Spite Box is the debut pedal from a brand new name, Salt Box Workshop. However, it’s actually got two – or rather, four – experienced hands behind it in the shape of Dave Gill of Baltimore Sonic Research Institute and Damnation Audio's Jeff Davis.
The two Baltimore builders have united under this new banner in what they describe as “a whimsical and philanthropic side project”. They will periodically create a selection of weird and wonderful pedal drops, with a large portion of the proceeds from each sale going towards local school music initiatives in the Baltimore, Maryland area.
It’s amusing then, given their firm’s big-hearted origins, that the pair have chosen to make their debut with the frankly vicious-sounding Spite Box.
A distortion and fuzz pedal, it’s got an upper octave and crossover distortion preamp, alongside a sizeable active bass boost, making for some truly heavy tones that a full of low-end heft and fuzz spike.
Controls are kept simple, with a single footswitch and three dials: Volume, Depth and Spite.
Overall output is handled by the volume control, while Depth is a boost-only control that starts flat and adds low end at 100hz as your rotate it. As you progress, it also starts to roll off low mids (between 200Hz and 300Hz) to tackle bass boom.
The most intriguing dial, Spite, mixes the crossover distortion and upper octave into the preamp circuit adding “cutting power and complex overtones” as you progress.
Dime all the dials and the results are vicious: a sub-y distortion and menacing, chest-rattling fuzz. Put a bass guitar through it and you’re nearing brown note territory, while it reportedly plays nicely with synths, too, so we suspect multi-instrumentalists, producers and noise fans will also likely find many applications for it.
The demo shows off some of its flexibility across those instruments, but it really does sound superb on electric guitar. Think super-heavy, fat fuzz tones that cut through, a la Chelsea Wolfe.
The Spite Box is true bypass, has top-mounted jacks, takes a 9V DC pedalboard power supply, and is available now for $199. For more information, or to purchase the Spite Box, head to Salt Box Workshop.