Within the world of guitar equipment, there is a constant stream of discussion that relates to the concept of “tone.” What is it? Where does it come from? Does such and such a product suck tone? Does it add tone? Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Of course, the best way to judge sound is typically with one's ears. If it sounds good, it is good. But as with all things, triangulation is a useful and responsible approach towards making decisions and forming opinions. Since people typically have the listening thing covered, we thought it would be useful to add a visual element to our reviews, as a way of contributing a verifiable and tangible form of empirical evidence that users can use as a tool to make assessments and decisions about their tone. Spectrographic analysis is used in a variety of fields, and can be extremely useful to acousticians and product designers. We figured that if the people designing the products had access to this kind of detailed information, then users and consumers should as well.
Now, each element of a signal chain has an effect on the final product, and it would be nearly impossible to make graphs for every possible scenario. With this in mind, we will typically generate spectrograms of a pedal's “neutral” setting(s), as a way of trying to capture the general flavor of the device. In addition, we generate spectrograms for pedals in their bypass or standby modes as a way of contributing to discussions regarding pedal transparency. Not all true bypass circuits are created equally, and you deserve to know how your equipment works.
We hope that the additional set of data provided by our spectrograms is useful to you. As always, we welcome feedback and input: firstname.lastname@example.org