December 9, 2011

Wanna See Some Bullshit?

by Chris Randall

Exhibit A: The Akai Analog Custom Shop Analog Delay. Available here. $122. This is one of several pedals in the Akai Custom Shop line of analog effects, about which Akai says the following:

"Building upon this history of quality and ingenuity, Akai Professional is bringing a new generation of boutique-quality effects to guitarists. Each one delivers everything that discerning guitarists demand: rugged all-metal construction, premium internal components including germanium transistors, and true bypass signal paths."

Exhibit B: The Biyang AD-8 Analog Delay. Available here. $66. This is one of several in the Biyang line of inexpensive analog guitar pedals, about which Biyang says the following:

"Tonefancier series effects,which have used the high-class handwork effects as standard, with a high cost in adopting a lot of high-quality and well-known HI-FI audio parts and combined with classic circuits and good internal structure, have reached a very high quality level!"

Yes, that's correct. Every single pedal in the "Akai Custom Shop" line is a Biyang "Tonefancier" pedal with an Akai-flavored coat of paint, for twice the price. These Biyang pedals are readily available on Amazon and eBay. They're shitty. Everyone knows they're shitty. I mean, they're fine and all, for shitty pedals. They are in no way "custom" or "boutique." These are sharted out of a big-ass factory in China by the bajillion.

This is the kind of shit that drives me batty. Akai can't even be bothered to come up with their own shitty products? They're just rebadging _other_ shitty products now? Come on. At least put some fucking effort in to it, guys!


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Dec.10.2011 @ 2:27 PM
Gearslutz is wrong. The AD-8 is fully analog. It uses a coolaudio BBD chip. Maybe they were thinking of the AD-10?

Dec.10.2011 @ 2:30 PM
D' MacKinnon
@afreshcupofjoe that is a pretty good deal considering you'd pay double to build something similar from a kit:
link []

Dec.10.2011 @ 2:42 PM
Crap, nevermind. I was wrong. I just read the link you posted. I feel like an ass now. I guess it is digital after all. Thanks for the heads up.

So does this mean that Akai is flat out lying in their marketing, or their pedal they are selling is actually different circuit than the Biyang? Their ad copy for the pedal uses the word "analog" no less than seven times, and nowhere does it say "modeled." If their pedal is actually analog then that would explain the price difference. If not, then this is some of the most dishonest marketing I've ever seen in the music gear world from an established brand. A major company like Akai claiming something is fully analog when it's actually digital would mark a new low. I expect a minor shitstorm if that is the case.

Dec.10.2011 @ 3:03 PM
Alright, sorry for all of the double posts. I may have gotten a little closer to sorting this out. The gearslutz post is in reference to the AD-8 (the pedal in Chris's post), which apparently isn't analog and Biyang doesn't seem to even claim it's analog in their ad copy (even though it says analog on the pedal, Biyang says straight up on their website that it's a simulation). However, Biyang does sell an Ad-7 pedal which they do claim is fully analog and uses a bbd chip. So it's possible that Biyang does make an analog delay, the AD-7, and this Akai pedal is a copy of that rather than the Ad-8, which is digital. It's interesting to note that the AD-7 still sells for only $66 like all of their other pedals, so if it is analog like Biyang claims, that's still a pretty great price.

Though, given how confusing this all is, I wouldn't be surprised if you tried to order an Ad-7 you might just get an AD-8. Then the seller would be all like, "They're the same thing. I don't know what you are complaining about." Maybe I'm just a pessimist.

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Dec.11.2011 @ 9:48 AM
everyone's seen this right? link []

Dec.11.2011 @ 9:56 AM
>everyone's seen this right?<

They want $150 more for the polished box. This guy gets it.

Dec.11.2011 @ 9:59 AM

My mind was sort of blown that the ad8 wasn't analog, I was sure I was looking at an analog pedal before. Makes sense now.


Dec.11.2011 @ 10:03 AM
Chris Randall
Well.... assuming that Toneczar pedal is two of these, he has $130 just in the original pedal costs, plus another $50 in materials, plus a couple hours of time to do the mods. I don't think the price is insane.


Dec.11.2011 @ 5:52 PM
Hmmm, charging $150 more for a polished box seems pretty insane to me. It's definitely a bit of a pain in the ass to polish those boxes (I've done it before), but it's not really that much more work than a proper multi-coat prime and spray job, maybe an extra 45 minutes.

Also, the $130 assumes he's buying pedals and modding them. If I'm doing a small production run, I can order printed boards for 5 to 8 bucks a pop and solder together an analog delay board in under an hour, with another hour for wiring. Total cost for the whole dual pedal would be about 60 bucks and a few hours of work. It doesn't compete with china, but it certainly doesn't justify charging $875. There have been plenty of companies that make handcrafted pedals of similar cost, quality, and complexity for less than half the price of those, and many of them even use pricey NOS delay chips not seen here.

Also, his pedals look like they use cheap plastic knobs and bezels so I expect them to be just as bad on the inside. If I'm spending that much on a pedal, I would expect at the least to see chrome or anodized LED bezels, machined or boutique knobs, nice case artwork, etc. He doesn't even bother to get a proper silkscreen or etching job done for the labels. What is that, a faux-metal sticker? Seems pretty lame for the prices he's asking.

Who buys this shit?

Dec.11.2011 @ 6:22 PM
Now this shit gets really insane. Apparently there is a long waiting list for these overpriced pedals, so much so that they resell on ebay for even more ridiculous prices:

link []

This is a current production pedal folks. No vintage mojo here or anything. It just uses the same cheap shanghai bbd reproduction chips that everyone else uses. I listened to the clips on youtube and you can essentially get the same effect by running two bog standard analog delays in parallel, yet someone is willing to spend $1,100 on this shit. I'm in the wrong fucking business.

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