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Vox Joe Satriani Signature Time Machine Delay, Satchurator, and Big Bad Wah Pedal Review

We also brought the pedals to Satriani tribute artist, Gary Lenn. Click here to read his thoughts.
Super guitarist Joe Satriani and Vox recently created a new line of signature effects pedals. Their mission: to help you achieve some big bad guitar tones. These pedals are supposed to help you nail some of Satriani’s trademark guitar tones and whip up some unique super-sonic fixins’ of your own. These three stompboxes address Satriani’s annoyances with many other pedals on the market today (check out our videos of Satriani talking about each), resulting in what he sees as is a vast improvement in overall tonal color, range and functionality that he's incorporating into his Chickenfoot rig. I will be the first to admit that I am a shameless Joe Satriani fan, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on the pedals.

Just because I'm a Satch fan doesn’t mean I want to sound like him. Well maybe I do a little bit, but there’s already a Joe Satriani and I prefer to make up my own stuff. I’m a bad copycat when it comes to nailing signature guitar styles and tones. For me, testing these pedals was about ease of use, finding sounds I could use to make my own music and the joy of shameless guitar wanking. When I received the Vox Time Machine, Saturator and Big Bad Wah in the mail, I was filled with Christmas morning glee. I couldn’t wait to put on my bald skin cap, dark sunglasses and plug them into my Peavey JSX Joe Satriani signature head.

The Look
First off, these pedals have a hip-but-solid look to them. The vibrant red and green colors are eye-catching, and they sit handsomely on your pedalboard, taking up a bit more space than similar effects. I'm of the opinion that it’s important to have a good-looking pedalboard. How your pedalboard looks is a direct reflection of the guitarist within. A good looking, clean, well laid out pedal board says, “I’m a virile, confident stud who’s got it goin’ on!” There’s no doubt in my mind that Joe Satriani has put a lot of thought into these pedals to help you look as cool as possible.

The Time Machine is a dual-mode delay pedal, the Satchurator is a distortion pedal with a boost option and the Big Bad Wah is a dual-mode Wah. I tested these bad boys with various Strat-style guitars with both humbuckers and single coils, as well as with a very happening Fender Richie Kotzen signature Telecaster. For amps I used a vintage spec ’65 Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue, a ’66 Fender Pro Reverb, a Marshall JCM800 and a Peavey JSX Joe Satriani signature head.

Time Machine Delay
Watch Joe talk about the Time Machine:

Click here to see full-size video
The Time Machine Delay is wonderfully straightforward. The Level knob controls the volume of the effect within your guitar signal and the Delay Range knob selects four delay ranges: 125ms, 250ms, 1000ms and 5800ms. The Time knob allows you to control the amount of delay within the parameters of your delay knob settings and the Feedback knob allows you to choose the number of repeats. This unit also offers a Hi-Fi/Lo-Fi switch. The Hi-Fi setting gives you a transparent sound with no EQ, while the Lo-Fi setting rolls off the highs and cuts the lows to better blend into the sound mix. The Tap switch toggles between Modern Delay and Vintage Delay sounds, as well as doubling as a Tap delay to get you in time with the music. Other features include an AC adapter jack, Input, Output and a Dry output for adding another amp. The battery compartment can be found underneath the unit.

Although I didn’t find this pedal as transparent as some other digital delays I own, that wasn’t a bad thing. I could hear a little coloring but it was for the better. The Modern Delay setting sounded very smooth and far from sterile, while the Vintage setting had a subtle-but-warm old school vibe. I’ve never been one to get into wacky one-man-band delay settings, but I could dial in anything from long Brian May-style repeats to tight Brian Setzer-style rockabilly slap back.

The Hi-Fi/Lo-Fi switch is supposed to allow you to roll off the high frequencies so it sits better in the mix, but it was a little too faint sounding to my ears. It’s set to Satriani’s exact specifications so you know it’s a real guitar player’s delay pedal. It blends very well with your guitar signal and doesn’t sound like added junk in your chain. The Tap Delay was the easiest I’ve ever used. I was easily able to set the delay to do triplets, eighth notes, dotted eighth notes, or quarter notes depending on the range setting. I love a good warm arena rock slap back and this pedal truly delivers.

The Final Mojo
This is my favorite pedal of the three and the most versatile for a variety of different types of players and musical styles. It’s a great sounding pedal. There are cheaper pedals out there with more features, but not everyone needs the ability to play backwards guitar or looping capabilities. Few others can match the onstage functionality of the Time Machine, and most don't sound as warm as even the Modern Delay mode.

The Time Machine is easy on the eyes, easy to use and basically performs the duties of a great delay pedal with wide adjustable parameters. The Hi-Fi/Lo-Fi switch might be better suited for players with persnickety studio ears, but the quality of the overall sound through various rigs is impressive. The warmth, delay options and ability to adjust the effect volume to your needs, makes this a keeper.
Buy if...
you're a fan of warm delay.
Skip if...
you hate the idea of signature guitar effect.
Rating...
4.5

MSRP $300 - VOX - voxamps.com