[interview] Pefftronics: Jeffrey Vallier

Here's FXDB's interview with Jeffrey Vallier of Pefftronics:

How did Pefftronics start?

Our original product was the rack-mount RTSP-1600 delay unit. The Rand-O-Matic was supposed to be a pedal version of that and more affordable. For cost reasons it used a totally different circuit that turned out to be more flexible soundwise. Ironically it became the best-selling and most popular product.

I just kind of did what I thought was "right" and also had a unique spin that was different from other products. I mean, there were plenty of regular delays available at the time so why not do something that would give users more creative options?

Where do the name and logo come from?

My nickname has been "Peff" from a misspelling of my name (Jeff) that stuck. Peff + Electronics = Pefftronics

I found a cool font at the local University bookstore called "Scanner" and that was in the form of rub-down lettering. I created the logo and name mid-1980s for some of my own projects and thought it was good enough for a real company as well.

What sets Pefftronics apart from other builders?

Randomness. Never saw anything else with that feature! We offered unique solutions for creative people.

How do you start on a new pedal?

Just comes from my head when it comes...

How do you name your pedals?

Rand-O-Matic was just a play on those silly TV commercials from the '70's

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We had some contract work for PCBs and assembly, had various interns and students in to assemble stuff.

Our products were PCB-based and hand-assembled after the PCB parts were mounted. We used Hammond enclosures and our painting shop also made John Deere parts so we made a couple runs of ROM in John Deere Green when they ran out of Black powder coat. Looked cool.

Decals were silk screened or lexan panels for the RTSP-1600.

How important is the look of your pedals?

I didn't care so much, just so it looked "acceptable" to me. Function was far more important. With that said, the design of ROM did turn out well.

How important is parts selection?

I just used parts that worked for what I wanted to do. Of course sound quality was important but I also tried to use commonly available parts at the time for sourcing reasons.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Rand-O-Matic definitely. It was so flexible in such a small form factor. Technology was unique and it created sounds I never heard before. I did find out of famous users over the years and that was also cool, as being a musician myself I felt somehow involved in their compositional process by providing a solution that thy though worked for them.

It was also our most popular product.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I just did what I though sounded good for anyone who wanted to use them. The Rand-O-Matics seemed to be used in quite a wide variety of genres.

We made custom Rand-O-Matics for Kirk Hammett, Mike Keneally, Jon Brion, Lenny Kravitz. There's more but I've forgotten...

What does the future of Pefftronics look like?

Production ended and I moved to San Jose to get "real" work. I still occasionally do custom builds for people, such as a bunch of Rand-O-Matics for Kirk Hammett a few years ago.

I have a new version of Rand-O-Matic kicking around and would like to produce that again, plus a stereo rackmount version and perhaps a programmable version too. Lots of work and family in the way at the moment, unless there's a big demand again.

Are you working on any new products?

I'd like to reissue Rand-O-Matics and some variants like stereo and programmable versions. Date TBD based on interest and my own time.

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