Monday, 31 March 2014

EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Fuzz

Interesting take on the Muff with LEDs replacing the usual silicon diodes and germanium transistors for Q2 and Q3.  Info about the original from the manufacturer:

Our flag-ship device! The Hoof Fuzz is a germanium/silicon hybrid fuzz which is based on character of the classic green Russian muff. It is capable of creating everything from dirty and organic overdrive to monstrous fuzz madness. It features a smooth, natural and harmonically rich sustain that is less associated with muff style fuzzes and has more in common with an overdriven amplifier. The Hoof Fuzz has some real clarity and distinctiveness that provides a tight and controlled signal that will surely be heard through the mix. The Shift control is secret weapon of the Hoof. It changes the frequency response of the tone control, primarily on the treble side, but it also diminishes any unnecessary muddiness on the bass side too. Scoop the mids or boost them- lots of tonal shaping options are on tap! The Hoof Fuzz has become a key pedal for TONS of well known artists in both the studio and on stage. All analog, true bypass and made one at time by human hands in Akron, Ohio (the center of the universe).


Fuzz: Clockwise for heavy, counterclockwise for light.
Tone: Bass to the left, Treble to the right
Level: Controls the output level.
Shift: Adjust the mid content. Clockwise for classic scooped mids, counterclockwise for the more modern cutting mids all the kids love.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Walco Fuzz Tone Generator

Couldn't find any demos for the original unit. This could indicate one of the two reasons. First, the circuit sounds so horrible that no one has wasted their time to record a demo, or second, the unit is rare and highly undervalued. Either way, designwise it does have distinct differences from other fuzzes of the era. Internet search shows that Mr. Albini has one at Electrical Audio studios, so i guess it can't be all wrong. I added polarity protection and pulldown resistor for this layout. I also tweaked couple of the values to match the ones you have (as there should be 500K resistors and 50n caps..). Same thing with the transistors. Original has 2SC828s in it, but you should be golden with 2N5088s or similar. If you are building this, consider swapping the 47p cap for something a bit higher. Like 10n.

Edit: According to FSB thread on the subject, the 47p cap on the schematic should be in fact 470p. Layout edited accordingly. Oh. This also makes this 1:1 with Kent EA-3 Fuzz Tone Bender.

Roger Mayer Stone Fuzz

Edit: This circuit won't run properly with polarity reversed.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

JHS Superbolt

JHS's ROG Supreaux Deux!

From the inception of the Supro Company in 1935 until its closing in 1968, no other brand of amplifier has had such a fascinating, mysterious and legendary story. The Supro® amps deliver the voice of rock and roll, from Jimmy Page’s legendary Led Zeppelin recordings or Brian Setzer’s early Stray Cat tracks, to the raging rhythm tones of Switchfoot’s Drew Shirley. If you have ever played one of these vintage amps then you know nothing sounds the same. No matter how high you take the volume, the amp delivers the same smooth but cutting tone that has shaped countless recordings over its 75+year history.

The JHS SuperBolt overdrive pedal, at its heart, is a discreet circuit, designed to emulate the tone and character of the 1960’s-era Supro® amps. From its touch-sensitivity to the way the pedal sags with tube rectifier color at higher gain settings, the SuperBolt will give any guitar rig a versatile and useful new set of tones, reminiscent of some of the greatest sounds ever recorded. With 3 simple knob controls named Volume, Tone, and Drive, you will have the ability to make any guitar rig drip with vintage soul and attitude that no pedal has ever delivered- until now.

To understand how the SuperBolt operates, let’s begin with the Drive knob. As you turn up the Drive, it’s like turning the volume knob on one of these small-box vintage amps; the more you turn it up, the dirtier it gets. Next, the Volume knob acts like what some would call a master volume. None of the vintage Supro® amps had this control, but it works perfectly for letting the SuperBolt get the dirty cranked-volume tones with the Drive knob and then backing down the loudness factor with the Volume knob. The third knob is the Tone control, fairly true to the designs in many of these vintage amps. Our Tone control will serve as a breath of fresh air to all of you who are tired of the unusable and treble-ridden tone controls out there. All the way up, it is a biting and sharp tone that is extremely usable and easy on the ears; all the way back, you will find a dark but well-focused range of tones, useful for jazz and more subtle styles.

