Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Seamoon Studio Phase Demo

This cool new demo of the rare Seamoon Studio Phase just popped up on youtube! And once you hear it you'll notice something interesting; that it oddly sounds way more like a flanger than it does a phaser. But what's even more interesting, is why... 

Before releasing the Studio Phase, Seamoon put out the very short-lived Studio Flanger. And when you peek inside the two they turn out to be almost identical! The biggest difference being the extra knob on the Flanger that selects between 3 different modes; Flange, Chorus, Phasing. From the research I've done, the official story was that because the functionality of the Flanger was much more than a singular modulation effect, they decided to modify that original design, removed the selector knob, and toned down the wilder settings. What they were left with was something they considered to be more of a phaser, which led them to change the name to the "Studio Phase". 

But the theory that makes a lot more sense (and is much more likely *to me at least) is that the people at Seamoon had just started the company A/DA (Analog/Digital Associates), and wanted something special for their introductory product, something that was unlike any other effect on the market. So they took the Studio Flanger design and continued to build on it, until they finally came up with what eventually became the legendary A/DA Flanger. This is all purely speculation, but discontinuing the Seamoon Studio Flanger, modding it to a tamer circuit, and renaming it so there would be little competition with their future product, seems to be the most believable reason for the birth of the Seamoon Studio Phase (*to me). 

And just to back up this theory, check out the A/DA labeled circuit board that's inside the Studio Phase:

Wherever the truth may lie, this is an awesome sounding pedal and is officially acknowledged as being one of the true precursors to the A/DA Flanger.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, August 19, 2022

D-B Industries / D&M Co. (Another Fuzz Mystery)...

A lot of what we do here at Tone Machines is dive headfirst into the nerdiest kind of speculation about the unknown details of otherwise unknown pedals. So get ready...

Over the last month I have been happily losing my mind digging through old photos (that go way back to 2002) of all the weird, unique, and super rare pedals I have come across on the net. This past week I made an interesting discovery when I realized that the rare D&M Co. Distorto clearly has a sister pedal, made by a company with a similar name, in the same town, and roughly at the same time; the D-B Industries Supertone!

When the Distorto came up for auction back in 2015, while I'm still pretty bummed I missed out on it, I was very pleased that it wound up in the hands of fellow pedal collector, Simon Murphy of Good Fuzzy Sounds. Which means we got some insight to it's character; he described it as, "a lot like the FZ-1... louder and slightly bassier". It's circuit is thought to be based on the Maestro FZ-1, it was probably built around 1966, and Simon even found a potential connection to the best Steppenwolf song:

Here's the text from a web chat in 2006 with guitarist Michael Monarch:

"Hey Michael, What type of fuzz box did you use on the song called "The Pusher" from the first album?" 

"Hello Robert... I had an old prototype distortion box called "Distorto" which I may have used. It was a silver homemade looking box with a big red footswitch button and the word Distorto on it. I don't know where I got it or what happened to it."

So that's super cool, and almost certainly is referencing the same "Distorto" we are discussing here. But what about the mysterious "D-B Industries Supertone", which I can't find any information on at all. anywhere. in the entirety of the internet. And the only real evidence that it even existed are these four photos I've had since the early 2000s...

The minute you start comparing these two you begin to notice the obvious similarities; the enclosure for both is a classic folded metal project box, the circuits may have different components but otherwise look pretty damn close, and the biggest similarity has to be those manufacturer stamps on the bottom plates (which while they are different fonts, follow the same pattern of company name-city-model name-serial number, all within a rectangle), oh and both were manufactured in Santa Ana, CA!

So have a look and see what you think. And please leave a comment if anything jumps out at you that could possibly tie these two together (or completely destroy my theory) even more!

Quick little Distorto Demo:

Unfortunately I don't know where the D-B Supertone now resides so there's no additional info (yet!). But I am hoping that maybe an old magazine ad pops up, or even better, another unit!

So if you happen to know any additional info about either of these please shoot me an email or message me on instagram. I would love to crack the case on this one.

And a big thanks goes out to Simon for the all the details and the video demo of the Distorto (go check out Good Fuzzy Sounds now!), and thank you for reading.


Monday, August 15, 2022

FUZZY Pep Demo

Sometimes it can be almost impossible to find legit demos of pedals that fall into that "ultra rare" category, but lucky for us our good friend Rafmax has posted some of his insane collection over on his youtube channel

The one we're going to check out today is an awesome comparison video that features the unbelievably rare FUZZY vs. the WEM Rush Pep Box vs. the Maestro FZ-1 vs. the Maestro FZ-1A

Check it out:

Not sure how you all feel about that video, but after personally owning all of those pedals myself, I feel like the FUZZY sounds far and away better than both Maestro fuzzes; and it's so different from the WEM that it's hard to make a real comparison between the two. 

A couple of years ago I lucked myself into a FUZZY, that inevitably kicked open an entirely new door of speculation about the history and origin of this pedal... Is it German? Who designed it really? How many are actually out there??? 

So as always, if you happen to be a fellow owner of another FUZZY (with Pep) Fuzz, please shoot me a message either through email or instagram.

thanks for reading!


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The Other SRS Pedal...

A little over 10 years ago I lucked into finding two pedals from a brand I had never heard of before, SRS; the now legendary EQ Exciter and the VCO Disco. These were being sold in two separate auctions and I actually won the VCO Disco first! After messaging a friend, Bart who runs the Effects Database website, about the pedals, he asked if I could possibly purchase the EQ Exciter for him since this was a US only auction. Neither of us had heard of "SRS" before, and being the pedal nerds we are that's more than enough excuse to acquire them. Well a week later they arrived and I plugged them in, only to be blown away by the grossly misnamed "EQ Exciter", which turned out to be an insanely HUGE sounding fuzz with a really unique tone control that had the kind of a sweep you'd typically find on a synthesizer! I knew at that moment I had to make my case to Bart that this pedal needed to stay here with me and that maybe we could do a trade for the VCO Disco instead. 😁 (I am still very grateful to him for his reluctant, but gracious acquiescence.)

So what about this other, much lesser known sister pedal, the VCO Disco...

Well, when it came to naming this one they were spot on! It's simply a fat and juicy envelope filter from the 70s with tons of character and all the funk anyone could possibly handle. I am personally much less familiar with this type of circuit but I have been told it is a modified version of the ehx Doctor Q. What I do know is that it sounded great compared to many of the other auto-wahs I've owned over the years.

So here are a couple photos I saved from that original auction. And just like I posted in our full writeup on the EQ Exciter fuzz, if you know anything about this brand or have a pedal yourself, please hit me up with a message! Because after 10 years, these are still the only two examples that have ever surfaced from SRS... 

Thanks for reading!