Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Keeley Katana Boost Layout Rev 2

alphadog808 was having problems with his Katana Boost build and I noticed one of the cap values was incorrect.  I also noticed that I had no motivation to fix it because it was an old pig ugly layout so thought I'd do an updated version and add it as a new thread to keep the versions separated. 

A bit smaller than my last layout and I've also included trimmers to replace the JFETs drain resistors to make it easy to bias and fine tune to your own liking.

Info about the original:

As far as guitar clean boosts go, the Katana is KING TONE. It's the pedal to have for the finishing touch on your tone.

Want a mirror image of your tone, only louder? This is it. The Katana is also a fat, harmonically rich boost, just pull out on the volume knob and stretch your imagination with overdriven tone! You can keep it on all the time to push your amp harder, or as an occasional boost to cut through the mix.

Obsessed or Compelled with the Fattest, Fullest Drive? Well, Before other people started using Blue LED's and non-diode clipping stages, there was the TMB and Katana.... Cascading FET stages do the tube-amp-thing like nothing else!

The Katana circuit is Robert Keeley's first guitar effect design for Keeley Electronics. It was originally designed for Legendary Tones for the Time Machine Boost but then became an independent product under the Keeley name after the Compressor came out. Robert's very first effect pedal design (1999) was a digitally controlled Analog Delay complete with built in digital tuner. It worked perfectly and can even be seen at the shop from time to time. Delay times could be input via a keypad to enter the amount of delay in milliseconds or by potentiometers. The Katana is no less stunning in its beautiful simplicity and stunning sound quality.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

EHX Germanium4 Big Muff Pi

Ok. This has absolutely nothing in common with all the other 14 different versions of Big Muff Pi. As the effect has two individual sides, one for distortion and other for overdrive, i thought i'd draw the sides as a separate layouts. You can, of course, use one 16 x 31 board to have both effects on a single board.  Or tweak one of them to your liking and fit it in 1590B. With eight pots and two stomp switches, i don't see even Javi fitting all of this in 1590B :)

Mid-Fi Electronics Demo Tape Fuzz

Request.  Info about the original which I think is a great sounding fuzz:

created to recreate the sound of a guitar playing directly through a 4-track cassette recorder, the Demo Tape will bring you back to your 4-track days. spatty supersaturation and harsh to thick and full, the Demo Tape comes equipped with a two band EQ, volume and trim for simple, versatile and practical tonal shaping. four controls are Bass, Treble, Volume and Trim.

EWS Bass Mid Control

Originally in a 1590A size box, this may be a struggle to get in although I'm sure Javi will find a way :o)
The original used a dual concentric pot for the Boost/Cut and Frequency controls, but I think they are almost certainly going to be special order as one side is 50K reverse log and the other is 100K dual linear.  So maybe just using two pots would make more sense for the average DIYer.

The trimmer is for volume and is designed to be pretty much a set and forget.  Set it for unity, or a slight boost or whatever you favour and then close up the box.  Again though some people may prefer to alter it slightly, do away with the trimmer and have an external volume pot.

Make sure you use 25V rated caps if you want to power it with 18V.

Info about the original:

The new Bass Mid Control is the active mid-controller for bass players. A small but powerful pedal that provides frequency control adjustments between 120Hz ~ 3kHz. When using 2-band EQ or passive bass, the Frequency control provides excellent manipulation of the mid frequencies, while the Boost/Cut gives you boosting or cutting capabilities of up to + / - 12dB. This compact pedal can also be powered by a 9V battery or for additional headroom use an 18V power adapter. This pedal will provide you the flexibility to play any musical style.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Rivera Buf V

Somewhat similar to a Microamp, but with clever switching which effectively turned the booster into a buffer for bypass mode.  I've included an ICL7660S to provide the -9V for the circuit.

The original also included A/B switching at the output and a simple loop, so I've included a simple A/B wiring configuration on the layout in case anybody fancies including that too.  Adapt this with your favourite switching method if you also want to include an A+B option and add a true bypass loop if you want one.

I think this dates back to the 70s or 80s and so I can't find any manufacturers info about the pedal but did find the following information:

The Rivera brand is most famous for its very high quality amplifiers. It is offering new effect pedals these days but this one dates back from the 80's. These days boosters, loopers and A/B boxes are quite popular and Paul Rivera was quite a precursor by offering all three functions into one pedal. This buffer came on the market in many disguises: PMP buffer E945, PMG buffer E945, Rivera Buf IV and V. It is battery or mains powered and has a heavy and durable diecast chassis. Rivera also offered simpler versions like A/B boxes or simple loopers, and even used the box for its M-series and S-series amplifiers' footswitches.