The Hi/Low toggle switch lets you toggle between Hi and Low gain settings, much like the High/Low input jacks found on many of the amps of the 50’s and 60’s. In the down (Hi) position, you’ll find huge amounts of headroom, more upper mids, more available dirt, and the most rock and roll that the pedal can offer. In the up (Low) position, cleaner sounds are available and a slightly darker and more mellow tone. The SuperBolt runs on a basic 9v supply, but internally it converts that 9v to 18v, for massive punch, headroom, and its overall powerful character.  Do not attempt to power the SuperBolt with a 18v power supply.

You will notice that the overall tone is open and full, without the compression found in many overdrives on the market. It will compliment a more compressed drive beautifully, and it stacks well with everything we have tried- and we’ve tried a lot. If you love boosting your amp into natural overdrive, you have never heard anything do this like the SuperBolt. It will literally make any amp into a fire-breathing dirt machine. If you want a classic tool for your guitar rig that can handle any style you throw at it, the SuperBolt is for you. We believe this is a truly unique pedal in a world full of overdrives; get a taste of something different today!

HAO Rust Driver with adjustable gain

Manufacturers info about the original:

The Rust Driver Distortion Pedal from Hao was designed to recreate the classic sound of a late 60's Marshall Plexi running at full-bore grind. Its carefully selected components allow the Rust Driver to faithfully perform this function with any amplifier, at any volume level. The result is a commanding guitar tone with a tight, thick bottom and extremely low signal-to-noise ratio. A single knob controls output level and gain while 3 switchable EQ curves offer plentiful tonal options without compromising your guitar sound. When you need that "Plexi Sound" regardless of the playing situation, the Rust Driver is an affordable, reliable, portable alternative to the real thing.

Overdriven tones of late 60's British Plexi panel amps are still considered by many as among the best guitar tones. The Rust Driver stompbox is designed to produce thick, throaty sound, regardless of pickup types, that enhances the vital frequency range for electric guitars to cut through the mix. At the same time the Rust Driver pedal amazingly maintains a guitar's original tonal character. As a result, Rust Driver generates a tonal character very similar to those fabulous classic amps. With a preset 3-position EQ switch (Normal, Bright, Warm) and a Level control (amount of distortion is fixed), simplicity is the key to Rust Driver's unmatched tonal qualities.

Shin-Ei FY-2 Companion Fuzz with mods

Did this layout a while back and built it. Where the original FY-2 is sluggish on output level and the overall sound is quite thin and nasal, i noticed a couple of nice mods for the circuit. GGG has added simple one transistor amplifier at the output to deal with the volume issues and I<3Fuzz forum has a thread of people giving the circuit a mid scoop control. This adds a lot of versatility to the circuit. I've also included a series polarity protection. It is pretty damn wild sounding thing with slow attack and the general feel brings thick mushroom cloud to mind. Definitely over the top vintage feel to it.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

MXR MC-401 CAE Booster/Line Driver

With an added Booster/Buffer switch.  Info from the manufacturer about the original:

The MC401 is simple in design but superbly effective in solving a variety of mismatched line level and signal conditioning problems that can occur when combining effects. The MC401's circuit design has been used for years by CAE in the world's best guitarist's rigs to remedy these problems and rejuvenate the sparkle, punch and brilliance that can be lost. It can also be used as an ultra-clean boost (up to +20dB) for solos or to drive effects for more dynamics and sensitivity.

Power: Single 9 volt battery, ECB003 AC Adapter or ECB004 AC Adapter for 18 volt operation (for increased headroom)

And for those of you who like the idea of the extra headroom, here's a version with a charge pump and a 9V/18V switch.

