Guitar FX Box claims to be a “real-time guitar/voice processor” with plenty of features. In this review, the voice processing feature wasn’t used, but the guitar distortion and recording features were taken complete advantage of. This small program surprises a lot of people with its cheap price of $20- and the wide range of features. This is well worth looking into if vocal or guitar recording is necessary for soloists or small bands.
Installing and using the program is fairly easy. The interface of Guitar FX Box is easy to navigate, and the colors complement each ther nicely. The only problem that was encountered was the compatibility mode that Windows Vista users will more than likely have to use. Windows Vista users will not be able to record or play without hearing an unbearable delay- something that compatibility mode will fix to a certain extent. Windows XP users and previous versions of Windows will be glad to hear these problems are non-existent.
The distortion section of the program is vast- a total of 11 distortions types are available. Normal distortion options, phasers, compressors, reverbs, echoes, Wah-Wah effects, and much more effects are available. This is where the bulk of the program lies, as within these 11 categories of distortion, lies a ton more options. Even on just the normal distortion category, things such as drive, saturation, wah, filtering, and clipping types can be edited. Obviously, this program is very complex in the amount of options that can go into getting a precise tone. The most interesting part of the 11 ategories is that you can mix and match- turn on wah sounds with reverb sounds- or perhaps chorus sounds with a phaser. It’s all possible and incredibly easy to do.
The recording feature is very simple- select the output filename and start recording. During some recordings on Vista machines, recording had to be done with the sound off- since the delay was incredibly distracting. Occasionally, there would be some rather odd distortion sounds that sounded like something had gone wrong- but needless to say, the sounds did not make it into the recorded file (suggsting that it was just a speaker or driver at fault). The recordings sound amazingly crisp, and the tones that can be controlled make for a truly unique sound. The recording feature also supports looping a background sound- for recording drum beats or rhythms with ease.
The program even comes with an electronic guitar tuner- so no need to waste money on batteries ever again. Like the other features of the program, the tuner is far from basic. Tuning to special tuning types such as Drop D is easy- and of course tuning to standard tuning is just as easy. The tuner is a nice addition to an all-in-one package for guitarists.
Overall, the program is cheap- yet offers some of the best distortion and recording software for the price range. It is important to remember that the latency isn’t non-existent- most users will see 5ms-20ms delay. Vista users will probably see a lot more than that, to the point where it is unusable unless compatibility mode is turned on. The ease of use, great navigation, and durable settings makes the program an easy choice. Since it operates from a single line-in port, this very likely will not be a solution for the entire band- just for soloists or bands consisting of very few members. Compared to the few hundred dollars it’d take to buy distortion pedals, this is a nice tradeoff for only $20. Well worth the money for those looking for a cost-effective solution for a not-so-serious band environment.
Sorry, Windows Vista users- there is probably better out there at the moment.