is also a great choice for players who will leave it on all the time and get their cleaner textures by backing off their guitar volume.

KUDOS Gorgeous distortion. Complex harmonics. Ability to toggle between two different dirty tones..
CONTACT(631) 390-6500; voxamps.com