Pedal issues... completely confused!

Wondering if anyone here can help, because I am lost.

I picked up a DP-3X from Tech21 - it’s basically a distortion pedal that is designed around Doug Pinnick’s (of King’s X) signature tone. I can barely get a sound out of it! It’s like there’s a noise gate on it – only really hard plucks (and I really mean more like pops when slapping) cross the threshold and let the sound through (and then it quickly cuts out as soon as the transient passes). But there’s no gate function on the pedal. Also, this happens even when the pedal is off/in bypass mode!

I bought it from Sweetwater, went through some troubleshooting with their tech support. Stumped them, so they offered an exchange. I got my replacement unit today and it behaves the EXACT SAME WAY. So now I’m no longer thinking the pedal’s broken, but that I’m somehow ‘doing it wrong.’

Checked my cables. Without the pedal in the chain, everything sounds great, so they should be fine. I switched basses (from a jazz with active EQ to a p-bass with no eq or tone pots at all). Tried the pedal plugged into a different circuit, in case its a power issue. Same stuff. Tried it through headphones instead of running to an amp. Nope - same thing happens.

Tech21 wasn’t much help, just recommending making sure everything before the pedal in the chain is at unity gain. That’s… not the issue - this is straight from the bass to the pedal…

Any ideas what’s happening here? (can probably upload some audio if that would help).


Not familiar but a few things to try looking at it:

  1. Have you tried the headphone output and is it ok?
  2. Is the headphone output button engaged screwing you up?
  3. Do you have other basses to try, is you bass volume all the way up?
  4. Can you take it to a music store and try it out with one of their amps and basses?

Thanks for the reply John - the headphone output (which is the 1/4" with a switch) has the same problem. To check your point #2, I switched between them and it seems fine (I could hear the noise-floor level change when switching).

I tried it with two different basses, with different electronics.

What I have NOT tried is your fourth thought - taking it to a shop and trying it on entirely different gear. Mainly because I was able to try different basses and… well not different amps but one amp and then DI into my DAW. So I trusted that I’d covered my bases here. But it’s a good suggestion, so a visit to the music store just might have to be part of my weekend plan! :slight_smile:


Plus at a store, maybe you can get someone interested that works there and pretend it’s a “them” problem” and they will sort it. Lolol.


Update - even the music store route landed with “huh, that’s weird.”

BUT! Got the manufacturer involved as well as the vendor - since I had two pedals acting this way, they’re pulling out stops to figure out the issue. Shipped one to each!

I should add, Tech 21 is a high quality shop - don’t let my issue dissuade you from checking out their gear…


Have you gotten this issue worked out?

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Hey, thanks for asking! Yeah - I got two faulty units so the manufacturer had me send one to them. The batch that both were from were all wired incorrectly internally (‘back to front’ if you were). Definitely a QA issue. But they sent me a good one and indicated that they were ‘on it’ for other units from that run of production.

Long story short, what I have now is a brilliant pedal for a few specific tones (that I love). If you play in the Chris Squire and Doug Pinnick realm: all’s well that ends well :wink:


Wow what are the odds you would get two of them both wired incorrectly from the same batch?

Glad you finally found a solution!


We have someone else on the forum who only had bad luck with gear, would tag if I remembered the name :laughing:


That’s scary. Haha

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Higher than you think.
Happened to me with Game Changer Light pedal. It took getting the second one for them to sort out it was a production issue that needed fixing.


Huh, talk about quality control.

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I saw a lot of bad QC during and after COVID.

Seems like they have all gotten past it now though.