I've never read that before. It's an interesting story. Thanks for linking it.okgb wrote: ↑Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:00 pmyou've read the tale by cjones right ?
Hope it does well for you and let us know!
That's just the tip of the iceberg, though. Even most of the very big names in the boutique industry can't seem to come up with even the most rudimentary of their own original designs. I can think of four major players whose companies produce almost exclusively clones of old pedals under different names - usually with a component or few swapped here and there and the latest trend being using digital relaying to swap different components into the old circuits.
But there's also a balance that has to be struck between new and what's expected. People expect an overdrive pedal to sound like a Tubescreamer or Boss OD, so if you stray too far from that basic formula people get put off. On the other hand, why make yet another Tubescreamer variation? IMO, if you're going to go the overdrive route the pedal has to be able to produce all the qualities of the old pedals but with more - more control over the qualities, more of the qualities in general, and less of the shortcomings. But to truly do that (not just mojo and hype) you have to know more about electronics than just how to copy someone else's schematics. You have to completely understand the functioning of the circuit and how those electronic characteristics translate to sound qualities. That's a very in-depth knowledge of three different fields - electronics, the physics/mathematics of sound waves and what's pleasing musically. Very, very few builders seem to have anything more than a basic knowledge of the first two... that's probably because they were guitarists first and not electronics engineers and physicists. They're following their passion, but they really don't have the backgrounds to deep dive into electronics design. On the other hand, very few electronics engineers are good enough musicians and know enough about the physics of sound to translate their engineering knowledge to what sounds good and behaves well to musicians. There's an awful lot of disciplines that have to come together there. Actually, Santiago, though I've only had limited contact with him personally it's still obvious, is one of the very few of those people with such an encompassing background - that's why he could design something original yet true to the classics like the JVM.
...FYI, the magic Tubescreamer requires four component swaps, not three. This is why, in that story, the Goose's OD pedal was so easily replicated by Gomer. Had the Goose only known about the fourth component he would have revolutionized the entire overdrive market.
Well, some people are just in it for the potential sales money and others love the craft. But, unfortunately, loving the craft doesn't necessarily mean you're good at it. That's why 90+% of the boutique builders are essentially limited to fuzzes, overdrives and Dyna Comp clones - they're typically simple circuits that are easy to copy.
That's been sort of my approach to most of the designs. That and addressing age-old shortcomings of some staple effects. For instance, plenty of people want a Tubescreamer or SD-1 type pedal with the option for more bass, but almost every attempt to deliver that results in a loose, flubby bottom end. It's certainly do-able but doing it requires a much more in-depth design than just trying bigger coupling caps up front. The typical boutique builder who plays around with modding existing circuits typically doesn't have the electronics background to really tackle those issues. Add in expanding the design so it cleans up better yet also has as much gain on tap as a high-gain amp and can be tonally transparent on demand and you're getting into some fairly heavy electronics design. That's just an example but that sort of reworking of the classic effects is basically what set me off.Sounds like you're in this at ground level Casey, I would substitute the word useful for familiar, the new part of the pedal you can grow with and the familiar part use right away.
So far I've built and tested prototypes of an overdrive preamp, distortion preamp, fuzz preamp, compressor (OTA-based), optical tremolo, stereo chorus, phaser (optical), uni-vibe (with no bulb and runs on 9V), and flanger.