EarthQuaker Devices Speaker Cranker

Info about the original:

The Speaker Cranker is an all discrete dirt enhancement device designed to give your signal some grit and a slight boost without drastically changing the character of your tone. It’s perfect for those that don’t like to fiddle with pesky controls yet want to add a little tube-like breakup or enhance an already over driven amp (or pedal) to give it some extra crunch without over loading the preamp. The single “More” control allows you choose the amount of break up you desire. Just like you would with a tube amp, back it off to thin out the sound and clean it up or crank it up for a fuller sound with a bit of compression. Did we mention it’s an overdrive and not a booster? It’s an overdrive not a booster. All analog, true bypass and handmade one at a time in the pit of Akron, Ohio.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

TC Electronic Spark Booster

Another great layout from John for a modern booster pedal from TC Electronic.
Info about the original:

Rooted in Tradition, Aimed at Rebellion

Kick your playing into high gear with Spark Booster, a pedal rocking a completely clean boost and heaps of extra features for a world of tone.

    A whopping 26 dB of boost
    Gain knob for added grit and dirt
    Active EQ and toggle switch for precise tonal shaping

Kickstart Your Tone
With a full 26 dB of boost, Spark Booster delivers the juice you need for highlighting solos and nailing that killer lick or riff.

There’s So Much To Gain
The Gain knob allows you to add just a hair (or heaps) of dirt to your tone vastly expanding your tonal palette. The active 2-band EQ function as a powerful set of tone shaping tools allowing you to sculpt your tone with unprecedented precision.

Total Tonal Control
The active 2-band EQ function as a powerful set of tone shaping tools allowing you to sculpt your tone with unprecedented precision.

The mid-shift toggle allows Spark Booster to focus and amplify all those juicy mid-heavy frequencies that make guitar so great, allowing you to cut through any mix.

Add a hint of grit and compression to your sound to get the same tone and feel cranking and old tube amp beyond "are you insane?!" to induce ear-bleeding levels of guitar heaven.

Active Bass Knob
extended lows and added tightness at the turn of a knob.

drive amps to peak performance and add body, punch and grit to your gear.

Active Treble Knob
Dark and fat or sweet pristine highs with added sparkle and shimmer - the choice is yours.

Maximum You
TC drive pedals offer true bypass. It simply means that no matter what your setup or situation, they give you optimal signal integrity so the 'you' in your playing shines through with unparalleled clarity and definition.

Nobels ODR-1

One of my favourite overdrives, and a nice alternative to the usual TS derivatives, I'm surprised more builders haven't jumped on this design.

Info about the original:

ODR-1 Classic Overdrive with flexible Spectrum control

Perfect for crunchy Best Rock and Blues sounds and extra boost. The natural character of your guitar comes through!

    Drive, Spectrum, Level
    Input for remote switch, heavy metalhousing, low batteryconsumption, easy/fast battery exchange

And version using SK30A-Y (DGS layout) JFETs

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Runoffgroove Tri-Vibe

Great layout here by John K and a very welcome addition.

Info about this great project from Runoffgroove:

The Tri-Vibe was born from the idea of developing a true vibrato pedal that could be built without resorting to parts matching and complex adjustment procedures. Various frequency modulation alternatives were analyzed to accomplish this goal.

There are numerous pseudo-vibrato implementations built around modified chorus and phaser pedals where the dry path is canceled, leaving only the wet signal. Several shortcomings to these approaches exist, such as: non-sinusoidal modulation (a sinusoidal LFO is a must for authentic vibrato), uneven frequency modulation across the audio band, poor noise performance, limited bandwidth, and intrinsic time delay.

Delay chips such as MN3007 or PT2399 were dismissed mainly due their limited bandwidth and the intrinsic delay associated with them. The Wurlitzer vibrato was also considered, however its implementation required a rather large number of components. This left the all-pass stage alternatives. We initially thought that at least four all-pass stages might be necessary to achieve the goal of true vibrato, but after further investigation we found that as few as two all-pass stages could be optimized for linear phase variation within the guitar frequency range. This explains the unusual 15:1 capacitor ratio that sets the frequency of each stage, as this arrangement can produce a quite flat +/- 90 degree phase shift variation for frequencies between 80 Hz and 6 kHz.

In order to implement the phase shift stages, the most common options were considered for the variable element: junction field-effect transistors (JFETs), light-dependent resistors (LDRs) and operational transconductance amplifiers (OTAs). JFETs and LDRs were discarded because they have wide production tolerances that would require precise matching and/or careful adjustments. On the other hand, OTAs are reasonably matched and predictable, so no parts selection or adjustments are necessary.

