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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Even if you disregard the political and ethical angles, there's lots of positive and negative comments regarding Chinese clone pedals. I had to take the plunge and find out for myself.

So I bought these six for less than the price of one of my most expensive pedal (Timmy @ $200 - I know, that's micenuts to some of you LOL) just to see what all the fuss is about. Here's what I bought ....... and below is what I thought.

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Joyo Ultimate Drive: supposed to be an OCD clone. Nope. Close but no cigar. The tone control is nearly useless between 7:00 and 11:00 when the mud finally lifts. It has a similar gain range to my OCD but it isn't as good. Fairly quiet. Quality of construction seems fine - pots and switches don't feel cheap.

EX Amp Myomorphia: supposed to be RAT clone. I'm not a true RAT connoisseur, and I doubt this pedal would satisfy those that can really tell one series of RAT from the other, but for my purposes, this isn't a bad pedal. Fairly quiet. It has a Vintage/Turbo switch which broadens its range (and lights under the filter knob in red). At first I was suspect of the mode switch but it seems fine now. The rest of the construction seems fine so far.

Donner Equalizer: I don't think EQ's are clones of anything, and this one just does what it's supposed to do. The extreme range of some of the sliders puts it into oscillation/squeeling, but I'm not looking for extreme settings anyways - I'll use a parametric EQ if I want to fix problems. Fairly quiet. Construction again seems just fine. I haven't tried it at line level yet (I intend to use it in the loop of my LSS, a la Mark amps).

Donner Time Wave: Analog Delay pedal with basic controls and a mod on/off switch. Probably around 600 ms of delay. Very small (which I like ) but a bit noisy when run off a power supply. And it can't take a battery because it's so small. Sounds great with my Pedaltrain Volto battery supply, which is how I will likely use it. Quality of controls and switches seems fine.

Outlaw 24K Reverb: Three basic reverb types (room, plate, spring) that sound different enough to have some range. The controls do what they are suppose to do and it is fairly quiet, as 'verbs go. I'm not a 'verb connoisseur either, I use it subtly and only on clean setting. This is probably the only non-amp reverb I will ever need - unless my playing style changes.

Biyang Tonefancier Phaser: With a name like that, how can you go wrong. Clone of an MXR 100 (thanks, Mark). I can sum it up in four words: Winner, winner, chicken dinner. I love this thing. I am a phaser connoisseur and I own and have owned some nice ones. I like small pedals and this is a bit larger than all the other minis in this string. But it is worth the size. Very quiet with great range of control. The depth switches modify it in two different ways, for a combination of 4 different depth/width settings. Most single knob depth controls don't give me this much variety. And the speed knob is analog taper, so the slow settings (the ones I use the most) are very fine-tuneable between 7:00 and 2:00, where the faster speeds are then served up, if kind of touchy at that end of the adjustment.

I love this pedal. It's bumped my EVH phaser from my #1 board, and I'm going to gig it this weekend. I will know much more after that. But for now, it was the find of the hunt. I even love the old school chrome look.


I'll try to update this as I use these more and get more experience and opinion generated on them. I really hope the Tonefancier works out - just so I can say 'Tonefancier' to people if they ask. LOL
 

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Biyang stole a design of mine ( Biyang AC-8 WOODY Acoustic Guitar Simulator. Pedale effetto per chitarra e basso. ), although I can't imagine that they made a mint on a budget acoustic simulator. Tneir modus operandi, much like Behringer, Joyo, and others is to take existing designs, make whatever small changes suit their business needs, and market the result under their own name. Behringer has focussed on older Boss, EHX, and Line 6 designs (possibly under license for that one), while Joyo seems to have opted for MXR and Tech 21 designs.

Listening to both, the PH-8 phaser sounds like a clone of the MXR Phase 100 clone with toggles for two different sweep-width settings, and two different feedback settings. MXR originally packed them into a single 4-position rotary switch, but it's no big deal to split the two functions. Given what Biyang charges for their pedals, you paid an exceptional price for a P100 soundalike.

At the same time, Biyang also makes a PH-12 with the same sort of form factor (Speed pot off to the right and two toggles on the left; Akai also uses what appears to be the identical chassis for their phaser). What I'm curious about is whether the PH-8 name is just an inventory title or says anything specific about the innards. The Phase 100 has 6 swept and 4 fixed phase-shift stages. So is the "8" just a name, or does it reflect something about how many phase-shift stages there are. Personally, I don't find much use for more than 8 stages when it comes to guitar, but that's just me.

