Vox CoolTron Pedals - 2005 - 2008


The Vox CoolTron Pedal Series provided a solution to the difficult engineering problem of how to incorporate a vacuum tube into a battery powered guitar effects pedal. A vacuum tube normally required more voltage and current than could be supplied by traditional AA or 9 volt cells.

The CoolTron concept evolved from a "servo-bias" circuit developed by Fumio Mieda, an engineer at Korg in Japan. His servo-bias design allowed a vacuum tube to function with a fraction of the voltage and current required for normal operation. Mieda's servo-bias circuit was further developed by former Vox lead engineer Steve Grindrod. Utilizing a single 12AU7 preamp tube, Grindrod's refined servo-bias design was featured in all seven CoolTron pedals. While all seven pedals shared the same servo-bias tube circuit, each pedal was equipped with a unique solid-state front-end circuit tailored to the pedal function. CoolTron pedals were designed to operate for a minimum of fifteen hours on a set of four alkaline AA cells.

Bulldog Distortion - Released in 2005, the Bulldog Distortion had two distortion channels, each with it's own gain and volume controls. The first channel had a traditional, vintage fuzz tone. Channel two had a more aggressive "shredder" fuzz tone with scooped mids. The Bulldog Distortion had seven controls: Gain 1, Gain 2, Gain 2 Voice, Volume 1, Volume 2, Bass and Treble. Also included were a channel (Gain 1/2) foot switch and a true bypass effect foot switch. MSRP was $249.99.

Big Ben Overdrive - With just three controls, (Gain, Volume and Tone) the Big Ben Overdrive offered the simplest panel layout of all the CoolTron pedals. The Gain control adjusted the overall gain of the pedal from bluesy and mellow to fat and saturated. The Tone control altered treble response while the Volume control regulated the total output of the overdriven signal. The Effect foot switch also included a true bypass. The Big Ben Overdrive was introduced in 2005 with a retail price of $224.99.

Brit Boost - The Brit Boost pedal toggled between "Treble" and "Full Range" boost with the tap of a foot switch. Volume, Gain and Tone comtrols tailored the sound of the boosted tone. A true bypass effect foot switch selected either the dry or the boosted effect. The Vox Brit Boost CoolTron pedal was introduced in 2005 with a retail price of $224.99.

Over the Top Boost - Introduced in 2006, the CoolTron Over the Top Boost offered the tone of a AC-30 "Top Boost" amplifier in a stompbox. In addition to "Treble" and "Bass" controls, the Over the Top Boost pedal also included the legendary Vox "Cut" control. It also included a "Gain" control and a "Standard/Custom" switch that adjusted the interaction of the "Treble and "Bass" controls. The Cooltron Over the Top Boost pedal retailed for $249.99.

Snake Charmer Compressor - As the name suggests, the Cooltron Snake Charmer Compressor was an audio compressor for guitar or bass. An audio compressor reduces the dynamic range between the loudest and quietest signals coming from the guitar. It does this by boosting gain on the quiet passages and trimming the volume of the louder signals.

The Snake Charmer Compressor had five controls: Volume, Emphasis, Compression, Release and Attack. The Volume control adjusted the output level of the pedal. The Emphasis control fine tuned the amount of compression applied to the top end of the guitar signal. The Compression control worked in conjunction with a High/Lo toggle switch to adjust the total level of compression. The Attack control adjusted how rapidly the compressor kicked in while the Release control affected how long the gain was attenuated. A true bypass effect foot switch selected either the original or compressed signal.

The Cooltron Snake Charmer Compressor was introduced in 2006 and retailed for $249.99.

VibraVox - The Vibrato channel of 1960's era Vox AC-15 and AC-30 amplifiers included an effect Vox called "VibraVox." VibraVox allowed the AC-15 and AC-30 to have vibrato (varying pitch) and tremolo (varying volume). The Vox CoolTron VibraVox pedal brought an expanded version of the original AC-15 and AC-30 VibraVox circuit to an effects pedal.

The Vibravox was a "dual mode" pedal. The "1 / 2" foot switch allowed the Vibravox pedal to toggle between two vibrato or tremolo effects. A true bypass effect foot switch selected either the original or Vibravox effect. The Cooltron Vibravox was introduced in 2007 and retailed for $249.99.

Duel Overdrive - The Vox Cooltron Duel Overdrive was a twin mode version of the CoolTron Big Ben Overdrive shown above. A foot switch allowed the Duel Overdrive to toggle between two overdrive settings designed by the guitarist. A true bypass effect foot switch was included. The Cooltron Duel Overdrive was introduced in 2007 and retailed for $249.99.


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