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Current State of the Pedal Demo World

Sea_Dweller

Member
Messages
219
I think negative reviews wouldn’t help anyone. As mentioned in this thread before, there aren’t a lot of “bad” pedals. Some work for you and some don’t. A demo person wouldn’t be able to know that.
No one here is asking for full out negative reviews of pedals. In that case it would be good to just not review the pedal in the first place

What I'm asking for is honest pros AND cons. "This pedal is great with a number of helpful features we just ran through. One thing you should know is that the stereo spread isn't quite as wide or big sounding as some of the other big box reverbs, but it excels in these other areas..."

or

"[blank] overdrive sounds really nice but even with the drive knob all the way down there is still quite a bit of dirt. Also, It doesn't seem to stack well with the fuzz pedals I've tried."

You know...Stuff players would actually want to know that would help them make informed purchases.

There ARE some demo guys who do this and I follow them but they get overshadowed by the big guys that do not give honest criticism. What I hear from a lot of these popular guys is "this is the best pedal, it's the next big thing and there's no reason to not get it" type comments after they just EQ'd the heck out of it and have other pedals on before or after.
 

I-IV-V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,085
Professional unbiased reviewers are impossible. No one can finance a steady supply of stuff to review, so they become reliant on manufacturers, and no company is going to send something to someone who is going to cost them sales. Combine this with the fact that most people that seek being an influencer type are unrepentant narcissistic whores and you have youtube/instagram product reviews.
I understand your point but one of my favorite reviewers, who seems to be a decent guy (but, yeah, I don’t really know him) actually tells where he borrowed the gear from. It’s usually a person’s name but sometimes a business. I find it hard to believe he’s flat out lying.

I’ve seen other guys give a mention to who the loaner is. Pete Thorn recently demoed a pedal off of his own board, but I think it’s obvious he is getting paid. I don’t think of him as “dishonest” though. He’s doing a job.
 

I-IV-V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,085
Anyone hanging around here would know that there are always people who hate your favorite pedal. What is a good sound, feature set, interface etc. is highly subjective.

Think of your favorite pedal channel giving a very negative review of your favorite pedal. You wouldn’t agree but you’d move on but if that review was released before you got the pedal there’s a chance you wouldn’t get that pedal. Some people buy pedals just because That Pedal Show guys or Pete Thorn said it is very good. Imagine how the small companies would be affected if one of them said “I don’t like this pedal, it doesn’t really work for me.”

I think negative reviews wouldn’t help anyone. As mentioned in this thread before, there aren’t a lot of “bad” pedals. Some work for you and some don’t. A demo person wouldn’t be able to know that.

Mentioning obvious issues like noise or volume drop is another thing, obviously. Other stuff that depend on taste, style, genre etc. are just, like, their opinions and shouldn’t matter.

People making demos are just people like you and they might like some pedals and might dislike some. I think just watching multiple demos and making your own mind would work out better than listening to someone’s personal opinions.
You make a very good point. Do we want YouTube vids breaking a business, especially if the business is one we like? Joe Blow could dislike my favorite pedal, get a million views and the builder struggles.

I’m interested in this thread because for the past few weeks I’ve been back to searching OD pedals. I was doing good and hadn’t watched any in a long time, LOL. I basically just stay away from posters I don’t like.
 

Podicle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8
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.
I jumped on to say exactly the same thing. The general quality of pedals available today is very high, and we are left with personal preference or idiosyncrasies of guitars/amps as the determining factor. It is genuinely more useful having someone demonstrate a pedal through a range of gear than provide a 'review', unless there is some absolutely glaring interface or quality issue.
 

Sea_Dweller

Member
Messages
219
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.

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.
It's nice that those are the things you like about TGP but people blow off steam all the time here about how they hate the imaginary Strymon "Sheen" or Chase Bliss' pricing or how bad support is for certain gear makers...No one is asking them to start a petition or fix the problem. So, I'm not sure why this is counter productive or inappropriate to post here. It's just a conversation.

I'm not losing sleep over this. I came here to start a conversation about something I find annoying. That's it. I thought others might feel the same way.

I appreciate your feedback and it seems we do agree on a lot but some of what you are saying here is kind of what I don't like about this whole pedal industry. Everything has to be overly positive and the second someone introduces a criticism it's like "hey man...let's not do that here, let's keep it nice."
 

I-IV-V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,085
One more and I’ll stop. The best way for me to tell if something is exceptional is how the player reacts to the pedal and if he seems to be digging the gear. Sometimes I’ll see a little grin when they really dig something. The playing is more inspired.

And I agree that there isn’t a lot of bad pedals made today. Not that I’m seeing anyway. I have a decent assortment right now. Maybe fifteen or so overdrive/distortions. Some are cheap. Some not. Some are clones but I’m getting great tones with all of them but one or two. Sure, I like some better (much) than others but we’re in pedal heaven right now (except for some of the prices).
 

tobereleased

Member
Messages
3,417
I don’t watch nearly as many pedal demos/reviews as I used to, in part because my pedalboard is essentially “complete”

However, I have been watching fairly large amounts of synth demos, and I’ve found the gold standard demo vid guy to be loopop - and he has also done some videos for pedals, albeit with synths in mind. He recently did a video for the boss RC500, for instance.