But overall, makes for a pretty light and small pedalboard, eh?
 

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I believe these Chinese copies (like them or not) has kept the big manufacturers prices honest over the years. A DS-1 was pricier in the nineties wasn't it? Same with a Big Muff.?
Ultimately it seems people get curious and buy these pedals but you don't see them often on pedalboards. There is so much choice out there I don't know how everyone stays in business
 

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I have a few overseas pedals. Gotta say I like them all. I have four by Caline.
CP18 which is a BB Preamp, led me to buy a BB+
CP12 Timmy, have to try an actual Timmy
CP11 silicon fuzz face
CP27 BSIAB

NU-X Time Core. I am sure a delay aficionados will find fault with it but for $50 to my door it works great for Victim of Love. Maybe I will find use for the other 7 some odd modes.

And the latest delivery the Aural Dream Purely Fuzz. Can't wait to get back downstairs to check this out more.
 

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These are great reviews. Thank you very much
Please let me know once when you test your EQ in the loop.

Thank you in advance
yours Bojan
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
These are great reviews. Thank you very much
Please let me know once when you test your EQ in the loop.

Thank you in advance
yours Bojan
Tried this last night. It worked quite well. At line level was probably better than at guitar level, less oscillations at extremes. And it was very quiet. I'm sure construction isn't quite up with 'standard bearer' EQ's, but it's sitting on the amp, near the loop, and won't see much abuse there. Well, except for the bad notes I'll be passing through it.

I used the Biyang Phaser Saturday night and it worked great as well. Perhaps the switches are wanting in the long run (don't know yet, I will be testing the footswitch a lot). Sonically, it was very good. I like it more than my VH phaser, which really only had one of two settings I could use live. This one, I find all 4, or at least 3 out of the 4, settings are very usable for my style of live playing.

I put the delay and Myomorphia on my C board to test out at practice this weekend. I'll be using my DRRI so I'll rely on the pedals for my drive tones. That's always a pretty good test for me.

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I, too, have been curious about these overseas pedals but don't use pedals much so haven't bothered ordering any. When I did start buying a couple of pedals here and there I ended up with Boss pedals. To my ears they do the job just fine so I will stick with them or similar manufacturers.

There was something of a kerfuffle (most would call it a shit storm) over on The Gear Page a year or two ago when some vendor there started selling pedals that turned out to be nothing more than repainted Joyo pedals. There was a long waiting list and he was getting Timmy like prices for them before the crap hit the fan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I, too, have been curious about these overseas pedals but don't use pedals much so haven't bothered ordering any. When I did start buying a couple of pedals here and there I ended up with Boss pedals. To my ears they do the job just fine so I will stick with them or similar manufacturers.

There was something of a kerfuffle (most would call it a shit storm) over on The Gear Page a year or two ago when some vendor there started selling pedals that turned out to be nothing more than repainted Joyo pedals. There was a long waiting list and he was getting Timmy like prices for them before the crap hit the fan.
Yes, I remember that, too. Vertex pedals. A complete sh!tshow.

As an update, I had band practice last night and used the pedalboard in post #6. For the most part it worked pretty well. The Volto eliminates any noise problems entirely, so that wasn't an issue. But I did once kick out the output plug on the EP Booster reaching across to get to the delay - but hey it was only a solo and everything just went silent, so no big deal, really B#(*But that's why I test them at practice, right?

I'll admit, the tones weren't quite as good as I'm used to (although I don't often rely on pedals for my dirty rhythm tone, I usually use a two channel amp). Part of that could be a combination of the small sized knobs and my old eyes finding in harder to see in dimly lit spaces. The other thought, half way through the night is, why am I using pedals that aren't as good as pedals sitting at home. Ahhhhh, the things I do for research. LOL

I will find long term use for half of the pedals I bought, the other half will probably languish. But they were cheap and I may give one or two away to friends (or their kids) who are just starting out. I gave a few pedals that didn't work for me to a drummer friend who was setting up a little jam space at his house and had an amp but no pedals. So they won't be going to a landfill.
 

