Updated 21 SEP 03
Pedals and effects
In this website, as most know or will learn, I sell nothing really. I try to provide information for folks - that is my
main objective. I single out amps, or techs, or tubes (primarily) or a few stores. I think these are the leaders in
the industry. Sure, there are probably a BUNCH I miss, but the ones I have listed here in my limited space and
time to list them, are some of the few that are something of the Lloyds 100+ A1 (a ship buliding certification ... I
was originally a Naval Architect) of the music bizz.
Okay ... what are pedals and effects doing here on this website? Folks that know me or who have seen me play,
generally do not see me use pedals or effects. I may not have used pedals in the recent past (in the late 70s
and 80s I used tons of them) .... but there may be changes in the future due to a fellow named Zachary Vex.
Before I get started on Zvex, I do want to clarify that most of my clients use pedals and effects. When an amp is
blueprinted, this is a big part of the picture, as many pedals do things to an amp's input signal that need to be
addressed. Pedals are an extensive part of the inventory of many of today's players.
Now ... getting on to this Zvex fellow.
It all started in a recording studio called The Complex, in Southern California a few months back. I was there for
a sound check / amp adjustment for a client at a recording session. While I was working, I heard an amazing
lead sound that I could not figure out. It was totally over the top, but still defined and articulate. It soudned
HUGE, as it was played back through the monitors in the control room. I started a conversation with the
engineer. He asked me what I thought it was. (I am somewhat known for helping folks get a specific tone when
they ask me ... how did so and so get that sound on a certain recording. ... I tell them, it was this amp set this
way, biased that way, with this or that guitar, etc.). The engineer bet me lunch at an expensive Sushi place up
on Santa Monica Blvd., that I could not figure it out. It was sort of Fender Champ cranked or Tweed Deluxe
cranked, ala "Layla", but with much more of an English amp character, and not at all Alnico speakers in an open
back cabinet though.
I asked if the engineer could call up the settings on the board that were used as a hint. He agreed, hit a few
recall buttons, and up came the board and the settings. There were no pads inserted, and the faders were right
in the best range for the best s/n ratio to boot. Ahhh ... I was on the right track I thought. Something smaller
maybe like a THD Univalve or GT Single .... maybe a James Peters amp?
I was listening to myself, and all the talks from the past I had given to others about using large diaphram super
mics to record guitar, and how those great classic mics do not like high levels. A small amp cranked, will sound
ten times larger than a massive amp cranked, as the mics are not overloaded where they loose all harmonic
content and detail, even with input pads ... as the signal is already trashed at that point.
To make an already long story not too much longer, I lost the bet. I was taken to see a Bogner 4x12 cabinet with
a device on top, not much larger than your typical pedal or stomp box. It had two little tubes. It had a little fan. It
was really cute, but heavier than one might expect (beefy and well made). It had a cool finish and really cool
artwork. I was given the "unit" .... a Zvex Nano Head (a real tube amp)
This amp has an iternal speaker that you can
use, a fan, but also a speaker jack. I tried it
with the internal speaker first, and got an
idea of what was going on, and then it was
plugged into the big 4x12 cabinet. All I can
say is that I was amazed.
I later opened it up and was even more
surprised at the jacks, case, components,
finish, and the artwork.
After playing with this Nano Head for a few
hours with various cabinets, even to the point
of taking ceramic magnet speakers out of
some cabs to replace the drivers with AlNiCo
P-12Rs, I was willing to stop playing.
At this point I was introduced to a few of the Zvex effects that were also around. Once again, very unique,
original designs, sonically pure, true bypass switching, and on and on and on.
For some items on my website, I have addtional links to an area where I have a bit more information. Sometimes
I like to add a little more, clarify a bit, or add a few photos. Over the past few weeks at places like True Tone
Music, I have plunged into these effects to learn more. The more I learn, the more I am impressed. The Zvex
effects (not just this amp), as the Ferrari or Bently Turbo R ... or Falcon 900EX of the effects world ... or at least
from what I have seen over a few decades of pedals. The REAL Zxex website is also pretty amazing, and does a
much better job than I can in getting across all the technical data. There is even an area on the Zvex site that
shows how to tell "fake" pedals that are copies of the originals.
