• Report: #1166892

Complaint Review: Vertex Effects / Mason Marangella

  • Submitted: Sat, August 02, 2014
  • Updated: Mon, September 08, 2014

  • Reported By: Vertex Effects Fraud — Point Richmond California
Vertex Effects / Mason Marangella
Point Richmond, California USA

Vertex Effects / Mason Marangella - Desperado on Huge Racks Inc and The Gear Page Deceptive and fraudelent practices with Vertex Axis Wah. Rebranded BBE Ben Wah. Point RIchmond, California

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Letter from Mason Marangella

*Consumer Comment: I was wrong

*General Comment: Mason Comes Clean

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: AN OPEN LETTER FROM MICHAEL LANDAU

*UPDATE Employee: Ken Volpe, Vertex Partner Clarification

*Consumer Comment: Ken Volpe, NOT A Vertex Partner

*Consumer Comment: To Gtrptnr

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: To gtrpntr - Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

*UPDATE Employee: Ken Volpe, Vertex Partner

*Consumer Comment: Re: Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

*Consumer Comment: New 2015 Vertex Cumry

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Vertex Artists' Comments

*Consumer Comment: Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: vertex is upstanding

*General Comment: Donation

*UPDATE Employee ..inside information: VP of BBE Sound Comments

*Consumer Comment: How does Vertex procure BBE PCBs?

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: To The Trooth

*Consumer Comment: Questions for Vertex

*Consumer Comment: REBUTTAL: Vertex Delivers!

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Where's the NOS?

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Vertex NOS Axis Wah IS a BBE

*Consumer Comment: Vertex Volume Pedal

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response to “Vertex Effects Fraud” Additional Info

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response to Author “Vertex Effects Fraud” More Evidence from Vertex Axis NOS Wah

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response to Author "Vertex Effects Fraud"

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response to DaGlenster

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Response to Non-Profit Donations - KTD - ()

*Consumer Comment: Vertex Effects Donation Question

*General Comment: More Vertex Ripoffs uncovered

*Author of original report: More evidence on NOS wah

*Author of original report: More Evidence from Vertex Axis NOS Wah

*Author of original report: Additional Info

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 Mason Marangella and Vertex Effects may have rebranded a BBE Ben Wah and sold it as their own designed Vertex Axis Wah using deceptive descriptions of the product.  You can read details and see pictures at these links:

http://www.hugeracksinc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=94891

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1461942&highlight=vertex

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1458484&highlight=vertex

 

It also appears that this may have happend with the Vertex Volume pedal as well.

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1335149&highlight=vertex

 

 

 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/02/2014 10:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Vertex-Effects-Mason-Marangella/Point-Richmond-California/Vertex-Effects-Mason-Marangella-Desperado-on-Huge-Racks-Inc-and-The-Gear-Page-Decepti-1166892. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
3Author 19Consumer 11Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Letter from Mason Marangella

AUTHOR: Mason Marangella - ()

Dear internet community, musicians, artists, and dealers,

I am here to be completely honest and forthcoming about everything that has occurred over the past two months with my company, without the help from any marketer or PR representative and write to you directly from the heart.

I had a conversation yesterday with a friend of mine, who is also a member on many of the forums which Vertex has been the topic of discussion. He too is a small business owner, and has had first hand experience in dealing with a business that had to address issues of integrity. He told me a story about a former employee who plagiarized years worth of articles in his magazine, got caught, and continued to lie about where the articles were taken from. Even when confronted with the evidence, this person was not capable of telling the truth, and just could not face the reality of his actions. When hearing this, I saw myself, and realized, “I’m that guy!”

I’ve yet to listen to my own heart. I ignored the voice of my higher power and allowed my ego to dictate my response instead of speaking the truth. I am here to set the record straight about me and my company, no matter the consequences:

Me (Mason Marangella)

I did go to the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Education. I do not have a degree in electrical engineering and did not clearly represent this to my customers, dealers, and artists. Although I have many skills of my own as an electronic designer, I’m not nearly as skilled as the engineers that have been supporting me in developing the Vertex products.

Ken Volpe

Ken has been a long time friend who has great sales experience, and offered his help in finding new dealers for Vertex products and supporting dealer relationships. He has only been working with Vertex since April of this year.

Ken had no idea what was going on with the Axis Wah, nor did I make him aware of what the product was in any way. Any information that he passed on to dealers was based solely on what I told him. His involvement in the company was strictly to work with dealers and be a representative; however, in light of the Axis Wah controversy he started to defend me, believing me when I said the things that were being written about me and Vertex on the forums were untrue. He is my friend, and wanted to support me, and I let him down by not clearly telling him the truth and allowing him to separate himself from the company before he became implicated in the Axis Wah controversy.

Michael Landau

Michael Landau and Vertex are parting ways, and both of his signature products, the Landau Boost and Landau Chorus, will no longer be produced after this final run releases this month.

Michael Landau has been instrumental in helping me grow my business and develop products over the last several years. He’s been incredibly generous with his time, guidance, and friendship to me, and I am forever grateful.

He trusted me with his name and allowed me the opportunity to do two signature products with him. I damaged his trust, our business relationship, and our friendship by my choice to market and sell a rebranded product in the Axis Wah, which ultimately damaged the credibility of my company and called into question the validity of his signature products despite being one of a kind, unique products.

I know that Michael and I both believe in the quality and sound of the products that we created together- they are incredible. However, I understand that being associated with me and Vertex calls into question his integrity, and this is certainly not what Michael signed on for, and in no way does he deserve to have his name disparaged on account of my actions.

I will always consider Michael to be a friend and wish him nothing but the best. He has inspired me in so many ways since I was a 6 years old: listening to his rich ambient guitar tones on James Taylor’s “New Moon Shine” cassette tape that my parents would play in their old Nissan Sentra with my brother and I in the back seat. As I developed as a guitar player and listener of music, I got into Michael’s solo career and the rest was history. I can’t go a week without listening to something that Michael has played on. It’s truly been a privilege and an honor to work with Michael over the last few year and have been some of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Donations

I donate my time and money (from proceeds from Vertex sales) to two Title I public schools in Oakland, CA. At ASCEND Elementary school, I helped run their weekly morning music program with two other teachers at the school. I was there a few hours each week, to help run the only musical enrichment that these elementary students got all week due to lack of funding and budgetary restrictions. I plan to continue for this school year as students settle into the “back-to-school” routine and we resume the program (typically the 2nd or 3rd week of school).

At the second school, Berkley Maynard Academy, I use proceeds from the sale of Vertex products (except the Landau Chorus where Michael Landau chose his own charity to donate) to pay for school supplies for teachers and students, and fieldtrips for families that cannot afford it. I have attached a copy of a check that I wrote for the 5th grade camping trip an an example, however several other donations were provided of the last few years. This money was used to pay for students whose families could not afford to send them away on an overnight trip and have an experience in the California wilderness. The check is made out to BMA (Berkley Maynard Academy) TAP (Teacher, Administrator, Parents group):

   


Vertex Axis Wah

The Axis Wah is a rebranded BBE Ben Wah. The following things were changed: LED, Bottom Plate, Rubber Footpad, control knob, faceplate, and Wah pot on the NOS version only (changed to a different 100K S-taper pot). The silk screening was removed from the enclosures as was the metal emblem riveted into the top of the footpad. We would adjust the pot to give the wah a more full-range sweep, but this could have also been done by the customer themselves. All of the aesthetic changes and parts manufactured for the changes were done in California, except for the Wah pot on the NOS Wah that was sourced in the USA, but likely from Taiwan or China.

I got a hold of a BBE Wah pedals several years ago and found them to be really great examples of the vintage Vox tone, but looked awful. I was working on a wah of my own at the time, but needed more time and money to develop it, and thought that this would be a good springboard to get a wah product out there to help launch my future wah down the road. I experimented with a few different changes (above) to improve the aesthetics and make it look classy, and it became my best selling product. As much as I wanted to continue to develop my own Wah design, the Axis Wah seemed to pick up more and more traction each month and would push my own design efforts back. My idea was that I would just clear out my existing inventory of Axis Wahs, but this never happened. The product was selling well, customers liked it, and I was too oblivious to admit or acknowledge that I was selling a lie.

