Pedal Review: Daphon E10D Overdrive

When is cheap too cheap? This is a question I never seem to ask myself. If it’s cheap and it serves it’s purpose then it’s good enough for me. However in this pedals case you do indeed get what you pay for. Like always I must inform you readers that this pedal I bought with my own funds.

Plastic, Plastic and More Plastic

Most budget pedals aren’t made with durability in mind and the build quality of such pedals suggest a “throw away” life span. The plastic enclosure with the Daphon seem to be quite rugged and durable. The enclosure is made of smooth matt plastic and is quite thick to boot. Audio and power jacks are flush fit and adds a nice neat finish to the pedal. The foot switch is reminiscent of a Boss pedal and just like Boss pedals a plastic shaft presses a PCB mounted tactile switch. Lifting the pedal reveals some heft and feels a bit thicker compared to other plastic enclosed pedals. Would I throw this thing at a brick wall and expect it to be in one piece? Probably not. Would I stomp on this thing with steel capped boots and expect it to come out unscathed? Most likely. If you’ve been paying attention to the history of guitar pedals these pedals look like a cheaper version of Ibanez’s Soundtank series and if you’re assuming that Daphon used to make Ibanez pedals you would probably be correct.

You Truly Get What You Pay For

Daphon Super Overdrive. Yes. This pedal is a Boss SD-1 clone. Any Boss SD-1 mods you can find will also work for the E10D. For the price you pay you do get a lot of pedal. 3 Knobs control the volume, tone and drive. With the volume cranked and the gain set to zero you get a clean boost. Adding in gain produces an open crunchy overdrive. Having the gain set between 6-12 o’clock is probably the best way to have it set. Anything above that and the gain structure sounds pretty much the same. I think this is due to the fact that all the potentiometers used in the pedal are logarithmic based. This basically means that you get large increments at the start of the rotation and barely anything at the last few degress which is pretty annoying if you’re trying to set tone.

There seems to be a bit of a mid hump when you active the overdrive.  Seeing the pedal is advertised as “transparent” removing all the gain shows that this isn’t the case. Diming the tone knob brings in a very harsh treble tone. Very piercing and in my opinion pretty unusable unless you really feel the need to cut through. Pulling the tone back adds a bit of bass but not enough to help the mid-hump. Optimal settings for this pedal for me was having the volume at unity, the tone at 11 o’clock and gain set around 9 oclock. Stack ability? It works pretty well. E10OD going into a Fab Overdrive (review here) at my optimal settings added extra saturation and crunch without ever going too muddy. Plugging into a DS-1 however dug up some unsuspecting gold. With the E10OD’s volume cranked, the tone completely dimed an the gain taken out the pedal pushed the DS-1 into further saturation and added a bit more high end. Perfect for when you need to push a lead line. Speaking of stacking pedals, the buffer on this thing sucks. Literally. You start to lose a lot of high end as soon as you start to add more buffered pedals and I’m pretty sure even with just this on its own you lose a bit of tone.

Final Verdict

Whilst not totally unusable you do need to watch how much far you’ve cranked the tone and gain knob because you’ll find that the pedal quickly turns into quite a mess. Being a straight up Boss SD-1 clone you have a great base to start modding into a super charged SD-1 or with a few component changes you can have a TS808. If you had little to spend on a pedal and it was going to be your go to overdrive I probably wouldn’t go for the E10OD. However if you love tinkering and you’re pretty handy with a soldering iron this would probably be for you.

Pros:
+ Sturdy plastic build
+ Budget Boss SD-1

Cons:
– Pronounced Mid Hump
– Overdrive can get a bit samey and muddy past 12 o’clock
– Unusable high-end
– Sucky buffer circuit

Timothy

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How To Get The Best For Your Money

I’ve been hoarding, selling, buying and trading my way to the ultimate rig since I was 16. I’ve picked up on a few tricks along the way and these tricks have definitely helped save me a bit of coin and allow me to use the saved funds on things like better patch cables. Some of them are common knowledge but some of them are inherited with years of hustling experience. Without further ado, here are my top tips for scoring your dream pedal for cheaps. 

1. Pawn Shops Can Be Your Best Friend
Pawn shops can sometimes be a bit of a hit and a miss. You can either stooge the pawn shop or be stooged. It just comes down to how well you know your stuff. When you do find something that you are definitely keen on whip out your phone and check ebay. Don’t search for the item on sale but instead search for the item that has already sold. Why? searching for the item that just sold should give you a rough estimate of how much they sell for. First off, ask a sales assistant how long the product has been sitting on the shelf for. The longer the item has been in stock, the more desperate they are to clear the item. This is where your haggling skills come into play. Arm yourself with ebay prices and prepare to do war. Don’t be afraid to walk off and check back a week later. Remember. The longer the item sits unsold the more willing they are to get rid of the item. 

