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Boutique builders that aren't SMT

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by telereissue, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. telereissue

    telereissue TDPRI Member

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    I've been having some thoughts we can debate about. I'm not trying to start a war on if SMT vs Handwired tone. My opinion is that if you're paying $150+ for a pedal, it should be handwired or pcb, vs SMT. We can do it with amps and charge more, why not with pedals?
    I went down this rabbit hole looking a gut shots of my favorite pedals.
    Feel free to share your favorite handwired drive too.
     
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  2. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

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    What I don’t get are the SMT that have so many components, they look like cities. You need that many parts to sound like an LPB-1?

    Then there are the expensive pedals that have to be SMD because they’re original designs with a quadrillion components and not copying something that was made at someone’s home in the ‘60s.
     
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  3. telereissue

    telereissue TDPRI Member

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    My main gripe here is the boutique builders charging handwired prices for smt pedals.
     
  4. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t look at it that way. I look at it in terms of how the pedal looks and sounds. I just bought a Wampler Triple Wreck V2. It looks like a Google Earth photo of Manhattan inside and pulls off a trick that, judging by its competitors, must be very difficult. I was happy to pay $200.
     
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  5. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    I am not tooled to troubleshoot, repair or mod SMT stuff... :oops:

    To be honest, I am afraid that it is only "disposable" stuff or "change whole board" kind of repair. o_O

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    -tbln
     
  6. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sorry...what is SMT?
     
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  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Smaller components, sitting on the board with no through hole mechanical mount, wave soldered by robots.

    I think that’s it?
     
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  8. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Afflicted

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    Surface
    Mount
    Technology
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If the goal of the company is to use cheaper imported SMT assemblies without lowering the selling price?
    If the SMT construction limits stuff like swapping parts in a spendy fuzz?
    I’d stay away.

    If the goal is as mentioned to miniaturize overly complex circuits and also makes them more affordable than hand assembled through hole construction, I’d buy it if it made sounds I wanted.
     
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  10. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I don't care how it's built. I have been playing for coming up on 30 years now. I've owned dozens of pedals, from dirt cheap to $400 brand new. The only thing I've had break on a pedal, new or used, in all that time is a 3PDT footswitch. It was from a bad batch, and the manufacturer sent me a quick replacement.
     
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  11. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’m in the same camp. I’ve never even opened a pedal, except to put a battery in it. Ok, I opened my Soul Food cause it had that little toggle switch inside and I wanted to try it. But modding and tweaking and other such craziness? Nah. Either I like it or I don’t. If I don’t, I won’t even buy it. If I do, there’s no reason to mess with it.
     
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  12. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cry me a river! You want Walmart prices, then buy Chinese pedals like I do. You can't expect US builders to match those prices. Their expenses are much higher, whether it's through hole or SM construction. You design a pedal, contract an OEM supplier with the expensive machines required for SMT, add all your other expenses, for parts, business licenses, insurance, advertising, taxes, payroll, rent, utilities, etc., and then tell me that it's too expensive. I'll wager that their margin is far lower than you think.
    That's what's wrong with the world today. People with no knowledge about something still think they're an expert, based on their uninformed and misguided opinions.
    Has anyone here actually worked in an assembly plant with wave solder and other expensive electronic assembly equipment? Well, I have! I worked in Silicon Valley my whole life before moving to Hawaii. That stuff isn't cheap. A wave solder or CNC machine costs as much as your house.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
  13. telereissue

    telereissue TDPRI Member

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    I'm not saying it is or isn't. My point is that they're charging hand built prices with Amazon parts inside. It's a great business model. Alot of good pedal makers don't, I've just seen more and more go toward SMT.
     
  14. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Friend of Leo's

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    I think you can't ignore the cost of R&D and that this cost has to be re-cooped through the first X number of sales BEFORE the product itself starts to turn a profit. Even if the design isn't original, how many 100's to 1000's of hours are spent to:

    a) Draw up the designs for the circuit, pcbs, spice (electronic test software), etc.
    b) Tweak component values to get the design just right
    b) Make sure it actually works across all changeable settings
    b) Make sure it sounds like it should before it goes out the door, across all changeable settings
    c) Test the initial runs that come back from the factory, wherever that may be

    It's not like, even for SMT, that a boutique builder just snaps their fingers and out pops a pedal. I think most of the work is actually done before it is ready for the factory to build, regardless of build process.

    Granted, it is designed once and built many times over, but your in a pretty big hole before you even get the first prototype back.
     
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  15. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    "Amazon parts" may be the most ridiculous, uninformed comment I've ever read. What does that even mean? SMT devices come in different quality levels, just as full size components do. Next time, before posting, actually do some research on the subject. This is just what I was saying. You think your opinion is fact, based on nothing but your opinion, and no facts to back it up. Who are you to decide what's "hand built prices"? The market decides, and JHS, Wampler, and others that use SMT technology are doing fine, and no one who buys their pedals are complaining. FYI, both Josh at JHS and Brian Wampler were very skeptical of SMT technology, until they built prototypes of some of their popular pedals, and they found that the SMT ones were not only more reliable, they were more consistent, sounded better, and had a lower noise floor. Those are the facts.
     
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  16. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's

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    Don’t care, as long as it sounds good.
     
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  17. elpico

    elpico Tele-Afflicted

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    SMT parts are more expensive than the old style parts, not less. I don't know where you got the idea that SMT = cheap. SMT = smaller. A part that can do the same job in a smaller package is harder to design, harder to manufacturer, and more valuable to the person buying the parts, so it usually costs more.

    And fwiw through hole PCBs are also assembled by robots. That's not at all something that started with SMT.

    SMT is generally tough as nails as well because nothing is free to vibrate while dangling from skinny leads.

    The one knock you can level at SMT is that your 70 year old, ham radio loving neighbour may not have the tools to repair your pedal. Those tools are easily available at modest cost though and SMT is a breeze to do rework on with the proper tools.
     
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  18. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    Your iPhone was made using SMT.
     
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  19. joebloggs13

    joebloggs13 Tele-Afflicted

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    Kingsley and Tubesteader make quality tube based pedals. However, they cost considerably more than your $150 price range...more in the $400 range.
     
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  20. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll ask a question to make a point, or at least support some points made by others above re: it's more than just the type of mounting that makes the difference.

    For the same money would you rather have an SMT circuit board built with the best components a competent builder could get or a hand-wired circuit soldered together on my kitchen table with parts I ordered without knowing the difference?
     
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