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Current State of the Pedal Demo World

Sea_Dweller

Member
Messages
219
K. The first part of my response I wrote that there is a difference between demos (advertisements), and reviews (evaluation and critique). I agree that I do wish their were more objective reviews than demos, so that we as consumers can make a better informed decision without bias. Some demoers put "paid promotion" in text (or in their remarks), some don't, and some are just hobbyists who really like an item and don't want to necessarily be critical of the manufacturer for a number of reasons.

Not sure what your point is though tbh. Do you want to get all of these demoers to disclose if they're being paid in currency or product for each video, and if so, how will you enforce it? What about the less professional demos where it's more or less fanboys who aren't being paid at all (other than maybe a few bucks from youtube ads)? Or do you want to finance a pedal review website where you have a few reviewers give honest critique?

Ideally, yes I'd love to have all of the above, but to pretend like demos are not obvious advertisements and purposefully tricking consumers is a bit hyperbolic, which is why I think the OP was seen as a bit alarmist (and thus got the reactions it did).
I am the OP and a self proclaimed alarmist...so what? Also it seems to me that a lot of people here agree.

My point was to discuss it and get others opinions. That's what this is right? A place to discuss things like this...so I thought we could discuss it here. It doesn't always have to be positive feedback for everything. I'm not saying I'm trying to do anything about it. Knobs himself posted about how insincere this industry has become after doing his latest video for that Walrus Pedal that was sent to 50 other people and they never disclosed that to Knobs...it's tricky underhanded stuff.
 

fitzo

Greybeard
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,833
I find having videos of any quality vastly preferable to the days of having to order blind from a 2x2" advertisement in the back of some guitar rag. YMMV.
 

The Pup

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,504
There is likely a purposeful use for most pedals; and my creative limits have more to do with why I move on from any given pedal.
 

mos6507

Member
Messages
251
very little gear sucks anymore.
The problem is too much gear sounds the same--especially when passing in and out through a compressed Youtube video. So how is someone supposed to decide what's best? Like recently I watched a bunch of A/B comparisons of boutique PAF pickups. I know my ears aren't that good anymore but I struggled to hear differences between many of them. So then it comes down to a leap of faith.
 

msquared

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
393
Jump to our modern day when a pedal company drops a new product, sends it out to 50 different reviewers who all say the same generic stuff and are afraid to really get into the negatives of the pedal for fear they'll be cut off from reviewing future pedals. When they do tend to "criticize" it's almost a positive like "this pedal almost has too many features!"
I was around for pedals produced in the 80s/90s/00s/10s and my take on the state of effects in 2020 is that we are in a golden age for pedals. Every time I'm looking for a new type of pedal I go into my local music shop and play everything of that type that they have in the store. I've been doing this for a long time and I can't remember the last time I actually came across a pedal that wouldn't sound good and get the job done. It's mostly just figuring out what UI I prefer and whether it's voiced appropriately for the genres and guitars I've got or if something else is doing those things better.

Supply chains and the Internet have made it possible for small builders to easily have access to the same level of solid components and case milling that the big manufacturers have. Outside of a company like Alesis (who at one point had their own in house semiconductor fabrication factory) the playing field is leveled to the point that it is essentially a design meritocracy. Adding to that idea, most manufacturers have rolled in several tried and true circuit design ideas which have come from existing old school hardware and this further lowers the cost of entry for making seriously good pedals in bulk.

The simple fact is that we're in a time when if you get bad tone, you don't know how to use the gear properly. This was not the case back in the day. There has been so much absolute crap out there for so long that it's laughable. I have pedals that guitarists from former bands have left at my house which I occasionally plug in and am astounded at how useless they are (which is probably why they got left behind). There is so much talk on here about how gear sucks or isn't useful or whatever and I just roll my eyes at it. "I had a Meris Polymoon but it sucked so I sent it back." Really dude? Are you sure the problem is with the gear? Do you have any idea what a bad pedal actually sounds like?

I am not sure how I would do anything differently as a reviewer if none of the stuff is legitimately bad. Feature set and UI design is essentially a popularity contest.
 

