[interview] Crazy Tube Circuits: Christos Ntaifotis

Here's FXDB's interview with Christos Ntaifotis of Crazy Tube Circuits:

How did Crazy Tube Circuits start?

I was always fascinated with electrons. It is probably in my DNA. My father had studied electronics long before I was born and my grandfather's tube radios were my first toys.

My studies in Applied Mathematics & Physics gave me a boost (hehe) but I was quickly drawn in the prototyping process.

Where do the name and logo come from?

Back in the early 2000s my friends were calling me "crazy tube guy" because of my love for tubes and my NOS tube collection. Just for fun I photoshopped a funny face of me inside a tube and that was the inspiration when I was looking for a name for my very first designs.

When I started CTC I did everything on my own. From circuit design to pedal graphics, logo etc. But I was not that happy with the original logo or exterior look of my pedals so I was looking for something else. In the summer of 2008 I was happy to meet Michael Moschos, a person who has been in the Crazy Tube Circuits team as Art Director ever since. Michael redesigned the logo and all the existing pedals' appearance. He is also responsible for the look of every new pedal coming out.

What sets Crazy Tube Circuits apart from other builders?

I try to stay away from cloning existing and well known designs. I wouldn't build a fuzz face or a tube screamer just because there are already so many great clones out there. I really enjoy the R&D process.

How do you start on a new pedal?

A pedal comes to life as an idea. Then my breadboard and circuit design/simulation software come handy.

After a few months of tests some prototypes are built and tested in live situations to get feedback before final mods. After that Michael works on the look and I will design the PCB layout. It usually takes a year for an idea to become a pedal ready for production, sometimes even more.

How do you name your pedals?

Well I remember how the names of these 2 pedals came out because we just couldn't find a name for them for some time...

The names for the Ziggy family of pedals came out after a friend who beta tests all pedals loves that song and said while playing the riff: "Hey why don't you name it Ziggy".

The name for the Vyagra clean boost came out somehow the same way... "Hey that thing makes you sound huge"

As you can see we all share a little craziness.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All pedals are built in-house. There are two builders on staff, me being one of them.

On standard production pedals we use high quality PCBs. We build/solder them by hand.

All enclosures are hand drilled and powder coated twice before being silkscreened for a beautiful and professional / durable look.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Important enough to have Michael work all day long, with last minute changes, shouting at me :-)

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Circuit design is like writing music. Instead of combining different notes or chords to produce melodies you combine transistors, capacitors and resistors... You usually don't write a song for a specific genre or a specific public, you write it because the result suits your needs, it makes you feel good.

We are proud to have some of our guitar heroes playing with our pedals: Nels Cline, David Hidalgo, Henry Kaiser, Dweezil Zappa are some of them and hopefully more to come.

Are you working on any new products?

Along with the first amp models getting in production (at last), this year some crazy modulation stuff is on the way...

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