With the SoloDallas Schaffer Replica Pedal, the circuit that transformed the sound of rock and roll is back to do it all over, again.
Schaffer ceased production of the Schaffer-Vega Diversity System in 1982 to pursue other interests. Soon, new, stricter FCC regulations on wireless specifications prohibited fully-analog wireless systems of its caliber from being used. SVDS artists – including AC/DC – were forced to move on… the legendary “Schaffer Sound” slipped into obscurity.
Across the world, in Rome, renowned AC/DC aficionado Fil “SoloDallas” Olivieri had been obsessed by Angus Young’s signature tone for more than 30 years. In pursuit of that sound for more than 30 years, Olivieri had bought and duplicated every piece of equipment Angus was known to use. But something was missing…
The Schaffer-Vega Diversity System (SVDS) had already succeeded in its raison d’être: revolutionizing rock ‘n roll staging. Less known is the fact that many SVDS users took their units into the studio with them and recorded with it. The Schaffer-Vega system introduced a new twist to a process called “companding.” Angus used the SVDS’ proprietary processing and companding to shape his sound and create his unmistakable signature.
Not without some hesitation, Fil finally reached Ken Schaffer – pleading for Schaffer’s help in getting his hands on one of these magical units. Awestruck by Fil’s 30 year dedication and perseverance, Ken’s last two remaining “souvenir” units were on their way from the back of his closet to a “better home,” Fil’s, in Rome.
Fil asked Schaffer to condone his producing a replica – an audio replica, not a wireless – of the SVDS to be used for those – like himself – in love with that iconic sound. A team of electrical engineers in Rome and Vienna were retained to retroengineer the SVDS –requiring, too, a worldwide search to procure components that had been discontinued decades earlier. Early prototypes of the Replica were introduced, quietly at NAMM, in January, 2014, certification completed, and production begun in Vienna in March, and fulfillment to SoloDallas blog preorders commenced in May. Recipient of unit #1 was Angus himself, who used it throughout “Rock or Bust,” AC/DC’s first album in eight years. He’d rediscovered the secret to the best tone he’d ever had!
Scores of the Replicas’ initial users found that both versions of the Replica indeed contributed the SVDS’s legendary character through a wide variety of amplifiers – not only tube, but also cheap solid state – and even emulation software. Its signature tone still makes the difference, being recognizable as that sound: a definitive replication of the audio effect of the original SVDS.