Consistency & Quality Control in Booteek pedal production?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by drolling, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. drolling

    drolling Member

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    A couple of current threads have got me thinking out loud about this one.

    How many of you have had the opportunity to A/B two of the same pedal? Have you found them to be more or less the same, or very different sounding than one another?

    There's something kinda cool about the notion that every Lovepedal Eternity sounds different, and I'm not talking about the one-off hi-gain/lo-gain mods, or that batch of 'special' bursts that Sean's apparently working on in his spare time. I'm talking about the regular production E's, w/the standard op-amp. I've had one since last summer, and tho' I've not had a chance to compare mine to any others, I'm pretty sure it's unique, as I don't think I get the same tones that many players here describe - and when I swapped out the chip for a TLO72ACN, the result was very different from what I'd been led to expect from info I picked up here at TGP.

    On the other hand, I was so knocked out by a Timmy pedal I recieved around Christmas that I called Paul to ask if it could be an *extra-good-sounding* one - and he assured me that given component tolerances & the simplicity of design it was almost impossible that one would sound any better or worse than another.

    So I ordered another one and after extensively comparing the two using the same brand of fresh batteries, I have to admit I can hear no difference whatsoever. And I've gotta admit, I like the reliability of Paul C.'s stuff.

    But this is the only pedal I'm ever likely to have more than one of, and I know many of you have gone thru' several of the same pedal and a few of you have even kept multiple 'back-ups'.

    So, what's the general concensus, if any? Which brand/model's the most consistent from unit to unit? Which ones vary the most? And what's your preference - That elusive *mojo* that comes w/the 'luck-of-draw' factor, or the dependability that comes w/a builder's more *scientific* approach to construction?

    ..Thanks.
     
  2. Shnook

    Shnook Supporting Member

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    This is part of the reason why I've held off on ordering a Eternity. My luck I'd get something completely opposite of what I'm looking for.
     
  3. Telecaster

    Telecaster Member

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    +1
    After reading about the Eternity for months, I still have no clue what the pedal really sounds like since everybody seems to write different things.
     
  4. markom89

    markom89 Senior Member

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    I got to do this a few months ago with a fuzz factory...there were actually about 4 plugged in :D:D:D...we (my guitarist friends) were trying to see what it would sound like to have four ff's plugged into a JCM800 with a machine first in line...wow. It was retarded. And we almost blew the speakers with the tremendous squeel and what not that was generated from it. We found them to sound the exact same...except on of them...which we found when plugged in dropped the volume a bit.
     
  5. basscracker

    basscracker Guest

    I've had 4 Eternities,yeah that's sick so what :rolleyes:.all of them have had different parts in them,probably all close to the same values just different manufactures,same stock ICs too.All 4 sounded evey every every similar,still have three :crazy.I would compare the difference to what you'd hear if you had 4 Boss DS-1s.Even those are not all going to sound exactly the same.I also didn't hear much difference between AD-900s,but I'm sure some will argue the two MN3005s are better sounding untill they :BOUNCE.
     
  6. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    Somebody I know on this forum had 2 honeybees...one higher gain than the other
     
  7. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Now there's an example of a pedal that I've heard "no two sound alike" more than once - It's also a pedal that players seem to either love or hate, w/little or no wiggle room in between. I've been holding off on ordering one for just that reason - probably go for a 'Vexter' version eventually.. As cute & adorable as those funky graphics are, it's just not worth all that extra dough - As they say in the guitar forum; "ya don't play the paint".

    But fuzzes are notorious for their charming inconsistencies, anyway.. I have a couple that definitely sound better after a few hours in the freezer.

    So, some don't even sound like themselves from one day to the next. I have a Retroman Sybil that undergoes a rapturous transformation as the battery wears down. She hasn't let me down yet, but I'm sometimes taken offguard by her mercurial personality transformations!
     
  8. trucks

    trucks Member

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    When I was at ToneFest, Paul C talked at the pedal building clinic about optimizing the voltage for opamps. He then demonstrated how different voltages produced distinctly different tones using a TS-type circuit. While Paul judged changes to the circuit by ear, he also had hard data of what was going on. This approach would allow him to recreate a circuit with a great deal of consistency provided he used components within a set tolerance.

