The Inventobox from Zvex is an intriguing little device that is very different from the majority of multi effect pedals. It doesn’t have digital tone presets and it doesn’t give you the power to flip through a massive tone library. Nevertheless, no other guitar effect pedal on the market has equal potential for producing diverse, intriguing tones. As the name implies, the Inventobox is fully guttable and customizable. There are two footswitches, a channel toggle and 16 parameter knobs that you can assign and manipulate. The case supports two separate channels, so you can house two different custom effects in the same box, for a little bit of added versatility. To engineer your own tone, you’ll have to open it up and do a little bit of circuit building, but the end result will be something uniquely yours.
The guts of the Inventobox are easy to access. Simply undo the four thumbscrews and lift the plate that houses the potentiometers. There are a series of excellent video tutorials available online to walk you through these steps if you are nervous.
Say you don’t own a soldering iron (or you don’t dare use it if you do) ??? that’s okay. The Inventobox is accessible even if you aren’t a die-hard electronics hobbyist. The unit features a small breadboard, which is customizable and solderless. Just press elements into the pinholes on the breadboard in the correct format to build a customizable circuit. If you are a beginner, the instructions are easy to follow and you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. If you already know your way around electrical components, feel free to start inventing tones right away.
Most of the customizable magic doesn’t occur in the breadboard, but within prefabricated chips called “modules,” The starter package ships with three, each based on a popular Zvex pedal: the FuzzFactory, the Super Hard-On and the Tone Stack. Each module has a unique sound, and you can choose how they interact with one another based on how you build your circuit. With only three modules, the Inventobox might seem limited, but don’t worry ??? it is open source. Anyone can develop modules, and you’ll find a wealth of knowledge in the cloud from which you can draw inspiration. You don’t have to stick with the three modules that ship with the package.
The Inventobox is not one of those zillion-preset monsters you typically think of when somebody says “multi effect pedal.” It takes work to get different tones ??? but that can be a good thing. It really puts your nose to the wire, giving you intimate control over your tone. If you want to develop a sonic signature that nobody can copy, there is no better guitar effect pedal on the market. Will you have to follow directions and get your hands dirty to get started? Yes. Will your fingers get sore from bending and pressing wires into the breadboard? Probably, though a small pair of needle nose pliers will save your life. What do you get in return? Only freedom. You will get to make your own stompbox. Just like the pros.