View Full Version : Tell me about Gaspedals...

09-25-2013, 03:01 PM
I'm curious, not much online about the company. I just picked up a Gaspedals Dumbell and am pretty floored... it's blowing me away. I've had just about every overdrive there is over the years (Klon, Zendrive, OCD... almost everything out there) and nothing has been instantly perfect like this one. Another question - I opened it up and it is gooped up like crazy - why are some pedals gooped like this?

J S Moore
09-25-2013, 04:01 PM
They goop them to protect the circuit. The vast majority of the overdrive pedals on the market are Tube Screamer circuits with what amounts to a couple of different values in a couple of choice spots, so my opinion is it's really there to keep people from figuring out they overpaid.:stirpot:

09-25-2013, 07:04 PM
If you have a simple analog pedal made of a couple dozen thru-hole parts, it doesn't take much to reverse engineer the pedal, draw up a schematic, and start cranking out your own. If you make your pedals on double-sided or multiple-layer boards, using tiny surface mount parts, it is harder, though not impossible, to reverse-engineer, and even harder if the pedal is digital. Large scale manufacturers have gone the way of surface mount and migrated to the digital domain, partly because they can shove more in a small box that way, partly because - if you're making enough of them - it is a cheaper production technique, but also because it protects intellectual property.

If you're a small-scale manufacturer who can't afford to "go big" and arrange for either of these manufacturing techniques, you have a couple of choices available to protect your IP. One traditional approach is to sand identifying information off selected, or all, semiconductors. Another is to bend the pins and mount the chips in backwards. And another is to cover the circuit in epoxy so that prying eyes can't look at the innards. I have a nifty audio gadget from the early 1980's that clearly HAS to use a delay chip, but the entire delay circuitry is sealed inside a swirly epoxy block.

IS there "real IP" inside the goop? I understand fully Jon's implicit eye-roll about what's being hidden from prying eyes. At one level, he's right; a lot of these circuits (and they are generally simple clipping circuits of some form - you never see EQ or wah or tremolo pedals cloaked in secrecy) are VERY derivative of the same sources, and may well be a simple "classic" whose patent has expired, and the maker has tweaked a little. At the same time, those tweaks may have been the result of a lot of time and money invested in trial-and-error development, and the maker is protective of them as a result. And especially if you've placed all your chips on the one pedal, and don't really have much else to offer in the way of products, you get even more protective. Back when Zachary Vex only had the Super Hard-On and the Fuzz Factory, he'd go ballistic whenever there was an infringement on the Fuzz Factory or a possible pirated copy found. As he developed a much larger stable of products, such that his revenue wasn't riding on any single or two pedals, he relaxed about schematics "getting out" a lot more.

Ultimately, "gooping" doesn't stop anyone determined to find out your secrets. If the gooping is intended to protect the functioning of the circuit, that's one thing. Generally speaking, though, epoxy gooping is used primarily to protect against you, either as consumer or as competitor, from knowing what's inside. Of course, if the maker weren't charging $250 and inflating the ad copy and touting it as the greatest thing since fuzz was invented, a lot more people would be a lot less curious; you generally don't see people digging to see what makes a $25 Danelectro FAB pedal "really tick". I know I'd be less of a sourpuss if the ad copy was more often like "Basically a Tube Screamer topography with a bit more bass, a higher clipping threshold, and some makeup gain on the output."; honest descriptions of what to expect and why.

J S Moore
09-26-2013, 12:44 AM
I don't think there's much new under the sun in terms of overdrive/distortion. Actually I was surprised to learn that boost, overdrive and distortion are pretty much the same circuit with different clipping thresholds ( simplified explanation of course). I've spent some time on the pedal forums and it's interesting to see how similar a lot of the pedals are and how much of a difference a couple of component changes can make.