How awesome is this pedal?

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The Infanem Harmony Synth – one of my all time favorite pedals and also the first product release by Infanem (Instruments for a New Electric Music).
It’s a 100% analog harmony synthesizer that uses the same PLL tech as in the “Schuman PLL”.

What does it do? Creates your choice of 2 additional harmonies (synthesized notes) with a choice of different intervals (octaves up and down, perfect fifths etc).

How does it sound? Well it’s analog so definitely not an POG, HOG or PitchFactor but that fuzzy goodness has definite appeal in my books.

In the near future, when I’m rich and powerful, I’ll buy one! 😀

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gU2lzACSIIc

Matt.

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Japanese Beetle & Crossover Distortion

What up guys,

Unusual or interesting sounding effects always interest me. A tube screamer is a tube screamer regardless of the vast array of boutiquey iterations and modifications.
But Crossover distortion is very different to “normal” distortion.

To quote ZVex:

It generates the distortion of the wave in the sloped part of the cycle, instead of the peaks and valleys like all other distorters and fuzzes. In other words, it distorts when your guitar string is in the middle of vibrating, while it’s swinging, not as it’s turning around. That’s the same place where your speaker cone is sort of coasting, between all the way in and all the way out. Where nothing is happening, this pedal happens. With Machine you can leave your favorite distorting pedals on and still add a new element of energetic grind”

So here’s my take on it. Finally borrowed a decent camera 😀

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What does it sound like?

Pretty much the sound of a speaker being axe murdered.

So what’s it used for?

Again, in the words of Mr Vex- great explanation!

Essentially, it’s value is to use it before a distortion/fuzz. It adds a whole new dimension. Seriously listen to the clips, a solo just sounds a boring without it.

Is the ZVex Machine the first crossover distortion pedal as Mr Vex claims?

As I understand it, Tim Escobedo was the first to come up with this “Frequency Tripler” circuit as used in his “Triple Fuzz”.  He released the schematic along with his other “Circuit Snippets”- essentially a whole bunch of core audio circuits.  Most of the more unusual pedals you see are derivations of these core ideas. But that’s a story for another day.

http://www.jiggawoo.eclipse.co.uk/guitarhq/Circuitsnippets/snippets.html

Looking at the ZVex Machine schematic, it’s just two Triple Fuzz circuits in series – hence a “dual” frequency tripler.  It always bothers me when pedal builders don’t give credit for designs, claim its a novel idea or just down right copy another schematic.  From what I see, that happened here.  Or not! If I’m missing something please correct me 🙂

What’s unique about the “Japanese Beetle”

“This is first time ever a pedal has used crossover distortion with an external second gain control and named after a pesky insect”.

Seriously though, currently I can’t add anything of value here. Escobedo certainly does to elegant work. Well, I gave it an unusual name and painted it yellow. Value: Priceless!

Here’s a 1min clip:

Kind regards,
Matt.

Posted in Boost/Overdrive/Distortion | 3 Comments

Money Shot

What up guys,

Moving apartments today so packed up the lot.

Quite a few still in pieces though 🙂

Matt.

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[Completed]: Scuba Muff

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[Tutorials & Techniques]: Fun with Acrylics and My “Super Secret” Enclosure Technique

What up guys,

Took today as a rest day in anticipation for writing Board 1.
So spent the afternoon being colourful :)

I tried to do things I hadn’t done before – ie multiple colors, using black enclosures, leaving some edges bare.

Definitely got me out of my comfort zone. Was very tempting to go back to a white enclosure with the usual dabs of pink/blue/purple.

My Special Super Secret Technique

The truth is there is none! Look at the picture, does that look like there’s a perfect technique every time? It’s all trial and error, get out paint brush and just start playing around. You’ll be amazed at how simple materials can produced great results. That’s not to say there isn’t a learning curve. But that’s the great thing about water based paints – rub it off with a sponge and water and start again!

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So what is the basic technique?

Here are my personal preferences. No special equipment needed.

1. Primer

For paint to stick to the unprinted aluminium it needs a few base coats of primer. I find if you use enough coats of white primer, that’s the white base coat sorted. Just take care to take it slow and let it dry on a perfectly horizontal surface.

2. Add some colour

This is where I add some colour with acrylics. I started off with only 2 colors – blue and pink.But the sky is the limit for your choice but here are my personal guidelines I usually stick to:

A): Use colour to support the decal, not the other way around.
I always design the decal first and paint second. That way you know for example, what areas to keep white for text, which areas will be covered by knobs.

B:) Keep it simple!
1 or 2 colors max. Plan the colors to ensure they work together. Ie careful with conflicting colours eg: orange and green.

C:) Patterns and textures
Using a paint brush to dab at the page in different ways produces a vast variety of interesting effects. I’ve got 1 paint brush to my name and have managed a variety of effects.

Here’s the first pedal I did properly – with only pink and blue.

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3. Illustration and Waterslide Decal

I do all my designs in Adobe Illustrator.  It’s got a learning curve but at least now, if I’ve got a basic design on paper, it takes me about an hour to create a decal – rather than the day or two it initially took me.

If possible, try not to slap a picture off Google on the pedal.  I just doodle on a piece of paper until something useable comes up.  But obviously one doesn’t always have the time or enthusiasm, so then ya do a Google slap – it’s better than nothing! 🙂

Where to find Waterslide decal paper? I order mine off eBay, it’s not a common item. Search “waterslide clear laser paper”.

4. The Sealer/Clear Lacquer

A crucial part that you can’t rush. I apply about 4 coats of the thicker “paint on” sealer over a 24 hour period and it’ll take another day to dry. Yep, waiting isn’t fun but it’s worth the effort in my opinion.

