Man, it feels like a lot is happening all at once. But then I think life is pretty much always like that right?
Plenty of hiccups, upsets and some plain bad luck the last few weeks, but also plenty of good stuff to report.
It all started a few weeks ago, when word was starting to notice pedal builders asking where to get certain bits because their usual supplier was out, so I had a look and saw quite clearly that the supply chain is not looking too grand on a few things at the minute. A lot of very commonly used components are already out of stock and showing really long lead times with trusted suppliers. I took a few days away from building to go do an inventory and then put in some hyooooj parts orders.
I’m sure everything will level out at some point, but don’t be surprised if you’re seeing a few things in short supply later this year and a few pedals with different knobs to what you’re used to.
I don’t think there’s any need to panic quite yet, but it’s something you should be aware of that could start to affect some of your favourite pedal builders.
New PCBs – Kilter!
As far as the new PCBs goes, from here on out all Kilters will use the new semi populated SMD PCBs, they sound exactly the same as original boards, so I’m proper chuffed.
New PCBs – Skitter V2!
Next, the Skitter! The new PCBs are coming in in the next few days (first week of May). I’ve made a few tweaks to improve the design. I’ve decided to label it as V2.
I sometimes make small changes to pedals without announcing them, tweaking values or altering PCB layout, adding filtering, doing whatever I can to improve the quality of the pedal. Sometimes it involves upgrading components (like the Gorva pro footswitches we now use as standard). I never list something as a new version unless there’s been a significant change or improvement.
This Skitter V2 has had a few significant adjustments that have improved the quality of the design. I’m marking this as V2 only because this is where I think all development stops, there’s nothing more I want to tweak here. I’ve been over every part of the circuit as much as I think I can.
I’ve reduced the pre-tremolo gain, and adjusted the filtering on the reverb side, then boosted the signal more after the tremolo to reduce the possibility of clipping (especially on bass) and offer much more volume.
The Skitter is an optical tremolo, it has three vactrols (an LED and a photoresistor) in it. One for the dry signal, and two for the reverb (on and off kilter). The new PCBs have three trimpots – one for each vactrol – to help reduce noise, set appropriate volume levels and balance the three voicings.
I make all the vactrols here with my super special secret brew combination of LEDs and photoresistors. Unfortunately I’m finding that it’s getting more and more difficult to find consistent photoresistors. I’m having to do a lot of testing, measuring and grouping to get balanced results. The new PCBs have three trimpots to help reduce noise, balance the three voicings and add flexibility to the gain.
New PCBs – Swan Hunter prototype!
The more exciting stuff is, I have a new SMD prototype version of the Swan Hunter coming in, and I have a good feeling about it. I don’t want to say too much about it until it’s here and I’ve had a chance to try it out though. But if it works like I’m hoping then I’ll start moving forwards with getting the boards manufactured and finishing up the artwork etc.
New PCBs – Woozy V2 and beyond?
Also, I’m experimenting with some tweaks for the new SMD Woozy board. The first prototype was worse than the current through hole version that I sell, so I’m experimenting with a slightly new layout to improve things and reduce LFO noise that was coming through on the first SMD prototype. I’m messing around with how the blend knob works, hopefully giving it a 100% dry to 100% wet blend without losing any character at the two extremes.
I am a little hesitant to call it a V2, as I am with the Skitter, because I think that people can inflate what that means. The V1 doesn’t suddenly become trash, if you have a V1 please don’t feel like you have to replace it. If it does the thing you like then keep it.
But if this all works, I’ll be marking it as a V2 only because it’s a significant change from where it started and it’s where all development will be stopping for the standard Woozy model.
What’s happening in May? Why no preorders?
There are a lot of orders to catch up on. I think I’m back to having to build more than 100 pedals for order and dealers. I want to catch up on everything and shorten lead times before I take more orders, because I think it’s a better way to treat my customers and to do business in general.
The only hiccup this month is that I might need to put up a few extra preorders because so much money has gone straight out the door on securing parts for the future production.
May is also the month where – as I’ve mentioned above – everything is shifting in terms of how I operate. Moving over to the semi populated SMD boards means I can get on with so much more stuff, and I’m so excited about it. I’m hoping to get cracking with the other stuff in June.
That means a couple of things, firstly I need to sort, tidy and organise everything at Champion Leccy HQ, which is just a rowhome in South Philly. There’s not much space, so a lot of stuff needs to be re-prioritised, and quite frankly a bunch of stuff just needs to go out. It’s going to be one hell of a spring clean!
What’s happening with Skitter preorders?
As the enclosures were late arriving, I wasn’t able to list preorders as I normally would, so I asked people to contact me if they were interested. When I managed to get pictures of the new colourways (yes! New colours! and they look swish!) up in the store, I added stock, made the page password protected, then sent everyone who’d contacted me the password. I’m still waiting on a handful of people to place their order, but if I don’t hear from them then I’ll open up the last few preorder slots.
What’s happening with Canny Fettle Boost preorders?
Unfortunately after UPS spent several weeks fumbling the delivery of the the Canny Fettle Boost enclosures, I discovered that there was an issue with them, so they’re going to have to be redone. I don’t know how long this will take, if you’re after a Canny Fettle Boost shoot me a message and I’ll email you when they’re ready for ordering.
What else is happening in May? Tees?
Well, I’m waiting to hear back from my tee printing guy here in Philly about availability and lead times, but I’d say some new tees are well overdue, and I’m considering doing some hoodies too.
If you have any questions about any of this or have an opinion about what should go on the tees/ hoodies please reach out. It’s always a pleasure hearing from you!