The circuit of the E945 is very simple with a single op-amp taking care of the buffing and boosting duties, while the loop is post-buffer/booster. The pedal works really well and the amount of ultra-clean boost is quite staggering with an internal symmetrical supply of +/-12 volts. This E945 is ideal with a twin channel Blackface/Silverface amp or with a two amp setup giving a pseudo 4 channel rig with one simple pedal. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Black Arts Toneworks Fnord

One for you glitchy octavey fuzz fans.  Info about the original:

The Fnord is a octaver / fuzz type circuit with some twists. It blends a scrambler / octaver type fuzz with a more traditional fuzz / distortion. From zipper/Velcro tones to a full throated distortion, or a combination of the two. Add a sizzle to your leads, make a rhythm sound that harkens back to the days of screwdriver modified speakers, or a tight lightly gated distortion. If you can’t read between the lines, Fnord!

MI Audio Tube Zone

Now, for those who want a challenge with their 1590B enclosures..
edit: There was a slight error on the schematic i did this from. Layout updated...

Screaming Baby Amplifiers Flower Power Analog Distortion

So it apperars to be a silicon PNP FF with diode clipping at the output. Original is point-to-point, but with this layout you'll fit yours in 1590A with some careful measuring. Although the positive ground may come as a problem with that size...

From FXDB:
Beautiful blooming analog distortion/fuzz with excellent pick articulation and harmonics.
Unlike some distortion boxes that are quieter than your dry signal, when you click this pedal on, you know it! Even at lower gain settings it is louder than your dry signal!
At lower gain you get a full, pretty 60's overdrive, when gain is cranked you will get a heavy fuzz tone that produces wild oscillations and clipping at the tail end of your signal- MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF HARMONICS!
This pedal is voiced with huge low end and full tone and sounds great with a bass as well as guitar!!! Positive ground, true bypass- solid die-cast box with top quality parts -tone capacitor is finest made in France today- dims 2 1/2" H x 4" x 5" approx. Handwired point to point for extreme retention of guitar tone and dynamics.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Maestro MPS-2 Mini Phase - ON HOLD

Not the most compact layout (as expected with most phasers) but should fit comfortably in a 125B mounted sideways, and maybe even a 1590B if someone has the patience.

One thing I will say is that until this is verified I wouldn't recommend it being built by anyone who may not be prepared to do a little tweaking.  The effect is slightly different from similar phasers in that it has no resistors between the drain and source of the JFETs and this may be a benefit of the 2N4303 JFETs used in the original.  If you substitute these for 2N5952 or similar as mentioned on the layout, then there is a chance that the circuit will need tweaking to get it working as intended.  I have left a space to add resistors if necessary just to make this easier to tweak for anyone who would like to give it a go.  As usual with these phasers, a matched quad is recommended.

The original BJT transistors were TIS97's which are NPN and around 300 hfe and so I have suggested a 2N3904 or similar as an alternative to those.  Maybe a BC547-550 or 2N5088 would get you in the ballpark a bit better than the 2N3904 so I'll leave that selection up to you.

The original also used 6 x 741 single opamps and so to save space I have opted for doubles.  I'd make sure you socket these as you may want to audition a few to see which double hits the sweet spot for you.

One obvious mod recommendation is leaving out the Oscillator Amplitude trimmer (top) and adding an external pot to control the depth.  If you do want to do that just take the wires for the pot from the holes on the board that the trimmer is connected. 

I can't find any info about the original, or any clips, so the first person to build it and post a vid on youtube will have their vid added to the post! :o)

.. and the schematic:

ZVex Machine w/ mods

I was cleaning up my layout folders and noticed that i had not posted this one up. It's a slightly modified Machine. First of all, the second driver stage has a gain control now, per the Madbean "Macheen" schematic. Also, i found that using Si diodes and a smaller value for the Limit pot made this design sleekier and way more usable. Already verified.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Joe Davisson Shocktave