His videos are very informative and in-depth, and he always provides fairly balanced pros and cons for every product he demos.
 

AltecGreen

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,227
My favorite pedal demos videos are the ones done by thirteen year olds.

My second favorite type is where the bandmate of the guy doing the demo owns the pedal company.
 
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Hawkmoon269

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,455
"[blank] overdrive sounds really nice but even with the drive knob all the way down there is still quite a bit of dirt. Also, It doesn't seem to stack well with the fuzz pedals I've tried."
Those are entirely subjective comments that no reviewer/demoer would make. Maybe they weren’t using the right fuzz pedals. Maybe they didn’t have their amp set “right”. Maybe they were using it for a style of music that the pedal designers didn’t consider. And what does “stack well” even objectively mean? I can only imagine the s*** show that would take place in the comments section of such a demo.

You seem to have this really weird desire to see reviewers/demoers s*** all over certain pedals, either because you think the pedal scene is overly positive or you want reviewers to appear more evenly balanced. Do you not have enough conflict in your life already?

I like Reverb Andy’s approach to demoing: find the thing that the piece of gear best and spend your time highlighting that. Let people draw their own conclusions on whether or not the gear might work for them. No need to generate a bunch of awful noises just to appear evenhanded.
 

Sea_Dweller

Member
Messages
219
Those are entirely subjective comments that no reviewer/demoer would make. Maybe they weren’t using the right fuzz pedals. Maybe they didn’t have their amp set “right”. Maybe they were using it for a style of music that the pedal designers didn’t consider. And what does “stack well” even objectively mean? I can only imagine the s*** show that would take place in the comments section of such a demo.

You seem to have this really weird desire to see reviewers/demoers s*** all over certain pedals, either because you think the pedal scene is overly positive or you want reviewers to appear more evenly balanced. Do you not have enough conflict in your life already?

I like Reverb Andy’s approach to demoing: find the thing that the piece of gear best and spend your time highlighting that. Let people draw their own conclusions on whether or not the gear might work for them. No need to generate a bunch of awful noises just to appear evenhanded.
subjective comments are what I want to hear. I want to hear what THAT individual actually thinks. Honesty. Not what the pedal company wants them to say.

s*** all over pedals? No. I want real human thoughts. Not what my buddy the pedal maker wants me to say.

Again, this isn’t keeping me up at night, it’s just annoying. So it’s nothing to do with wanting conflict. It’s just a discussion on a forum.
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,086
Well, if there are enough people that must have unbiased/unchecked reviews,
then they need to find a way to financially support a number of reviewers (one will not suffice)
and agree on the format... time was, you'd put something similar in a printed review mag.

CNET kinda sorta did this online for products with broader commercial appeal.
We just need to get the rest of the planet to take up guitar...then there would be enough five-n-dime contributions to make this work.
Until then, we might just have to admit that the guitar pedal market is pretty small potatoes,
and small fry gets what small fry gets.
 

Silkrodamus

Member
Messages
710
The thing I find hilarious is a lot of people that post on TGP HAVE all these pedals...between the lot of us. Every pedal out there being demo'd on youtube...someone on this forum...or multiple people...have those very pedals.

if there was 'honest' pedal demos posted 'in-house' in the Gear Demos forum of TGP...I'm sure almost every pedal in existence could be covered. Problem solved.

*crickets*
 
Messages
265
This is a great conversation topic, @Sea_Dweller, and I look at it from a totally different angle... maybe devil's advocate to what you're saying.

Whenever I watch a pedal demo, I go into it maybe a bit more committed to the core assumption that tone - and even user experience, to an extent - truly is subjective. Pedals are literally just different flavours of ice cream. I think a great pedal demo creator should be able to figure out what each and every pedal excels at, and show that off in the demo... even if the thing a particular pedal excels at is not that demo creator's personal favourite thing. So to me, the fundamental purpose of a pedal demo is to highlight where the pedal shines... not where it doesn't. Isn't that why we have many pedals on our board, with different pedals for different things?

In other words, I don't know that it's necessarily helpful or fair for the average pedal demo creator to be what you're calling more "honest" - because it doesn't help me to know that someone doesn't care for variety #428 of cherry ice cream when I on the other hand might find variety #428 the perfect thing for me.

The only legitimate reason I could see a demo creator criticizing a pedal in a demo is if there was shoddy build quality or something like that... not something you generally have to worry about with reputable builders in 2020.

Part of me agrees with you about too much EQ-ing and post production happening in the background and changing the fundamental tone or making a piece of gear sound better than it normally does... but on the other hand, don't you also want to know how the pedal would sound if you recorded with it good mics and ran it through your DAW and did your best post-production on the tone as well? I know I do.

I have no stake in the game here - I'm a mediocre guitar player who enjoys watching demos. I'm just offering up a different perspective on the whole pedal demo content scene, and why I like *most* things about the state of things as they are.
 

hippieboy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,296
Most pedal youtubers are entertainment first and information 2nd, and it makes sense that's how you keep an audience.

