[review] Totally Wycked Audio GD-02 Great Divide MkII (by LievenDV)

The "Totally Wycked Audio Great Divide 2.0" (in short: TWA GD-02) should have been on the Christmas list of many of those that consider themselves "mad scientists in audio".

Believe me, that IS a compliment! Have you seen the controls on this thing? You are either afraid of all the sliders or just eager to dive right into soundscaping.

You shouldn't be limiting yourself to one instrument though. I tried an acoustic guitar, electric guitar and a cheap toyish keyboard. Because of the synthy character of this pedal, you'll notice that your old, crappy keyboards might actually come alive again, with a great new growling and aggressive attitude.

I will not go over too much of the details but the essence of this pedal is the ability to determine the mix of dry, -1 octave, +1 octave, a SYN and a SUB voice.

The SYN voice is, as the name suggest, a synth sound based on 4 types of waveforms (which you decide too)

The wacky people at Godlyke Distributing like to go all crazy over the controls and possibilities of the GD-02 MKII to and it's their good right to do so. They changed some major functionalities compared to the first version though. You should really visit their page to read the full story on these changes. In short? Good call; it's affordable mayhem! They added more voices to the pedal so that ain't a bad thing, right?

[review] Mu-FX (by Mike Beigel) Tru-Tron 3X (by Bieke)

In the beginning of 2013, Bart told me that he discovered that Mike Beigel - founding father and chief designer of Musitronics Corporation -  had filed a couple of trademarks at the USPTO. So the wait began...

A couple of months later Mike announced that he started a new company – Mu-FX™ – and that he was nearly ready to release a first pedal, the Tru-Tron 3X™,an envelope filter, very similar to the original Mu-Tron III he designed about 40 years ago.

Now, the Mu-Tron III was originally meant to be part of a Guild synthesizer, but Guild stopped this project and not much later Mike Beigel formed Musitronics together with former Guild electronics engineer Aaron Newman. They developed a pedal using the Timbre Generator section of the Guild synth, and this became the Mu-Tron III, the first envelope controlled filter pedal. Bob Moog helped to file a patent application.

The Mu-Tron III was a big hit, it was an effect that had many applications, and a lot of talented artists incorporated it into their music, Bootsy Collins used it on bass, Stevie Wonder used it on keys, Jerry Garcia used it on guitar...

Beigel eventually got his patent granted and Musitronics licensed the Mu-tron III circuitry to Univox, Monacor and others in the seventies.

ARP Instruments bought Musitronics in 1979, they continued making the Mu-Tron III until they went out of business about a year later. In the 1990s, there was a "reissue" - the HAZ Mu-Tron III+, but Mike Beigel did not have any connections with this reissue and the circuit was different to that of the original Musitronics Mu-Tron III.

However, in 1995, Mike Beigel teamed up with Electro-Harmonix to recreate the Mu-Tron III and this cooperation resulted in the creation of the infamous Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron.

Jump to 2013, Mike Beigel starts production of the Tru-Tron 3X™ and announces: "The unit, although smaller than its predecessor, the Musitronics Mu-Tron III, is bigger in features and equal or better (my opinion) in sound and versatility.”

This calls for a review.

[interview] Rat Pedals: Nick Sylaidos

Here's FXDB's interview with Nick Sylaidos of Rat Pedals.

Rat Pedals is run by Nick Sylaidos. His workshop is located in Athens, Greece.

How did Rat Pedals start?

The story begins back to 2008 when I used to make small transistor guitar amplifiers from kits and forums.

This was not enough ! As a guitarist I got bored with all these digital processor multi-effects and I was looking for something else.

In the beginning I got help from forums and professional stompbox builders.

[interview] Hotone Audio: Noah Krieg

Here's FXDB's interview with Noah Krieg of Hotone Audio.

Hotone Audio is based in China and Hong Kong.

How did Hotone Audio start?

President Guo Runbo was a guitarist doing gigs with a band, and when he couldn’t find the pedals he needed, he started making his own in 1996.

After being involved with other companies first, in 2012, Runbo’s vision could no longer be contained, and he distinguished his new creations under the Hotone brand.

The company is still inspired by working musicians, everyone in the company has real music experience.

[interview] Dwarfcraft Devices takes over Devi Ever FX

As you probably know by now, last week Dwarfcraft Devices announced it took over ownership and management of Devi Ever FX.

It was no secret that Devi wanted to leave the pedal business and Dwarfcraft was the best candidate according to most fans and clients, but I still asked both parties for a bit more info and background:

[interview] SviSound: Mark Svirkov

Here's FXDB's interview with Mark Svirkov of SviSound.

SviSound is run by Mark Svirkov and moved from Russia to Varna, Bulgaria.

How did SviSound start?

I did my first pedal in 1979 year for school band. First I did many pedals and devices for my friends for free, then I started to do it for money :)

I didn't get any help, I found most info on Internet and I create my devices myself, because I have a lot of experience with it.

[interview] Shoe Pedals: Christopher Venter

Here's FXDB's interview with Christopher Venter of Shoe Pedals.

Shoe Pedals is a one person operation created and run by composer CJM Venter. It is located in Meriden, Connecticut, USA.

