Author Topic: Why do some pedals just sound awesome  (Read 3625 times)

Adam_MD

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Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« on: June 21, 2016, 06:26:59 AM »
Something I've been thinking about recently I've just built 2 KOT clones for myself and a friend one on pcb and one on vero both builds are using the same brand and part values though admittedly I didn't meter every part before installing them.  The pcb pedal sounds really good and just like the last KOT I made myself the vero, however, sounds absolutely fantastic.  I've spent ages over the last few nights going back to back and cannot tell the difference between the two pcb pedals when they've been dialed in whereas the vero build both me and my friend could pick it out everytime regardless of which of us was playing.  I get that components have tolerances I've used metal film resistors 1% tolerance, 5% film caps and NPO ceramics in all of them from the same order could the individual tolerances add up to one pedal being spectacular compared with the others? 

If that is the case then how often have you had a 'magic' pedal?


madbean

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2016, 07:04:12 AM »
Whoever can answer this will be a millionaire. Seriously.
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EBRAddict

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2016, 07:16:47 AM »
9mm/16mm pots are +/- 20%

Matmosphere

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2016, 07:29:59 AM »
Having a very good dual gang pot is supposed to be a big factor I that pedal.

Leevibe

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2016, 08:10:09 AM »
The vero may have been sitting in a bin in the back of some warehouse for decades. In that time, the copper has been allowed to age. The electrons have "sweetened", meaning that they slide past each other in a very fluid way. The electrons in your PCB traces are still "green." They need to be broken in. It's like they have rough edges that still need to be knocked off. Play some frequency sweeps through it for a few days and you will be amazed!

OK, OK. It would be interesting to measure the resistance on both sides of the pot wipers to verify that they are truly set the same. 20% pot tolerance factored with the knob placement on the shaft can easily account for significant differences. A couple dB of volume difference will seriously fool you every time. Gain matching is critical. To a human, louder = better.

Matmosphere

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2016, 08:22:35 AM »
The vero may have been sitting in a bin in the back of some warehouse for decades. In that time, the copper has been allowed to age. The electrons have "sweetened", meaning that they slide past each other in a very fluid way. The electrons in your PCB traces are still "green." They need to be broken in. It's like they have rough edges that still need to be knocked off. Play some frequency sweeps through it for a few days and you will be amazed!

It's all about those electrons.

Adam_MD

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2016, 08:32:23 AM »
Whoever can answer this will be a millionaire. Seriously.

I assumed that would be the correct answer.

The vero may have been sitting in a bin in the back of some warehouse for decades. In that time, the copper has been allowed to age. The electrons have "sweetened", meaning that they slide past each other in a very fluid way. The electrons in your PCB traces are still "green." They need to be broken in. It's like they have rough edges that still need to be knocked off. Play some frequency sweeps through it for a few days and you will be amazed!

OK, OK. It would be interesting to measure the resistance on both sides of the pot wipers to verify that they are truly set the same. 20% pot tolerance factored with the knob placement on the shaft can easily account for significant differences. A couple dB of volume difference will seriously fool you every time. Gain matching is critical. To a human, louder = better.

We were very careful to not just set the controls in the same places but to try and match the sound from one pedal regardless of where the pots were set.  That's why I said the 2 pcb built pedals were indistinguishable from each other when set up this way.  The Vero pedal just sounds better no matter where the knobs were set or even if it was quieter than the others.  I might try measuring the pot resistance to set them to the same values for a laugh.

I was wearing my lucky purple shirt when I soldered the Vero board so maybe that added some extra mojo!

peAk

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2016, 08:41:52 AM »

gtr2

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2016, 09:56:17 AM »
Potentially the vero has been infused with unicorn tears

Seriously though, Bean nailed it :)
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DPTX

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2016, 01:33:20 PM »
This has happened to me many times.  Built several big muffs and one stands out as magical.  Same parts, same everything.  One sounds sweet, the others harsh.  I've gone over it many times and can't find a difference. 

You throw in 1-5%, 20% tolerances over 30+ parts and viola, you get the same variation you find in biological species.  There are always those outliers that sound amazing (or awful, on the other end of the spectrum).

And the lucky shirt makes a difference.

flanagan0718

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2016, 01:36:10 PM »
Because bean has some "STANK RIFFS"!!!

-Mike-

peAk

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2016, 02:15:53 PM »
you think it happens with pedals a lot, imagine how it is with analog synths.

that's the beauty of analog


EBRAddict

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2016, 03:05:40 PM »
This has happened to me many times.  Built several big muffs and one stands out as magical.  Same parts, same everything.  One sounds sweet, the others harsh.  I've gone over it many times and can't find a difference.

I've had this happen with a Zen Drive on vero. It's maddening to re-create it.

Cortexturizer

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2016, 03:49:20 PM »
Happened to me a couple of times, and always vero sounds better. It's a bitch to build on vero in comparison to pcb but there is something about it, seriously. I've heard some stories that vero being what it is can produce parasitic capacitance or something like that which influences the sound. A dude that's designing pcbs for living for a huge company/factory told me that. Dunno.
Best muffs (pharaoh) I've made have been on vero.

thesmokingman

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Re: Why do some pedals just sound awesome
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2016, 08:51:41 PM »
the tolerance is more believable than parasitic capacitance or induction. I say this because the parasitic capacitance between tracks is going to filter at best ultrasonic frequencies in the MHz range. if we were building a radio transmitter, it would be a problem.
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