Re: Boutique or budget
Not being mass produced doesn't mean it has to be expensive. A tube screamer, a circuit that is used under a lot of different names and brands, costs about 30€ in parts. Of course it's much cheaper for Boss or Maxon as they buy bulk and have everything automated. But nothing justifies paying $300 for an overdrive other than a lot of hype.
I think that's the main motivation behind boutique pedals, the hype around them and how much people are willing to spend. Nothing to do with the pedals themselves. And it's not research also, most of these guys are basically copying Boss and Ibanez pedals and making tiny changes, or just removing buffers.