Pro Audio

Engineering the Sound: Idiotbox Blower Box Deluxe and Dark Waves

From the garage straight to the shelves.

We’re taking a look at a couple of guitar pedals from the Idiotbox company out of Texas, the Blower Box Deluxe and the Dark Waves.

Idiotbox is a company founded by Matt Shea, who’s been soldering and screenprinting these units out of his garage since 2011, slowly working their way onto pedalboards across the world, and used by a diverse range of artists, from Cannibal Corpse, High On Fire, Weezer, and our very own DZ Deathrays.

Guitar pedals

Let’s take a look at the Blower Box Deluxe first up. This is an upgraded version of their old Blower Box, and is a great sounding straight up bass distortion, built especially for bass.

There’s nothing worse than a bassist showing up at the studio and trying to run their instrument through a bunch of guitar pedals, and everything just sounding crappy.

It’s a nice round distortion where you can use the EQs on the unit to push the high or low end, so it’s versatile. Along with these there’s knobs to control the volume and intensity of distortion.


This distortion comes from a LM308N IC and a pair of diodes, I’d say like an upgraded Rat pedal for bass.

As this is the Deluxe version, it now features a direct signal out under the DIR knob, and a direct signal low pass filter, which starts at fullrange when anti-clockwise, and rolls off the high end of your direct signal down to about 150Hz when fully turned.

This is a fantastic addition to have on any bass pedal, meaning you can easily blend your effected full-range signal, or keep your low end clean and full, whilst having your top end nicely fuzzed out.

Now, let’s jump over to the Dark Waves unit – this is about 4 years old and still heavily in production, it’s an echo and chorus modulation unit, with control over modulation intensity via the Depth and Filter knobs, the Rate, the waveform symmetry, the modulated signal volume, and sitting on it’s own, the Echo level.

From these controls you’ll figure that it’s very much focussed on the chorus side of things, with a whole lotta control over these aspects, and a fixed echo speed and feedback control with just one knob on the end to sweeten up your modulated dreams.

Internally there’s a TL074CN IC op amp controlling that side of things, and a pair of classic PT2399 ICs looking after the echo and chorus side of things.

Both units are powered by your standard Boss 9v adaptor set up, with the Dark Waves powerable by 9V battery if you wish, and both are in 1590B style enclosures with the jacks at the top for those with concerns about pedalboard real estate.

The Idiotbox Blower Box Deluxe bass distortion and the DarkWaves Echo Chorus unit. Both great handmade units from a fantastically geeky US company that still builds these things out of their garage.


Both units are solid, hardy pieces that I reckon will tour without any issue, and both do their respective job, and they do that well.

All the Idiotbox pedals are extremely well priced – the Blower Box Deluxe will set you back $159US, whilst the Dark Waves is only $129US, available direct from the maker, or through Peerless Music in Australia.