In any case, I tried some amazing ones, and hit the website. Now I have to find some way to try to justify a
purchase of the and the which are both pretty darn hard to pass up with my WIFE.
Rather than try to explain any of this here, I would just suggest that you head over to the real Zvex website, as
there is much better information that I have here, big photos, operators manuals, and more.
So ............. if you want to learn more .......... just click on the offical Zvex logo below or one of the boxes to
take you to that particular unit on the actual Zvex site.
IMPORTANT NOTE on Zvex website!!!! - A sometimes missed aspect of
each of the photos above that take you to the actual link on the actual
Zvex website, is that on the Zvex website manual page, where there is a
photo like these at the top of the data sheet - if you click on the photo, a
very large and detailed image will be shown.
This is just a sample of what is made by Zvex. Probe pedals, power
supplies and more. So be sure to see the real website by using the logo
to the right.
Click on the logo above
to head to the actual
A very cool device - the smooth and slim - fixes a
lot of issues with Fender Tolex era amps and many
The info over on their website is a bit older by a
few years, with $75.00 price mentioned, These
now sell for $85.00 through a few selected dealers.
The one I looked at was at True Tone Music in
Santa Monica CA. They ship anywhere, so if you
are interested, give them a call - there is a True
Tone link elsewhere on this page.
For more info, just click on the photo at the left
AMT Electronics - more info via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do when you have a lot of former Soviet space science engineers and a lot of factory space sitting
idle at the end of the space program? I guess you have them make guitar pedals in Siberia!
I tested a number of these pedals recently and they are worth looking into. There is a lot of cool info on their
website that has photos and descriptions of each of the pedals. You can just click here to get to their website.
These pedals are in the Boss, Ibanez, DOD sort of price range. Not too pricey.
There were two that were very cool for me, the British Sound and Extreme III. The British Sound pedal with a
humbucker or single coil has a very full and deep sound that will even "body up" a the most thin Tele. The
Extreme III will make most Metal fans pretty happy. The EQ works really nicely on all the pedals.
I will try to have a person to contact here when I have a good email or phone number. For now, a number of
dealers do carry these so check them out.
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO FOR A LARGER IMAGE
Nice construction. One screw to remove battery cover. The
board is of very heavy material (maybe left over from the MIR
space lab?) The etch work is very good and the flow soldering
Press Release -
Two-month efforts aimed at creating of the new generation guitar effect have been crowned with success. The
new development by AMT Electronics characterized by the merger of merits inherent for digital and analog
devices was called Dist Machine. This is a 100% analog distortion with digital control and effect presets memory.
The device has four banks each having four adjustable patches with eight variable parameters. It means that
every Dist Machine owner obtains operative access to 16 patches with various effect parameters – from light
transparent overdrive in rock’n’roll style to mean thick distortion for heavy metal.
All factory presets can be copied from one patch to another, changed in accordance with individual requirements
and stored into any patch. For your convenience there is also Undo function which cancels the last storage
operation. Besides, every separate factory preset as well as all of them can be reset. The user-friendly interface
of the new effect allows effortless mastering of tones editing. Transitions from one bank to another or from one
patch to another as well as to BYPASS are really easy by means of two multi-functional footswitches. This feature
makes Dist Machine an irreplaceable tool during stage performances, when a guitarist can be able without
interruptions skip from one effect to another exactly at required moment. Dist Machine is the first one to feature
new footswitches providing durability of the device and reliability of switching.
The developers have managed to avoid one of the most serious flaws inherent to most guitar processors, whose
LCDs in the conditions of bright light are hard to read. The user of Dist Machine can be aware of its current status
by means of few multicolored LED indicators. They reflect all the functions of the device from the bank number to
the patch number and to the current level of variable parameters and battery condition. Dist Machine’s output is
balanced in such a way that it can be connected to mixer line input or guitar combo. All this is housed within
standard high-strength box by AMT Electronics. The weight of the device is 400 grams. Dist Machine is powered
by DC 9V adapter or standard 9V battery. The effect circuitry is provided with protection system against incorrect
adapter connection which simply refuses to switch on the device protecting it from damage.
Dist Machine will be commercially available in September – October 2004.
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