Toadworks Death Rattle III

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jpervin, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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  2. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    I've looked at them a few times but I always figured with those kind of features if it really did sound that great alot of guys would be using them.
     
  3. curtisstetka

    curtisstetka Member

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    I owned a first generation Death Rattle and thought it was a great sounding pedal, tragically flawed by its goofy controls. I've been intrigued by the version 3 which seems to have solved the problem. It was an awesome sounding pedal.
     
  4. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    Well put :)
     
  5. therhodeo

    therhodeo Member

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    I do have alot of respect for the owner of Toadworks. Just like this he is receptive of his customers opinions of his pedals like the John Bull he fixed for some people over at HCFX.
     
  6. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    I think toadworks does too much vaporware. They put up these grand graphics showing a new product, then they have to find a way to keep up with the graphic. They release a product before its been fully designed and they really just shoot their own foots off. They should design a pedalfirst, have a mock up, that works flawlessly, even have a few beta testers then announce it as a new product. This vaporware is spreading like a virus there are several other builders who do the same thing. This is why you end up with a version 3 of a pedal.
     
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  7. carltonh

    carltonh Member

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    MI Audio Tube Zone is also on version 3, and I think so is the Blackstone. A little annoying for people like me who have an older version, 'cause the grass should be greener with a newer version from a boutique maker. .. unlike Fender & Gibson where the older version is almost always better.
     
  8. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    With all due respect, you don't have any idea what you are talking about. Before you post uniformed garbage, try asking a few questions and getting correct information.

    For the record, it's less about vaporware, and more about making hard business decisions. For instance, with the controls on the 1st version of the Death Rattle - we knew that having a shared gain control was less versatile, but it really came down to money - another knob, another control, more wires & components, more labor, a less generic enclosure, and a higher cost to the dealer & consumer - all of these were factors in making the gain control shared between the two channels. I know, I know, the operation and the tone should come first... that's what everyone likes to say, but for a real business it's unrealistic. That's how you end up with $400 tubescreamer clones.

    Same thing with alot of our smaller pedals. Some of them could have had 4 controls for maximum versatility, but the new tooling costs to change the layout would trickle down to the consumer, and at the time we decided that was not a viable option.

    In the beginning, it's true, we did post graphics of pedals that thought we might like to build. We did it as market research, to gauge reactions, get feedback on potential new products, etc. All companies do it. But that was 5 years ago, they all came down after a month or two, and we haven't done it since.Vaporware, my ass.

    In fact, we did quite a bit of Beta testing on the Death Rattle, in all versions, but the hard truth is that with very few exceptions, you do NOT get the same kind of feedback from beta testers as you do from paying customers. Beta testers are far less critical... that's partly because they feel an obligation to say good things (which is nice to hear, but bad things are ultimately more constructive), and partly we chose players to test products, people who actually play for a living and are concerned with basic operation and sound. Conversely, many of the complaints we get are from the kind of guys you only see playing Madison Square Bedroom, and they are often about things that ultimately don't matter (apparently there are people out there who like to sit in front of their amps and listen to their pedals when they are not playing, then write us emails complaining about noise floor... really, it's hard to take those people seriously).... that's an opinion, of course, but in my experience, real pros will play through a modified console radio if they thought it would sound better.

    The wierd thing is that some people LOVE the 1st version of the Death Rattle, and they love it over the 2nd and 3rd versions, so obviously personal preferences vary quite a bit across the end-user spectrum. We can't please everyone, and we don't try... we really just try to please ourselves, and as it turns out, some people agreewith us.

    As for the reason we ended up with a 3rd version, you say it like it's a bad thing. As I said, beta testers are not always as critical as paying customers. So, we actually LISTEN to the feedback from our customers, and when there seems to be a general consensus, we make changes. But before they go out, the designs are all properly tested, in live situations.

    In the world of stompboxes, perfect is not an attainable goal. Every person brings their own preference, attitude and ears to the situation.
     
  9. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    Here's a little info, and it's difficult for any company to admit - since we began this venture the #1 obstacle (then, and now) has nothing to do with sound quality, or usabilty.

    When we are at the NAMM show, or at a dealer, doing demos, it's all "ooh" and "ahh". And the guys who use our gear, by and large, have very positive reactions (and that's actually a big deal - nothing makes an impression like the negative, and while 1 in 10 people with complaints will actually write in, only about 1 in 200 will actually write in with positive feedback).

