REVIEW: VOX TRIKE FUZZ
I like fuzz. A lot. It’s like the chocolate of ice creams – in other words, the most delicious. Unlike many overdrives and distortions, which can be nice but predictable, fuzz is inherently unpredictable. Sure, there are plenty of fuzz faces, tonebenders, and muff variants out there, but every so often there comes along a different flavor of fuzz that isn’t easy to categorize. The Vox Trike Fuzz is one of those.
Part of the new Tone Garage series, the Trike is an octave up/down fuzz. It can be loud, mean, and glitchy – a blistering type of fuzz. New to fuzz and thinking of testing the waters? Be forewarned, this one isn’t for the faint of heart. Simply looking to add another fuzz to your arsenal, one that’s not like all the others? Then read on.
WHAT WE LIKE:
The Trike has a somewhat unusual set of controls. You have (master) Volume, Volume -2 (which controls the lower octave notes), +1 Tone (which impacts both treble and the octave up notes), and Gain (which controls the amount of fuzz you might want). There’s also a three way toggle: -, + and Both. Let me further explain, as this is sort of the heart of the pedal:
· - This adds a lower octave or two to your fuzz tone.
· + This adds an upper octave to your fuzz tone.
· Both This plays the lower octave(s) and upper octave at the same time.
There is not an option to turn off the octaves, and it really wouldn’t be the same pedal without them. The Volume -2 controls the number of octaves down, and in the bass octave only mode it can get glitchy and somewhat bloated, but the low end here is thunderous. The +1 tone knob controls the prevalence of the upper octave notes, as well as the overall brightness of the fuzz. The gain controls the amount of audible fuzz. Unlike some fuzzes, however, it can’t really be used like a lower gain overdrive. It is meant to destroy, and I liked the gain set right around noon.
Selecting both lower and upper octaves was my favorite mode, and with simple chords it tracked okay - single notes even better. If you don’t own a separate octave pedal, the Trike does a pretty good job of incorporating both fuzz and octave in one.
The Trike takes some time to dial in, so be patient. The controls as mentioned are a bit funky to fully understand, but once you get a hang of how they interact, the Trike works well for what it is. The lower octaves can get a bit congested, so I do like to dial back the lowest sub octave to a degree, which keeps the lower end a little better intact.
TONE: 4 out of 5 STARS
The Trike doesn’t sound like most well-known fuzzes. It doesn’t have the sustain of a muff, clean up like a fuzz face, or possess overdrive-like tendencies of a tonebender. Comparatively speaking, the Trike has that Hendrix-y type of Octavia tone – at least close in spirit, but meaner – sort of a White Stripes meets barbed wire kind of attitude. I loved how notes sound around the 12th fret, especially using the neck pickup. There are all sorts of upper octave notes blooming out, while the lower end bass notes are there, too, almost like you have a bass player following your every lick. The Trike can be set up to sound like a thunderous mess if that’s the way you like it. But it can be musical, too.
BUILD QUALITY: 4 out of 5 STARS
The Trike looks and feels well-built and is a fairly robust in size. Part of its taller proportions is due to the fact that is sits on top of six AA batteries, which is unusual, but thankfully the option to power it via a 9v adapter is there, too. It features a soft touch on/off switch, true bypass, and a curved glass top for display into the pedal.
VALUE: 4.5 out of 5 STARS
If you like fuzz that is a little different, offering both heavy amounts of fuzz with an interesting octave effect thrown in for good measure, the Trike is a great value. At a mere $139, not much is out there that offers both.
OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 STARS
I liked the Trike a lot. It isn’t terribly versatile, but most fuzz pedals aren’t. The octaves make this pedal immensely interesting. If you like blistering leads with expressive notes full of character, there’s a lot to like about the Trike. Finally, its price point is wallet-friendly, too. Recommended for fuzz lovers looking for something different.