    While I'm not sure how Marc (aka Skreddy) designs his circuits, he has discontinued pedals instead of substituting components. From my discussions with him, it is very clear that he has a very high standard for his quality control. My 4 Skreddy's all sound amazing. Although I have never compared them with another of the same pedal, I was able to easily reproduce the tone in his clips using the same pedal settings and tweaking my amp.

    One can easily imagine experimenting with tweaks and different components. I would think you could get pedals to sound similar while having their own sonic personality. While I have no idea if this is how Sean gets differences in the Eternity, I have never heard someone say they have one that sounds bad.
     
  9. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Oh yeah - I just hated mine when I first plugged it in.. Could not figure out :confused: what all the fuss was about..

    It was the alternate chip that made all the difference :eek: - Went from something I wanted to immediately flip to one of my all-time favorites. This pedal has a huge range of flavours & textures in there.. very interdependent tone & clip controls - They may all be different, but I think Sean tunes them all by ear and probably wouldn't let a *bad* one out the shop.. I say go for it. You can't lose w/a pedal that holds it value in the resale market like the E seems to consistently do:D!!
     
  10. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell Member

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    As a builder, unless I'm making germanium fuzzes, if there is audible variation between my pedals it means I'm doing something wrong.
     
  11. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    2 Landgraff MO'D pedals. Even though one was tweaked for slightly tighter bottom end, both very similar sounding and feeling.
     
  12. gitpicker

    gitpicker Silver Supporting Member

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    I bought a COT 50, then I bought a Fab 50 - Sold the COT 50
    then....
    Bought another COT 50 - Sold the Fab 50
    then...
    Bought another Fab 50 - Sold the COT 50
    then...
    Sent the Fab 50 back to Sean for a re-box (added LED and 9v jack) - it came back sounding different

    Every one of these pedals sounded great, but every one sounded different. They all had the same character of tone, but there were subtle variances in boost volume, clarity, gain, high end content, and mojo.

    Bottom line, my least fav of the 4 was still a killer pedal - my current Fab 50 is my all time favorite pedal I have ever owned, pure magic with P-90's...

    BTW - no two guitars in the world sound the same, but no one complains about that....
     
  13. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I've had 3 Fulltone Fulldrives since '98 and found them all to be pretty consistent.

    I've had two of a couple of the boutiques and found them to be different from eachother even though they were the same model. I think the builders feel their way around and find tweaks based on personal observation and customer feedback. In both cases, both examples were excellent, just a little different from eachother.

    I HAVE had a problem with footswitches on a couple of the boutiques. Never had that issue with pedals before recently. Both times the builders complained about batches they'd gotten...
     
  14. drolling

    drolling Member

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    mmmmm.. Loves my HoneyBee. Makes a big, squeaky-clean amp sound like an old tweed champ - Hit it hard w/a booster, and it makes the big, clean amp sound like that same tweed Champ in need of a cap job, new tubes & a speaker reconing!! Gotta love that Bjorn Juhl!!
     
  15. drolling

    drolling Member

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    Yes, it was in another thread that a poster mentioned he found Landgraff's to have 'the most consistent' sound/performance of all pedal designs. I'd be tempted to say that "you get what you pay for", but how does that account for hand built pedals by builders like Michael Ibrahim - I've heard 2 of his BluesPros back-to-back. Identical sound at 1/4 the price!!

    There goes that equation..
     
  16. Telecaster

    Telecaster Member

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    I think Michael Ibrahim's pedals are real bargains.
     
  17. ClinchFX

    ClinchFX Gold Supporting Member

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    +1, except that I don't do germanium fuzzes. Before I listen to my finished PCBs, I set bias using a signal generator and a scope. In the current batch of 12 PCBs, I found one that doesn't look quite right on the scope. I haven't listened to it yet, but it won't be going into a pedal until I find an answer to the problem and correct it, if I use it at all. If there is any doubt, I'll write that board off. If it sounds good, it may give me an idea to use in a future product.

    I keep a master pedal and A-B test each complete PCB against it.

    I listen again after the pedal is assembled, and again after a 24 hour minimum "burn in". If the pedal sits in stock for any time, I do another ear test before sending it out.

    For me, quality is about both personal pride and respect for my customers.

    Peter
    ClinchFX
     

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