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Are Vintage Pedals better?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Mr_Martin, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's

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    For me, it all depends on the unobtanium levels in the pedal-Fuzz Faces being a prime example of that. Something about germanium transistors with that circuit just make it sing (the good ones anyways!). But if the components are still available, it's a whole 'nother story-my Mr. Vermin pedal matched my '86 Blackface RAT perfectly, so I sold said rat, and Mr. Vermin has found its place on my pedalboard. New issue RATS with the OP07 chip don't sound quite the same, or have that spongy feel when you play them at volume, but all the LM308 chipped RATS (and their clones) sound correct. Now, that chip has been out of production for some time, and NOS supplies are dwindling-I have no idea how many of those chips are left out there.

    As for SMD, I can see the argument for consistency, but I still worry about reliability, especially when there are board mounted jacks, pots and switches involved-but that's always been the case with that stuff. I do like being able to work on through hole components, but that's because I'm old school, and from working on old Fender amps and the like...

    Franc Robert
     
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  2. mictester

    mictester TDPRI Member

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    Incidentally, some of the component choices in vintage pedals were simply down to expediency - the 4558 (for example) in the Tubescreamer was only chosen because it was the cheapest bipolar dual op-amp available, not for any sonic properties. The JRC4558D (the one that's supposedly "better" than all the others) cost <$0.02 in quantities in the 70s. The 2SC1815BL that were used for the buffers actually cost more than the IC at the time!
     
  3. GoodAugust

    GoodAugust TDPRI Member

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    Vintage Is "Better" isn't the right word.

    Individually Unique is a better term.

    We talk about it like there's fairy dust sprinkled all over them, but what we should talk about is the tolerance values that clearly were worse in yesteryear than they are now. Companies were probably working with 10% tolerance shifts if not larger. Even with the high standard of 1% tolerance today, you will still find differences, try two brand new Rat pedals and set the dials exactly the same and tell me which one sounds better.

    The same can be said about vintage pickups. Are they better? No they were wrapped I'm a non-standardized way and can also be considered unique.

    That's why when you hear an artist say "and this *vintage pedal* is the only one that sounds good. I can't get my tone without it," It's because of that uniqueness in the tolerance.
     
  4. Sleepyscholar

    Sleepyscholar Tele-Meister

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    Another way of looking at this issue is to consider why vintage pedals command such high prices. Superficially, you might imagine it's the peerless sound. But is that necessarily true? I wrote a book in 1995 that is now going for $400 on eBay. Is my book worth $400? God, no! I'd happily send a PDF of the damn thing to anyone who wanted it. But I'll warrant no one would. Because they aren't actually interested in the book. They are only interested in its relative rarity and collectibility. The same dynamic interferes with valuation of old pedals: in many cases inflated prices derive from entirely spurious characteristics.

    So this means that it is possible to get an old pedal, for relatively little money, which sounds fantastic. Is it likely? Probably not.
     
  5. Tweeker

    Tweeker TDPRI Member

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    "If it sounds good it is good". Everything else is immaterial.
     
  6. goodcheaptele

    goodcheaptele Tele-Meister

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    To me, pedals can be a blessing but in many cases they become a curse. Firstly, it behooves me to state that I am a fan of CLEAN TONES. Fender Twang is my goal. I only have two pedals in my home studio or at a gig. I have a Keeley DDR (which is a three-in-one) going into a Behringer GDI 21. Of course I can add a few effects via the DAW at my partner's home studio (he used to be a recording engineer back in the day). However, I seek to never lose the basic clean sound as we only seek to enhance it. It would seem that a player who prefers heavy distortion would not agree with any of what I said.
     
  7. Allenjason95

    Allenjason95 Tele-Meister

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    Wouldn't that depend on the pedal?

    It's not like pedals are some monolithic group, there's a million different pedals made by a million different companies and even pedals that are ostensibly the same have been made in different countries with different parts.

    I don't think vintage in general is better but I'm sure there is some vintage gear that is better.
     
  8. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    No
     
  9. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

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    If it’s any peace of mind, I’ve had way more stress problems with 16mm pots and the stupid wafer breaking, or coming irreparably loose, or wiper becoming damaged than I have with the new style sealed 9mm ones. No difference board mounted or not, SMT or not, many through hole pedals use board mounted. I find that the 9mm ones give the board more support than the long legged 16mm. Toggle Switches, same deal, unless you’re using the ones that aren’t secured to the panel, or you’re doing something with a momentary tact switch on the board. Then you might be asking for trouble. Remember that the point of stress is on the pot or switch body. The board is just supposed to be dangling from them.

