Review: Genzler Amplification Crash Box 4 – Classic Distortion, 4 On The Floor Classic Overdrive, and re/Q Dual Function EQ Pedals
Jeff Genzler is a modern-day electric bass icon, having been in the game and at the forefront of groundbreaking developments in bass amplification for decades.
Jeff founded Genz Benz amplification in 1984 and helped pioneer the modern era of great-sounding, forward-design bass amps and cabs. He was on the front lines of the Class D, Neodymium driver and lightweight cab generation. His newest foray, Genzler amplification is keeping in lockstep with Jeff’s vision for the modern player, with their unique and innovative-looking vertical Bass Array cabinets, vintage-inspired Nu Classic series, and line of lightweight Magellan heads. Genzler recently released three new pedals designed for bass, each of which are smartly intended to provide multiple needed solutions for bassists.
All 3 of the Genzler pedals are robustly built, have handsome graphics and easy-to-read controls, and feature top-mounted jacks (thank you lord), and clear LED indicators.
All the pedals will function with 9-18v of power and accept either polarity (center + or -), for maximum ease and integration with your existing pedalboard power scheme.
This new pedal line for Genzler Amplification is designed in collaboration with the esteemed former Genz Benz engineer Andy Field, currently designing amplifier products for Mesa Engineering, but with their blessing, Jeff and Andy are back together developing this fun pedal project. The first model in the line, the 4 On The Floor Classic Overdrive Pedal offers players gobs of overdrive possibilities all optimized for bass guitar. You can almost think of it as a bassist’s “overdrive multi-effect”, given all the ground it covers. The 4 On the Floor has a Drive knob to dial in the amount of overdrive in each gear, as well as Drive Volume and a Clean Volume to get the right blend of signals at the right volume level for you. Like the other Genzler pedals, an HPF/LPF section allows you to reign in the top and bottom end of the overdrive character to your tastes, which really helps to shape and pocket the tone, while not changing the overall quality of it (more on the HPF/LPF below). From smooth creamy tube amp breakup in “1st gear” all the way up to aggressive harmonic distortion in 4th gear, and in conjunction with the variable drive control, it’s hard not to find an OD sound for every possible scenario with this pedal.
The Genzler Crash Box 4 – Classic Distortion picks up where the 4 on the Floor leaves off, serving up four levels of gritty and aggressive distortion for bassists. A lot of what was said about the 4 On The Floor applies to the Crash Box, in that it really offers a myriad of control over precise distortion characteristics, allowing players to get it just right for their preferences, gain staging needs and touch sensitivity. With both the Crash Box 4 and the 4 On The Floor, the combination of the rotary Drive knob, with the 4-position “Gear” selector knob gives users an incredible amount of control over the degree and character of the overall effect. As each gear behaves and responds differently, you can dial in a very precise flavor of desired overdrive or distortion with these controls working together.
Both the 4 On The Floor and the Crash Box incorporate a High/Low Sensitivity switch, to accommodate higher or lower output basses. With the sensitivity on the higher setting, tones were more aggressive overall and really helped especially with passive basses, to make sure the pedal was “seeing” enough signal to really do its thing.
The re/Q Dual Function EQ Pedal is Genzler’s answer for players who need a musical, usable and comprehensive EQ for bass. It is “dual function” in that it offers a 5-band EQ as well as variable High Pass and Low Pass shelving filters, to effectively filter out bass frequencies below 30Hz – 200hz, and treble frequencies above 1kHz – 14kHz, while leaving everything between perfectly intact. The 5-band EQ offers +/- 12dB at 90Hz, 250Hz, 630Hz, 1.3kHz, and 2.6kHz, is very well voiced. The pedal smartly has an output level knob for making up any gain lost with subtractive EQ, or for some boost if desired. Plugging in my P bass with rounds, I had no problem smoothing out the upper midrange and reducing a bit of string noise, adding some low end with the bass control, but dialing up the HPF to reduce the boominess while keeping the usable low-end full. I really like how the two EQ sections are separate with independent foot switch control, effectively yielding two different and equally helpful EQ options that can be used independently or in conjunction with one another for lots of tone-shaping options.
It’s no surprise that these three pedals from Genzler are home runs.
Jeff has a knack for creating products that are thoughtfully conceived, smartly designed, and well built. The 4 On The Floor and Crash Box could easily replace several of the OD/Dist pedals I’ve used over the years, given the range and tweakability of them. Similarly, the re/Q pedal is a perfect solution for players who need a musical and well-voiced EQ pedal for bass. Bonus points that all three have the HPF/LPF knobs, which I am personally a huge fan of, to help shape and pocket your signal without altering its essence.
Each of the Genzler pedals retails for around $240. For more info, specs, and video samples, check them out online at Genzler Amplification’s website.