***ADDITION as of 9/8/14 @ 12:03AM***

To clarify, I have no NDA agreement with BBE or any involvement with the design or manufacturing of the Ben Wah.

Vertex Volume Pedals

This was manufactured as described on the website and in the manual.

Website: https://www.vertexeffects.com/effect...o-volume-pedal

Manual: https://www.vertexeffects.com/docs/m...lumeStereo.pdf

I do state that is based on a Boss FV-500 platform and that this product is a modification. There is also the words “modified in the USA” on the front of the volume pedal. The modifications require getting rid of components that aren’t necessary and as a result hurt the tone. However, the result of the modification is significant, and creates an appreciable difference between a stock Boss Volume pedal and the modified version. I am sure I am not the first to figure this modification out, but to my knowledge nobody was offering this to the public and after I did a few modifications for various artists, I got emails from clients requesting it which was the reason for releasing this as a product item.

Vertex Cables

We buy our cable from Belden, it is made in the USA. The sleeving of the cables, termination, soldering and all assembly of the cables from there all happens in house. We terminate with high quality Neutrik end (European versions, not the Chinese Rean versions) and place two layers of heat shrink around the ends so that they connectors don’t come loose and also protect the cable as best as possible. They are not directional in shielding as a twisted pair shielded cable is. They are coax cables. I offer a lifetime warranty on them.

I experimented with many cables and found this one to be the best of even the most expensive boutique brands when put in the context of a pedalboard and multiple types of amplifiers (both clean and high gain) and different pickup outputs (both single coil and humbucking). This was also true of all testing and comparing we did with multiple artists and customers. When I was experimenting with different cables in effort to spec my own (which never happened once I started sourcing from Belden), I noticed the Pete Cornish was also using a Belden mic cable for his instrument cables. I justified to myself that Pete was a respected figure in the industry and his cables sounded great, why couldn’t I do the same for a cable that I found to be superior for my purposes.

This justification however, did not make statements about my cables any more accurate. The bottom line is that it is my responsibility to represent my products exactly as they are, and I did not, and I should have laid out this information for customers to make a fully informed choice.

Landau Chorus

This was marketed as exactly what it was, we do match this product to Michael Landau’s trusty old SCH-1, there are many changes, and requires incredibly invasive re-work, however Michael stipulated that he wanted the product to remain in this enclosure as part of the signature product instead of doing a new PCB and putting into a standard Vertex enclosure. Landau has always spoken highly of this product and agrees that it matches his original Arion Chorus.

Landau Boost

This product was marketed exactly as described. It is fully transparent, no color to your sound, and was developed with Michael Landau’s supervision. It is a great product, and has functions that no other other Boost possesses in addition to not adding any change to your tone, just whatever you have, but made louder. To my knowledge this product shares no similarities with other existing Boost pedals, and we used part of the design ideas in the output buffers used on the pedalboard systems that I built to help create the colorless boost function of this product. We also use a similar idea found in our dual buffer pedalboard systems to isolate the impedance of the Volume/EXP function that can be connected to the Boost.

Landau has commented and would continue to agree that his product sounds great, and does exactly what is advertised.

Vertex Boost

This product was marketed exactly as described. It is fully transparent and adds no color to your sound. It was developed off of the Boost that Michael Landau oversaw in the Landau Boost and shares the same overall PCB with a few changes in functionality. The boost circuitry is identical in both boosts, but the Vertex Boost offers a few extra functions, being able to use the Boost as a volume control when the Boost is in bypass. It is a great product, and has functions that no other Boost possesses in addition to not adding any change to your tone, just whatever you have, but made louder. To my knowledge this product shares no similarities with other existing Boost pedals, and we used part of the design ideas in the output buffers used on the pedalboard systems that I built to help create the colorless boost function of this product. We also use a similar idea in our buffers to isolate the impedance of the Volume/EXP function that can be connected to the Boost.

Summary

I was dishonest in the marketing of the Axis Wah. As a businessman I have an obligation to fully disclose the nature of my products to my customers and I did not. On top of it, I lied when questions arose about the origin of the product and didn’t identify the Axis Wah as a rebranded pedal. I dishonored my friends, allies, customers, artists, and family by not disclosing this, and moreover by not being culpable immediately once these facts were apparent. My fears and insecurities as a human being and how it would impact me trumped the necessity to be honest and truthful. I have no excuse.

This has been something that I’ve struggled with my entire life, and I feel that God, The Universe, Karma, or whatever dogma you subscribe to has been trying to tell me to “WAKE UP”,and it has taken something as momentous as this for me to finally “get it”.

It is truly the most difficult experience that I have had in my life, but has also taught me the most important lesson in my life: there is no gray area in the truth. You are either 100% truthful or you are not, there is nothing in between. There isn’t always immediate gratification in the truth, sometimes it sucks, and sometimes things don’t get better right away, or at all, but standing in the space of honesty and truth is the only place where I can be free.

Moving Forward

I will work tirelessly to make customers who purchased the Axis Wah whole again. It is going to be a long and arduous process. I’m working now on securing funding so that I can begin offering refunds to customers that purchased the Axis Wah, as there was no integrity behind the sale of this product. I fully recognize that I need to seek guidance and do some intensive work on myself and really get to the core of my behavior and how I can address this problem I have moving forward. All I ask is for time and your patience in getting money back to Axis Wah owners.

If you are an owner of the Vertex cable(s), please also feel free to contact me as I did not describe that my supplier was Belden, the cable was a coax, and misrepresented the directional functionality of the cable as a result of not being twisted pair shielded.

My contact information is below:

Phone: 510-863-0612
Email: mason@vertexeffects.com
Skype: vertexeffects

Sincerely,

Mason Marangella

__________________
VERTEX EFFECTS, INC.
Custom Effects Pedals | Handcrafted in California
www.vertexeffects.com
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#2 Consumer Comment

I was wrong

AUTHOR: gtrpntr - ()

I was wrong for defending the dishonesty exhibited by my friends company and I apologize for any implication of wrongdoing on the part of the "truth seekers" who took part in revealing the dishonesty. As I said, my dealings with Vertex have exceeded my expectations and I allowed that to blind me to the truth in addition to making misdirected accusations of foul play. I can't really blame the folks on this site for reacting the way they did to my post. 

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#3 General Comment

Mason Comes Clean

AUTHOR: CodeMonk - ()

Mason has finally come clean:

 

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1477492

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#4 UPDATE Employee ..inside information

AN OPEN LETTER FROM MICHAEL LANDAU

AUTHOR: ML - ()

9-6-2014

AN OPEN LETTER FROM MICHAEL LANDAU.

This letter is in response to the recent events surrounding Mason Marangella and Vertex Effects. I first became aware of the drama concerning the Vertex Wah Wahs through Clif Jones on August 16th. I was late hearing the news because I had been on tour and I’m not a regular on the gear forums. The news was not good, this was exactly the type of drama that has kept me far away from guitar pedal endorsements for most of my life up until recently.

Since I’ve never actually owned a production model Vertex Axis Wah, I anonymously purchased one 12 days ago so I could have it compared to the BBE Ben Wah by a reliable source whom I’ve known for many years,
I wanted to have a first hand account of the results. The results show that the Vertex Axis Wah I recently purchased was identical to the BBE Ben Wah.

Obviously I can’t be involved with a company or associated with a person who runs his company like this, 
so officially as of 9-6-2014, I no longer formally endorse any Vertex products. 

I would like to state the following facts for clarity:

- I am not an electrical engineer, the only time I open up a pedal is to change the battery.
- I have never used, nor have I ever endorsed any of the production model Vertex Wah Wahs.
- The Wah Wah that has been on my pedalboard since January 2013 is an old Dunlop Cry Baby that was modified by Mason, I don’t know the specifics of the mods, it sounds good to me, it does have a Vertex sticker on it from when Mason worked on it a couple of years ago.
- I do not use, nor have I ever endorsed the Vertex cables.
- I use the Vertex Landau Boost because I love the EXP volume control function.
- I use the Vertex Volume pedal only as an EXP pedal for the Landau Boost.

