[interview] DDyna Music: Dan Simon

Here's FXDB's interview with Dan Simon of DDyna Music:

How did DDyna Music start?

Originally DDyna Music was going to debut in the pro audio sector (and may still get there), but entry costs were twice what we had and projections showed 18 months of no income. After chasing our tails looking for additional capital, the enterprise floundered and people moved on to earn real incomes. Despite the setback, my passion for music equipment wouldn’t let me go and DDyna Music the pro audio company became DDyna Music the pedal pusher.

My main inspiration came from frustration converting internal song visions into real world creations, it is not an easy process. A given device (or software) may get you close, but to nail it, you need options, lots of options and alternatives.

Where does the logo come from?

The name DDyna is short for Double-Dynamic and of course, Music Company.

Once the company name was selected, deriving a logo was an arduous task sketching out the desired image and insuring it wasn't already in use. I'd never ventured from CAD before and translating paper to bits was quite the learning experience.

What sets DDyna Music apart from other builders?

We strive to create novel, clearly of DDyna character types of products. Although not unique of its own, we strongly believe this philosophy is best for customers and ultimately for the company as a whole.

How do you start on a new pedal?

Product ideas come from all over the place. Many of them are personal wants or come from industry observations. Regardless of source, the ideas evolve over time and there may be 10 or more just brewing. Once a decision has been made to actually move forward with a product, it can take as little as 10 weeks or as long as 10 months, it all depends. Even when a product has been designed, prototyped and tested, it might just simmer, waiting for the right detail or timing.

How do you name your pedals?

They all have stories, but perhaps not as exciting or flamboyant as other makers.

Someone listening to my first pedal said it sounded a little 'thin' and needed some color. After adding just a touch, the Thinman OD was born.

And, of course there was that 'Special' version made for 'Charlie', the Charlie Special.

The 10-knob comp design drew interest from a number of bass players. It wasn't intended for just bass players, but Bass 10 (BASS to the 10th power) had a ring to it.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

DDyna products are hand fabricated and tested here in the US by myself (at least so far). Sub-contracts are used for second operations, like milling and finishing. Traditional assembly houses in the US are just not conducive to low quantity manufacturing and we have no plans to produce our products oversees.

Our products are hand fabricated using mixed mode (thru-hole and surface mount) components, but primarily so-packages & 1206 surface mount.

Raw housings are locally milled by our favorite machine shop (Thanks Brian!). While we’ve experimented with various finishes (powder coat, paint and hand spray w/vinyl labels), for the most part we stick with our favorite industrial finisher (Thanks Russ!).

How important is the look of your pedals?

That is a tough one. With beauty being in the eyes of the beholder and beauty usually costing real money, what is most important? Looks or Tone? Regardless of which answer you select, you’ll be both right and wrong. In an attempt to create a balance between the two, we have done some experimentation (powder coat, paint & vinyl) and there will most likely be some more. Although 'look' does have an impact, the motivation for using an effect should center around the music it helps create.

Is parts selection important?

Yes, we produce quality products, so we do pay strict attention to both brand and quality of parts.

It may be contrary to those that want ultra cheap or ultra expensive, but there are plenty of producers they can buy those products from.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

As a general rule, one should not fall in love with one's own products. Even so, my pride swells each time a customer takes the time to pass on how much they are enjoying one of our products.

I might also note, I do play and do still enjoy them all.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

By far, the Bass 10 is one labor intensive beast to build. I pay myself pennies on the dollar just to keep the cost down. Beyond the expense (true RMS/VGA compressor), there are multiple PCB's, 10 hand wired pots and to keep the 4-band EQ tight, hand selected capacitors. There have been efforts toward reducing the build cost, but keeping those crossover bands accurate requires spot on capacitor values that will always be labor intensive.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

To date, the Thinman OD is our most popular product. As intended, it is unique and that is what delights those players who use them.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

DDyna Music is here to support music creators, regardless of genre or any other specific. Having said that, I do have to admit that my own taste as well as perceived gaps in the marketplace drive most concepts.

Famous users? Not sure.

Notable users? Yes, every player that enjoys our products is a notable artist. We've started an artist link on our web site and welcome players (famous, notable or not) to participate.

What does the future of DDyna Music look like?

Like the Thinman OD, DDyna Music may just be a sleeper. Customer feedback thus far indicates the company and its products are on the right track. As long as that is the case, we will continue to develop alternative products and support music creators.

The company is currently working on a range of design projects that revolve around expanding our effects offering (even a clone, but with a DDyna twist) and delving deeper into connectivity.

Are you working on any new products?

There will be a new boost pedal out in the December/January time frame. All that I can say is that it will be of DDyna character and not just a preamp stuck in a box.

As for some of the others, we plan a clone twist (never thought it would happen, but wait and see) and there are some more connectivity products on the horizon.

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