For some reason none of us got my CJ Downbox v2 layout to work. That was a bit of a mystery since the schematic was working correctly on my breadboard, but even though the layout did not have any errors, the flip-flop simply refused to work. I had taken the layout down a long ago and almost forgotten about the whole thing. Until a few nights ago. I was watching some DS9 episodes and skimmed through my ever growing schematics folders. I noticed this one. It's Joe Davisson's Shocktave, dated 2005. This time, as we had one utter failure with the similar design, i decided to build it first and post it if it would work. And what do you know. It works. Low octave fuzz not completely unlike the MXR Bluebox, but with a lot lower parts count. Tracking goes wild very easily, but you can tune the mix control to have quite massive and cool low octave walls with this circuit. Output level doesn't feel luggish, so for all of you who enjoy dirty and noisy low octaves, here you go.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dallas Rangemaster PNP negative ground

Request.  Moving on from the Fourbanger, here's a compact layout for the standard Rangemaster but with a voltage inverter so you can use the better quality PNP transistors but with a negative ground.  Note the IC is rotated 180° to how we usually mount it, pin 1 bottom right.

To make this a little more versatile I'd be very tempted to lose the input and output caps (and shave off a column) and add a 4P3T rotary switch to swap input and output caps to offer a greater range of frequencies.

Maybe having:

Input caps
C1 - 5n
C2 - 22n
C3 - 47n

Output caps
C4 - 10n
C5 - 47n
C6 - 100n

or whatever suits your taste and equipment.

Oh and the collector/emitter swap cheat version for Travis, not sure how well this will work though!:o)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Pink Jimi Photon Stupid Simple Overdrive

Another great sounding quicky from Jimi, no pots or toggles and so a nice 1590A build, although I'm sure Javi will manage to get it in a thimble :o)

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Soulsonic FX Fourbanger

This could well be the ultimate tweakers boost pedal, with a switchable Rangemaster (PNP transistors but negative ground), Super Hard On, Opamp and JFET booster.  The one change from his original is that I have included the original SHO circuit instead of his Crackle Not OK version of it.  Each booster has its own gain or volume control, and are turned on with a toggle, and then the stomp switch takes the whole lot in and out of circuit.

The wiring for each toggle is shown on the layout, and the offboard is essentially like a true bypass looper with the signal going from the stomp switch to the first effects toggle, with the toggle send and return going to the effects inputs and outputs shown on the board.  It should be pretty straight forward with one toggle going to the next and then ultimately back to the stomp switch.

I think the order Martin has the effects is Rangemaster (R), Mosfet (M), Opamp (O) and JFET (J).

Info about his original.

This is an exciting 4-in-one boost that gives you a choice of four distinct flavors of boost to suit any occasion or style. Pushbutton switches allow you to choose any combination of the four, which allows for many “stacked” sounds that result in a diverse range of overdrive, distortion, and fuzz tones. This is where it truly stands apart from other boosts… it’s like a dozen pedals in one!

The boosts  are as follows:

    R – Rangemaster – a modern recreation of the classic Rangemaster treble boost. I have painstakingly replicated the signature vowel-peak slightly dirty boost using modern components for lower noise and higher consistency and reliability.
    M – MOSFET – my version of a popular boost known for its super hard sound. Not a simple copy, I’ve redesigned the circuit to feature my noise free “non-crackling” gain control and use a lower-noise transistor. The tone is clear and clean at low gain, and loud and fat when turned up.
    O – Opamp – an original design boost circuit using an opamp. Designed to sound neutral and clean at low gain, but becomes a hot overdrive when turned up. Can be used as a high-quality buffer at minimum gain.
    J – JFET – this is a hot boost based on the SRPP topology and utilizing Toshiba 2SK117 JFETs. The sound is an intense boost with a slightly lean low-end. When overdriven by the other boosts, it has a very tube-like character that makes it ideal in the last position.

Original version with Crackle Not OK instead of the SHO circuit.

And just to make the offboard wiring a bit simpler:

Fender Eric Clapton 25db Mid Boost

Fender's take on trying to get EC's strat to sound like a Gibson. Some people seem to like it a lot, while others.. Not so much. But as i stumbled on a schematic, i thought this could work well as a pedal. With four transistors and not-so-simple design, there's little chance of fitting this onboard any guitar.. There are some non-standard values for the resistors, but as always, you should be fine with the closest ones you have. The layout doesn't have the magical TBX Tone control in it, but i've added another image that shows how to wire it up.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Jack Deville Electronics Deuce Coupe

Jack uses some fancy clickless switching for this, and as it is PIC controlled it allows him a lot more options so he was able to program a quick double click to enable the Ultra Boost mode.  This has been simplified slightly here to use simple true bypass switching, and without the PIC functionality the Ultra Boost mode is turned on with a separate stomp switch, or toggle if you prefer (use DPDT stomp/toggle if you also want LED indication).