As of 9-3-2014 , I have instructed Mason to give all of the dealers and distributers a 30 day notice 
stating that the Vertex Landau Boost and the Vertex Landau Chorus will be discontinued.

Out of respect to the entire guitar community:
If anyone wants to return their Vertex Landau Boost or Vertex Landau Chorus and is having a problem doing so through Vertex or the dealer they purchased it from, please contact Clif @ L.A. Vintage Gear and I will personally provide a full refund. 

Michael Landau

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#5 UPDATE Employee

Ken Volpe, Vertex Partner Clarification

AUTHOR: Kendog Clarification - ()

FWIW-  I did email and ask Ken 'kendog' Volpe, "Are you Mason's business partner and handling the online issue?"

Ken's email response was, "Yes, I am Mason's business partner.  We will be positing a response online early next week," (8/23/14)

Furthermore, one of Vertex's eBay dealers told me, "Ken Volpe is the owner of Ultra Sound Amp Sales and is now recent business partners with Mason. He is handling the media/forums on this incorrect information." (8/21/14)

So it is true that Ken Volpe is Mason Marangella's business partner in some form.  However, someone noted that Kendog has recently removed all his posts related to Vertex from The Gear Page.  It is possible now, a week later, that Ken is distancing himself from Mason and Vertex Effects.

 

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#6 Consumer Comment

Ken Volpe, NOT A Vertex Partner

AUTHOR: Thaet - ()

Someone posted: "Ken Volpe is Mason Marangella's business partner and the one handling the social media."

Ken has repudiated both aspects of that on the gear page:  "FYI, there is some inaccurate info online about myself regarding Vertex.  To clarify, I am not a business partner of Vertex. I am also not handling any of the social media for Vertex. I am the dealer relations rep for Vertex. I have also been the sales manager for Ultrasound amp sales for 13 years. If any of you have any questions, call me on the phone."

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showpost.php?p=18501893&postcount=56

 

So it bears asking again, who is the "social media manager" who Mason is claiming made the inaccurate statements about the Vertex cables?

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#7 Consumer Comment

To Gtrptnr

AUTHOR: Inconvenient Truth - ()

"Please don’t prompt me to look at your data to refute my testimony."

You wouldn't want to cloud your judgement with facts.   LOL!

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#8 REBUTTAL Owner of company

To gtrpntr - Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

AUTHOR: CodeMonk - ()

You state in your message

"Please don’t prompt me to look at your data to refute my testimony."

By all means, please look at my data, pictures or any other information I have presented.

 

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#9 UPDATE Employee

Ken Volpe, Vertex Partner

AUTHOR: Vertex Partner - ()

Ken Volpe is Mason Marangella's business partner and the one handling the social media. 

My understanding is he is also associated with Ultrasound amp sales in NYC.

 

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#10 Consumer Comment

Re: Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

AUTHOR: Thaet - ()

To whoever wrote the "Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist" response:

You state: "Vertex Effect’s only employee is Mason Marangella."

Yet on this very page, Mason stated (with regard to a false description of his cables): "We do have our social media manager make postings at times for the company, and there was some confusion around the technical aspects of the cable construction."

Who is this "social media manager" who is making these false statements?

 

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#11 Consumer Comment

New 2015 Vertex Cumry

AUTHOR: Vertex Motors - ()

As long as we'r responding wih "Mason's a good guy..." and "my pedal sounds better than the crap I used to use..." instead of the core issue of the facts surrounding the fraudulent marketing of a consumer product, lets have some fun...

Announcing the 2015 Vertex Cumry!

Its like a Toyota Camry in every way; except the Toyota badges have been pried off and replaced with Vertex Badges. 

The engine is the same; except there is goop over the identifying areas of the Toyota engine.

Here is some verbiage from the new Vertex Cumry brochure:

The Vertex Cumry outperforms every car in its class.  With over 500HP and a top speed over 200MPH, the Vertex is a thrill to drive.  It derives is power from a NOS Ferrari Testarossa engine (its under the goop, trust us).  With 9 passenger seating, the Cumry is a marvel of comfort engineering.  Hand crafted in San Francisco, the Cumry is proud to be an American automobile.  Available soon.  MSRP $89,900.

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#12 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Vertex Artists' Comments

AUTHOR: Artists - ()

After Mason represented Joe Bonamassa's pedal board as his own work, Joe posted the following on his Forum,
"Joe Bonamassa wrote:

I'm honestly not happy about these videos. All I asked was to have Mason clean up my fly board. I keep seeing these videos about how this is my new rig. Not cool.  Dave Friedman built my main board.  That is my main board.  I am very disturbed to be treated like this. Rig rundowns on something I've never tried????

Keep it!

Joe B"

http://forum.jbonamassa.com/viewtopic.php?id=26479

 

Michael Landau (Mango686 on TGP) wrote the following comments regarding Vertex:

"Regarding the statement which appears in the advertisement for my pedal, "Specially voiced mid-range and high-end to Scott Henderson's taste", I've asked Mason to re-word that because it's misleading. It makes it sound like we sat down and worked on the pedal together, which we didn't. He sent me a volume pedal which had been modded, and I liked it better than my stock one - end of story. "

"Even though Mason mentions the Boss name in the manual, I still believe that when anyone mods piece of gear for profit, they should put a "modded by" sticker on it instead of covering up the original name."

"I think the name Boss should've remained on his volume pedal, and a sticker saying "modded by Vertex" would have been more appropriate."

..." if the manufacturer is advertising that the mod is more complex than it is, of course that's not a good thing...."

"The problem is that it appears he's advertising the mod as more than what it is, and I'm getting that info from http://www.thegearpage.net/board/sho...&postcount=163
Again, my opinion is that if Mason is not being truthful about the mod in his ads and manual, I don't support that behavior and it's in his best interest to clear that up with his customers."

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/search.php?searchid=54556791

 

 Vertex's work does speak for itself:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1467707&highlight=vertex

 Can anyone read those threads and honestly believe the Vertex situation is the result of other gear builders?!!!

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#13 Consumer Comment

Mason Marangella is NOT a scam artist

AUTHOR: gtrpntr - ()

I'm amazed at the lengths some people will go to discredit a small company under the guise of "informing the public of wrongdoing". The people behind this are trying to execute a smear campaign to bring down a company that has alot to offer to those who are on that "quest for the best guitar tone".  It smacks of tactics used by larger companies in fear of a smaller company taking a piece of their pie. Vertex Effect’s only employee is Mason Marangella. His character is rock-solid. He absolutely is the real deal. He is truly an expert at helping a serious guitarist achieve his of her ultimate tone. Ask Scofield, Ford, Landau, Josh Smith etc. and I’m sure they would repeat my same sentiment. As for me, my experience with Vertex has been nothing short of fantastic.  Last year I hired Mason to build a pedalboard/system for me using signal processing effects I already owned.  What I ended up getting went far beyond any expectation I had.  He spent alot of time with me demoing effects from different manufacturers in various combinations through my amp and through that consultation opened my mind to ideas I wouldn't have conceived on my own. It was because of that time and attention to detail that I decided to add some of his products to my pedalboard. Not as a reward mind you, but because of the enhancement to my tone. The end result is a system that I've had in use the past several months that has yielded the best tones I've ever had.  Additionally, I use Vertex cables and will never use anything else.  I use the Vertex Landau chorus, the Vertex boost, Vertex Volume pedal, stereo buffer, and the axis wah.  I do NOT have one single complaint about any of them.  On the wah pedals: the assembly of the Vertex Axis wah is in fact done here in the Bay Area.  I personally have done some painting and color development for Mason and none of the Wah boxes I received were already painted – they were brand new pedal housings.  I won’t try to speak to any modifications or otherwise because that is not my expertise however I do have a discerning ear and can say that the axis wah sounds better than other wahs I’ve used in the past.  Also, on a side by side comparison on Youtube, the axis wah sounds far superior than the other wah it is being compared to.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezzwz2sU0cw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC_xAukEERE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pc2xv1cYxY

 

Here’s an analogy for you: A Lexus and Toyota share the same engine, but one looks a lot better, and performs a lot better and costs more money as a result.  You could call it a Toyota, but the reality is that it is not.