Different OTAs exist, such as CA3080, CA3094 and LM13600/LM13700. We decided in favor of the LM13600 device since it includes the output buffers and contains a pair of linearizing diodes that allow an improvement in the dynamic range and S/N ratio. In addition, we added corresponding pre and de-emphasis networks at the input and output buffers to further improve the S/N ratio.

The next challenge was to generate a suitable modulation signal. As a side note, in most phaser and chorus pedals adapted for vibrato mode, the lack of "proper" modulation vs. time produces an unappealing "motion sickness" characteristic. So, starting from a conventional triangle waveform generator with a predefined output level, a pseudo-sinusoidal signal is obtained by means of a 4k7 resistor, the 10k DEPTH pot, and two back-to-back diodes. The LFO is not finished yet, for the sinusoidal control signal needs to be exponentiated to obtain symmetric phase variation at each peak of the sinusoid. This final task is performed by the nonlinear arrangement of diodes and biasing resistor in the opamp stage U2b. Again, this section of the circuit requires no component matching or adjustments.

More info here

Mesa Boogie Grid Slammer

I was in two minds over posting this because it is almost exactly an Ibanez TS9, but I thought I would just because if someone does want to build one they have a ready made layout and so won't have to look up what changes to make.  To emphasise how close it is I've also included a toggle to switch between Grid Slammer and a TS9. Basically the difference is just a Timmy clipping diode arrangement, but if anyone wants a Grid Slammer or even a TS9 then at least this will give them two pedals in one. :o)

How much mileage are they going to get out of this design?

Info from Mesa about the original:

The GRID SLAMMER™ Overdrive is an overdrive pedal that produces a variable boost in gain over a wide range with a classic, guitar-centric midrange bump that enhances many different playing styles. It’s a true overdrive “specialist” that covers an amazing array of what many top players consider the most expressive and musical ranges of overdrive. From sweet, subtle breakup to a harmonically smoldering overdrive that can both sting and sing, the GRID SLAMMER sets a new bar in legendary overdrive!


    Designed and Hand-Built in Petaluma, California, USA
    True Bypass On/Off Switching - Bypasses all circuitry when off to ensure no tonal loss
    Gain Control allows you to dial in the perfect amount of vintage breakup or classic overdrive
    Master Level Control provides a variable range of signal boost up to +20db
    Tone Control balances the amount of high frequencies
    On/Off Status LED
    9V Battery Powered or optional AC Powered via External Power Jack Input
    Input & Output Jacks (Nominal Input -20 db)

Soulsonic Crackle Not OK

Requested compact layout as an alternative to the compact SHO.

Martin wrote when sharing the original schematic at Freestompboxes:

Alright, I got it finally figured out... an SHO-style MOSFET boost with NO CRACKLE!!!

I came up with a new gain control for it that allows for the same range of gain adjustment without having to adjust the Source. Since the Source stays fixed, there is no crackling.

While thinking about how to solve this problem, I realized I could treat the basic gain stage as an inverting opamp. So, I set a fixed max gain and tried a variable resistance in series with the input and voila, works perfectly.

Check it out and give it a try; it's a great improvement over the SHO and it's easy to tweak the sound to taste.

BJFE Pale Green Compressor

From John K. Info about the original:

This compressor captures the natural feel of your amp and speakers compressing as they are pushed.The PGC really shines in a live situation with a band where the heavier handed compressors, that sound good at home in a room, often sound thick and lifeless against other real instruments… … The PGC is already famous for its nearly transparent compression and dead quiet operation. You will also wonder if its on at all ~ until you turn it off to make sure and then turn it back on as quickly as possible.


Moosapotamus Acoustic 360 Bass Fuzz

Another from John K, this time the Moosapotamus Acoustic 360 Bass Fuzz.  Info from them about their project:

I love the sound of fuzz bass. But as a bass player, it sometimes seems like I’ve been on an endless quest for a great sounding bass fuzz circuit. I’ve tried quite a few different ones, both commercial and DIY, and the one that I keep coming back to is the fuzz channel from the classic Acoustic 360 Bass Preamp.

