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How come that to my ear, DIY pedals lack a certain 'liveliness' most of the time

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by cnltb, Jul 9, 2019.

  1. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    I have noticed that to my ear, DIY Pedals often lack a certain tonal quality I find in pedals made by 'proper' companies. It#s a certain lack of 'liveliness'.

    Is it just psychological?
    gregmon79 likes this.
  2. groovaholic

    groovaholic The louder the better. Supporting Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI
    It depends whose DIY pedals you’ve heard - all the pedals that I’ve built sound at least as good as their commercial counterparts

    Of course, that is SOLIDLY “IMHO”

    I build according to what I want to hear

    But “lack of sparkle” suggests that signal is bleeding to ground somewhere, like a tone knob rolled part-way down
    Veldar likes this.
  3. Cat-o-matic


    Oct 1, 2015
    Electrical circuits used in most effects pedals are quite simple, which means that factory production isn't going to improve quality. If a DIY pedal is built properly, it sounds exactly the same as the "proper" one.

    Plus, a lot of boutique pedal companies advertise their pedals as hand-wired (which basically means DIY).
    I think a lot of what we hear is psychological. I mean for real, people on tgp were claiming that their 400 dollar Jan Ray sounded differently and better than a 125 dollar Timmy. Those are nearly 100% exact same circuits. However, nobody could properly A/B them when somebody posted a blind test demo :)

    Same here, if a factory pedal costs 200 bucks, we all subconsciously expect it to sound better than a 20 dollar clone
    gfen likes this.
  4. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    My experience is limited to hearing pedal kits.
    So; do they cut corners on parts when putting these kits together, maybe?
  5. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    I’ve also noticed this most times. There is most def a difference to my ears as well in most cases. I will admit, it very well could be my ear too. But to me, there is a more refined quality in “properly” built pedals to ones I’ve tried that friends or I have built. Even ones that I know are reliable and good builders. The only exception I’ve had so far is a recent one. The Damnation Para Drive. I had a buddy build it out for me with a couple mods and I think it sounds just like it would’ve if Jeff built it himself. But the circuit and layout was by Jeff, all my guy did was connect the dots so to speak. But I do know what you mean. Def difference to my ears in most cases too.
  6. Cat-o-matic


    Oct 1, 2015
    Depends on the kit I think. Low quality noname jacks, for example, will make the signal lose a bit of treble and sound duller
    Veldar likes this.
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I've looked at those BYOC kits and wondered if they any good. They do have bass pedal kits. I guess theres only one way to find out.
  8. jbybj

    jbybj Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Components have tolerances. More expensive = tighter tolerances.
    I’m guessing that the people who are Spiral Electric, Dunwich, and Broughton are not using the one Cap for that spot that came with the kit, but choosing the perfect cap from a bin full of caps.
    Maybe that’s part of the equation.
    oZZma and Evil_Druid like this.
  9. I have built a lot of Fuzzdog's kits and love them. They seem to have the same clarity as OEM pedals, but I always look at the circuit diagram and calculate the output buffer HPF and LPF cut offs and adjust to taste. Anything over 16khz is fine for a LPF and anything under 80Hz is fine for a HPF (although I tend to aim for about 50hz). Sometimes it's easier to swap out a resistor than a cap...other circuits it's the other way around....and sometimes you can file a notch in a resistor (and validate using multimeter) to make a very precise resistor value.
    oZZma likes this.
  10. I doubt many builders take the time to spec or blueprint each component, some certainly may require a tighter tolerance for their parts but measuring each one, nope it is too time consuming.

    Myths of builders taking pains do abound and add to the mystique, rarity and high prices for some particular pedals, amplifiers or guitars, I can attest to a few myself as witness.

    AusTone Electronics if ever come across any buy it if it is reasonable, they sound amazing on bass and guitar, were all built by meticulously loving hand, part by part by Vintage Jon Bessent in Austin Texas. I have done pieces on them here so search them out there were the Fuzz Nutz, Fuzz Nutz TexTone, Millenium Overdrive, Soul-o-Stomp, Vibro-Stomp.
  11. vinnydbass


    Feb 4, 2008
    I built a BYOC Vibrato. After some adjusting of the trim pots, the sound is identical to my Boss VB-2. I bought it as a backup before the waza craft version was available. The components seem to be of good quality. I've had the pedal for almost ten years now, not a problem to report here.
  12. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    I have built a couple of Fuzzdog kits and I had the same impression.
  13. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    If it's built the same way, using the same values, then it's simply confirmation bias. "This was made by a 'professional' so it must be better."

    Parts is parts, they all work the same way. The only place DIY can be different is if someone's trying to ape a circuit and has to guess at how it was done or what the values are/were.
    alfonso_bundis likes this.

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