2. Hit Up For Sale or Trade Facebook Groups 
Facebook is a great tool for finding great pedals at great prices and because its on social media you have a bigger network to find what you are after. Remember you aren’t buying from a store but from a person and not everyone on the internet is out to see you win so it pays to cover yourself. Always buy locally. Always meet up in a public place (if possible). Always test what you are buying and if you have to go interstate always go Paypal (but not the gift option). It also doesn’t hurt to get insurance on your delivery just in case. 

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Hustle 
You are reading this blog because you want to get your gear at the lowest possible price so hustle for your gear! To give you an example, I got my JHS Panther delay through a three way hustle. Someone in melbourne wanted to get rid of their JHS Panther and another person in Brisbane wanted my Eventide Timefactor. So what did I do? The guy in Brisbane payed the guy in Melbourne, who then gave me his JHS Panther so I could finally ship the Eventide Timefactor out to the dude in Brisbane. Win, Win, Win. Is there a person wanting to get rid of a pedal that you want and you happen to have something they want? Hustle. Is someone offering gear at a too high a price? Hustle. 

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Scratch And Dent, B-Stock Or Refurbished 
If you don’t mind your pedals a little dinged up then definitely see if the manufacturer has any scratch and dent models. The important part is whats inside of the pedal so aesthetics shouldn’t matter that much. B-stock is stock that has been returned to the vender for a number of reasons but what matters to you is that the item is still in workable condition and at a cheaper price. Refurbished is stock that has been returned in a non working condition and sold again in working condition with a considerable discount on top. If you don’t mind stock that has been used or was once broken then definitely consider this option. It’s usually better to buy refurbished or b-stock rather then second hand as sometimes they do come with either a manufacturers warranty or a store warranty.

5. Buying Online? Always Search For Coupons
Coupons usually have a negative stigma attached to them. Online however, coupons should be your best friend. Install a plug in for your browser that searches automatically for coupons when you hit the checkout. Always, Always check for coupons when before you check out. You never know. You could find a coupon last minute for 5% off.  

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting pedals cheap. If you guys have anymore tips, feel free to add them in the comments! Happy Hunting! 

Timothy

Pedal Review: Danelectro Fab Overdrive

There isn’t a lot you can get nowadays with the change in your pocket. If you look hard enough you can get a cheap and cheery overdrive pedal for under $15. I present to you the Danelectro Fab Overdrive. A cheap and cheerful overdrive that you can pick up for peanuts and sounds like something you bought for 3 times the amount. I’ve had some experience with the Danelectro range of effect pedals. Some of the Mini and Fab effects are a bit of a hit and miss however the Cool Cat series are always a definite hit. Just to let you guys know the pedal that I am review came out of my own funds and I was not given a pedal from a store or from Danelectro.

Prices Can Be Deceiving

Cheap and Nasty. You’re probably why I called my blog a term that sounds pretty negative but the truth is, the term has a completely positive connotation. The Danelectro Fab Overdrive is the embodiment of “cheap and nasty”. At a RRP of $19USD this pedal is definitely punching above its weight. The pedal certainly has a bit of weight to it when you first pick it up. On the bottom of the pedal you have a metal plate with non slip rubber. Removing the thumbscrew (which can be a tricky venture) exposes the innards of the pedal. SMD components riddle the PCB and every jack is board mounted. Build quality wise, it’s pretty sturdy but the slanting top surface proves a bit of a problem if you don’t plan on having the engage switch facing you on your pedal board. For some bizarre reason the potentiometers are wired backwards. Which means that if you were to make adjustments you are going to have to make them from behind the pedal. Just like most cheaply produced pedals, depressing the foot switch lowers a piece of plastic engaging a tactile switch on the PCB.

This One Goes To 11! 

