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I'm talking about the pedals you see showing up for $14.99 or $29.99, not the higher-priced stuff you see. It is ENTIRELY possible to get your boards stuffed in China, shipped back and tweaked to perfection here. It is also possible, if you have small production runs, to have a few trained people who KNOW how to take a wave-soldered SMT board that someone who could give a crap about music has assembled, and turn out a decent product from China with North American or Eurpoean guidance. If I have misconveyed that the labourers are too dumb, I apologize. What I am intending to convey is that if you don't have a long enough culture of anything in a particular place, it is difficult to find people with the skill and knowledge who can tell when something needs refinement or a few design changes. I have yet to find anyone west of Winnipeg or East of Montreal who has the foggiest idea about how to make a decent rye bread, so it isn't just pedals, and it isn't just China.

Incidentally, unadventurous does not automatically imply bad-sounding. As cheap and conventional as they are, many folks have been very pleasantly surprised by the Danelectro FAB series.

As for the Daphon/Analogman connection, that's not really anything different than Robert Keeley does, or any of a number of after-market pedal specialists. Very often, existing well-made commercial products come sooooooo close to being replicas of some more desirable classic with a more musical tone or set of features that it makes little sense to invest the time reinventing the wheel by arranging for a different chassis or board layout. Not really any different than that amazing casserole your mom used to make using a can of Campbell's mushroom soup or whatever.
 

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What I am intending to convey is that if you don't have a long enough culture of anything in a particular place, it is difficult to find people with the skill and knowledge who can tell when something needs refinement or a few design changes. I have yet to find anyone west of Winnipeg or East of Montreal who has the foggiest idea about how to make a decent rye bread, so it isn't just pedals, and it isn't just China.
European guidance, lack of refinement? That argument is a bit ethnocentric, don't you think?

Besides, some Chinese factories have probably made guitar pedals for over 2 decades.

PS. No decent rye bread west of Winnipeg or east of Montreal? You haven't looked very hard.
 

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Ethnocentric? I don't think so. It would be ethnocentric if I thought and indeed racist if I thought they couldn't learn how. Clearly there IS a tradition of effect manufacturing in a variety of Asian and Pacific rim countries, but to hear folks talk about it, the factories where pedals and other music products are being made in China these days are NOT established facilities. We are NOT talking about places like the old Parsons Street facility where Gibson products were made from WW I. We are talking about entire manufacturing cities of hundreds of thousands of people that have simply appeared within the last 5 years. The folks who populate those factories have migrated from elsewhere in China, and in contrast to the folks who come up with domestic designs (and most traditional and cutting edge things do tend to come from North America, Europe, and Japan, where there IS a club scene and live rock) may well have NO experience whatsoever going to a club and hearing a band actually USE equipment like that. Someone recently posted a link to an audio writer's video tour of the Behringer facility. If you thought that Lavalin-Bombardier or the Oakville Ford plant or Oshawa GM plant were big deals, you should see this place. It goes on and on and on, and includes residences for all the labourers that have relocated there.

My point is that when production relies on simply following directions, rather than following a tone in your head, the reasonable expectation is that the design will be on the conservative side of the spectrum rather than the adventurous. The other factor is that when the profit margin is so slim that you are relying almost entirely on high volume sales to generate revenue, you aim for the lowest common denominator, rather than accepting that your market is a highly defined niche. That's the same business strategy whether you are selling $1.29 burgers or $15 pedals.

As for rye bread, I've looked. I have lived in St. John's, Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa, Hamilton, Edmonton, and Victoria. I've even transported Ottawa rye to bakers in those outlying areas for them to learn from. I stand by my geographical boundaries of where decent rye bread can be found. It's not an ideological stance. Once upon a time you could not get decent bagels outside of Montreal, but the "knowledge" seems to have found its way out and extremely good bagels can now be found in many places. Sadly, not so for rye bread. (And for the uninitiated, a "real" bagel can be easily identified by not having a discernible top or bottom. If there is anything flat about one side and puffy about the other, it's essentially a roll with a hole. I'll set my biases about the only legitimate heirs to the throne being "white seeds" and "black seeds" aside, and graciously accept that something with - uggh - blueberries or raisins in it CAN be a bagel.)
 

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As for rye bread, I've looked. I have lived in St. John's, Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Ottawa, Hamilton, Edmonton, and Victoria. I've even transported Ottawa rye to bakers in those outlying areas for them to learn from. I stand by my geographical boundaries of where decent rye bread can be found. It's not an ideological stance. Once upon a time you could not get decent bagels outside of Montreal, but the "knowledge" seems to have found its way out and extremely good bagels can now be found in many places. Sadly, not so for rye bread. (And for the uninitiated, a "real" bagel can be easily identified by not having a discernible top or bottom. If there is anything flat about one side and puffy about the other, it's essentially a roll with a hole. I'll set my biases about the only legitimate heirs to the throne being "white seeds" and "black seeds" aside, and graciously accept that something with - uggh - blueberries or raisins in it CAN be a bagel.)
I've lived across the street from a bagel bakery in Montreal (Cote des Neiges area). It had a wood oven and all, so I know what you mean about when you talk about what a real bagel should look like. As for my rye bread...I get mine from a Russian bakery (Vladivostok is closer to my home than Montreal is to Halifax, so there are some Russians in my area (had a few drinks with a retired Russian Colonel and veteran of the first Afghan War once...but that's a story for another day)).
 
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