 

I would say to the Vertex hater group:  Please don’t prompt me to look at your data to refute my testimony.  Your collective argument is bent on character assassination and to me it’s obvious that it’s not a matter of right and wrong as much as it is to cast a doubt in the minds of potential Vertex product users to steer them elsewhere.  The question should be in everyone’s mind as to why.  My advice to you all would be to try not to make it so obvious next time you find another target.

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#14 REBUTTAL Owner of company

vertex is upstanding

AUTHOR: hiho - ()

  I have done business with vertex over the years.  Mason has always been honest and professional.   His work speaks for itself...The stuff he designs and mods sound fantastic.  Robben Ford Michael landau John Scofield scott henderson and many others think so too.

It has become clear that people are trying to damage Mason's  reputation by lying about him.  No doubt there is a lot of jelousy....If I was a gear builder for years and then Michael landau and Robben Ford went to someone else to design signature products I would be bummed and hurt too.  But it's not Mason's fault that he is good at what he does.

Let it go.  Sorry.  

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#15 General Comment

Donation

AUTHOR: Concerned Citizen - ()

The Vertex Axis manual clearly states a portion of Axis sales will be dontated to schools- not time, not hours, not a single example of a one-time check, etc,,, Can you please disclose the actual dollar amount contributed to the schools you identified over the period of time the Axis Wah has been on sale?

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#16 UPDATE Employee ..inside information

VP of BBE Sound Comments

AUTHOR: BBE slams Vertex - ()

Before the original thread was wiped out, there were claims made from people that Mason told them he designed the BBE Wah for BBE.

Here is a letter from the Paul Gagon Vice President of BBE.

I have been hearing about Vertex for a few weeks now. I can assure you that Mason did not have anything to do with the BBE Wah pedal. I have been with BBE since January of 1991and have designed all the BBE rack gear and all the BBE pedals. Mason has never worked for, nor done any consulting with BBE.

From the pictures you sent me it's very clear that what you have here is our BBE BenWah pedal with goop all over the PCB and repackaged as a Vertex unit. I'm not sure why Mason would say we use cheap components when they are the same components that are in the repackaged Vertex unit. We actually use very nice components. 1% metal film resistors, 100v poly caps, low noise transistors, and a real Halo inductor.

It's kind of sad to see people in our industry behaving in such a manner. I feel very sorry for the poor unsuspecting customer that spends over double the cost for what is actually a rebranded effects pedal.

Thanks again for sending me this information. If you need any other information or if I can help clarify anything else please let me know.

Best regards,
Paul

 

 Mason and his lawyer issuing cease and decist letters are doing damage control to cover up a consumer fraud.  The evidence threads on TGP are slowly disappearing and Vertex is posting the same arguments that were debunked in threads here where fewer are correcting the falsehoods.
 
 
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#17 Consumer Comment

How does Vertex procure BBE PCBs?

AUTHOR: The Trooth Shall Set You Free - ()

Vertex states, 

"We’ve made it very clear in our response on The Gear Page that we use PCB from the BBE Wah, however we do source our components, use our wave soldering machine, wind our own inductors, match the transistors for a narrow gain range, and source pots that have a custom “S” taper with a 100K value."

As BBE Wahs are made in CHina, and by a competitve company to yours, how do you procure their unpopulated PCBs?

Why are the newer Vertex Was coming with the BBE Logo broken off the PCB?

How is it you source the exact same wire as BBE?

Why are all your transistors the same value as BBEs?

Basically, why is every aspect of the Vertex Wah identical to the BBE Wah?

 

Finally, you have stated if someone is unhappy with their Vertex product they can contact you-  Will you off the customers of Vertex Axis Wahs their money back if they so desire?

 

 

 

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#18 REBUTTAL Owner of company

To The Trooth

AUTHOR: Trooth Detector - ()

Do you have ANY factual evidence refuting the photos, measurements, graphs, and information presented?  Or is it simply your opinion that Mason is a nice guy?

Can you explain why all the values on the board componets are the same?

Can you explain why Vertex uses BBE PCB boards?

Can you explain why Mason claimed to design the BBE Wah while the VP of BBE Sound has stated Mason did not work for BBE nor did he design their wah?

I could go on and on, but even just ONE nugget of fact would go a long way to helping you nbot look like a fool.

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#19 Consumer Comment

Questions for Vertex

AUTHOR: Thaet - ()


Hi Mason - thanks for chiming in.  I had a few questions that might help clarify some of the things going around about the Axis wah.  Since some of the message boards have shut down further discussion on this topic, this might be a good forum for you to respond.

 

(1) What are the "hand-picked NOS components" on the NOS wah, as you stated on your website (up until a few days ago when you deleted that statement)?  If there are none, can you explain why you made that statement?

 

(2) You've previously stated that "Our pots are all custom made for us with the specific values and tapers we dictate for both the NOS and Standard version of the Axis Wah."  Several owners have confirmed that the standard Axis wah uses the same pot as the BBE wah, and that the pot in the NOS wah (in those instances where it is different from the BBE) is made for Small Bear Electronics.  More recently, you have stated that you "source" pots with a custom taper, though you don't say for which wah.  Do you confirm or deny that (a) the Axis wah uses the same pot as the BBE, and (b) the NOS wah pot comes from Small Bear and is not custom designed for Vertex?

 

(3) You state that you "source" "assemble" and "load" your "own components" into the BBE PCB.  However, several owners have measured and compared numerous component values on the Axis and BBE and found them to be identical.  Which specific parts are you claiming that you "source" "assemble" and "load" on the Axis wah that are different from the BBE wah?  Perhaps if people know exactly where to look for the differences they will find them.

 

(4) You state here that you "share a PCB with the BBE."  In other instances you have stated that BBE sells to you directly and you "rework the PCB to our specifications."  (a) Did you only buy the PCB itself from BBE, or did you buy the entire BBE wah? (b) If you only bought the PCB, did you buy a loaded PCB or a blank one?  (c) Regardless of whether you bought the entire wah or just the PCB, what are all the components that you "reworked"?

 

Thanks!

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#20 Consumer Comment

REBUTTAL: Vertex Delivers!

AUTHOR: The Trooth - ()

I own six Vertex pedals and have interacted with Masn via e-mail, telephone and face to face. In addition I have owned literally hundreds of pedals for guitar. 

 

Mason/Vertex have delivered the best pedals I have ever heard, with terrific support, corteous answers to questions, and a commitement the little things that make a product excellent and any my tone the best it has ever been.

I also own a Vertex Axs wah, and it sure sounds better than any Chinese BBE crap. 

 

I seriously question the motives, integrity and emtotional balance of whoever posted about this alleged ripoff.  

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#21 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Where's the NOS?

AUTHOR: CodeMonk - ()

On your web page, (since edited) you also said that the Vertex NOS wah used NOS components.

Where are they?

 

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#22 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Vertex NOS Axis Wah IS a BBE

AUTHOR: CodeMonk - ()

I was the one that de-gooped the Vertex NOS Axis Wah.

I also had a BBE Ben Wah to compare it to.

ALL component values were the same between the two pedals with the exception of the Wah pot itself.

That wah pot is available from Smalbear electronics ( http://www.smallbearelec.com/servlet/Detail?no=582 ). One other user on The Gearpage (TGP) contacted CTS and said that they confirmed that it was a pot custom made by them for Smallbear Electronics.

I contacted Smallbear Electronics with the pot number and they also confirmed what CTS reported to the other TGP user (I did not ask Smallbear nor did they say that Vertex Effects was a customer of theirs).

Below is an image overlay with the PCB from the Vertex Wah over the PCB from the BBE.

That PCB was broken when I got it. Why? I don't know, I will leave whoever reads this to come to thier own conclusions.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v494/CodeMonk/Electronics/Debug/BBE_Vertex_Overlay_003B_zpse9f024ff.gif

And where are the "NOS" components?

