[interview] AMT Electronics: Sergey Marichev

Here's FXDB's interview with Sergey Marichev of AMT Electronics:

How did AMT Electronics start?

It was hard to get any guitar gear in former Soviet Union in 70-80s, so I started building it by myself. It was for personal use only at first, but then I started to make it for my friends, for my friends' friends and so on :)

In 1987 a small company called Asia was set up. I ran the business along with other five enthusiasts - mostly musicians. The company manufactured guitar effects, electronic march drum kits which became very popular all over the country, and drum midi converters.

In 1991 the company’s name was changed to Asia MT (Asia Music Technology), and the production of the guitar effects became its main activity. From the technological point of view Asia MT’s products rose to a very high level. The original technical ideas and creative approach to solving various types of tasks resulted in the production of a series of effects accessible to Russian musicians.

In 2001 the company got its present name - AMT Electronics, it was also our first appearance at Musikmesse in Frankfurt. We've got our first worldwide contracts there!

At first we made copies of other guitar gear, then modifications and finally we came to our unique innovative solutions for guitar effects, preamps and now even for power amps.

Our team isn't big, but we design everything on our own. Keeping sound great, making smart ideas come true, having happy customers :)

Where do the name and logo come from?

At first, in 1991 the company was called Asian Music Technologies, but then in 2001 the name was changed to AMT Electronics. It was a start of new phase of company development.

It's just a solid AMT Electronics logo, solid as the guitar gear we create:)

What sets AMT Electronics apart from other builders?

  1. We love finding original innovative solutions for our products that make our pedals sound great, while staying affordable and look and feel solid.
  2. We pay attention to selecting parts for our circuits: high quality comes at the first place, then price.
  3. We make quite unique products for the market. Some of them may seem not that exclusive as compared to other products on the market, but in fact all of them have original design and unique features.
    We all love tube sound, but tube amps are heavy and quite fragile because of the tubes. So we found a solution for having a tube sound in our compact-sized pedals.

How do you start on a new pedal?

First, there is an idea: either from us, or from our musician friends, from musicians on the internet,... It has to be a great idea. Then we design a solution using our experience and own groundwork or design something new and challenging. Next we build a prototype, test it, see if we like it or not, if it is easy enough or reasonably difficult to assemble. There can be many iterations until we are satisfied with it. And only then we start serial production of the product. It usually takes from 2 to 6 months from an idea of a product to its serial production.

How do you name your pedals?

All names come from brainstorming by the team and the team's friends.

There is one story we can tell :) We were thinking for a name for our new compact power amplifier that sounds and behaves just as tube power amplifiers. And after another brainstorming session that didn't give any result our lead engineer went to buy some cakes for a tea break and came up with the 'Tube Cake', a name that is really awesome:)

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All pedals are built in-house in Omsk. Out staff counts 10 builders, there are 15-20 people on our staff all in all.

For our circuits we use several techniques: PCB, SMT, partly hand-wired.

Enclosures are made partly in Novosibirsk, Russia (laser metal cutting) and the rest of the work (bending to the right form, spray painting, silkscreening) is done in-house.

How important is the look of your pedals?

The look of AMT pedals is very important. The design (look) of all our pedals is made by me. I work carefully on every detail.

Is parts selection important?

We buy 90% of parts outside Russia. As we mentioned we pay attention to high quality of parts we use. We take samples and test them at first. We buy parts that have the best quality directly from manufacturers. This is very important to guarantee the high quality of the end product.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

We are proud of all of them. But the SS-20 and Legend Amp series give us a little bit more pride since they are deeply loved by many musicians. That is what our sales statistics show :)

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

We are working on new product, let's name it X-effect:) It's our toughest project and it's going to be awesome!

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

Top 4 bestsellers for the 2011 year are:

  1. SS-20
  2. SS-11
  3. Legend Amp R1
  4. Legend Amp P1

Compact size, great sound, high quality and affordable price are the main reasons of their popularity.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

We make products for a wide variety of genres. We take the musicians' needs into account and our own taste too of course :)

We collaborate with many musicians, you can find them in the artists section on our website. There was an anecdote involving Mattias Eklundh: before we met him he used our former bestseller: the Fatal Tube distortion pedal with built-in cabinet simulator. He performed a master class in France and noted that he was using the guitar pedal made in Russia, he loved the sound, but made fun about its look and mistake we made in the title 'serial namber' :) We contacted him and we are friends since then. Now we know English a bit better :)

What does the future of AMT Electronics look like?

Short term goals are to expand our production facilities to cover growing demand. And of course we are working on developing new hardware. We are constantly working on new products, so stay tuned!

Are you working on any new products?

Of course we are working on new pedals. We are constantly doing so :)

But we prefer not to disclose anything beforehand, until we have really good results. Stay tuned!

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