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DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator
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DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator

Ring modulator pedal from DOD .

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DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring ModulatorPublished on 01/23/10 at 11:24
The DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator is a very unique pedal, even in the world of ring modulation.  The pedal is analog based with pretty standard characteristics, including a 1/4 inch input and output and a nine volt battery compartment.  I believe the pedal can also be powered with a nine volt power supply, but I've only powered it up with a battery.  This isn't rack mountable as it is a foot pedal.


UTILIZATION

Using the DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator isn't hard, but getting used to what each parameter does isn't as easy as you'd like.  The pedal is really designed for users who are unfamiliar with ring modulation and the parameters that come along with it, as it substitutes...…
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The DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator is a very unique pedal, even in the world of ring modulation.  The pedal is analog based with pretty standard characteristics, including a 1/4 inch input and output and a nine volt battery compartment.  I believe the pedal can also be powered with a nine volt power supply, but I've only powered it up with a battery.  This isn't rack mountable as it is a foot pedal.


UTILIZATION

Using the DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator isn't hard, but getting used to what each parameter does isn't as easy as you'd like.  The pedal is really designed for users who are unfamiliar with ring modulation and the parameters that come along with it, as it substitutes each with a different name.  While this did throw me off a bit, I would imagine that some less experienced users might find this a little less confusing, though at the same time the names that it gives the parameters aren't any less unrecognizable.  From left to right, the pedal has knobs for 'suck', 'smear', 'gunk', and 'heave',  all parameter names that I've never seen on anything else and don't expect to.  However, once I was able to play with the pedal a bit I was able to see what each parameter does, although I couldn't pin point each one and match it up with its traditional ring modulator name.  I've never seen the manual, but I'd definitely recommend checking it out if you're at all confused.  


SOUND QUALITY

The DOD FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator is definitely a bonafide ring modulator with all the bells and whistles that you would want from one.  I'm assuming that if you're looking at this review, you know a bit about ring modulation, and know that it is certainly the most far out effects processor you can get.  The sound of this pedal is warm in nature and definitely has a lot of versatility between the four obscurely named parameters.  I've used the pedal with a Fender Strat and a '76 Fender Twin Reverb, so I got a pretty good idea of what the pedal truly sounds like, although I do believe that the pedal would work well within just about any set up.


OVERALL OPINION

I haven't seen too many DOD FX13s out there for sale, but they do show up on eBay.  The price of these pedals varies a good deal, as some people hold these high in regard while some don't.  As far as getting a good ring modulator goes, this is still probably one of the cheapest ways to do so.  Of course it doesn't hold a candle to the Moog Ring Modulator, but if you're looking for a simpler pedal with a good tone quality that will get you the basic ring mod sounds and then some, the FX13 will do the job for sure.
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Tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: DOD
  • Model: FX13 Gonkulator Ring Modulator
  • Category: Ring modulator pedals
  • Added in our database on: 11/17/2003

The FX13 Gonkulator was a ring modulator designed for use with electric guitar. Its circuit combines DOD's Grunge distortion in parallel with a ring modulator (center frequency = 500 Hz). It is well-known as the effect heard in the song "Glass" by Incubus, and for having perhaps the least-intuitive control names of any DOD effects pedal. Two cosmetic variants were made, with the second (more rare?) version featuring the "real" control names above the knobs. The FX13 Gonkulator debuted at Winter NAMM 1996, and remained in production until about 1997. Because of its limited production and subsequent popularity among noise artists, the FX13 now routinely sells for over $100 in the used marketplace.

  • Controls: Suck (distortion output level), Smear (ring modulator output level), Gunk (distortion gain), Heave (overall output level)
  • From the manual: "The FX13 Gonkulator/Modulator is a ring modulator and distortion effect in one. The ring modulation or "SMEAR" adds gonk-like tones to your guitar's sound. With the SUCK and SMEAR knobs you can create a multitude of bizarre distortion sounds that will not only enhance your solos, but will keep the audiences wondering." (image of manual and box)
  • Sample settings (scanned from the user manual)
  • Historical context: According to its manual, the FX13 was inspired by a local (Salt Lake City) band called Dale and the Deadheads, who were featured on Dr. Demento's radio show. The designer of the FX13 was a punk rock guitarist who also designed the FX69 and FX76, and it is possible that this was his band. In the broader context, the New York alternative/noise band Sonic Youth had headlined the 1995 Lollapalooza festival the previous year, and a ring modulator featured prominently in their song "The Diamond Sea" (from their album Washing Machine, released in September 1995). While the FX13 cannot be used to emulate "The Diamond Sea," so-called "alternative" rock was arguably at its peak, and perhaps the FX13 was green-lighted in that context. Unbeknownst to DOD, the "alternative nation" was soon to decline, followed by the ascension of so-called "nu metal", and the FX13 became the first of the "final series" of DOD pedals to be discontinued.
  • "Gonculator"? The word "gonculator" was first coined in an episode of Hogan's Heroes ("Klink vs. the Gonculator", 1968) as a the name of a fake electronic device used by Col. Hogan and his fellow POWs to fool Col. Wilhelm Klink, the commandant of Stalag 13. Over the next few decades, the word was adopted by computer geek-types as jargon to denote their least favorite piece of hardware, and its spelling changed to "gonkulator". It is unclear exactly when the modern definition of "gonkulator" came into being, relative to the introduction of the FX13. However, given the FX13's overall sonic obnoxiousness and the names DOD's employees gave to the FX13's controls, we cannot argue with such a pithy defintion.
  • Technical info:

 

  • Notable IC chips: MC1496P balanced modulator/demodulator chip, three 4558-type op-amps
  • Trim pots: one (possibly controlling the center frequency?), but we do not recommend messing with trim pots
  • Component-side circuitboard images: April 1996 Oct. 1996
  • Related circuit: FX69 (loosely based)
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Other categories in Modulation effects pedals

Other names: fx13 gonkulator ring modulator, fx13gonkulatorringmodulator, fx 13 gonkulator ring modulator, fx13 gonkulatorringmodulator, fx13gonkulator ring modulator

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