 

 

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#23 Consumer Comment

Vertex Volume Pedal

AUTHOR: Thaet - ()

In its rebuttal, Vertex states that it has only advertised the  Vertex Volume Pedal as a modded Boss, and that "Nowhere have we advertised anything different."  That is false.  

Vertex stated the following on his official YouTube demo:  "The platform is on a Boss FV-500, but is totally gutted and the electronics are rebuilt (mechanical components are the same)." That description is false, as demonstrated in this thread:  thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1335149&highlight=vertex

Vertex recently deleted this comment from the YouTube video, but a screen capture showing the comment is available on the linked thread.

Vertex also stated the following on another forum:  "the platform is on a Boss FV-500, however we're really just using the shell (since die-casting one would have been over a $50K investment, and even then there's no guarantee how long the die-cast will last). I gut all of the circuitry and rewire/repopulate the PCB and remove all extraneous pieces, smooth out the pot taper, and dramatically increase transparency while still maintaining passive operation."  hugeracksinc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=89518&p=866711&hilit=shell#p866711

That description is also false.  As reflected in the gear page link above, the Vertex Volume uses the stock Boss pot, stock Boss PCB and components, stock Boss ribbon wire, etc..  It simply removes the tuner out/minimum volume board from the circuit.

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#24 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response to “Vertex Effects Fraud” Additional Info

AUTHOR: VertexEffects - ()

 

Please read through this, it should explain where we are at.


I don't know how anyone can look at the two gut shots and think they are look at anything but a BBE wah, but then I guess most people don't know what they're looking at, because they aren't sourcing parts or anything like that.


For review, here are the pictures:

Side-by-side #1

Side-by-side #2

Degooping

degoop next to inductor.

Bottom of the board, showing no desoldering. (I guess you'll just have to trust people who know what wave soldering and a desoldered PCB looks like)


Lots of people have pointed out that the resistors are the same. That's irrelevant ... 1% resistors all look basically the same.


Let's start with the capacitors -- those colorful little boxes.


There are several manufacturers of box caps: Epcos, Kemet, and Topmay are very common. Box caps are of uniform size and shape, meaning that you can mix and match manufacturers easily. The markings might be different. But most people source caps of different values from the same company, simply to keep things uniform and to reduce the chance that you'll misread the marking on the capacitor and use the wrong one.


You can read that as: The likelihood that two manufacturers will use the same color of capacitor in exactly the same place on a PCB as very small. The likelihood of mixing multiple manufacturers in buying your capacitors and ending up with the same combination of colors is also very small.


And just to be absolutely, 100%, crystal clear: The color of the capacitor has nothing to do with its component value. It's simply the manufacturer.


So why does the BBE have different color capacitors? Because it makes it easier for the assemblers to put them in the right place. In other words, BBE is buying a ton of one particular value of capacitor from one manufacturer to ensure that the PCB assembler can look at a colorful layout say "Blue goes here, yellow goes here," without needing to read the small markings on the capacitor.


Topmay are dark gray. You can see one of those near the inductor in the degooped pictures, labeled "104" -- the same color, value, and marking as the same capacitor in the same position on the BBE wah.


Epcos are often blue. You can see one of those in the lower corner of the board where it was first degooped.


Kemet are often yellow. You can see plenty of those on the BBE board.


The big green caps are "greenies." I'll give the "too close for coincidence" a pass here because the PCB was designed to use those capacitors, and the lead spacing (the distance between the two metal legs sticking out of the capacitor) is very particular.


There are other capactiors that are also the same in the degooped one. The electrolytic capacitors next to the inductor are also identical. Electrolytic capacitors are ALSO very particular looking. There are dozens and dozens of different looking ones. In other words, Vertex had to settle on the exact same electrolytic capacitor out of dozens of different-looking ones.


The pot:

It's already been pointed out that the wah pot is not manufactured by any of the companies Vertex claims they get pots from. Wah pots can also look quite different from each other, but knowing the marking means that the manufacturer blatantly lied about the manufacture and source of the pots, never mind that they are the same batch of pots in the BBE -- the same wah that has the same capacitors and PCB.


The inductor:

Inductors are one of the most varied components out there. In every way. First, they are nearly impossible to manufacture to tight tolerances. This is why some wah builders (Joe Gagan comes to mind) measure the inductance and resistance of the inductors they use. Second, their appearances vary greatly. Here's a non-exhaustive picture showing over a dozen different appearances. Third, although the inductor itself only has two pins, the number pins that hold them into the PCB can vary. Some only have two pins. Some have four. The pins aren't necessarily in the same place. For a great example of what a PCB looks like when you try to account for lots of different inductors, look at Madbean's Weener Wah. It's down there in the lower right of the picture on the first page. Vertex claims that it winds its own inductors. You have to believe that they just happened to end up with an inductor with the same number of pins on the casing as the BBE wah.


The wire itself:

Manufactures are typically kind of picky about their wire. The wire between the two pedals appears to be the same gauge; the same color; secured and routed in the enclosure in the same way; with the same markings. You'd have to believe that Vertex is sourcing its wire from the same place as BBE's Chinese factory.


The paint on the nut at the bottom of the enclosure:

Some people have mentioned that this is "just loctite." This is ignoring its real purpose: It's actually there to determine if the user disassembled the pedal.


The enclosure:

Wah enclosures from large manufacturers are rather particular. The Crybaby, Vox, and BBE enclosures, for instance, are all slightly different. But you can buy enclosures ... they're $47 from Smallbear or Pedal Parts Plus. The cost of the enclosure is a big reason many people simply modify wahs instead of building from scratch. However, most people gut the pedal and replace the PCB.


The PCB:

This has been rehashed so many times in the thread but: You should not believe someone if they tell you that they're sourcing a PCB from a major manufacturer for years. There is absolutely no reason to do this. I know some people who have gotten a hold of authentic PCBs for an MXR pedal. They cost around $20 each. Wholesale. There's no reason to assume that BBE would be selling its PCBs in the first place; but it is QUITE the stretch to believe that someone would choose a blank PCB at that kind of cost as its build platform. A PCB about the size of the one in the BBE would cost less than $2 from a fab house. A layout that size might take a skilled layout designer 3 hours start to finish, and figure $50 an hour. If you're sourcing EVERYTHING else, you have the capital to get your own layout done.


----


For review, this is what you have to believe to think that this is not just a BBE wah, gooped and sent on its way:


1. Vertex sourced capacitors of identical colors and identical manufacturers and identical values for identical places on the PCB.


2. Vertex sourced identical wire as the BBE.


3. Vertex's claimed "in-house" inductor is identical to the one manufactured by BBE, despite the significant variance of appearance among inductors.


4. Vertex source identical enclosures as the BBE, and didn't just replace the baseplate, tread, and nameplate.


I'll try to come up with a good analogy.


Imagine that a real estate agent blindfolds you and takes you to a house they have for sale. When you walk in and they take the blindfold off, it's identical to your own house -- everything is identical. Not just the same room dimensions and floor layout. The same front door. Same paint job. Same rugs. Same curtains. Same refrigerator with the same leftovers. Same couch and dining room table. Same toothpaste in the bathroom. The same prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. The same house number. The person selling the house insists that it's a different house, and to prove it, they pull some envelopes out of their pocket and show you that there's a different person's name on the mail they received at this address, and describes all the places that they sourced the bits of the house from.


The house costs twice as much as yours.


Would you buy that house?

 

Originally Posted by malabarmusic View Post

I've degooped a few more components and surprise surprise ... no meaningful differences yet uncovered. Two of the box caps are different colors, but as pointed out long ago these are generic parts and colors/suppliers can vary from one production run to another.


I lost another component in the process - it's labeled C5 on the board, and is the only ceramic disc cap in the BBE circuit. The "Axis" board also had a ceramic disc cap of identical size and appearance, but alas we'll never know its value.