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Given the omnipresence of Hammond enclosures - specifically their 1590A, 1590B, and 1590BB styles - we have come to expect a certain degree of uniformity in the form factor of pedals. Hell, in some instances, like those JHS pedals, the graphics and legending are so scant, that the only thing differentiating one pedal from another in their product line is the colour of the knobs and powder-coat colour. My point is that the standardization of the form factor has led many of us to disregard the enclosure and form as tipping you off as to whether the pedal is "authentic" or a knockoff. The old hand-painted enclosures from ZVex, or the enclosures of the original Klon Centaur or Roger Mayer pedals, were so unique and distinctive that unless someone was willing to invest in copying them (and that's a BIG investment), you knew you were buying the real deal, simply by the way it looked on the outside. Some of you may recall the kerfuffle between Behringer and Boss, when Behringer started releasing clones of older Boss designs in plastic chassis that pretty much looked like Boss pedals. Boss forced Behringer to round off their foot treadles, so they didn't look the same and be confused with true Boss pedals.

But these days, the enclosure is not really part of the trademark, since 95% of pedals seem to use the same 3 enclosures. Even when a pedal line doesn't use any of those 3 enclosures, there can be a sort of mini-standardization that permits a simple paint job or even mere legending to blur the lines between two different brands. For instance, check out these two pedals; one from Akai and one from Biyang. Not exactly what I'd call a "common" chassis type, but what is the difference between the two products?

On the other hand, Shin-Ei used to make all sorts of pedals that were largely identical, and sold under different brand names.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was a little worried when I saw some of those Line 6 pedals and thought of this, one of my all-time favorite phasers (it's just too damn big to fit on a board).

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But they are obviously completely different and do quite a bit more than that phaser does. I guess I filed that under "paying homage to" and not ripping off. I will say I am pissed about your experience with Biyang. And as I mentioned right at the top, there are certainly ethical issues with this stuff. I thank you for your valued input in this string though, you have much deep knowledge OB Mark Kenobi.
 

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Thanks, HD. Much appreciated.

Many of the Boss/Roland pedals from the 70's are fantastic, and a clear cut above what was available at the time. Their chief competitors were MXR and EHX, and both of them tended toward minimalist products, with one or two knobs, maybe a switch, and a single stomp control. Roland was sticking multiple footswitches in their pedals, like the Phase Five, Jet Phaser, Bee-Baa, Chorus Ensemble, and Funny Cat, such that performers could have multiple sounds and effects available at the press of a switch. Of course, the curse that came with that was the need for larger custom enclosures, and greater production costs and retail prices, not to mention bigger spaces required for warehouses and shipping.



That Phase 5 was way ahead of its time. It had ramp-up/ramp down, for emulating rotating speakers, as well as envelope control. I built in envelope control to a Phase 90 clone I made for myself, and it's an absolute hoot to play with. It doesn't have envelope control, but I also have a Pearl Phaser that does ramp-up/ramp-down, and it's also a great phaser. Keeley came out with a 6-stage phaser a couple years ago that also did ramp-up/ramp-down. It kind of disappeared from the scene.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
My mom had a Hammond organ with a Leslie speaker. I was so addicted to that ramp up / ramp down sound, I just had to have it. It was expensive and big, but when you only had one or two other pedals, it didn't seem to bad. Now that Leslie sim is a preset (a very good one too) in my M5 and M9.

I nearly bought a Jetphaser too - I am a phaslut - but found I got close enough with an early fuzz box into the Phase 5. Oh yea, the Jetphaser is another preset in my M5 and M9. Have I mentioned how much I love those two pedals? That M9 new is less money (in today's currency) than I paid for that Phase 5 way back when.
 

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One of the ironies of the pedal world is that electronic ramp-up/ramp-down has been exploited/included more in phasers than in chorus pedals, yet chorus pedals produce a sound closer to true rotating speakers than phasers do. Go figure.

Typically, in analog pedals, the ramping is implemented in such a way that ramping time is dependent on the difference between slow and fast speed settings. That is, the farther apart the two speeds, the longer the ramp time. In principle, the ramp speed is very indirectly a function of the two speeds, and mostly a function of the mass of the rotating drum/horn. Clearly, the greater the mass, the more time it will take to get that sucker moving to a faster speed, and the more momentum it will have, when defeating the faster speed, such that it will take a while to decelerate. the difference between the two speeds will play a role, but not likely as much as the mass and momentum.

The only instance I have personally seen, where ramp speed is disconnected from speed setting and addressed directly, in in my L6 Roto-Machine (and the Behringer clone of it), where there is a switch for ramping speed, in addition to controls for fast and slow speeds. I gather this feature remains in the M5/M9/M13 implementation.
 
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