7thString

Member
Messages
1,340
Lately I have been looking at reviews and demos of stereo pedals. for my wet dry wet setup. and so far have found very few that use the stereo inputs to demo/ review such pedals. Now I cant get a good demo that the Amp is set clean and they keep it that way thru the demo. And not many will do side by side reviews with out them playing different Licks for the different pedals, its like they dont know how to use a looper to get the exact same sample for each effect. But it is the only way to see what a pedal,Amp might sound like besides going to the store to try them yourself.
Which pedals? Definitely silly to not demo a stereo pedal in stereo!
 

jondom22

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,214
I am the OP and a self proclaimed alarmist...so what? Also it seems to me that a lot of people here agree.

My point was to discuss it and get others opinions. That's what this is right? A place to discuss things like this...so I thought we could discuss it here. It doesn't always have to be positive feedback for everything. I'm not saying I'm trying to do anything about it. Knobs himself posted about how insincere this industry has become after doing his latest video for that Walrus Pedal that was sent to 50 other people and they never disclosed that to Knobs...it's tricky underhanded stuff.
OK. Well anyways, I think the consensus is we all agree that there's a difference between demos and reviews, and that the former are advertisements though not always disclosed. I think we all agree that there is an ethical lapse when demo-ers don't disclose that they're being compensated by the manufacturer, but it's also pretty apparent to most that demos are not to be viewed as objective reviews/critique.

I think the nice thing about TGP is people who come to share information and advice. While I empathize with your misgivings, this doesn't seem like the most constructive way to either educate others or provide a solution, and you do seem keen on trying to debate people (who even agree with you in general like myself) just to blow off some steam. Maybe this would be more appropriate for the pub section.

Anyways, glad you were able to find a rig that suits you. I hope that maybe you can focus this frustration towards something a bit more productive like maybe a petition to pedal manufacturers asking them to have their demo-ers disclose that its a paid advertisement. I'd be happy to sign, as would many others in this community.
 

Aceman893

Member
Messages
263
I think there are more than enough demos/comparisons of anything out there, and it is more than easy enough to spot pro-paid endorsements, from fanboys, to legit reviews of pro-cons.

The environment is good for legit info and experience.
 

Benz2112

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,942
Reviewing a pedal is different than reviewing a tv or appliance. Wirecutter will tell you which dishwasher objectively cleans your dishes, while using the least amount of water. Most pedals are decent quality these days, in terms of being able to function. This is why I like a proper demo, it just lays out what the device does, and you get an impression of the relative eq, headroom, noise floor, etc. The quality of the videos these days are amazing. I've been researching a few pedals that were hot several years ago, and are kind of forgotten now, oof the demos suck bad.
 

bugsnax

Member
Messages
151
I feel a certain group of modern demo makers function more like pedal influencers. I can't blame them as that's the world we live in today. The past few years has been about selling warped childhood memories to depressed millenials and gen x'ers. The Pedal Zone dude does this often - where he will invoke a random nostalgic pop culture reference while wistfully looking off into the distance.

It is sort of amusing: the previous generation had numerous guitar heroes & icons from their childhood for marketing ammunition, and today we lose our minds when an influencer randomly inserts a stop motion animated ninja turtle toy next to the pedal on their rustic wooden floor (complete with VHS artifacts).
 
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Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,408
Part of the reason why I like watching iPhone-in-the-room clips from average guys like me.
iPhone or mobile phone recorded demos give a better idea about the sound of a pedal than a professionally done demo with a mic'ed amp.

For me the average guy phone recorded demo is often useless. For many they only like one sound, so they only use that sound in the demo. Or they aimlessly turn knobs and play some disconnected idea real quick. Doesn't tell me anything about the pedal other than just turning the knobs randomly without a plan won't really say much about the pedal.

As a consumer, the key is to watch as many demos of said pedal as are available. Then discount the shabby muppet demos, and refocus on the "well demoed" vids.

Painful, time consuming, but its all you can do.
This is my method. Definitely time consuming, but well done demoes show me what the pedal is capable of when one is purposeful in how the setting relate to each other.
 




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