Parts I've uncovered so far that are verified as the same value:


- B1

- C1

- C2

- C6

- C7

- C8

- D1

- R8

- R10

- R11

- R13

- R14

- R15

- R16

- R17

- JK1

- JK2

- JK3


And don't forget that the following are dead on identical:


- Wah pot

- Side pot

- Footswitch

- Wire

- Wiring harnesses

- Zip ties

- Enclosure

- Rubber feet

- Screws used to attach rubber feet

- Rubber bumpers under the treadle

- Stock battery


Now seriously ... do really need to test the inductor to draw a reasonable conclusion? Because there exists a microscopic chance that there is a handwound custom inductor hiding inside a "package" that is visually indistinguishable from the inductor that BBE's Chinese manufacturer wave soldered onto the board? The alleged "kit" just so happens to have the same external parts as the Chinese one? And upon EXTREMELY close inspection the 8 solder joints under the inductors on both boards just so happen to appear as identical to each other as two of the same fingerprints? As two other members put it ...


I really feel like that's the point we're at. While it's true that ...


... but why should that be the standard applied in this case? I would argue that this evidence would hold up in court on the basis of a "preponderance of the evidence." Perhaps even the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold applied in criminal cases. [Maybe that's why the Vertex attorney has been silent since he sent out the C&D letters.]


Of course this "case" is not going to court, but - hypothetically speaking - if it did presumably we would get to hear some semblance of a defense.


Given that no credible response has been provided, I find it shocking that until the other day people were trying to conduct a normal discussion regarding the merits of the Vertex Boost pedal. Seriously?! With a straight face?! Just because the new product is not an outright rebadge and goop job, some want to debate the merits of spending $249 on what may or may not be an original circuit - and in the process support a company that appears to have deceived its customers and has yet to refute the conclusion that the "Axis" WAS an outright rebadge and goop job. That's downright Alice in Wonderland material.


One added note about the "trust your ears" faction. I do. That's why the first thing I did once I got my BBE was to plug it in. My ears tell me it's the same pedal that I had been enjoying for the past year underneath the Vertex badge. I couldn't do a direct A/B because by the time the BBE arrived I already had sacrificed the "Axis" to the degooping gods. Still ... this isn't my first rodeo or first wah experience. I've been playing for over 30 years and I've been a TGP snob for over a decade, during which I've been through at least 15 wahs - boutique and non alike. I've had multiple units of multiple pedals, and they always differ a tad due to tolerances. I have zero doubt that the major sonic differences heard on one YT video are simply the result of a different pot sweep caused by the physical placement of the teeth.


As I said at the start of this drama, my only agenda is to find out exactly what I bought with my $349. Everything I have right in front of me tells me that I bought a gooped BBE wah with some spiffy cosmetic changes. I'm happy to be proved wrong, but at this point I'm not holding my breath. If at some point the "builder" in question wants to come clean, that would be a positive development. In the absence of that …

Quote:

Originally Posted by strangec View Post

Since the (second) original thread (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/sho....php?t=1458484) was closed with 1000+ posts, I thought we should continue to have a open thread so Mason, or his legal council, would have a forum to post any responses. Also for the de-goopers to expound additional information that may be uncovered.


We last left off with malabarmusic's posting below and calls for the BBE Ben Wah and Vertex Axis Wah pots to be connected to a multimeter:



"I want to be crystal clear for the benefit of everyone who's been following this saga, any latecomers to the drama, and also the attorney who - on behalf of his client - sent me a letter containing an accusation of libel.


In June 2013 I paid full retail for a new Vertex Axis wah from an authorized dealer. Having owned well over 15 wahs over the years, I knew the sound I wanted and the Axis delivered. While the pedal was pricey, it satisfied my wah itch like none of the others I'd owned or tried (including many boutique brands/models as well as a handful of Dunlop and Vox units).


A week or so ago while perusing TGP I read a number of posts addressing the apparent similarities between the BBE Ben Wah (which I'd never tried) and the Vertex pedal. The more I read, the more I felt sick to my stomach. After popping the hood on my Axis and comparing it to pics I found on the web, I went from feeling sick to feeling deceived.


I'm not a tech or a DIY kind of guy, but as noted earlier in this thread I felt compelled to start chipping away at the goop. I had no agenda other than learning exactly what I had bought and sharing that knowledge with my TGP brethren. My pedal is my personal property, goop does not convey patent protection, and the 1st amendment is still in force (notwithstanding what a certain attorney asserted to me in a certain letter).


I won't repost the earlier pics, but earlier tonight I took delivery of a brand new BBE wah (purchased online from Sam Ash) and popped the hood. I may continue with the Vertex degoop, but at this point I don't know that it's necessary. [And I've already lost one transistor due to my hamhanded inexperience.] In any event, I will let the pics below (apologies for iPhone camera quality) speak for themselves."

 
 

Originally Posted by guiltless View Post

I have not read this entire thing, but couldn't this be an instance of private label? Manufacturers make things for other manufacturers with the original manufacture's name on it all the time. Maybe they make a great product, but their name is not popular in all segments so they basically provide their product with the different label on it to go after the people in that segment. Company 1 buys a product from company 2 with an agreement to put company 1's name on it. Company 1 avoids manufacturing costs, and Company 2 sells their products to a market that would not necessarily otherwise but it.


I.e. Chevron oil is Valvoline with a different label. They don't sell it as Chevron by Valvoline, they sell it as Chevron.


It's not illegal, it's not immoral. This forum is a perfect example of somebody buying something because it has a certain name on it, not because it sounds a specific way. BBE could be selling this walk to Vertex with an agreement saying that Vertex can put their label on it. I have a feeling BBE would realize that Vertex is buying a bunch of their products and suddenly coming out with the exact same product.


I'm not saying this is or is not the case, but it sure seems that way to me.

We’ve made it very clear in our response on The Gear Page that we use the PCB from the BBE Wah, however we do source our components, use our wave soldering machine, wind our own inductors, match the transistors for a narrow gain range, and source pots that have a custom “S” taper with a 100K value.

Again, If you own an Axis Wah and are unhappy with it, you’re welcome to come to our website, and find our contact information and reach out to us:


https://www.vertexeffects.com/contact
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#25 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response to Author “Vertex Effects Fraud” More Evidence from Vertex Axis NOS Wah

AUTHOR: VertexEffects - ()

 

More evidence- this time from the Vertex Axis NOS Wah

smg.photobucket.com/user/CodeMonk/media/Electronics/Debug/BBE_Vertex_Overlay_002_zps37ef304d.gif.html

smg.photobucket.com/user/CodeMonk/media/Electronics/Debug/BBE_Vertex_Overlay_002_zps37ef304d.gif.html

Owners of the NOS Axis Wah will clearly see that there is a completely different pot than what is inside the standard Axis Wah, and the BBE Wah as well.  In addition, the NOS wah has a black rubber backing on the pot itself.

The overlay you showed provides good information, although you can see clearly that the two curves are not the same.  Here’s a graph of several wahs (both vintage and new), and you can see that they are as similar to each other as the plots that you posted, yet are totally different wah pedals:

58780422.gif

 

Again, small variables in the pot taper can translate to a large difference in sound, and the sonic qualities that we exaggerate is what our customers are seeking

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#26 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response to Author "Vertex Effects Fraud"

AUTHOR: VertexEffects - ()

ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showpost.php?p=32871895&postcount=7793

We’ve made it very clear in our response on the forums that we use the PCB from the BBE Wah, however we do source our components, use our wave soldering machine, wind our own inductors, match the transistors for a narrow gain range, and source pots that have a custom “S” taper with a 100K value.

Again, If you own an Axis Wah and are unhappy with it, you’re welcome to come to our website, and find our contact information and reach out to vertexeffects.com/contact

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#27 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response to DaGlenster

AUTHOR: VertexEffects - ()

Seems Vertex Cables are also not what they were said to be by Maso at Vertex Effects; please floow the link to see the evidence.

Rippoff Cables:

thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1223060

It seems the matter of contention here is related to a single comment on one thread where we stated that the Vertex Cable was “twisted pair shielded” and not “coax” as it is.  We do have our social media manager make postings at times for the company, and there was some confusion around the technical aspects of the cable construction.  Since this thread is closed and locked, we’re unable to amend it on The Gear Page.  However, it has never been stated or written that the cable is twisted pair shielded on our website or any of our marketing material.  We’ve only indicated that there is a polarity to the cable which requires users to plug in a specific connector into the guitar and amplifier.

