It isn’t often that a truly revolutionary idea comes along and is made into a reality—certainly not nearly as often as this clichéd sentence is used. However, for us musicians, especially those guitarists, bassists, and keyboardists that use effects pedals—long-valued in the world of music distortion effects—we’re currently in the midst of one hell of an example. And everyone else with the DIY/open source spirit should pay close attention, because this is as much a matter of philosophy as it is hardware.
Devi Ever : FX is a pedal builder out of Portland where a small staff with a very long reach has produced countless pedals coveted by musicians and bands all over the world, including major names such as The Shins, Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode. Widely known for their variety of fuzzes, adding complex musical overtones by way of a frequency amplifier, they’ve now jumped neck-deep into something that can make us all proud to put our money into goods hand-built in our very own state of Oregon.
First gaining widespread attention back in May of this year, the Devi Ever : FX Console project easily doubled its Kickstarter.com goal and is now seemingly poised to turn the entire industry on its head (or at least put a huge dent in the side of it). The Console is a device that allows musicians to mix and match distortion effects via novel cartridges that can be swapped out, similar to the games of early Nintendo systems. The design allows builders to encapsulate their actual circuits into the chassis, which allows for a cheaper build by eliminating the need for the “pedals” to have their own controls and connectors. And we’re not talking about simulations or watered-down versions here—these will be the real deal. Everything from classic overdrive designs to analog delays to DSP, the open standard allows for a considerable amount of freedom within the platform.
Console is incredibly modular and is based on an open standard that invites everyone to join in—from the boutique pedal houses (a huge number of which have publicly backed the project and pledged to build cartridges) to the end user who has always wanted to start soldering together effects but was unsure how to start. Perhaps best of all, it paves the way for an explosion in innovative effects design by being cheaper for both builders and consumers.
What we’re talking about is a new and completely open standard that is going to get the entire community interacting—wielding their passions and inspirations in a way that was previously impossible due to manufacturing complexities and costs. There is no doubt that Console is a shining, Oregonian beacon for the sort of social technology that will undoubtedly go on to define the time we live in.
By Johnny Beaver