For anyone too stoned to remember, we can confirm that the original Vox V846 was the wah used by Jimi Hendrix for Voodoo Chile at Woodstock in 1969.
While that unit is probably languishing in the Hard Rock Cafe, Vox says it's faithfully recreated the innards of the design - including the critical vintage-spec Halo inductor - and to prove it the design bods have showcased all that hand-wired turret board goodness through a clear-bottomed base. If you're used to a cheap multi-fx autowah, this will blow your mind (and your overdraft).
"Clean, there's a hot-buttered, clipped sweep that laps up funky chord hits when you pump the rocker in a steady rhythm."
The V846 is a curious mix of vintage and modern. Off the bat, we're delighted to note the canny addition of true bypass on this pedal, meaning no more sapping of your tone when the unit is off.
Equally, we're frustrated by the old-school lack of AC adaptor socket: a forehead-slapping omission that forces you to bore your audience while you remove the four base screws every time the nine-volt battery goes flat. All the other wahs in the Vox range give you the choice… and they're cheaper.
There's no scope for tweaking, so it's a case of plug in and get quacking. We find the action of the rocker pedal doesn't give the same physical satisfaction as a Cry Baby, for instance, but there's no faulting the sturdy chassis, and tonally, we're off to a flier.
We made it a rule to test with both singlecoils and humbuckers, and the Vox has a real edge with the former. Clean, there's a hot-buttered, clipped sweep that laps up funky chord hits when you pump the rocker in a steady rhythm, and it's similarly ace when you play single-note leads and jab to accent certain notes. And to be fair, despite initially feeling a little shallow underfoot, the pedal responds to even subtle quivers and lets you perform really expressive 'foot wobbles'.
Switching channels and changing axes, there's certainly a funky skank to mildly overdriven tones, but we feel the V846 is lacking just a little venom when it comes to hairy-chested Hammett-style lead. Still, it's all relative: this pedal is a quality piece of gear.