Budget mini 300 Series FX Pedals (Koogo,Stax,VSN,

Started by admin, April 07, 2021, 07:21:28 AM

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Another name making waves in the under-$50 pedal market, Koogo seems hell-bent on giving fellow budget brands Caline, Donner, and Joyo a serious run for their money. Koogo's guitar and bass effects pedals are small, dependable, and come with a great tone that belies their budget-friendly price points. If you're looking to experiment and play around with your sound, you can get a half dozen Koogo pedals for the price of one boutique stompbox


Main source

Sinco intelligent Technologies (Cuvave)



Latest cheap pedal board for vintage surf gigs.
Needed a spare grab & go rig , that could be used in severe conditions-save wear &tear on my genuine vintage gear, which has escalated in value

My Surf Band also plays a few Blues tunes, and garagerock hits from 50's, 60's  Using the Donner DP-Z to power all 9 effects, very clean.
Dusted off my old Surfrider III  -which after extensive testing rose to the top for emulating my genuine 64 Fender Tube Reverb tone.
(Better than EHX Oceans 11 -which clean dry guitar becomes too muddled as there is only a Mix knob)
Bulk of the "300 Series mini effects"  are $35 units from Rowin, Cuvave, rebranded as Koogo, Stax, VSN -sold at Amazon
I have the STAX FUZZ ( Green pedal bottom row) on my grab & go Surf / Yardbirds pedalboard
, not to be confused with similar Cuvave Fuzz

Surprised it is a versatile pedal with usable range, approaching Tone Bender tones - $30 at Amazon
more research reveals this Rowin / STAX FUZZ is trying to be a 1971 triangle knob E-H Big Muff Pi - one of my favorites - it gets nice with tone on "3" - back in the 1970s I recorded many "keeper" guitar parts with only a Muff Pi straight to tape deck. the Rowin / Stax Fuzz closely duplicates that experience.- with MUCH less hiss noise than the original !




Swapped out my temporary Sharkchill delay pedal (missing a Delay level control) for a

Flamma FC03 Micro delay which has, Analog & Tape Echo emulations

Quality pedal easy to set


Current version with 9 devices all powered by a single Donner DP-Z isolated output Power Supply - very low noise.

Each effect and tuner are true bypass

Signal Order:

#1 - Rockstar Nano Tuner
(It's fast, and transparent when off , mutes when on

#2 - NUX Masamune booster & kompressor
(Near Barber Tone Press experience,  with crucial Blend pot for Dry signal, and a moderate Solo Boost

#3 - VSN Harmonizer
(poly tracking for chords, and more versatile than the Octave effect)

#4 - Stax Fuzz
Made by Rowin, 1971 triangle Big muff Pi but nails many late 1960's Yardbirds / Zeppelin tones 

#5 - Mooer Blues Mood
Its their take on a Boss Blues Driver, very wide range Gain control gets edge of breakup tone

#6 - SolidGoldFX Surf Rider III 
I did a shootout of many reverb pedals, and finally grasped the Surf Rider III controls and operation and it won, (its on John Fogerty's pedal  system)
I can enable the "Reverb Boost" Switch and it gets very very close to my 64 Fender tube reverb for Surf tunes , disable the Reverb Boost, and the reverb levels backs down so  I can use distortion pedals #4 or #5 and replicate a studio sound for Blues/ Classic Rock. the competing reverbs (EHX Oceans Eleven, Holy Grail, etc  often only had a "MIX" control, that would render too much  tone suck at the Reverb settings I prefer, many just buried my Dry guitar, and were too much cavern
honorable mention to the cheap Caline / Aroma mini Reverb pedal - its just a wee bit noisy as its not true bypass, but gets a much better spring reverb tone than the old Boss FRV-1     

#7 - Flamma FC03 Delay
  breeze to setup, and  change controls as needed - I tend to use the "Analog Delay" mode, for slap back rockabilly.           