It has been mentioned that this may be a bit too low gain for some people, although there seemed to be plenty in the vid posted below, but if you want to give it a little more oomph then consider increasing the value of the Gain pot to taste.  The original also uses an LT1054 charge pump IC but I have included the ICL7660S instead as it can be obtained more readily, cheaply and will perform the function of providing -9V perfectly well.

This pedal is currently unavailable, but Jack is a good guy in the DIY community and will always talk about his designs, even correcting schematics and posting his own.  At $149.95 for an extremely well made pedal, consider supporting the builder with this or some of his other effects which also includes Mr Black Effects.

Info about the original:

Why do overdrive pedals sound and feel like overdrive pedals? I've struggled with this as long as I've played guitar, so I set out to solve this problem and I designed the Deuce Coupe-- a circuit that felt good, responded like an amp, and made me play things I hadn't before. Revving up clean boost, overdrive and even distortion was extremely satisfying and easy, but there was one last aspect missing: the ability to absolutely pummel the amp on the fly. And then came Ultra-Boost; the clean-up hitter.

Included are controls for Volume, Tone, and Gain, with an internal trim-pot for Ultra-Boost level.

Deuce Coupe consistently delivers, be the chips up or down, and it does it in spades.

-Light to medium overdrive
-Up to +56dB boost available to push tube amps
-18V internal operation for exceptional dynamic response
-+4 - +16 dB ultra boost

Roger Mayer Octavia

Strange. I thought we had this already covered, but apparently not. The layout didn't turn out as compact as i hoped, but there's still some symmetry in there and at 21x15 it will with in 1590B with ease. So this is the original transformerless Octavia that comes in Rocket enclosure. Apparently the last version Mr. Hendrix ever used before he passed on to the greener meadows. Mr. Mayer has a chronological history of the Octavia/Octavio circuit posted on his site, so read more about it here.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Secret efx - Secret-1 Standard

Thanks to YuGi from and the forum for the schematic.
This is an interesting design and with loads of non standard values just to annoy us!

Info about the original:

When the Secret-1 Ltd first came out we thought we would never be able to replicate the same circuit in smaller dimensions, but after a lot of dirty job a new little jewel is ready to be played.
The most “fighting” overdrive on the market is back in new tight suit and a sound that’s really close to the LTD version. For those who cares about every centimeter of the pedalboard without give up on high quality here it is: the SECRET-1 STANDARD.
The Secret-1 STD comes with some new important features, in fact with reduced assemblage times and a more “common” case, we’re able to present the new Secret-1 at a lower price than the LTD version.

PRICE: 250 Euro (Only for the first 30 pre-release units)


Demo of the Secret-1 LTD which is the same circuit in a different case:

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Barber Tone Pump

This is a layout for the original Tone Pump but I've changed it slightly so all 6 knobs are external instead of the Presence, Bass and Mids being internal trimmers which would be nice for quick control rather than having to open the box to tweak settings every time.

Info from Dave about his the newer 2 channel version which does have an altered EQ but still covers most bases about the original:

The Tone Pump EQ has a beautiful transparent presentation by which it takes on the characteristics of your guitar and amp without changing their tonal balance. The Tone Pump's gain structure allows flexibility by using two foot switches and separate volume and sustain (pump) controls for each channel.

Precision matched components-using proprietary specifications to ensure symmetrical clipping and reduced intermodulation distortion. Complex chords are heard with total definition and clarity at any level of overdrive.

True bypass switching with led indicator- this is achieved by using a high grade switch, and solid 20 gauge copper hookup wire is used between the jacks and switching to create a transparent bypass.

Two levels of overdrive- for distorted rhythm and a second mode for sustaining and thickening lead work.

Tonal balanced-The most important thing about the Tone Pump EQ is, your tonal balance of your guitar and amp are maintained. There is no funny midrange hump or loss of bottom end to SPOIL the sound of your guitar and amp that you have so carefully chosen.

New EQ controls- This great new set of features allows the user to use the new "deep clear" external bass control to properly match the bass response of the Tone Pump EQ to their guitar and amp, this eliminates any low end loss. With the addition of the new presence and midrange controls virtually any tonal response can be achieved, including mids that are reduced, flat or forward, you make the call!...a tweakers dream.

