MI Audio Tube Zone vs. Crunch Box

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by RickB, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. RickB

    RickB Member

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    I got my new 6-knob Tube Zone on Friday and got to play it quite a bit over the weekend. Obviously, I wanted to A/B it with my Crunch Box (original) to see how they compared. I thought the Crunch Box was the be all end all high gain pedal. Well, the Tube Zone laps it in my opinion. Having owned the GI and Neo fuzzes, I knew that when Michael puts a knob on a pedal, that it is going to have a lot of impact. Well, the 6 knobs on the Tube Zone all have drastic control over the shaping. The brightness and character controls are a blessing. It was nice to be able to turn down the tone knob a bit to keep the low end intact but then boost the brightness to get the highs back in there over it all. The mids control is great as well as I prefer to have some boosted mids but at the same time, being able to dial in the right amount and not just have it be a switch (a la the Tonebone's). Overall, the pedal has a great feel to it that can be tweaked to no end. An amazing amount of gain is available as well as volume. I have gone through a progress of tube based pedals from the Tonebone's to the new BK Tube Driver and often turned to the Crunch Box for high gain sounds when I felt let down by the others. The Tube Zone to me encompasses the best of all those pedals and packs it all under a nice shiny hood. What amazes me the most is the way Michael lays his pedals out. Jacks are nice and high on the sides and the AC tap is on the top. Add to this 6 knobs and an internal trimmer and it makes you wonder how he gets it all in there. Great great design. I was hoping to find out that the Crunch Box was sufficient and that I could pass the Tube Zone along but that is not the case at all. The Tube Zone is staying put. I find that I can get the same exact sounds of the Crunch Box out of it but with all the added tone shaping and even more gain. Not a bad price tag either for them.

    Great job Michael! :AOK
     
  2. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Hi Rick thanks for the review, I was thinking of getting the Crunch Box again but decided to get the new Tube Zone after reading your review, I should have it tomorrow I just ordered it at MusicToyz.com!

    I will be using it with a Les Paul and a Blues Deluxe RI or 59 Bassman RI I will post back after trying it out!
     
  3. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    I want one of those 6 knobbers...
     
  4. RickB

    RickB Member

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    Nice! :D One of the many benefits of the added controls I think is the ability to really tailor it to what kind of pickups you are using (i.e. singles vs. hums). At any rate, you'll have the CB tones covered once again but with all the added versatility. ;)
     
  5. bobotwt

    bobotwt Supporting Member

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    I'm curious as to how you achieved Crunch Box settings on the Tube Zone. I had a chance to play the new Tube Zone this weekend and it is great. It has a very Dual Rectifier sound to it. I have been searching for a pedal to get me close to John Petrucci's tone and this is as close as I've heard (with a tele). But I do prefer the Crunch Box for 80's type Marshall distortion. I sold my first Crunch Box planning to get the new version but i've heard that the new one is not as thick sounding.

    Josh
     
  6. RickB

    RickB Member

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    Going off memory, I got the CB sounds with (o'clock settings):
    brightness - 2
    mids - 3 or 4
    character - 7
    volume - 1
    tone - 1
    gain - 5

    The character knob really plays into it as well as the mids knob.
     
  7. Melodic Dreamer

    Melodic Dreamer Member

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    I would like to see Michael make a 6 knob version of the CB. I like the Tube Zone, but my ears have always be drawn more towards the Raspy edge of the British tone more than that of the ultra smooth american sound.


    Hey Mike, if your reading, do you think a 6 knob version of the CB is an idea for the near future?????
     
  8. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    Actually, he has said the expected "Classic Distortion" would be like an 8 knob Crunchbox. I think I'll have to get one when it comes out. Considering it will be a limited edition pedal, I think it also likely to become an "investment pedal."

    No clue if there is release date planned. I'm also really curious about his future plans for non-gain pedals.

    I'll say that the Tube Zone mixes with my Barber Direct Drive so unbelievably well (TZ into DD) that I can get the explosive high gain Marshall sounds that way that are probably only elsewhere found in the Crunchbox.

    Anyone try the TZ at 12, 18, or 24 volts?
     
  9. loofery

    loofery Member

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    I heard the Tube Zone was the smooth one.

    My crunchbox is the raunchy, spiky one.
    and I like it for that.

    Interesting. I know I still I need a smooth distortion pedal, but if it could hit the Crunch box too, that would be cool. Although, I do like things that I can step on to change settings, instead of fiddling knobs. I'll see...
     
  10. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    I used to always go for the latest version of something with the most knobs, but I must be getting old. One thing I like about the CB is its simplicity...and great tone every time. Just traded off a TZ V2, and miss it already...not really sure I want more knobs in the recent version (even though for the most part it's an externalization of the trim pots). I ramble...
    Greg
     
  11. boon

    boon Member

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    anyone compared the new tube zone with an ocd? wondering if the tz can get the ocd's sounds
     
  12. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    I can let you know tomorrow, I'm using the OCD ver.2 now!
     
  13. boon

    boon Member

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    Thanx dude! Can't wait to hear ur review
     
  14. Traintrack

    Traintrack Coolest Member Award Aug 2009 Silver Supporting Member

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    I could not get an OCD out of the TZ, The TZ had a thick sound, much fatter than the OCD. You can clean it it up, but the sound is all it's own. I think this is the #1 strength of the build, sounds nothing like anything else I own.

    I finally dialed it in recently and now have some great settings for my guitars/Amps.

    One thing about this pedal, you can really make it sound like crap. This is the case (I know) for many pedals. But this 6 knobber makes it really easy!
    The Treble can get to Ice Pick quick! The Distortion starts at the dead battery sound and is adjustable to the sound of two opamp boxes cranked together. The pedal has a HUGE range.

    I think the TZ is a winner for MI.
     
  15. boon

    boon Member

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    Darn now I've gotta get them both! Thanx for the review
     
  16. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    I thought in one of the toggle positions (far left?...not sure) I could get fairly reminiscent of an OCD, but your right, the TZ def has more mid thickness. And it's indeed a winner.
     
  17. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Could be ;). I've always thought that the CB with Gain, Low, Mid, High, Brighness, Volume would be fun. But with the CB, I didn't want it to be too complex or expensive. So they're the main contrains. As many know, my personal leaning is towards complexity, but I also appreciate that this can get daunting. I guess I'm also playing with other ideas. I'm really happy with my collection of dirt boxes, and I'm really excited at the prospect of moving onto something else.

    But you never know, if there's demand for something like this, I'm up for it,.... mmmmm,.... knobs:drool .

    BTW, a way to get tones close to the CB with the TZ is to keep the mids high, tone in the middle, character low or off, and use the brightness like the tone control. The internal presence works kinda the same in both pedals.
     
  18. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Hi Micheal, thanks for the tip on the Crunch Box setting I will have my Tube Zone today and try that out. I'm really looking forward to adding this to my pedalboard!
     
  19. RickB

    RickB Member

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    Yep. That is basically the settings I mentioned above that I am using. I played with it some more last night and A/B'd them again and it can definitely get there. :AOK
     
  20. POD Buster

    POD Buster Member

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    My only gripe with the new 6 knob Tube Zone (I always have at least 1 gripe) is that it's hard to tell where the knobs are set because of the heavy abundance of chrome. :messedup This whole pedal is more shiney than a tailpipe on a newly waxed Harley. I think in this case asthetics surpassed practicality a little much. I'm thinking about painting the recessed dot on all the knobs to make it more readable. Oh...and that blue LED....be sure you wear a welder's faceshield before staring directly at this thing. [​IMG] When they say it's bright, they ain't lyin'.
     

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