#8 - Koogo MOD-1 Mod Digital
- replaces a VSN Trelicopter ( Mooer Clone), as it Optical Trem matches a Fulltone SupaTrem, and the U Vibe can get the Trower tone, Chorus can get the Fender Vibratone "SRV Cold Shot" tone  - has two memory positions I use for two different Optical  Tremolo speeds   

#9  - TC SPARK Mini Booster
a Clean Booster at end of signal chain that simply does as stated, adds no distortion on its own, duplicates / exceeds my Boss LS-2 Line Selector I typically use as a Solo Boost on my old pedal board.   
I typically use this sparingly to deliver a sense of dynamics when working as a instrumental Surf Trio with drums and bass.
very different tone than the NUX Masmune Boost 1st in the signal chain which I use to get a bit more drive  /distortion out of Pedals #4 & 5

#10  - Small Tube Combo Amp dujour
With my old pedal board, I used to use a 68 Fender Vibrolux Reverb - but that could get too loud
switched to a Cube 80XL, and that worked well for me, but I did realize a bit less dimension to my tone on most DSP amp modelers ( which the Cube is a DSP Amp )
I recently played a gig using an Artist Tweed 20R EL84 20 watt tube amp with a 12" Celestion Seventy 80 speaker, on the clean channel, and got rave reviews for my tone. Felt very solid. I can foresee a few  gigs in smaller venues where the key is low volume.  - so using a smaller 15w EL84 tube amp with a eminence 10" speaker - which sounds very balanced and excellent tube "feel" that is extremely tough to duplicate with any modeler.

Still use the DSP Floor Modellers , but I have never embraced one for my entire rig  - close is my old Vetta, and my Mustang GT100.
My Katana amps sound cold and too bright, or ( AxeFX) requires a lot more stage setup, PA Sound check which is extremely rare - nothing is worse than playing a venue where FOH PA sound man didnt get things right - and thats a far more likely occurrence when using only a DSP Floor modeler . Also I never use all pedals at same time, but I have a lot of manageable  / accessible  / tweakable tone for any situation       



In recent years many good, affordable pedals came out.
I tried Donner Octave pedal and it is awesome. Really great sound. And fits in the pedalboard perfectly.
You can get it for $50.


Latest updates

Traded out the SurfRider III reverb pedal for a Keeley Hydra  Reverb/Tremolo pedal

Added a "Timmy Clone" =Mosky MM Silver




Current live board -
feeds Artist Tweedtone 20R

And always has a 63 Fender Tube Spring reverb 1st in signal chain

All powered by a Donner DP-Z Power Supply -extremely quiet.


My favorite mini modulation pedal Flamma FC05 , built by MOOER  - for tremolo or chorus , other usable sounds too. Has great dynamic range when driven with high gain Guitar Distortion pedals in front

Typical  $39 at Amazon
Internal view

Its based on this $3 ARM CORTEX System on Chip with built in DSP, I2S I/O , SPDIF I/O


CS5340 24 BIT A/D with 101dB Dynamic Range


CS4344 24 bit DAC  ( 105dB Dynamic Range

Requires clean DC Power supply Rails and Audio Line Driver to achieve best audio performance
The 3PEAK TPF632C/605C/607C are 3-VRMS pop-free stereo line drivers with the integrated charge pump generating the negative supply rail which allows the removal of the output DC-blocking capacitors. The devices are capable of driving 3-VRMS into a 2.5-kΩ load with single 5V supply voltage. The TPF632C has differential inputs, the TPF605C/607C support single-ended inputs, and all can use external resistors for flexible gain setting.
The 3PEAK TPF632C/605C/607C has built-in enable/shutdown control for pop-free on/off control. The TPF632C/605C has an external under-voltage detector that mutes the output when monitored voltage drop below set value. Using the TPF632C/605C/607C in audio products can reduce component count considerably compared to traditional methods of generating a 3-VRMS output.
The device needs only a single 5V supply to generate 8.5-VPP output while traditional op-amp requires a split-rail power supply to achieve same. The device is ideal for single-supply electronics where size and cost are critical design parameters.
●3-VRMS Output into 2.5kΩ Load with 5V Supply .
●2-VRMS Output into 2.5kΩ Load with 3.3V Supply .
●Integrated Charge Pump Generates Negative Supply Rail .
●SNR Enhanced .
●PVDD Power Off Delay Function .
●Low THD+N: 0.001% .
●Drives 600Ω Load .
●Stable with 220pF Capacitive Load .
●Pop-Free Under-Voltage Protection (TPF632C/605C) .
●Pop-Free Enable Control .
●–40°C to 85°C Operation Range .
●Robust 2kV (Output-Pin) HBM ESD Rating On All Pins .