    Now I agree that horizontally mounted jacks can introduce issues (I’ve never really had too many problems vertically mounted, but I don’t know of any pedals that would have that). I mean those cliff or neutrik jacks are all around way better than old school wafer style. But when horizontal, and especially when the sides of the enclosure have a bit of a slant to them, they can flex the board too much for SMT components. Board mounted foot switches can be a problem too, but for both THT and SMT.

    I think a well thought out design with daughter boards, straight angles, and ribbon connectors to eliminate as many points of stress is going to be more reliable than most vintage things. SMT or not. The newer way huge pedals come to mind. I’m the type of guy that is going to be a lot more pissed off if I pay good money for something and it’s a rats nest in there or if I see any hot glue than if it’s SMT.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
  10. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    All I can say is from my experience is no. Most of the comments on this thread were over my head. I actually had to google SMD and SMT. Trust me, SMD has nothing to do with pedals, but SMT means surface mount technology. I learned something here:
    It’s SMT, definitely NOT SMD. Wise up on the acronyms guys. For kicks and giggles, look up SMD.
     
  11. teletdf

    teletdf TDPRI Member

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    The cliched answer is to use what sounds good to you. Like most of us, you can spend a ton of good whisky money chasing tone.
     
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  12. Stephen Begley

    Stephen Begley TDPRI Member

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    As I enter this market from the classical world, I hear a lot about vintage and NOS stocks. I also hear that component manufacturers also tolerated much wider variances and pedals like the Fuzz Face were pretty much a story of pot luck, if you got a good one. I hear players would often audition consignmnts of these pedals to cheery pick the best sounding. What we can't argue with is the elegance of their engineering skills. Many of these circuits live on because they were clearly conceived and executed. In a word: elegant. If they had had reliable components back in the fifties, they would have used them. manufacturing tech was just starting to grapple with solid state components and the quality coming off the production lines was variable to say the least. The argument for vintage is really about what we expect in terms of sound, and the great sounding gear of today is for many, an analogue sound, warm and rich. Solid state can provide this but it loses the natural sound of SAG present in analogue circuit designs. I work with SMD's and they're fiddly - 0206 forms are about as miniature as I can handle. But given the elegance of these circuits, it is quite easy to build them yourself and there you have the benefit of choice in the selection of quality components. Easy too, to tailor the sound/frequency response to your specific taste without ruining the analogue quality that is so desirable.

    My advice would be to avoid the vintage market, it is too overpriced and unless you're paying for an item with a good provenance, too patchy to give you desired results.

    I build all my own gear. And customise it to my preferences. If anyone is interested, you can PM me.
     
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  13. decibel

    decibel TDPRI Member

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    Way worse. Noisy and unreliable, crappy or zero buffer, etc. We're in the golden age of pedals.
     
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  14. rwdavis2

    rwdavis2 TDPRI Member

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    Depends. I used to have a late 70's Big Muff that has never been equaled by current versions. Either the regular or "Deluxe". I sold it for a very healthy profit years ago and wish I had it back.
     
  15. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    When discussing my vintage pedals, you could substitute vintage for broken

    That's my TS10, my '83 TS-9, ...and about 5 more.

    This thread reminds me to get them fixed and sell 'em quick, except the TS-10
     
  16. davesdrums

    davesdrums TDPRI Member

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    dod111.jpg A very subjective topic. As to what is BEST resides within the ear Of the player/listener And we all have different opinions so...... I have to say whatever works for you is best. I have built pedals for the last 39 years, only building and using 3 types: boosts, fuzz, and overdrives. My "Go-To". overdrive is a DOD 250 1979 version with switch for 3 different tones, si diodes, germaniums, and leds with an eq modification suiting my ear. Quite frankly I'm tired of building pedals - although I do still occasionally experiment a bit. My new love over the last 13 years is modifying telecasters!
     
  17. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    It makes my day better to know that someone is producing a pedal named "Mr.Vermin".

    Didn't JHS buy the factory and start making those again? Or was that another chip?
     
  18. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Right you are sir. BOSS pedals have good buffering and it pays to have one or two your chain; even the TU2 is buffered.
     
  19. Esquier

    Esquier TDPRI Member

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    I think it's something like newly re-mastered LPs and vintage vinyl and original pressings. I prefer new ones. The old stuff doesn't always deserve the premium price. Buddy awarded me a broken original chrome Mosrite Fuzzrite, and then claimed it back a couple weeks later when he found out what a working original would fetch. But neither of us knows who can fix it other than that Fuzzrite expert from the Mosrite factory.
     
  20. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Afflicted

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    It depends.

    Mostly "no", though.
     
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