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Sound Quality

I don't feel like printing out my whole equipment list, but I've tried this box with pretty much every standard-issue guitar, from Strats to Jazz boxes, all with the same result; weird noises. This box was made for weirdness, and if you want some kind of pure, clean tone, don't even think about buying the Gonkulator. This thing can make Eric Johnson sound like King Buzzo. The 500k tone bleeds through, and unless you've got a Noise Gate in your system, get used to that whine. You could try using a Parametric EQ, notched out at 500k, but again, if you don't like the noise, don't buy the box. The Distortion is decent, if not impressive, but no one is going to buy this thing just for the Distortion. If you want a smoother, more managable Ring Modulator, buy the EH Frequecy Analyzer, or the Big Briar Moogerfooger Ring Modulator. I give the Gonkulator a 7 for sound quality because of the 500k tone; Ring Modulators are supposed to be weird-sounding, but that whine will drive some players (and most recording engineers) nuts.


It's metal, it's pretty solid-feeling, and it tries to deal with the two biggest complaints about DOD pedals; the switch seems to be somewhat better than on older DOD boxes, and the battery cover shouldn't fall off and get lost. As far as using it without a backup pedal, nothing else sounds quite like it; if you wanted a backup pedal, you'd have to own two of these things. If you like the Gonkulator, you may want to buy a spare. Even though I still see them in some music stores, DOD has discontinued the Gonkulator, which means that at some point, you're going to wind up paying "vintage gear" prices for it. (My opinion on the inflated prices of 20-year-old pedals is too rude to print here; imagine a long string of your favorite obscenities, in English, Spanish and Turkish, or make up some new ones.) Anyhow, I give the box an 8 for reliability, just because nothing has gone wrong with it yet.

General Comments

I'm a long-time player who loves weird stuff, from Spike Jones to Zappa, Devo, Elliot Sharp, even Moog Cookbook. When I bought the Gonkulator, it was the only Ring Modulator I could find, besides the Digitech Space Station, which I also have. (The Space Station has a couple of Ring Modulator effects built in, but it works, and sounds somewhat different than the Gonkulator.) Now, of course, Electro-Harmonix has reissued the Frequency Analyzer (I bought one), Big Briar has issued the Moogerfooger Ring Modulator (nice but $$$), and Lovetone has issued the Ring Stinger, a combination Fuzz-Octave-Ring Modulator for the truly fried. There's also the Charlie Stringer Mold Spore, a combination Wah-Ring Modulator. The Gonkulator gives me a sick, ugly tone when I want it, which is why I got the thing. If it were lost, stolen or broken, I'd probably get another, in part because it was cheaper than any of the other Ring Modulator devices out there. The 500k whine is a pain, but the box does what I bought it for. If I couldn't find another Gonkulator, I'd love to check out the Lovetone Ring Stinger, but it's way expensive, and you have to order the damned thing from England; not exactly an impulse item. For me, the Gonkulator gets an 8, but remember, I love weird noise. If you like anarchist effects, things like the MXR Blue Box, or the Digitech Space Station, you'll probably enjoy the Gonkulator. If you want a cleaner, pseudo-synth tone, look elsewhere.

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