Vox StompLab IG

No bigger than many single-effect stompboxes, the StompLab is a full-fledged processor with a sound engine equivalent to that featured on Vox‘s VT+ series modeling amps and ToneLab series multi-effect units. A study in minimalism, the StompLab‘s interface puts 103 effects and 100 preset sounds at your fingertips with an 11-position Category knob that has settings for Ballad, Jazz Fusion, Pop, Blues, Rock & Roll, Rock, Hard Rock, Metal, Hardcore, and Other (weird sounds). The last position, User, is where you click to for writing custom presets. There are also Gain and Level knobs that operate on any active preset, and also double as Value 1 and Value 2 controls (respectively) for adjusting parameters when in Edit mode (selected by a small button on the left side). Individual effect and amp models are selected with a pair of up/down buttons on the right side. Effect types include amps (44), drives (18), cabinets (12), pedals (8), modulations (9), delays (8), reverbs (3), and noise reduction. A maximum of eight effects can be used simultaneously when noise-reduction is active. All info is displayed in a 2-segment LED screen.

The two metal footswitches toggle you up or down through the ten presets available for each Category setting. Pressing both switches down momentarily activates the easy-to-read tuner, which uses three LEDs to indicate flat, sharp, and in-tune. This is also the StompLab‘s bypass mode.

StompLab‘s presets offer lots of ways to roll, from sparkling clean and beautifully chorused tones to shimmering tremolos to some very eerie sounds that explore the reaches of the rich modulations, juicy delays, and pristine reverbs. The amp sounds are rich and dynamic in feel, and along the way, there are plenty of happening tones for jazz, blues, and rock (many with well implemented distortion like top distortion pedal, delay, and reverb) and that’s all before you get to the Metal and Hardcore presets, which offer ten flavors each of grinding tones–some extremely sinister–that are fun to play and sound great for heavy standard-or drop-tuned rifting.

The StompLab offers an insane amount of bang for the buck, it stashes easily in a gig bag (just be mindful not to switch it on when stuffing cords, etc. around it), and is an ideal solution for players who want lots of sounds but don’t want to tote a full-sized multi-effector.