I have long loved the sound of several Zvex pedals, but was put off by their awkward and not especially pedalboard-friendly horizontal form factor. So I was particularly delighted when Zachary announced a little before Christmas last year - that he would be putting out a line of vertical pedals - i.e. standard compact enclosure - to cover many of his existing classics.
The first released was the Vertical Fuzz Factory ($199/£180), which reached European distribution at the start of this year, and I was quick to snap one up. An early prototype photograph features beta versions of Fuzz Factory, Box of Rock and Vibrophase. USA vendor Twin Town Guitars is already offering full production models of Rock Box and ’59 Sound - as pictured here - and both for sale at $220. Obviously the Vibrophase will materialise at some stage, and I’m hoping for vertical versions of Distortron and Mastotron too.
I am sure I’m not the only one with hangups about pedal formats / form-factor, and I think Zvex can only gain more customers by modernising its approach. After all it’s 40 years or so since Boss and MXR introduced the vertical compact form factor - which is the most regular pedal size. The modern trend is for players to increasingly have more pedals on the boards, which means that form-factor is an essential consideration.
I obviously know that my 39-slot pedal chain is excessive, but it works well for my needs and circumstances, and I would not have it any other way. It’s not just Zachary Vex though who has picked up on the growth of pedalboards either - Jeorge Tripps over at Way Huge is falling into line too - with new standard / compact iterations of his pedals - which I have always felt were a little larger than they needed to be. I find many of the ’medium’ sized enclosure pedals could easily be shrunk down to compact size with the current level of technology.
When you see what Joel Korte at Chase Bliss Audio can do with a standard enclosure pedal - there’s no excuse really for most pedal-makers not to make their single or dual effects pedals as compact, practical and versatile as the current technology allows. I really don’t understand makers who persist to create awkward and over-sized enclosures - surely they will just rule out a significant portion of the marketplace.
Anyway, I am very happy that Zvex pedals are coming out in a more usable format for me - I’ve already marked out a Box of Rock for when it reaches European distribution and hopefully there will be many more to come.