Over the years, I’ve built a number of different versions of the Acoustic 360 Bass Fuzz, always adding some additional tweaks and modifications to the next one to make it sound progressively better to my ears. And so, I’ve always had some version of the Acoustic 360 Bass Fuzz on my bass pedalboard. But, I think I might have finally gotten to the point where I just don’t need to tinker with it anymore.

And this is John's vero based on the actual 360 preamp circuit.

Tronographic Rusty Box

After a request John K has said that he's happy to have his layouts posted on the main site so there will be a few of these showing up over the next few days.  All layouts posted are verified by John and others in many cases so you can definitely build with confidence.  Starting with the Tronographic Rusty Box:

Info from the manufacturer about the original:

The rusty box is a pre-amp effect pedal optimized for bass guitar. The controls on the rusty box include input gain, bass, middle and treble eq, master volume and a boost footswitch. The rusty box is true bypass and has a balanced output for use as a direct box.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Shin's Music Dumbloid Special

And the "Special" version with the Jazz/Rock switch.  If I'd just added a cap I would have tacked this layout on the bottom of the first post, but I've shifted things around quite a bit, gained a row but lost two columns, and with this not being verified I thought it should have it's own thread to keep different version discussions/troubleshooting separated.  I think I prefer this layout out of the two as it makes better use of the available space and will leave more room for wires at the sides if you're putting it in a 1590B.

Thanks to Amplified Nation for confirming position of the Jazz/Rock switch which only needs a single contact and so has been listed as a SPST, but use two lugs of a SPDT if you can get them more easily and cheaply.

If you can't find an opamp that clips pleasantly and so can't get round the fizz in your build, then consider making this small modification.  Adding a back to back pair of diodes of your choice between pins 1 and 2 means that you'll get diode rather than opamp clipping.  It does make it a bit closer to a Tubescreamer but the other changes will still make a difference and some people will think it's better to be closer to a Tubescreamer and sound good, than closer to the original and sound fizzy.  Or if you want both options just build the original and add the diodes on a switch between pins 1 and 2.



Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Shin's Music Dumbloid Standard

Latest $600 TGP favourite and as expected it's money for old rope.  The Screamerloid is probably the correct name, and by some strange coincidence that sounds like painful hemorrhoids.  Thanks to Eisy on FSB for the schematic.

Out of the 231 overdrive layouts currently on this blog there is a pretty high proportion that are extremely close to the Tubescreamer (some are basically identical) and this is definitely one that is very close.  But I also think there is enough differences to make this an interesting build, and there's no doubt this has quite a few fans so something must be working right here.  95% of it is a Tubescreamer, but the notable differences is there are no clipping diodes in the feedback loop of the first opamp stage, there is a single LED being used for aymmetrical clipping in the feedback loop of the second stage, and the Accent control is an added control for the second opamp stage which will alter the frequency response, and I think possibly the gain of the stage too.  Those changes are enough to make this unlikely to sound just like a Tubescreamer even if the topology is extremely close in many other areas, and so this is one that I will definitely be building just to see how those sort of  changes make this differ from what I would have expected from this circuit.

Still not worth anything like $600 though :o)

Expected cringeworthy marketing spiel:

One of the most iconic and sought after amps in history… in a pedal!  All D*mble amps are different in tone but the main characteristics that set these amps apart are the open uncompressed cleans and the evenly compressed overdrive.  These pedals are very limited.  Shin’s music in Tokyo Japan is the builder and he knows tone.  This does not sound like a pedal…it sounds and reacts like an amp.  Many pedals claim this feat but few can back it up…The Dumbloid does!

Demeter Fuzzulator

This design was pretty awkward to get down to a reasonable size due to two opamps, a trimmer and mere ten diodes on board. I'm not liking the asymmetry, but i still fitted it in a quite compact size. In the demos, this one sounds like a nice and creamy opamp fuzz..

From Demeter site "The Fuzzulator was designed to be a fuzz with focus. So many fuzzes sound cool but get lost in the mix because they don't have a clear sound image. I solved that problem with tonal pre emphasis before the sound hits the distortion generator. The unit also has both LED or germanium diode distortion available at the flip of a switch." - James