How did Shoe Pedals start?

I started many years ago by building a ESV Fuzz kit from Build Your Own Clone. It took me all day to figure out what I was doing and I said to myself, how the hell do people do this for a living? I sort of gave up on doing pedals for a while after that but I kept wanting pedals to do things they didn't really do. I started commissioning custom work from a few single person builders like Mellowtone and Young Pedals and I realized I really liked the design process, so after a lot of practice and research, I eventually was able to start doing all of the design and building myself.

My father and amp builder/tech Cono Fusco (Queens, NY) have probably been the biggest help in teaching me electronics. I am, by education, a Master in English and also in Interdisciplinary Humanities, so electronics is not something I went to school for. My dad, who is now a photographer, went to school for computer science and was a programmer for many years. He was trained in analog electronics as well and taught me a lot about the basic concepts growing up. When I started seeing how I could use them to make pedals these ideas made a lot more sense to me and I was finally able to ask the right questions to really understand how to use them to manipulate audio.

My friend and amp builder Cono Fusco has also been a great help. He's an excellent amp designer and, of course, works with tube-based technology and high voltage designs while I work in solid state and low voltage so the strategies are a bit different.

Besides that, my friend Derek Warwas is a great guitarist who knows a lot about different gear and is a very harsh and honest critic. He is often looking for a pedal to do something totally different from what I want it to do (and he has a much lower tolerance for noise/experimental sounds than I do) so his input is a big help in expanding my perspectives beyond the circle of sort of audio perverts I'm used to hanging out with.

[interview] JerroStomp: Jerry Ernst

Here's FXDB's interview with Jerry Ernst of JerroStomp.

JerroStomp is Jerry Ernst, Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, and is located in Rochester New York, USA.

How did JerroStomp start?

A prospective employer wanted someone with more of an electronics background so I decided to learn more about it and started with Arduino before finding BYOC kits, which looked a lot cooler than making LED's fade in and out. Over a few months I started studying and building from internet schematics.

I was referred by Prymaxe to Earthquaker Devices, in particular the Hoof Fuzz. With The Hoof I found what real tone could be, and I love its rich creamy throaty sound, reminiscent of Clapton on Disraeli Gears. That is still the standard I aspire to. My other big influence is Gary Sunda, who founded the short-lived Sunda Amplification before moving on to being a VP at Randall and other gigs. They made the Sunda Fuzz Sound in 1968,and I bought one of about 50 that they made. It was the only pedal I used for years. Once I got my feet wet in pedals I set out to approximate this pedal working from gut pictures found on the Effects Database and eventually got in touch with Mr. Sunda through his family's business, Orange County Speaker Repair. I sent Mr. Sunda the first working box and have his blessing on this project. I use his jacks in my semi-clone of his work and his GLS plugs in my patch cables. Tradition is good.

[interview] Cog Effects: Tom George

Here's FXDB's interview with Tom George of Cog Effects.

Cog Effects is owned and run by Tom George in Sheffield, UK, and was formed in 2013.

How did Cog Effects start?

Cog Effects started when I found a lack of bass guitar oriented effects pedals that gave me the tones I was after in my band. It began initially with changes to existing pedals before building them from scratch with changes to allow more freedom over the tones that could be squeezed out. This general theme has carried on into Cog Effects, where a decent proportion of my business is in the form of custom orders to add further scope to the circuits I already offer in my stock range.

Internet helped me a lot: GEOFEX, AMZ and diystompboxes.com provide great resources for the DIY pedal builder, and builders such as SFX Sound, Ruz Guitar Gear and Frequency Central UK have put out pedals I have particularly admired.

[interview] Neo-Classic Effects: Steve Mavronis

Here's FXDB's interview with Steve Mavronis of Neo-Classic Effects.

Neo-Classic Effects is run by Steve N. Mavronis in Baltimore, Maryland USA.

How did Neo-Classic Effects start?

I got into the DIY world in January 2010 researching the vintage 'gray' DOD 250 Overdrive pedal and how it works. After many months of development I created my own unique PCB layout pattern using ExpressPCB and finished a stompbox based on the sound of the last 1979-1980 gray version. I called it the Neo-Classic 741 Overdrive. It represents a classic overdrive that's become very popular with guitar players of the Neoclassical Rock genre for its midrange 'Grail Tone' guitar leads. I learned that you don't have to pay high auction prices to get the same tone as a vintage original stompbox. Just build your own and it's easier than you would think! My first ever DIY project turned out so nice it encouraged me to build my Neo-Classic 3080 Compressor, based on the classic 'script' era MXR Dyna Comp pedal from the 1976-1977 era by referencing the factory schematic and as before the PCB part-to-part connections for an authentic recreation. I hand-built both pedal projects myself but my father Nicholas was a big help in transferring my PCB layout artwork to printed circuit boards that he also tinned for protection using his homemade electroplating rig. He also etched my aluminum photo-resist faceplates from my custom label artwork.

My first pedal builds would not have been possible without the help and support from experienced DIY'ers at web forums like DIYstompboxes. There are too many to name but I would like to thank them all.

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