    The # 1 problem has always been that no one knows about us. Tough to admit, but that's the truth. Even now, I'll call music stores, and sometimes they will have heard of us, but more often than not its "sorry, never heard of you". That's a real barrier to acceptance in any industry, especially the effect pedal business. If a buyer hasn't heard of you, they just assume you are little one-man shop making knockoffs and clones (not that there is anything wrong with that, or course, it's just that there are alot of guys doing it, and far less doing original designs, as we are).

    For the first 3 years, we did more business overseas than in the US - that's because our overseas distributors did local advertising, while we did none here domestically. After we started running print ads, we started doing alot more business in the US. that's partly due to customers going into shops and asking about us, and partly dealers seeing our ads in the national guitar mags... and while business is good, our name recognition in the US marketplace leaves something to be desired, but that's not unique to us, not by a long shot.

    Most people who buy high-end gear simply will not buy an item without hearing it first - I sure wouldn't. Well, if it's not in a store, you can't hear it. There's about 3000 music shops in the US that sell effect pedals - take a look at all the boutique manufacturers dealer lists... you'll see that they ALL (us included) are in the same 20 or 30 shops in the US. Those are the shops that sell boutique effect pedals. All the other shops in the US, the small chains, the mom & pops, etc., simply can't afford to buy into a line of boutique effects.... and their customers don't want (or can't afford) to buy them.

    Then there's something we call the "Love Factor". Some companies get it, and some companies don't. I suspect it's a combination of factors... design, personality of the builder, price, buzz, etc.... not sure where we stand on the Love Factor...
     
  10. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    The clips on the website sound great.
     
  11. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    I had a Toadworks redux delay which kinda put me off trying any of their other pedals. The copy said it was capable of being a regular delay and being a bit wierd. Well it could only do wierd IME! Interesting idea, but toally unusable to me - the noise levels were unacceptable to me and I suspect would be to most people. I do gig, not just Play "Madison Square Bedroom".

    I honestly can't see who would be able to use this pedal. By the time you get an audible echo out of it the hiss is so loud it almost drowns out the effect! Well at least that was my experience. I sent it back assuming it was broken only to be told it was meant to sound like that! I honestly thought something was wrong with it. So when the manufacturer tells me that I'm wrong then I'll happily look elsewhere for me FX thanks!

    I was going to buy a Death Rattle to try but experiences like this do tend to put you off. Other pedal manufacturers such as Menatone, Maxon, Carl Martin and Analogman have all been heaps better IMHO at describing their pedals in their blurb and also been very helpful whenever I have had a query about their stuff.
     
  12. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    The amount of hiss you describe seems way too high - it's possible you were not using it properly... and don't read that as "you're stupid", I just mean that when used as recommended (per the diagrams on the back of the manual), the background noise doesn't even come close to the volume of the effect. Under normal operating conditions at it's noisiest (both delays on, Mix at unity, with a good power supply) the hiss (and yes, there is some background noise) will be drowned out by single coil hum.

    That doesn't mean you're wrong in thinking it's unusable, and I apologize if you got that impression. But the bottom line is that we can't make them fast enough, and in live situations, when used within the recommended guidelines, you simply can't hear the noise from Redux. For me, that's the litmus test. I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

    Hell, I once saw an Eric Johnson instructional video, and when he wasn't playing, the buzz and hum from his rig was deafening... but that's what it took to get the tone when he WAS playing, and that's what matters.
     
  13. JimmyR

    JimmyR Member

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    Thanks for your response! Very heartening!
     
  14. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    I disagree with you and I have experianced some of your past business practices which I also disagree with. I am not here to debate, I think you shouldn't focus on a debate in a gear forum, you have more important things to do, focus your energy on your business and I wish you successs. Goodluck
     
  15. longgonedaddy

    longgonedaddy Supporting Member

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    Ryan,

    Just a public thank you for a series of emails a few months ago (maybe a year now) about your pedals.

    Keep up the good work.

    :AOK
     
  16. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    Woah, woah. Please explain the "business practices" you disagree with.

    I promise I won't get too caught up in any internet debate, but if you're going to make ridiculous, unsubstantiated statements on a public forum, I'm going to call you on it.
     
  17. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    Thanks buddy. Again, we always listen to feedback/suggestions (good and bad), so don't be shy.
     
  18. sssmile

    sssmile Member

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    Your not calling me out on anything. It can work both ways and I would prefer to not do that.
     
  19. Electric I

    Electric I Member

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  20. virtualtoad

    virtualtoad Member

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    Of course not. It's easy to just make **** up when you're the Amazing Anonymous Internet Man.

    You're the kind of person that we don't take seriously. Say anything you like.
     

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