[interview] Fuchs Audio Technology: Andy Fuchs

Here's FXDB's interview with Andy Fuchs of Fuchs Audio Technology:

How did Fuchs Audio Technology start making pedals?

We had manufactured and modded amps for about 8 years, and wanted to diversify the company, especially when the economy got a little funky. A number of customers had asked if we could make a pedal that had the Fuchs sound at a lower price. It started with a few overdrive pedals, and grew from there. A customer would suggest a product or idea, and I would explore the feasibility of designing and manufacturing them. Today we have about 18 pedals including delays, compressors, gain boosts, distortions, fx loops, a bass EQ pedal, and we're always working on other products for the future. I've pretty much designed everything in-house.

We're inspired mostly by feedback from users. I was lucky enough that I could send a prototype to a player I respected, and get some suggestions to make it better. In many cases, I didn't even have to make many changes!

Where do the name and logo come from?

It's my family name, and our companies mission.

I designed the logo in Microsoft Paint, one pixel at a time!! lol I started with a font called wide-glide, and attached the letters to one another carefully, adjusted a few for clarity.

What sets Fuchs Audio Technology apart from other builders?

Our build quality, our 5 year warranty and our tone. We select many of the internal parts for low noise and best tone.

How do you start on a new pedal?

Customer feedback or market need drives a new design. A pedal can take from 90 days to over a year to complete.

How do you name your pedals?

We usually just round-robin things around the company and see what we all like. My trademark attorney picked "Good Verbrations" and "Verbrator", stuff like "Tube FX Loop" was obvious. Noxious was chosen by Nick Catanese who the pedal was originally designed for.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All pedals are made in house, PC boards are sent out to be stuffed and soldered for some models.

We have 4 pedal builders on staff, who are a mixture of guys and gals, some full and some part time, and some are swing-workers who also work on amps or speaker cabinets.

All pedals are PC board based, internally hand wired. Our paint is powder coated and the silk screens are baked epoxy, which insets the silk screen right into the paint, which looks great and is very durable. We purchase standard cast aluminum enclosures for most pedals except our Replay, which is a bet steel enclosure like our amp chassis.

How important is the look of your pedals?

We revamped all our cosmetics to make them more modern and exciting. The originals were line drawings that I did, and were pretty plain. I hired a good friend who's also a bass player Billy Schorling, who's a great graphics guy who's done cereal and dog food boxes, and pedals and amp panels...!

Is parts selection important?

Absolutely. We cannot use NOS due to environmental regulations. Because we ship to Europe we must comply with RoHS (restrictions on hazardous substances), which means no NOS parts. We do choose our resistors and caps for low noise and best tones for sure.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Our delays were a significant challenge. Ron Menelli did the tap tempo circuit when others said it couldn't be done with the delay technology we were using. I've based our reverbs and delays on the Spin technology chip designed by the late Keith Barr from Alesis. A great analogue sounding digital chip we really like.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The delays were the most challenging, because they combined technologies we had never done before in one platform: high voltage switch mode supplies, tap tempo, digital delays, lots of opportunities for noise or instabilities.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

Most popular has been the Cream, which is Carl Verheyen's favorite overdrive! It's a great pedal that does classic rock and blues tones just great.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

We design pedals to meet needs of the market. Some are great for blues, rock, some metal, etc.

We have tons of great quotes on our website from happy customers:

"Got the Replay today. First, let me tell you how amazing this unit is. I played it for an hour and felt like 10 minutes. Just make my leads scream! This is hands down the best delay I have used in 20+ years. I am that impressed with it!"

"Just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with the Plush Cream. I own a few high-end distortion pedals, none compare with the Cream. Thanks for making a great product."

"I just purchased a REP-3 from Dan at Pedalgeek. I wanted to let you know that that thing just blows me away. I just got it Tuesday of this week. I plugged it in that night. It exceeded my expectations. You guys did an awesome job making that Time Delay machine. I was playing "Red House" and I discovered a setting that made that perfect bounce back sound Jimi was getting with an Echoplex. I have loads of other Time Delay pedals, none of them can be dialed in to get that sound like the REP-3 does. The Wow and Flutter knobs are fantastic. They're so responsive and musical. The REP-3 is so organic and natural sounding. The REP-3 made my Summer."

"I love the Valve Job pedal I purchased from you through Radical Tone. It sounds fantastic through my amp with both humbucker and single-coil guitars, and really delivers the boutique-amp overdrive vibe without the high cost. This is the first piece of gear I've owned in years that truly inspires me. I also want to thank you for your excellent customer service and for the help you gave me in finding the sound I was looking for. I am definitely a satisfied customer." — Mark McKean (Atlanta) Professional Musician Music Industry Studies Professor

Are you working on any new products?

We're adding a couple of great new bass amps, the Bruiser-I which is 1000 watts into 4 ohms with a great tube preamp and a switch mode power amp. The Bruiser-II which is 2000 watts into two power amps at 4 ohms each. We're working on some new pedals for the future. Possibly a tube direct box, a miniature guitar amp and distortion pedal, a univibe inspired pedal called the "Plush Vibe", we may be introducing a new custom designed pedal for a large music chain which is exciting to us. We're also introducing a new line of speaker cabinets co-designed with Buzz Feiten, whose cabinets are legendary for their light weight, great tone, and unavailability for so many years. A few others I'm likely forgetting... LOL

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