Japanese Beetle & Crossover Distortion

What up guys,

Unusual or interesting sounding effects always interest me. A tube screamer is a tube screamer regardless of the vast array of boutiquey iterations and modifications.
But Crossover distortion is very different to “normal” distortion.

To quote ZVex:

It generates the distortion of the wave in the sloped part of the cycle, instead of the peaks and valleys like all other distorters and fuzzes. In other words, it distorts when your guitar string is in the middle of vibrating, while it’s swinging, not as it’s turning around. That’s the same place where your speaker cone is sort of coasting, between all the way in and all the way out. Where nothing is happening, this pedal happens. With Machine you can leave your favorite distorting pedals on and still add a new element of energetic grind”

So here’s my take on it. Finally borrowed a decent camera 😀





What does it sound like?

Pretty much the sound of a speaker being axe murdered.

So what’s it used for?

Again, in the words of Mr Vex- great explanation!

Essentially, it’s value is to use it before a distortion/fuzz. It adds a whole new dimension. Seriously listen to the clips, a solo just sounds a boring without it.

Is the ZVex Machine the first crossover distortion pedal as Mr Vex claims?

As I understand it, Tim Escobedo was the first to come up with this “Frequency Tripler” circuit as used in his “Triple Fuzz”.  He released the schematic along with his other “Circuit Snippets”- essentially a whole bunch of core audio circuits.  Most of the more unusual pedals you see are derivations of these core ideas. But that’s a story for another day.


Looking at the ZVex Machine schematic, it’s just two Triple Fuzz circuits in series – hence a “dual” frequency tripler.  It always bothers me when pedal builders don’t give credit for designs, claim its a novel idea or just down right copy another schematic.  From what I see, that happened here.  Or not! If I’m missing something please correct me 🙂

What’s unique about the “Japanese Beetle”

“This is first time ever a pedal has used crossover distortion with an external second gain control and named after a pesky insect”.

Seriously though, currently I can’t add anything of value here. Escobedo certainly does to elegant work. Well, I gave it an unusual name and painted it yellow. Value: Priceless!

Here’s a 1min clip:

Kind regards,

This entry was posted in Boost/Overdrive/Distortion. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Japanese Beetle & Crossover Distortion

  1. JH says:

    How can one go about purchasing one of these?

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