I always find it interesting when you identify ‘hot spots’ for pedal builders. Some areas have have an interesting amount of builders, while others are completely empty. Examples would include areas like Portland, OR (Spaceman, Devi Ever, Malekko, Catalinbread, etc). But another interesting area is New Zealand. The very first boutique pedal that I ever bought was a Crowther Audio Hot Cake years ago. Along with Crowther Audio, New Zealand is also the home of Red Witch, but the reason for this post is my recent interview with Tim Prebble of Dogmatek.
Dogmatek’s flag ship pedal is the super cool Artic Wolf Twin Modulator. Check this beast out…
I was able to send a few questions to Tim Prebble to see what they’re all about….
Talking with Tim Prebble of Dogmatek
– Where is Dogmatek located,
We are in Wellington, New Zealand, Its the capital of NZ, but is a pretty small city of just 400,000 people. Its sometimes refereed to as the creative capital as it has a great creative scene.
– Are there any specific challenges starting a pedal business in New Zealand:
The world is pretty global these days, so the main challenge is shipping costs, NZ is not really on the way to anywhere, so the costs build up and can be a bit prohibitive when purchasing parts.
– When did Dogmatek start?
In 2015 officially, but ideas and designs have been brooding away for years. My partner and I spent a few years living in Brighton, UK and after returning to NZ I decided that I had no commitments so why not start Dogmatek. A few years on, 3 jobs and a baby the no commitments feeling is long gone…
– What inspired you to start Dogmatek?
Ive worked in audio electronics all my adult life and a lot of that time has been servicing audio equipment, mainly synths. I see a lot of great analog synths, a lot that are controlled digitally, but see virtually no pedals/effects like this. That got me thinking and eventually after a lot of prototyping The Arctic Wolf was born.
– Does Dogmatek have a philosophy when coming up with pedals and designs?
Design with innovation. We aim to design products that are new and innovative. That said, a phaser is a phaser and a distortion is a distortion, the end result should be a quality sounding pedal that faithfully replicates the desired effect and isn’t to complicated to use.
– Tell me about the Arctic Wolf Twin Modulator
Its an analog phaser at heart, but its capable of much more, from tremolo, ring mod and boost. Its digitally controlled analog, so there are great features like Tap tempo and the ability to save and recall 8 user presets. When designing the Arctic Wolf I wanted to draw on my experience with analog synths, so Digitally controlled analog was always a requirement. I also wanted it to be multi use, not just for Guitar/Bass players, but keyboardists as well. The unit is full stereo, so you can have 2 separate inputs feed 2 separate outputs. They sweep out of phase, so you get really lush stereo panning in the Stereo configuration. You can also have a single input feed 2 outputs so a Guitarist can get the benefits of stereo as well.
The phase shift filters don’t use FETs, OTAs or LDRs but modulated switches to create the filter sweeping. This allowed for loads of control over the filters and sweep. It has a very clean and open phasing sound, transparent, unlike other analog methods which add a lot of color. The Arctic Wolf Rate knob sweeps from 0.05Hz to 100Hz, so that gives nice slow 30sec sweeps to insane ring mod madness with one turn of the knob. The resonance circuit was designed to self oscillate, much like a synth does, some people will love this, others will try to get away from it as quickly as possible, there is always a trade off for ‘crazy’ sounds. You have to dial in a few settings for it to oscillate so its not gonna run away on you.
The LFO/CV has some pretty cool features you wont find else where to. The Upper and Lower Hold functions hold the sweep at the top or bottom for a user defined time. You can get some great panning effects when set up in Stereo, or really nice rhythms in mono. The Wolf has CV I/O as well, so it can be set up to control delays etc or patch in to synths/keys.
Ease of use was another requirement I set, so there are 2 footswitches, engage (bypass) and Tap/Recall. The Tap mode switch can be configured to be either Tap Tempo or the Recall switch. This way you can preload the Arctic Wolf with your gigs song settings, then just switch in each song, without bending down and tweaking. The engage switch can be setup so that the unit is true bypass (electronic) or with the gain circuit still engaged (buffered bypass) giving you up to 18dB of boost when bypassed. There is expression IN for the Rate and a remote Recall jack on the back as well.
I could go on and on, I’m pretty passionate about electronic design and music
– Do you have any new designs coming soon?
There are a few in the works. Some effects, some controllers.
A couple of control pedals are advertised on the website. One is an Envelope generator. There wasn’t enough room to put this in the Arctic Wolf, and with it being an external unit it will be able to control more than one pedal and be set up to control synths as well (different CV out voltages). It will be an ADSR based envelope generator with multiple outputs and inputs (inst, gate etc) Currently working on a delay circuit, if this works, it will be rolled out in several effects that use delay (delay, reverb, flanger, Chorus etc)
– Whats the best way to purchase your pedals?
On our website, here is the link. We have paypal which also accepts any credit card. Here is a coupon for free international shipping for your readers: http://dogmatek.com/arcticwolf
– What are some of your favorite pedals out there (not your own)?
Ha, there are loads of great pedals out there, I’m actually a bassist by ‘musician category’, so don’t use a lot of effects myself, that said, some of my fav older ones are, Ibanez Flying pan, Mutron, ColorSound wah. Newer pedals, include Strymon Timeline, EarthQuaker Avalanche Run, ChaseBliss and their ModuShape function, there are loads.
– Any notable players using Dogmatek?
Not yet, we only launched the Arctic Wolf last month so plenty of time to get the word out. In NZ the Nudge are using an Arctic Wolf for a current tour and recently opened for Midnight Oil (Australian rock royalty). http://www.thenudge.co.nz/
– How does the future look for Dogmatek?
Slow and steady… Juggling home life and work life means I cant dedicate all my time to Dogmatek at the moment. I often wonder what we could all achieve if we had benefactors like Di Vinchi did, someone to pay the bills, while us creatives create…Unfortunately there are plenty of rich bankers still around, but most seem intent on getting richer rather than fostering the arts/engineering.
Let me know what you think by commenting below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the Artic Wolf!