In focus: Fire-Eye Development

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In focus: Fire-Eye Development

fire-eye development feature
(Image: Fire-Eye Development)
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Diving deep into the pedal company producing "unbelievably clean pre-amps, buffers, and boosters" out of the Lone Star State

Fire-Eye Development Inc. are a pedal company based in Texas. They produce unbelievably clean pre-amps, buffers, and boosters designed for guitar and bass.

Fire-Eye was founded by retired electronics engineer Daren Appelt who currently assembles the pedals and units by hand, ensuring unparalleled quality control for their products, namely the Red-Eye, Red-Eye Twin, Bright-Eye, and Dee-Eye. Fire-Eye is a company that sells solutions in the endless quest for tone, allowing players to easily send signal to and from their effects to an amp or front of house set-up.

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The Red-Eye Twin, for example, is designed for players using two guitars, or a single guitar with multiple pickup options, such as piezo pickups coupled with humbuckers, without the need for multiple signals. While running cables to get signal from one place to another, a buffer can be a huge help, and the Bright-Eye could be your solution. The Bright-Eye is a signal knob Clean Boost/Buffer housed in a mini, pedal-board friendly chassis to keep it out of the way, and this seems be a bit of a mantra for Fire-Eye.

Their designs are uncomplicated, simple, and intuitive, allowing the user to understand very quickly their functions and capabilities, but also for simple operation on stage or in the studio. Inspiration can strike at impractical times, and simple-to-use equipment can be your saviour to help you capture your ideas with crystal clear clarity.

Fire-Eye Development Inc’s products can help you solve a bunch of issues with routing. Quickly toggling between two different guitars can be solved by a bunch of different pedals or set-ups, but where the Red-Eye Twin pulls ahead is its precise gain and treble controls, designed to help you match the two guitars, rather than EQ or boost your signals per se. The Red-Eye Twin features two identical channels, both with a 1⁄4” input, a solid switch to engage them, as well as Gain and Treble pots, both side-mounted to prevent them being bumped or turned during a performance.

Once your signal is going into the Red-Eye Twin, it can be sent out via either an XLR to a front of house engineer or stage box, or the send of the internal effects loop can be used as your 1⁄4” output to an amplifier. The effects loop also functions as normal when the XLR output is used and allows you to add effects into the chain before sending sound out of the Red-Eye Twin. Besides their simplicity, what makes Fire-Eye products so attractive is the startling clarity they bring to acoustic instruments.

While electric guitar and bass players have long had amplifiers designed to amplify them specifically, acoustic instruments such as fiddles, violins, mandolins, and acoustic guitar have long been at the mercy of admittedly boxy and mid-forward amplification options that aren’t designed for the frequencies they produce. Mandolins are a particularly bright instrument as is, while amplified violin can become shrill very quickly, but acoustically these instruments sing!

The Red-Eye Preamplifier is a single channel version of the Red-Eye Twin, built with the same high quality components and routing. The difference is the clarity that emanates from the output of Fire-Eye products, something not often heard in a world of increasingly saturated, EQ’d and processed tones. Acoustic instruments are designed to fill an acoustic space, but in a loud band they can be lost or have their tone ruined by using an unmatched amplifier to bring their sounds to our ears. Fire-Eye products make something clean and simple that functions so well that it can be used for just about any acoustic instrument with an output, albeit that’s being captured by a piezo or contact mic.

Fire-Eye Development Inc are a company focused on their roots, and continue to inspire by producing super high-quality products with ultra high-quality components to maintain, buffer, and boost your sound. What’s more, their intuitive and simple designs make routing and use a breeze, allowing the user to focus on their playing instead of their tone.

Acoustic instruments have found their way into rock, pop, and soul music, but equipment has struggled to keep up, forcing bluegrass and string players to make do with boxy and flat sounding amplifiers that aren’t designed for their specific use. Fire-Eye Development Inc aim to change all this, and do it with style.

The boxes are pedalboard friendly and inconspicuous, but also well laid out with options for routing and functions designed to maintain signal integrity whether you’re swapping out guitars, buffering a signal or boosting a solo into an already overdriven amp.

Their products are hailed as the saving grace for some musician’s tone, or the one bit of kit that’s always been missing. The signal quality is so high, you may very well do away with some other pedals that serve to fix and shape sound because of the tone-sucking and colour that other pedals introduce.

Singer songwriters, acoustic aficionados, and string players rejoice – Fire Eye Development Inc has heard you – and you’ll soon hear them!

Head to Fire-Eye Development’s website to learn more about them and their products. For local enquiries, get in touch with Gsus4.