MI Audio Crunch Box
MI Audio (2006-2008)
The Crunch Box Distortion is my take on the high gain British. The history of the Crunch Box actually goes back a few years. I came up with the design after careful study of the way that modern British style amps get their overdrive. I found that there was a very big concentration of the frequency information in the midrange. So I started to experiment with different prototype ideas, until I settled on a design in late 2003. Since then, various prototypes were sent out for serious road testing, and the final design was released in early 2006.
The first batch of Crunch Box Distortion pedals sold out in record time. Within 3 weeks, my initial batch of 500 were sold. Since then, I've consulted with many users, and their feedback has been used to further tune this amazing pedal. The latest Crunch Box is better than ever, and will continue to be, I am sure, the most popular pedal that we make.
Simple and straight forward, just gain, tone and volume. The Crunch Box has some similarities to the Tube Zone, in the sense that the design is based on a multiple clipping architecture (the signal is clipped 3 times). However, there are significant differences which make these two pedals sound quite different from each other. The Tube Zone is designed to have a very 'broad' sonic footprint. The Crunch Box on the other hand has a strong mid-presence to it, similar to the great British amps. Also, the Crunch Box has a relationship with the Blues Pro, since the tone shaping is similar to the Blues Pro.
The results is really quite spectacular. In the lower gain range, the tone is very punchy and throaty. There are some great classic rock rhythm sounds to be found in there. As the gain is wound up, the Crunch Box develops a beautiful singing lead tone. The tone is shaped in a way which makes the pedal very touch sensitive, and variations in picking technique produce a very big difference on tone. Pinch harmonics are a breeze. I have put in there more gain than anyone should need, but due to the way I handled the pre-overdrive tone shaping, the pedal always stays tight and each pickup retains its character, including single coils.
Come and get 'em!
I have talked to quite a few Crunch Box owners, and I've pooled together their comments to improve the already amazing design. I have improved the Crunch Box in the following way:
- Wider Tone control sweep with more top end: The new Crunch Box has more top end. The new Crunch Box with the tone set to 1 O'clock is about the same as the original with the tone control dimmed.
- Updated Volume Control Sweep: The Crunch Box has a lot of volume up its sleeve. In fact, many users found it difficult to dial in, because the volume control was so sensitive. So in order to help with this, I've changed the taper of the volume control. Now 12 O'clock is close to 'neutral'
- New internal Presence Control: Like the Tube Zone, I've included a presence control to help control the 'shape' of the pedal. By winding up the presence control, the lows won't feel as powerful (which some people found to be a bit too much). Also, this creates the effect of giving the pedal even more top end. So with the new Crunch Box, there is no chance that the pedal will be too dark.