What do you expect from a "boutique" pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by playon, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    (Warning - gripe content) :BITCH :BITCH :BITCH

    I have some suggestions for pedal makers... in an ideal world, this is what I expect from pedals that cost more than $150:

    I want paint that doesn't start immediately chipping off. I know it can be done.

    I want 9v jacks for external power supplies. You may think your pedal sounds perfect with a carbon battery, but at least give us a choice.

    I want jacks that don't start coming loose after about a week.

    Jacks on the front of the pedal are much more convenient and take up less space than jacks on the sides.

    9v power jacks on the front of the pedal are much more convenient than if they are on the sides of the pedal, the worst are jacks placed way down towards the bottom.

    If you must put the audio jacks on the side, please don't put the 9v PS jack right next to the input or output jack, it gets crammed on the pedalboard with all the side mounted plugs taking up space.

    Use knobs with pointers that I can see in the dark.

    Don't make the pedal any bigger than it absolutely needs to be.

    OK end of rant... ;)
     
  2. dbx

    dbx Member

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    Great post, thought of this myself as I'm doling out my cash...what about construction techniques...does it matter to you: PTP, PCB, breadboard, turretboard, cardboard, name brand components vs. knockoffs, transistor based vs. chip? Every designer has price point considerations especially considering their relatively low output volumes...and +1 on original design...

    :cool:
     
  3. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    basically I expect digital performance with an analog sound. Most boutique pedals do this, which is where my expectations came from :)
     
  4. grego7

    grego7 has left the building Gold Supporting Member

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    Interesting thread.

    So do you guys simply just avoid buying pedals that don't meet your criteria? Or is it more of a realization after you get the pedal and find that it is not what you wanted (completely irresepective of sound)? Do you talk to any of the builders to see if they can incorporate any of your suggestions? I have purchased pedals from a few different builders, and had to chuckle because I could see some gripes that I've had in your lists also.

    If builders are not willing to change (I assume that they have fine-tuned the process to their current products), I guess it just comes down to if you can't get past the perceived limitations, you take your business somewhere else.
     
  5. dbx

    dbx Member

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    To me the sound quality is uppermost but I guess this was a given assumption on the boutique world (rightly or wrongly). I usually try to query a builder about all of my criteria, it's not hardline, just as a way to understand what went into the pedal (cost of materials, design, labor)...and get a sense of their customer orientation...I kind of look at it as the sum of the parts...
     
  6. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    Well, first, I want it to cost alot. And for cripessake, I want a cool looking paint job.
     
  7. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I expect good communication and customer service before and after the sale.

    I expect a high quality build component-wise.

    Most of these guys put the bulk of their effort into the circuit design and tone of the box - the finish/graphics *usually* is the weakest part of the package. I'm okay with this if the pedal sounds fantastic, though if the pedal builder has been around for a while and has been sucessful I'd expect that they invest more in their finishing process to deliver a more professional looking product.

    Jacks and power supplies usually have to go where they have to/need to go - I'd love for them to be on the top side of the box, but it's not a deal killer for me.
     
  8. derek_32999

    derek_32999 Member

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    An on/off switch so that you dont have to unplug the input when relying on batteries. I always wondered why a true bypass switch hasn't been created that actually does this all in the same switch. Customer service is greatly appreciated, but it seems as though many of the builders would be very wise to hire a PR person to handle questions. Led, AC jack (even though i raely use one), TB, quality build on the inside if it doesnt look like general guitar gadgets very high quality stuff, it isnt a deal breaker), although some nice things would be if you use PTP then maybe some epoxy on the parts that may get a little tension on them, and something stable to hold the board in place. Something to keep the battery from rattling around. EASY BATTERY ACCESS WOULD BE NICE!! But alas, these are things that would make for a very nice pedal, but if it sounds great and has NONE of these features I would buy it. Hell, one of my favorite pedals is a soundtank EM-5 (it doesnt get too much worse build reliability than that. LOL)
     
  9. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    I expect good sound and superb craftsmanship. Nobody has let me down here.

    I hope for good customer service and after sale support. Most have complied, I had one bad experience with a builder who was full of himself.

