Thoughts on my pedals and whether you should buy them in general.
Usually I advise not to buy any of my pedals when in doubt. Chances are you will be disappointed or frustrated and probably have a hard time selling it then.
On several occasions I took preorder deposits – partial or full, for multiple reasons couldn’t finish and deliver the pedals and eventually refunded these deposits.
Late in 2021 I sold my apartment to refund January ‘early preorder’ deposits for 88 pedals I didn’t finish – 8 Brom…fades, 36 Terrible Mothers, 27 Running for 78s, 11 New Terverbs and 6 New Terverbs Stereo. In total I owed people $15800 of which I refunded around $2000 every day now due to the bank limits. I will still finish the pedals and every person who put in an ‘early preorder’ deposit is entitled to the pedals they wanted and will be able to order them finished and sitting in a shipping box for the original discounted price and with free shipping.
I will never take any money up front again. I will honor all the deals we have.
I am a troubled individual, in general and since everything in ezhi&aka used to be done by myself and by myself only, your orders, building and waiting times, communication etc are highly dependant on my mental health state.
This is not an excuse but a warning.
My pedals are designed and built to be unpredictable, ‘alive’, noisy and over the top. They introduce pretty harsh and maybe quite unusable sounds because sometimes it’s just what some creative people need. Basic idea is if you want nice vibrato, tremolo, reverb etc there are tons of wonderful pedals from wonderful builders and companies. I always found those very cool but not going into experimental and over the top realm enough. So I started working on circuits which provide some more traditional sounds but are mainly designed to be extra noisy and weird.
I tried to keep basic pedal functions like a clean buffer with clean mix and true bypass,, standard power etc and using these as a foundation build something different and hopefully cool on top.
Never having found a suitable good looking way to have all controls marked on the enclosure I decided against marking anything just applying the most beautiful flawed graphics I could develop. No marking decision is questionable and I totally understand it might be an issue for some users. All ezhi&aka pedals have their logic in how they operate and once understood it makes using the pedals pretty easy. Still, this requires additional effort from the user and it’s understandable that many people don’t want to put it in, especially considering the price and the whole weirdness of the pedal.
It has been said that these pedals are much more suited for tabletop use and that recreating previos cool settings/sounds can be difficult if not impossible. Tabletop argument as well as not being able to recreate sounds argument are both valid. Small pots are also not very easy to manipulate.
Also when ordering directly from me it’s usually a very long wait, both for the pedal to be built and for russian post to deliver it. This year people are waiting for their early preordered pedals for more than a year.
You can read more about my story dealing with mental illness here, I mainly post it for these reasons –
1. I wasn’t diagnosed till I was 27 and thus lost a lot of time and wasted a lot of opportunities due to not being properly medicated and helped and I really want people who have somewhat similar symptoms/situations not to be afraid to go get help as soon as possible.
2. All people who want order from me and pay me money should know who they are dealing with. You should know about the possible delays, about my broken cycles when I first take too much orders and then can’t fulfill them in time or rush some of them (I did it once in 2018 and some pedals ended up being not working properly). This year I took too many early discounted preorders, ended up spending almost all deposit money on parts and then dropped into a prolonged depression which highly limited my abilities to build pedals quickly. I will be moving from taking any preorder deposits in the foreseeable future, but it doesn’t change the fact people are already being forced to wait while I recover and get back at building with maximum efficiency.
3. Everything about pedals I build represents my own views on creativity, art, audio circuits and philosophy, and people should be aware of how personal my stuff is before spending any money on it to not accidentally go thorugh the long preordering and waiting process only to be faced with an end result of a product which is frustratingly different from what they thought it would be.
Since I am aware of how controversial my creations and my work ethics can be I try to offer as much openness, communication and help I can provide. Quality is definitely not big industry comparable, mishaps sometimes happen, repairs are offered with me paying for both shippings. Designs are applied using my own ink melting method, are kind of ‘relic’ from the start. Thus I offer replacements and refunds in any case – even if you fried the pedal with wrong voltage or dropped it and broke a toggle. For all repairs and refinishes I used offer to cover your shipping costs too – now nothing can be shipped back to Russia. If a pedal is lost in transit I’m building and shipping a replacement. All this takes time of course so it can’t be done instantly, which may also be a source of frustration – that’s why I mention it here.
In conclusion – my pedals are definitely a gamble even if you are looking for unusual, lofi, harsh and unpredictable sounds. Considering high prices, overseas shipping and long waiting times I would think twice about ordering one. I still love each of them though, and ezhi&aka was life changing and life saving for me. It allows me to make a living despite all the health issues and the fact that there are people who dig my ideas and designs so much they are willing to pay money for the pedals and wait for them is literally what makes me wake up each day and go to the workshop.