The cable is still made in the USA and has a lifetime warranty to the origianl owner.  We cut, sleeve, and terminate all the cables by hand in our warehouse one-at-a-time here in California just as we’ve marketed.

If you own a cable and are unhappy with it, or you think there is something wrong with your cable, we’ll gladly replace it for you under our warranty.  You’re welcome to come to our website, and find our contact information and reach out to us:

vertexeffects.com/contact

 

Ripoff Wah Pedal

thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1467707

We’ve made it very clear in our response on The Gear Page that we use PCB from the BBE Wah, however we do source our components, use our wave soldering machine, wind our own inductors, match the transistors for a narrow gain range, and source pots that have a custom “S” taper with a 100K value.

Again, If you own an Axis Wah and are unhappy with it, you’re welcome to come to our website, and find our contact information and reach out to us:

vertexeffects.com/contact

 

Ripoff Volumne Pedal

thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1335149

Our website clearly says that this pedal is a modification in the description:

vertexeffects.com/effects/stereo-volume-pedal

And clearly says in the manual that the Volume pedal is modified on a Boss FV-500 platform:

vertexeffects.com/docs/manuals/VolumeStereo.pdf

Nowhere have we advertised anything different.

The modifications that we make do change the sound significantly.  For this reason we have some of the finest session guitarists of the last 30 years all using this pedal.  As far as I know, no other company is offering these modifications to a volume pedal and our customers demanded that we make these modifications, that we were doing discretely for artists, available to the public. 

Again, If you own Vertex modded Volume Pedal and are unhappy with it, you’re welcome to come to our website, and find our contact information and reach out to us:


vertexeffects.com/contact

 
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#28 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Response to Non-Profit Donations - KTD - ()

AUTHOR: VertexEffects - ()

We donate hundreds of hours of our time and thousands of dollars to two (2) underserved Title I schools in Oakland, California each year.

Berkely Maynard Academy: https://bma-k12-pt.schoolloop.com

ASCEND: http://efcps.org/our-schools/ascend/

You can contact them directly to verify our involvement (websites above with contact information).  You can also contact me directly and I can put you in touch with the teachers and staff that we work with at each school site.

Here’s one example of a recent donation.  This is a check that we wrote to donate to Berkley Maynard Academy (BMA) Teacher Administration Parent Organization (TAP) to fund an end-of-year outdoor education field trip to culminate the completion of 5th grade.

Additionally, we donate a few hours every week at ASCEND to contribute to their school music program.  Without our volunteering this program would not exist and students would not be given access to any musical enrichment as a part of their curricular day.

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#29 Consumer Comment

Vertex Effects Donation Question

AUTHOR: KTD - ()

Mason Marangella states in the instruction manual of the Vertex Axis (really a BBE) ah pedal the following:

"Non-Profit Donation:

A portion of all Vertex Axis Wah sales will support Title I schools and students, improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged in Elementary and Secondary education."

 

Since the Vertex Effects Axis Wah, Volume Pedal, and Cables have all proven to use less-than-honest marketing, I'm curious if anyone knows what exact percentage of sales when to Title I schools, if any?

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#30 General Comment

More Vertex Ripoffs uncovered

AUTHOR: DaGlenster - ()

Seems Vertex Cables are also not what they were said to be by Maso at Vertex Effects; please floow the link to see the evidence.

Rippoff Cables:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1223060

Ripoff Wah Pedal

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1467707

Ripoff Volumne Pedal

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1335149

 

Not sure there is anything Honest that was sold at Vertex Effects aserious questions concerning Vertex decieving product descriptions. Buyer Beware......

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#31 Author of original report

More evidence on NOS wah

AUTHOR: Vertex Effects Fraud - ()

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#32 Author of original report

More Evidence from Vertex Axis NOS Wah

AUTHOR: Vertex Effects Fraud - ()

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Additional Info

AUTHOR: Vertex Effects Fraud - ()

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaGlenster View Post
Please read through this, it should explain where we are at.

I don't know how anyone can look at the two gut shots and think they are look at anything but a BBE wah, but then I guess most people don't know what they're looking at, because they aren't sourcing parts or anything like that.

For review, here are the pictures:
Side-by-side #1
Side-by-side #2
Degooping
degoop next to inductor.
Bottom of the board, showing no desoldering. (I guess you'll just have to trust people who know what wave soldering and a desoldered PCB looks like)

Lots of people have pointed out that the resistors are the same. That's irrelevant ... 1% resistors all look basically the same.

Let's start with the capacitors -- those colorful little boxes.

There are several manufacturers of box caps: Epcos, Kemet, and Topmay are very common. Box caps are of uniform size and shape, meaning that you can mix and match manufacturers easily. The markings might be different. But most people source caps of different values from the same company, simply to keep things uniform and to reduce the chance that you'll misread the marking on the capacitor and use the wrong one.

You can read that as: The likelihood that two manufacturers will use the same color of capacitor in exactly the same place on a PCB as very small. The likelihood of mixing multiple manufacturers in buying your capacitors and ending up with the same combination of colors is also very small.

And just to be absolutely, 100%, crystal clear: The color of the capacitor has nothing to do with its component value. It's simply the manufacturer.

So why does the BBE have different color capacitors? Because it makes it easier for the assemblers to put them in the right place. In other words, BBE is buying a ton of one particular value of capacitor from one manufacturer to ensure that the PCB assembler can look at a colorful layout say "Blue goes here, yellow goes here," without needing to read the small markings on the capacitor.

Topmay are dark gray. You can see one of those near the inductor in the degooped pictures, labeled "104" -- the same color, value, and marking as the same capacitor in the same position on the BBE wah.

Epcos are often blue. You can see one of those in the lower corner of the board where it was first degooped.

Kemet are often yellow. You can see plenty of those on the BBE board.

The big green caps are "greenies." I'll give the "too close for coincidence" a pass here because the PCB was designed to use those capacitors, and the lead spacing (the distance between the two metal legs sticking out of the capacitor) is very particular.

There are other capactiors that are also the same in the degooped one. The electrolytic capacitors next to the inductor are also identical. Electrolytic capacitors are ALSO very particular looking. There are dozens and dozens of different looking ones. In other words, Vertex had to settle on the exact same electrolytic capacitor out of dozens of different-looking ones.

The pot:
It's already been pointed out that the wah pot is not manufactured by any of the companies Vertex claims they get pots from. Wah pots can also look quite different from each other, but knowing the marking means that the manufacturer blatantly lied about the manufacture and source of the pots, never mind that they are the same batch of pots in the BBE -- the same wah that has the same capacitors and PCB.

The inductor:
Inductors are one of the most varied components out there. In every way. First, they are nearly impossible to manufacture to tight tolerances. This is why some wah builders (Joe Gagan comes to mind) measure the inductance and resistance of the inductors they use. Second, their appearances vary greatly. Here's a non-exhaustive picture showing over a dozen different appearances. Third, although the inductor itself only has two pins, the number pins that hold them into the PCB can vary. Some only have two pins. Some have four. The pins aren't necessarily in the same place. For a great example of what a PCB looks like when you try to account for lots of different inductors, look at Madbean's Weener Wah. It's down there in the lower right of the picture on the first page. Vertex claims that it winds its own inductors. You have to believe that they just happened to end up with an inductor with the same number of pins on the casing as the BBE wah.

The wire itself:
Manufactures are typically kind of picky about their wire. The wire between the two pedals appears to be the same gauge; the same color; secured and routed in the enclosure in the same way; with the same markings. You'd have to believe that Vertex is sourcing its wire from the same place as BBE's Chinese factory.

The paint on the nut at the bottom of the enclosure:
Some people have mentioned that this is "just loctite." This is ignoring its real purpose: It's actually there to determine if the user disassembled the pedal.

The enclosure:
Wah enclosures from large manufacturers are rather particular. The Crybaby, Vox, and BBE enclosures, for instance, are all slightly different. But you can buy enclosures ... they're $47 from Smallbear or Pedal Parts Plus. The cost of the enclosure is a big reason many people simply modify wahs instead of building from scratch. However, most people gut the pedal and replace the PCB.