If I were to be given one word to describe the sound of the overdrive it would be loud. Most overdrives will be at unity gain around 11-2 o’clock but this thing is cranked with anything over at 25%. Don’t even think about setting this thing up as a clean boost. It doesn’t clean up very well so you’re forced to go at 11 all the way. Engaging the pedal reveals a nice smooth compressed overdrive. It’s not transparent as it will roll away certain frequencies the more you start to push the gain levels. Speaking of tone, don’t expect a mid hump like a TS808 its more of a Fender-ish overdrive. Although the overdrive does sound great for a $19 pedal, the weakness start to reveal itself once you start to push the gain. I found that stacking with another overdrive with lots of gain produces a muddy tone. The lows start to get rolled off when you crank the gain so you have to compensate with the tone knob. There isn’t much string definition when cranked and playing full chords produces a mush of sound. My settings was to have the volume boost my signal by about 10%, have the tone dimed and the have a bit of gain to add a bit of grit to a lead line. Keep the gain low if you plan on stacking pedals but I discovered that it works very well with a Boss DS-1 as long as the DS-1 has the tone at 2 o’clock and distortion set at 10 o’clock.

Final Verdict

If I was a struggling guitarist who wanted to put together an affordable drive section I would pick the Fab Overdrive. It’s stupidly good value and if you love getting a good deal then it’s very hard to pass by.

Pros:
– Ridiculously good value
– Stupidly good value
– Did I mention the RRP is $19?
– Loud, balls to the wall overdrive

Cons:
– Get’s muddy very quickly
– The overdrive isn’t too “open” enough.

Timothy

Pedal Review: Eno PT-21 Tuner

There are a 2 things I believe that no guitarist should skimp on and they are:

1. A high quality power supply
2. A tuner

A good tuner should be the first thing on a guitarists shopping list. What’s the point of having great gear and an awesome tone if you are never in tune in the first place.

First Impressions

Eno Music is a company out of Guangdong, China and they mainly manufacture musical instrument accessories. Like most Chinese based manufacturers they do alot of OEM production so don’t be surprised to see an Eno product named under another brand. Before I continue I must state that I did not receive this unit from the manufacturer. I purchased this unit from an external source with my own funds.

This thing is tiny. About the same size as the Polytune mini but not as heavy. Build wise, it’s pretty sturdy and is seems to be made out of diecast aluminium. Two jacks on the left and right are for the input and output of the pedal and there is a jack on the top for 9v DC power. Speaking of power the 9V jack accepts centre negative which is a fancy way of saying that it will run on any standard Boss style power adapter/supply. A nice clicky true bypass 3PDT footswitch is located on the bottom and a button to switch between flat and normal tuning. The screen is a nice, big, LCD with 3 LED’s to signal if your tuning is flat, sharp on in tune. 

The Ancient Art Of Tuning

There’s one thing I’ve found with tuners. The more you pay, the more accurate the pedal becomes. There is a reason why this is $33. This tuner is built as if an engineer thought “wouldn’t it be great if I took a clip on tuner and put it inside of a 1590B sized enclosure and made it true bypass?”. Because it works as a cheap clip on tuner, your tuning is very, very limited. Standard tuning is fairly easy to do. However, if you need to tune in a different tuning then messing with the flat switch is needed. Tuning is quite simple and I was surprised at how quickly the tuner locked onto my signal. Play a string and the tuner will tell you what note your string is in. The 2 LED’s on the left and right will tell you if you need to sharpen or flatten your string and when the LED hits the middle you are in business. Unlike other tuners, it won’t tell you how far off you are from being in tune which brings me to my next point.

Accuracy. If you’re buying the Eno PT-21 and expecting a Peterson Strobe tuner then you are in for a disappointment. To test the accuracy of the tuner I had my guitar plugged into my Boss TU-2 tuner and the direct out going into the input of the PT-21. When the TU-2 was saying my string was a few cents flat, the PT-21 was saying it was in tune. This isn’t a huge problem if you need if you plan on using the pedal as a gig bag back up but I wouldn’t use this to service a guitar with.

The Final Verdict

A small foot print, quick tracking and true bypass tuner pedal for under $40 is pretty hard to come by. The small in-accuracy maybe a deal breaker for some but for the price you pay that’s expected. If pedal real estate and money is at a premium and you will only play a set in standard tuning then this tuner is for you but if you are looking for a more accurate tuner for alternate tunings then look elsewhere.

Pros
– True Bypass
– Quick tracking of strings
– Small foot print
– It’s under $40. How could you not?

Cons
– Inaccuracy will be a deal breaker for those who can afford more.

Want to buy one? Click here to get 3% off!
(Affiliate Link)

Gallery:

Is It Cheaper To DIY?

Here’s a question that a lot of people like to ask. Is it cheaper to clone/design your own pedal rather then buying a pedal? My answer to this question is a yes and no. I love dabbling in electronics. Wether it be programming an Arduino to blink in time with my tap tempo or hacking up an alarm clock so I can charge my phone through an added usb port. Electronics and playing electric guitar can sometimes go hand in hand. It’s always a plus if you have a little electrical engineering knowledge. Being able to solder your own cables or wire up a new set of pick ups help to lower the cost of on going services required with your gear.

