Here's FXDB's interview with Mark Svirkov of SviSound.
SviSound is run by Mark Svirkov and moved from Russia to Varna, Bulgaria.
How did SviSound start?
I did my first pedal in 1979 year for school band. First I did many pedals and devices for my friends for free, then I started to do it for money :)
I didn't get any help, I found most info on Internet and I create my devices myself, because I have a lot of experience with it.
My last name SVIrkov + SOUND :)
I use funny man sometimes. It was painted from my 5 years old son and it seems like pedal and like me :)
What sets SviSound apart from other builders?
I do not have a special philosophy of promotion, sales and service. Like most companies, I try to do everything at the highest quality.
But I'm building pedals with original sounds, I never make copies from other manufacturers. My components are really unique and the circuit design is a result of much experimentation. For example, how many other manufacturers are producing wahs based on germanium transistors now? :)
I also use a lot of time to create unique enclosures. Often it is longer than the soldering and adjustment. But my buyers get unique devices with unique sounds in unique cases.
How do you start on a new pedal?
I have a lot of devices under development. Ready and working PCBs, ready arty enclosures etc. And I always have new ideas. So I'm happy when I have time to finish some pedals for sale. And I create new devices on request of course.
Most times I prepare a new sound then I build an enclosure for this sound. But sometimes I make a good enclosure and I try to make sound for this.
I have two bigger lines of pedals now.
The second series is modern metal sounds. So I give them names starting with "aggressive" and "Zoide" at the end. :)
My new devices will have surprising names.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
I have a workshop now and four workers.
The circuits are hand-wired, if it's not a vintage component then I often use SMD parts. For serial products I use quality PCBs from external manufacturers.
We do the enclosures ourselves, we use components that we buy and add most components manually. We are trying to not use paints etc., just drilling, milling, engraving and galvanizing.
How important is the look of your pedals?
It is half of my success.
Is parts selection important?
I create unique sounds of my pedals from unique components. So I am always testing rare components and selecting the best. Most of my devices started from playing with components to ready circuits. I use other components from trusted sources only because my buyers are living in the different parts of world and they should have no problems with my pedals.
The Germanium Fuzz - Overdrive in the v2.0 enclosure. Most people like this enclosure and sound and most say it's in harmony :)
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
It is new heavy metal pedal MetalZoide mz05. This pedal has a big schematic and many knobs. Two channels (germanium + silicon), 5 band equalizer etc. I did a special enclosure with skulls, light effects etc. It is working already, but I have to do some small changes. It will be a serial model so I'm trying to prepare it very well.
Which of your pedals is the most popular?
The Germanium Auto Wah because it has a unique vintage sound and it's very easy to use it. I produce this pedal serially in a cheaper enclosure as well.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
Most of my buyers are fans of classic vintage sound. I also focus on the design of enclosures, to get a harmony of sound and appearance. But I'm also doing simple cases for fans of old sound, so I would not say that my products are only for a certain category of customers. I'm also doing a device for lovers of modern sound and design.
All my buyers is notable artists I hope :) Someone told me my pedal is so beautiful he uses special soft sneakers to press it :)
What does the future of SviSound look like?
I just moved my company to Bulgaria, where there are better opportunities for business. I'm bought some modern equipment and I have more workers now. So I will make more models of pedals (some will be very surprising) and I will start new products too: combo, guitars and others.
Many products will be in my vintage steampunk style, but some will be very different. I'm planning to prepare better demos with good players and I will have beautiful boxes for the pedals :)
Are you working on any new products?
As I said earlier I'm finishing a super heavy metal pedal MetalZoide. It will be a monster that can do sounds from blues to very very heavy metal.
A new series of bass guitar processors will start soon. Germanium circuits. First pedal will be ready in December.
We are also working on the Germanium Monster Overdrive + Germanium Micro Amplifier (2 watts) with dual power (batteries or adapter).
And some old pedals will get new enclosures from my new workshop soon.