The PCB:
This has been rehashed so many times in the thread but: You should not believe someone if they tell you that they're sourcing a PCB from a major manufacturer for years. There is absolutely no reason to do this. I know some people who have gotten a hold of authentic PCBs for an MXR pedal. They cost around $20 each. Wholesale. There's no reason to assume that BBE would be selling its PCBs in the first place; but it is QUITE the stretch to believe that someone would choose a blank PCB at that kind of cost as its build platform. A PCB about the size of the one in the BBE would cost less than $2 from a fab house. A layout that size might take a skilled layout designer 3 hours start to finish, and figure $50 an hour. If you're sourcing EVERYTHING else, you have the capital to get your own layout done.

----

For review, this is what you have to believe to think that this is not just a BBE wah, gooped and sent on its way:

1. Vertex sourced capacitors of identical colors and identical manufacturers and identical values for identical places on the PCB.

2. Vertex sourced identical wire as the BBE.

3. Vertex's claimed "in-house" inductor is identical to the one manufactured by BBE, despite the significant variance of appearance among inductors.

4. Vertex source identical enclosures as the BBE, and didn't just replace the baseplate, tread, and nameplate.

I'll try to come up with a good analogy.

Imagine that a real estate agent blindfolds you and takes you to a house they have for sale. When you walk in and they take the blindfold off, it's identical to your own house -- everything is identical. Not just the same room dimensions and floor layout. The same front door. Same paint job. Same rugs. Same curtains. Same refrigerator with the same leftovers. Same couch and dining room table. Same toothpaste in the bathroom. The same prescriptions in the medicine cabinet. The same house number. The person selling the house insists that it's a different house, and to prove it, they pull some envelopes out of their pocket and show you that there's a different person's name on the mail they received at this address, and describes all the places that they sourced the bits of the house from.

The house costs twice as much as yours.

Would you buy that house?
Quote:
Originally Posted by malabarmusic View Post
I've degooped a few more components and surprise surprise ... no meaningful differences yet uncovered. Two of the box caps are different colors, but as pointed out long ago these are generic parts and colors/suppliers can vary from one production run to another.

I lost another component in the process - it's labeled C5 on the board, and is the only ceramic disc cap in the BBE circuit. The "Axis" board also had a ceramic disc cap of identical size and appearance, but alas we'll never know its value. 

Parts I've uncovered so far that are verified as the same value:

- B1
- C1
- C2
- C6
- C7
- C8
- D1
- R8
- R10
- R11
- R13
- R14
- R15
- R16
- R17
- JK1
- JK2
- JK3

And don't forget that the following are dead on identical:

- Wah pot
- Side pot
- Footswitch
- Wire
- Wiring harnesses
- Zip ties
- Enclosure
- Rubber feet
- Screws used to attach rubber feet
- Rubber bumpers under the treadle
- Stock battery

Now seriously ... do really need to test the inductor to draw a reasonable conclusion? Because there exists a microscopic chance that there is a handwound custom inductor hiding inside a "package" that is visually indistinguishable from the inductor that BBE's Chinese manufacturer wave soldered onto the board? The alleged "kit" just so happens to have the same external parts as the Chinese one? And upon EXTREMELY close inspection the 8 solder joints under the inductors on both boards just so happen to appear as identical to each other as two of the same fingerprints? As two other members put it ...





I really feel like that's the point we're at. While it's true that ...



... but why should that be the standard applied in this case? I would argue that this evidence would hold up in court on the basis of a "preponderance of the evidence." Perhaps even the "beyond a reasonable doubt" threshold applied in criminal cases. [Maybe that's why the Vertex attorney has been silent since he sent out the C&D letters.]

Of course this "case" is not going to court, but - hypothetically speaking - if it did presumably we would get to hear some semblance of a defense. 

Given that no credible response has been provided, I find it shocking that until the other day people were trying to conduct a normal discussion regarding the merits of the Vertex Boost pedal. Seriously?! With a straight face?! Just because the new product is not an outright rebadge and goop job, some want to debate the merits of spending $249 on what may or may not be an original circuit - and in the process support a company that appears to have deceived its customers and has yet to refute the conclusion that the "Axis" WAS an outright rebadge and goop job. That's downright Alice in Wonderland material. 

One added note about the "trust your ears" faction. I do. That's why the first thing I did once I got my BBE was to plug it in. My ears tell me it's the same pedal that I had been enjoying for the past year underneath the Vertex badge. I couldn't do a direct A/B because by the time the BBE arrived I already had sacrificed the "Axis" to the degooping gods. Still ... this isn't my first rodeo or first wah experience. I've been playing for over 30 years and I've been a TGP snob for over a decade, during which I've been through at least 15 wahs - boutique and non alike. I've had multiple units of multiple pedals, and they always differ a tad due to tolerances. I have zero doubt that the major sonic differences heard on one YT video are simply the result of a different pot sweep caused by the physical placement of the teeth. 

As I said at the start of this drama, my only agenda is to find out exactly what I bought with my $349. Everything I have right in front of me tells me that I bought a gooped BBE wah with some spiffy cosmetic changes. I'm happy to be proved wrong, but at this point I'm not holding my breath. If at some point the "builder" in question wants to come clean, that would be a positive development. In the absence of that ...




+1
Quote:
Originally Posted by strangec View Post
Since the (second) original thread (http://www.thegearpage.net/board/sho....php?t=1458484) was closed with 1000+ posts, I thought we should continue to have a open thread so Mason, or his legal council, would have a forum to post any responses. Also for the de-goopers to expound additional information that may be uncovered. 

We last left off with malabarmusic's posting below and calls for the BBE Ben Wah and Vertex Axis Wah pots to be connected to a multimeter:


"I want to be crystal clear for the benefit of everyone who's been following this saga, any latecomers to the drama, and also the attorney who - on behalf of his client - sent me a letter containing an accusation of libel.

In June 2013 I paid full retail for a new Vertex Axis wah from an authorized dealer. Having owned well over 15 wahs over the years, I knew the sound I wanted and the Axis delivered. While the pedal was pricey, it satisfied my wah itch like none of the others I'd owned or tried (including many boutique brands/models as well as a handful of Dunlop and Vox units).

A week or so ago while perusing TGP I read a number of posts addressing the apparent similarities between the BBE Ben Wah (which I'd never tried) and the Vertex pedal. The more I read, the more I felt sick to my stomach. After popping the hood on my Axis and comparing it to pics I found on the web, I went from feeling sick to feeling deceived.

I'm not a tech or a DIY kind of guy, but as noted earlier in this thread I felt compelled to start chipping away at the goop. I had no agenda other than learning exactly what I had bought and sharing that knowledge with my TGP brethren. My pedal is my personal property, goop does not convey patent protection, and the 1st amendment is still in force (notwithstanding what a certain attorney asserted to me in a certain letter).

I won't repost the earlier pics, but earlier tonight I took delivery of a brand new BBE wah (purchased online from Sam Ash) and popped the hood. I may continue with the Vertex degoop, but at this point I don't know that it's necessary. [And I've already lost one transistor due to my hamhanded inexperience.] In any event, I will let the pics below (apologies for iPhone camera quality) speak for themselves."


























Quote:
Originally Posted by guiltless View Post
I have not read this entire thing, but couldn't this be an instance of private label? Manufacturers make things for other manufacturers with the original manufacture's name on it all the time. Maybe they make a great product, but their name is not popular in all segments so they basically provide their product with the different label on it to go after the people in that segment. Company 1 buys a product from company 2 with an agreement to put company 1's name on it. Company 1 avoids manufacturing costs, and Company 2 sells their products to a market that would not necessarily otherwise but it.

I.e. Chevron oil is Valvoline with a different label. They don't sell it as Chevron by Valvoline, they sell it as Chevron.

It's not illegal, it's not immoral. This forum is a perfect example of somebody buying something because it has a certain name on it, not because it sounds a specific way. BBE could be selling this walk to Vertex with an agreement saying that Vertex can put their label on it. I have a feeling BBE would realize that Vertex is buying a bunch of their products and suddenly coming out with the exact same product.

I'm not saying this is or is not the case, but it sure seems that way to me.

 

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