I only trust in one guy, mike hermans, throughout the years I've never had an issue bonding with pedals that I bought because of his videos, I also like that he doesn't talk, the music and pedal do all the talking.
 
Messages
265
subjective comments are what I want to hear. I want to hear what THAT individual actually thinks. Honesty. Not what the pedal company wants them to say.

s*** all over pedals? No. I want real human thoughts. Not what my buddy the pedal maker wants me to say.

Again, this isn’t keeping me up at night, it’s just annoying. So it’s nothing to do with wanting conflict. It’s just a discussion on a forum.
Despite everything I just said, I hear what you're saying - yes, it'd be super entertaining to hear a pedal reviewer share really subjective opinions, preferably with strong biases and a good dose of humour. To make it work optimally, they'd probably have a slightly narrower range of musical tastes, and probably have more specific guitar-and-amp preferences as well.

Honestly, I think one of the reasons you maybe aren't loving the state of the pedal demo world at the moment is that a lot of the demo creators literally like everything. Like, they actually genuinely like everything. Take Dan and Mick, for example. Or Josh Scott, or Andy who is IMO the undisputed king of bringing out the best. Guys like this find something to like about virtually every pedal under the sun, and with the vast collection of guitars and amps they have they can find pairings that make everything sound great.

It was actually really interesting to me to see the JHS episode where Josh shows his personal board, and the TPS episode where Andy was a guest and brought his personal pedal board... the viewer learns what pedals are truly their favourites. But I will say, I'm typically way more interested in what gear my favourite bands are using than pedal demo creators, the latter who I actually expect to be more neutral in their approach.
 
Messages
3,668
Everyone says they want an honest opinion until they hear something they don't like.

Food for thought. You've got 2 pedals in front of you. You love one, and you hate the other. Which one do you think you are gonna pick up and go out of your way to go through a 2+ hour process making content on?

If I see gripes with pedals I'll let people know, but many pedals now days I just don't have issues with and I typically have several pedals I could produce content with at any given time. I naturally gravitate towards things I like as opposed to things I don't. If you are paid or get free gear all the time, I imagine it's usually a similar situation.

Creators are not evil master minds, dooping you out of your hard earned money. You have a brain, you have ears. Do your research. It's PAINFULLY obvious when you are being sold something.
 
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tobereleased

Member
Messages
3,417
Everyone says they want an honest opinion until they hear something they don't like.

Here's me being honest:

I don't watch demos of pedals to decide what pedals I like. I watch demos of pedals I've already decided I like for affirmation of my opinion.

I'm far more likely to watch a demo of a pedal I already own than one I've never heard of before.
 
Messages
1,073
No one here is asking for full out negative reviews of pedals. In that case it would be good to just not review the pedal in the first place

What I'm asking for is honest pros AND cons. "This pedal is great with a number of helpful features we just ran through. One thing you should know is that the stereo spread isn't quite as wide or big sounding as some of the other big box reverbs, but it excels in these other areas..."

or

"[blank] overdrive sounds really nice but even with the drive knob all the way down there is still quite a bit of dirt. Also, It doesn't seem to stack well with the fuzz pedals I've tried."

You know...Stuff players would actually want to know that would help them make informed purchases.

There ARE some demo guys who do this and I follow them but they get overshadowed by the big guys that do not give honest criticism. What I hear from a lot of these popular guys is "this is the best pedal, it's the next big thing and there's no reason to not get it" type comments after they just EQ'd the heck out of it and have other pedals on before or after.
Yeah of course, I wasn’t talking about only negative reviews. Those examples make a lot of sense and are helpful if you have the same setup, tastes and style as the person in the video but those are still one person’s opinions that people who don’t know any better will consider as facts.

I made a demo of a pedal a while ago. It wasn’t working great for me and I had a couple of other pedals I liked more. A friend of mine wanted to buy it from me. I told him what I thought but he still wanted to get it and said that he heard some good sounds and thought it would work great for what he was doing. After about a week he told me he liked it a lot and was using it for his new project. I’m just glad there were lots of videos for him to check out and decide the pedal was right for him and glad that he didn’t care about my experience with the pedal.

If I a bigger channel like TPS or Pete Thorn or Knobs and mentioned what didn’t work for them in a video I think they’d just be harming the companies. It’s all subjective and there’s always someone who loves the pedal you hate and there’s always someone who hates your favorite pedal.
 

7thString

Member
Messages
1,340
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.
Doesn't youtube enforce this now anyway? I notice the little 'includes paid promotion' thing on some videos.

You make a very good point. Do we want YouTube vids breaking a business, especially if the business is one we like? Joe Blow could dislike my favorite pedal, get a million views and the builder struggles.
I don't think this is a real danger. If a pedal / product is an objectively good / useful / innovative product, it's unlikely that it will be run into the ground just because of one 'influencer's' opinion. I do find it kinda funny that the OP is copping some pushback just for making this thread (not referring to your post here I-IV-V). The music equipment industry has always been pretty susceptible to snake-oil products due to the subjective nature of it all, emotional investment, etc - youtube and TGP are exactly the right places to voice opinions on things that an individual may find contradictory / misleading / overpriced / overhyped etc.
 




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