Volume knob response circuitry-numerous shades and textures at your fingertips just by adjusting your volume knob.

Barber adjustable phono style recovery stage- Most of Barber's op-amp based overdrive pedals use a cool old style phonograph circuit to recover the frequencies lost in the overdrive stage, this worked great for vinyl and now works great for guitar overdrive!

It should be quite easy to make a 2 channel version if you want, using a second stomp to switch between two separate Drive and Volume controls if someone wants an 8 knobber.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Monolith Fuzz Oracle

This is a nice aggressive sounding fuzz.  The switch on the original is a push pull on the Color pot and so you can either do the same and get a 250K switched pot, or alternatively just use a DPDT 2 position toggle.

Info from Monolith Fuzz about the original:

The Oracle Fuzz is my original twist on the fuzztone "in my head"... Imagine an Italian made Vox Tonebender (2 transistor MK 1.5 circuit) with all of it's lovely midrange-heavy goodness mixed with the throaty low "huumphh" of an early Big Muff, and you're getting warm. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Valvette Custom Drive

Thanks to Ice-9 on FSB for the schematic.  Unfortunately the value of the dual linear Gain pot wasn't noted although he suggested it was a low value such as 10K or 25K.  That would seem fine for the Gain B connections but seems low for gain control in the feedback loop which is the Gain A connections.  It does seem to be a low gain overdrive which does reinforce the low value pot suggestion, but rather than experimenting with values of pots you're unlikely to have in stock I think it would make this pedal more versatile to have two separate Gain pots.  If you use a 1M for the Gain A connections and a 10K for Gain B that will allow you to control feedback loop clipping and hard clipping independently rather than increasing or decreasing both simultaneously.   It will also allow you to go much higher gain with the feedback loop pot if you choose to, which may appeal to some people (you could of course reduce that pot value to adapt the feedback loop gain to your own preference).

Remember that the value of the Gain A pot will be effectively reduced by the 1M resistor in parallel with it in the feedback loop, so if you use a 1M pot the maximum resistance will only be 500K.  If anyone does experiment with dual pots then please comment on how it sounded and the value used.

Info about the original:

Introducing the Custom Drive overdrive pedal

If you're into blues or classic rock tones then this pedal is the one for you ...

Designed as the perfect companion to your valve amp, it's main goal is to push your amp into submission and give you those full rich tones without sacrificing the control at your fingertips.

This pedal is definitely not a one trick pony ! The Custom Drive can perform buffering, treble boosts and creamy sustaining leads with all the variations of good old rock and roll chord grit and crunch in between.

You will not find any DSP modeling inside this pedal, only the purest of analog circuits.

The pedal was designed in such a way that it allows the character of you amp / pickup combination to shine through and retain the response of the picking and volume settings on your guitar. Great for comping styles, delicate pickers, slide players etc ... keep in mind that amps with transistor preamp stages generally don't respond well to being pushed by overdrive pedals as it tends to unleash their harsh character ... by all means give it a try, there are some excellent transistor amps out there, but remember that this pedal was not designed for this purpose. It really shines when paired up with a valve amp !

The Custom Drive features a dynamic gain / tone network ... unlike most other pedals on the market today, this pedal does it's filtering inside the gain stage which results in a more open and transparent sound as it mainly affects the clipping and not the essence of your tone. Depending on the settings of the tone control, the gain control will have a different response curve. Although this creates an extended range of settings, we haven't lost sight of the fact that things need to be musical and intuitive to the performing musician. You'll be up and running with this one in no time at all !

The Custom Drive is true bypass wired and 'pop' reduced as you would expect from a quality pedal and will run quite happily on voltages from 9 all the way up to 18 volts DC. Running the pedal at higher voltage results in more headroom and a slightly cleaner and more defined tone... experiment and decide what works best for your individual playing style !

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Emerson Custom Guitars Paramount Overdrive

Well I must admit I wasn't expecting it to be this, a few people may find this amusing though.
Info about the original:

The Paramount Overdrive is a Medium Gain (Second Stage Overdrive) that stacks very well with almost any pedal. It can be ran at 9-18v (18v for more headroom). The Paramount is an original Emerson circuit that is powerful has plenty of usable gain on tap to fit most any situation. The Paramount's character is refreshingly unique yet sits in the mix very well and has a familiar sound. This pedal is very dynamic and responds well to pick attack and the subtle nuances of the player.

and the schematic: