[interview] K9 Effects: Kerry Norman

Here's FXDB's interview with Kerry Norman of K9 Effects:

How did K9 Effects start?

It started for me in 2004 when I found a pedal I had made 20 years earlier from a schematic in a magazine or book. Researching circuits on the internet I found this was basically the Mosrite Fuzzrite circuit. I breadboarded this circuit and kept working on it till I was happy with the sound, this is the K9 Effects V2 pedal, it no longer looks like the Mosrite circuit.

Pedal design/build put together many of my interests: electronics, sound, hand work/craft, art/design, creativity.

I didn't receive help from anyone, I took my first prototype to the local music store and the guitarist there tried it and encouraged me to continue. He also sold the first couple in the shop until his boss stopped him. When I did my first selling trip to capital city shops a bass shop also encouraged me to continue.

Where do the name and logo come from?

It came from the fact I had a drawing of a dog which I decided to use as a logo, before that it was going to be VOID Effects.

I found a small drawing i had done years before of a dog which I decided to use as a logo.

What sets K9 Effects apart from other builders?

My sound perspective.

How do you start on a new pedal?

On the bread board. Originally I started with old circuits from the internet but now I have my own ideas and experiment or splice together different small sections of other circuits till I get what I want. Once I get a sound I like I experiment and substitute to get the most range of sounds from the pedal.

Some pedals might take a week to prototype. My SQUElch and SQUEal pedal took 6 months and 3-4 different circuit ideas till I was happy with it, and it still needs some changes.

How do you name your pedals?

When I decided to go with K9 as the name I renamed most of the pedals with dog names. The Echidna is the Australian hedgehog which I didn't want to change.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All in house, and only myself.

The circuits are hand wired on strip board done individually, I tried batching them (the same resistor in 10 boards at a time) but found it unsatisfying. I have the production prototype board beside me and copy it.

For the enclosures I buy die cast boxes which I decoupage (glue on paper with PVC white glue) or paint with enamel paint. I don't bake them. They are then painted with 3 coats of clear acrylic floor paint. I started using epoxy paint till the smell/fumes got to me. I live in a semi-tropical area and the acrylic dries in half an hour or less. I do the boxes in batches of 8-10 to allow the paint or glue to dry so I can keep working on them.

All pedals are designed and tested by listening through headphones, removing the influence of different amps.

How important is the look of your pedals?

It is important to me and once the circuit is designed it's the only creative input for me in the pedals.

Is parts selection important?

I try to find a quality part at the lowest cost. I have had some problems with cheap jacks which look fine but are shorted out internally - bummer. But I have now found a name brand at a good price. But it took a bulk buy.

I also like to use transistors rather than I.C.s, but sometimes only an I.C. will do the job.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The V2 pedal, my first pedal and most popular sounds good on guitar and bass. My SQUElch and SQUEal prototype because it took so long and so many circuit ideas were thrown away as not extreme enough.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The SQElch and SQUEal pedal it had a very long development time. It was only after the fourth circuit experiment that I got some thing I liked and is still in development.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

The V2 and the Echidna and no idea why.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I'm a synth player and do electronic soundscapes and electronic ambient music. But I have always had a guitar. The fun to me is coming up with a new circuit that has a great tone or SOUND. I think I bring a different perspective to the pedals than most guitarists. I'm looking for a sound that says "electric guitar!!" In many different ways.

There are no famous users that I know of.

What does the future of K9 Effects look like?

I stopped in December 2005. Too many cheap chinese made pedals had come on the market. I was also under financed and poor at marketing.

Are you working on any new products?

K9 Effects is on hold since 2006 I hope to revive it when I retire in late 2014 and put up the schematics for all the pedals. Expect a ring modulator/tremelo and the SQUElch and SQUEal feedback fuzz then hopefully.

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