When it comes to making pedals, you have somethings to consider. A boutique overdrive more then $200 per drive and yes, cloning the exact same pedal will be a fraction of the cost. However this fraction is reliant on how much money you have spent on the components. You could go to a chinese website and get the cheapest components you can find and get a terrible sounding pedal. You could go the extreme opposite and purchase high quality components from reliable sources and sometimes get a pedal that sounds a little bit different to the original. NOS (New old stock. Basically new products that have never been sold and are usually really, really old) germanium transistors found in Fuzz Face clones can run up to $20 for a compatible pair. Compare that price to a cheap chinese made pedal and you can start to see that if you really don’t care all that much for quality, buying brand new far out weighs making it yourself

There’s a reason why boutique pedals cost so much. Every single pedal is made by a living breathing professional rather then a pick and place machine. All the components placed in the pedal is measured and sorted by hand and every pedal is quality checked and hand signed. Be honest with yourself. Is your level of soldering up to creating a pedal? To be completely honest, I have more circuits in the non working pile then I’ve had boxed up. Which brings me to my next point. Is your time worth the investment into a pedal you have made yourself? You could spend evenings debugging a circuit. Bigger builds will take a few days to complete in your spare time. Having built many pedals myself I can certainly justify dropping the $250.

Being a blog on getting the best gear for your money, let me give you a bit of perspective on DIY. Lets say we are cloning a Big Muff. Brand new Big Muffs (the nanos and little big series) can go for under $120. A decent big muff kit can cost around $60-$80 depending on what components are including with the kit. Lets say it takes you 2 hours in 2 nights to build the pedal and you charge yourself $20 an hour to build the kit. The cost of the kit plus the time you’ve invested making the pedal has already broken even with a brand new pedal. If you compare that to a brand new Big Muff clone like a Mooer or an Eno branded Big Muff you’ll find that it it would be a better choice to choose the chinese clone then building yourself.

“Is it cheaper to clone/design your own pedal rather then buying a pedal?”
Yes it is cheaper to go the DIY route because sometimes building it yourself will be much cheaper if you pick the right components.
No it isn’t cheaper to go DIY because there are so many variables that can effect the cost and the end product of the pedal you are creating such as:
– Cost of components
– Quality of build reflected in the skill of the builder

Timothy

Welcome!

Effect pedals. Some guitarists hate them, some guitarists can’t live without them. When I was just starting I think I was about 13, I remember a local musician that I looked up to had a huge pedal rig. Being the impressionable teenager it soon became a dream of mine to one day own a killer pedal rig. Fast forward a decade and a few thousand dollars later I finally have that huge monster of a pedal rig. One night during an online shopping binge I came across a pedal tuner at the fraction of the cost of my Boss TU-2 tuner. I instantly had a crazy ambitious idea. Could I get a pedal rig that is:

A. At a fraction of the price of my rig

B. Be gig worthy?

I love being active on guitar forums and Facebook pages especially  the effects orientated ones. I enjoy looking at different pedal board configurations and draw inspirations that others have done with their boards. I’ve seen a wide range of pedal boards ranging from the very cheap to the very expensive. The aim I have for this blog is to help musicians who can’t afford the best gear to get the most out of their money. To help musicians construct a budget conscience board I will be constructing a no frills pedal rig. For every pedal that makes it on the board I will review them noting the sound quality, build quality and over all usefulness of the pedal.

I guess in the end this blog comes down to one statement

Could I get a pedal board that is comparable to an expensive, professional rig at a fraction of the cost?

The rig I will be comparing to will be my own personal rig. Here’s the run down.

Company Name Type Price
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal Jr. Volume Pedal $139.00
Boss FV-50 Volume Pedal $85.00
The Gig Rig Quarter Master 8 True Bypass Strip $315.00
Selah Effects Scarlett Love Overdrive $249.00
Paul C. Tim Overdrive $249.00
Me Distortron Distortion $100.00
Me Tremolo Tap Tremolo $100.00
Me Modulation Analog Chorus+Phaser $100.00
JHS Panther Analog Delay $499.00
Boss DD-20 Delay $289.00
Boss RV-5 Digital Reverb $200.00
Strymon Bluesky DSP Reverb $349.00
Cioks Powerfactor Power Supply $269.00
Pedaltrain Pedaltrain Pro Pedal Board and softcase $305.00
$3,248.00

I play on a Fender MIJ Jaguar and run that through either a Vox AC30 or a Fender Super60.

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Timothy