Note: to get an even coat it’s vital to apply it in thin coats and not leave any blobs anywhere.  The blobs take forever to dry and leave a VERY uneven surface.

So which specific one’s do I buy?

Answer: whatever the hardware or art store has on hand.  I’ve tried about4 different kinds of primers and 3 kinds of sealer and they all give practically identical results.

However, make sure you chat to someone at the store who at least knows their rights from their lefts.  It’s ridiculous how useless the guys working in the paint isle, can be.

Onto the results:

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First up, another OCD overdrive:
Tried some shades of green with a dash of yellow and white.

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Here’s the first one I did for interest:

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Next is the Centaur Overdrive:

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I tried for over an hour to get this thing right. I painted over about 5 attempts. Eventually after much frustration I gave up and began to rub it off with a sponge – exposing the layers underneath and producing the most glorious effect. Very happy accident!!

Skeedish Muff

Following the success with the Centaur, I tried to repeat the process with the Skeedish Muff – also came out well. :)

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Well that’s it, proof that with a couple of simple hardware items, anyone can create something that looks half decent :)

Matt.

Posted in Tutorials & Techniques | 2 Comments

[WIP]:Scuba Muff

Practicing some illustrations. Came out nicely I think. 🙂

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Enclosure finished.  I cannot believe how well it came out! I can without a doubt say that this is my favourite piece of work 😀

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[Completed]: Imprudence Engine

Howzit guys,

Below is the “Imprudence Engine” – (Yep I’m getting better at hipster names!)

It’s the same Sample Rate Reducer pedal I did a while ago with 2 changes:

1) New graphics 😀
2) 2 DC jacks

I had intended to add a small vero board bipolar PSU to convert a 12V AC input into the 2 required 9V connections.
However, after some consideration, it wasn’t worth the effort and I’ll always have 2 isolated power output anyway.

Check out the video: 😀

Also for those who want to build one, here’s a verified layout I made:

https://sonictitanfx.com/2012/11/22/bugcrusher-etch-bugbrand-sample-rate-reducer/

Also watch out – the AD781 chip required is R200 a pop!

Kind regards,
Matt.

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Posted in Lofi/SampleRate/Nonsense, Video Demos | Leave a comment

[WIP]: Sophie Rae Screamer V2

Sophie Rae Screamer Rev 1

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[Completed[: Mega Thump

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[WIP]: Octavian Fuzz Engine: Concept Idea

What up guys,

Been thinking about this for the past few weeks. It all started with the “4 King Fuzz” pedal that I did 6 months ago- 4 fuzz kings in one pedal. The Octavian is a continuation of that idea.

The more I think about it, the more practically achievable it seems to become.

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What is it?
8 unique fuzz circuits in 1 enclosure.
4 choices on either side selectable by a rotary switch.
Each side turned on/off by a stompswitch.

What was the thought process?

1. Fuzz circuits use a relatively small number of components yet have radically different sounds.

2. Efficiency – small circuits mean you can fit 8 in a box.

3. I like 8 fuzzes. I don’t have the pedalboard space for 8 fuzzes. I don’t have the patience to wire up 8 fuzzes.

Whats the value?
Breadth of sound for with a tiny footprint

But aren’t there hundreds of different fuzz pedals out there?

99% of those cool hipster boutique fuzzes are hot rodded versions of classic designs. Usually the same sound but with modern conveniences like a smaller footprint, a 9V jack and an extra knob or two.

I’m not hating, just emphasizing that the fuzz gene pool is a lot smaller than you might have originally thought. For example, there might be say 100 different commercially available fuzz pedals which are essentially a direct Fuzz Face.

Taking the idea further, with 8 fuzzes in one box, I rate you could produce a giant chunk of the fuzz spectrum.

The Application
2 sides: each has a rotary switch switch with a stomp switch.

A Volume knob for each circuit.
A Gain switch for each circuit – selects one of 2 gain trim pots – still considering this.

A cut-out on the front providing access to the rest of the knobs as trim pots. A panel sits over it fastened with thumb screws.

Considering the fact that most people very rarely change their knobs from a few sweetspots, it’d be safe to leave everything but the volume as trim pots.

Even more so for fuzz pedals. For example, an external switch for 2 Gain settings should suffice. The 2 Gain settings would be user definable with trim pots.

However, I’m not one for opening the back of a pedal to mess with trim pots. I want it on the front. In order to be rugged enough to survive some live abuse, it’d need to be protected by a panel.

Issues.
Power – prevent hum and hiss from 8 circuits.
A 4 pos, 3 position switch would provide the option to only supply the selected effect with power – thus minimizing any noise or hum to only 2 effects receiving power at once.

So, which 8 Fuzzes make the cut?

1. Fuzz face
Why? No explanation needed – the original fuzz pedal.
Circuit: 2 Transistor design

2. Tonebender
Why? Again, like the FF, it’s a classic
Circuit: 3 Transistor design

3. Octavia
Why? Nasty fuzz with an upper octave effect
Circuit: Octave created with Transformer

4. Foxx tone machine
Why? One of my favourites. Full mean fuzz with switchable octave
Circuit: Octave creates with Germ diodes

5. Shin Ei companion
Why? Super harsh fuzz, no chords here! Sweet Ringmod sounds.
Circuit: 3 transistor

6. Big Muff
Why? Could call this a “Distortion” but I rate it falls in the fuzz category.
One of the most popular as well as cloned pedals out there.
Circuit: 4 transistor gain stages with Diode clipping.

7.?

8?

As I mentioned, it’s still very much a work in progress. Any input would be greatly appreciated – especially as to what fuzzes to include. Too many choices and only 8 slots! 🙂

Matt.

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