    I wish for certain things as far as design goes, and I have my own preferences, but I don't expect pedal makers to read my mind. If a certain knob, jack, or power supply layout works for me, great. If not, it's beyond my control.
     
  10. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    Good thread. I agree with all playon's assurtions. I would also add good sound samples. I like to hear the straight amp sound then the pedal clicked on.
    I too like the AC jacks. A choice is good! And on the top edge of the pedal rather than the sides by the input/output jacks. I like them on the side.
     
  11. Blues Wail

    Blues Wail Member

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    great comments! this may not be among the top choices, but, i want a pedal that will hold it's value well.
     
  12. BrianB

    BrianB Member

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    Really good thread. It's strange that when buying effects I really don't pay attention to jack location and many of the other criteria (although they align pretty much with my ideal), just because I've learned to deal with it, even though many of the common jack placement/build styles do get on my nerves. On the other hand, when I'm building, I obsess over it :NUTS
     
  13. Craise

    Craise Member

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    - On off switch on one of the knobs. (like retroman's stuff)
    - Jacks and AC on the rear of the pedal
    - Pay a PRO to record demos of the pedal
    - Metal NOT plastic jacks
    Thank you! :)
     
  14. NuSkoolTone

    NuSkoolTone Member

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    I am RIGHT ON with most of playon's comments. I despise power jacks on the sides. The lack thereof I'm not thrilled about either. I just Dremelled the bottom plate of my blackbox inferno so I can fit a wire through there.

    I understand it's part of the "Custom" process, but I too would like more durable paint. Hey often this stuff isn't available at the local store and you have to buy sight unseen. A lot of times while it's a good pedal, I'll flip it if it's not for me or doesn't get used. It SUCKS when the thing chips to bits from the 3 gigs I used it, and I have to reduce the price accordingly. I shouldn't be forced to audition the pedal in my bedroom, which even THEN still gets chipped!

    Also as a gear whore I prefer smaller pedals, it lets me put more of them on my board! CHARGE ME the extra $5 if you have to to use a smaller box, it's OK! Or if it's that much of a pain in the ass, charge a "PITA premium" for the small box and watch those pedals still outsell the larger one.

    Also, put me on for LED's on all pedals. If the tone change isn't DRASTIC, I'd rather have it. Save me the "oops!" moment at the gig ok?
     
  15. Toasted

    Toasted Member

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    I agree. Small is good. Top Jacks are good. Dc tap is good. Nice stiff knobs (make your own joke here) so I don't lose my settings too easily. Nice clicky click click switches.

    Blue LEDs sound better - fact.
     
  16. Don Rusk

    Don Rusk Vendor

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    all good stuff.....

    I have rarely kept a pedal that didnt have AC/Led....often I have been in purge mode and they all sound good, the ones that go often are the ones that are restrictive in anyway and not having an AC tap or led indicator is more work,less useful....

    Jacks on top are good , but can also be annoying if its the only one ~ it takes up space above on a two or t hree tiere board arrangement.....
     
  17. BmoreTele

    BmoreTele Member

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    Jacks along the top, power jack, LED, no bigger than necessary, blinking LED in tempo for any delay or effect with an LFO, option to get different colors of the knobs. More light colored pedal finishes. It can get pretty dark up on stage.

    The foot switches that Jon Cusack uses are great. No big "click" to get picked up by my delay pedal further down the line, but still a good feel that works every time and is TB. Defintely no "pop."

    The battery tray on the old Big Tone Music Brewery pedals was excellent.

    I don't mind the plastic jacks. The good ones.

    An instruction sheet with suggested settings would be nice.

    Easy to remove/replace feet or feet that are not so big that they preclude using velcro.

    An on/off switch to preserve batteries would be cool.

    As to sound clips - more is good, but they can be deceptive. There are so many variables, it's impossible to predict exactly how a specific pedal will sound in each and every rig.
     
  18. Powderfinger

    Powderfinger Gold Supporting Member

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    Hallelujah! I hate the fact that half my pedals have power jacks on the top, a quarter on the right and a quarter on the left. Put 'em on the top.
     
  19. lv

    lv Supporting Member

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    too funny man! :D
     
  20. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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    I don't know.... I guess the main reason is Tone.
     

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