Archive for March, 2012

Progress on the No Tomorrow is coming along really well. I have the circuit drawn up, and vero layouts for the distortion and sample rate reduction modules ready to be populated. Quite a few of the component values will probably change by the time I have finished tinkering with it, but at least progress is under way!

Here’s the circuit, it is very low res as a lot of it is still under scrutiny!

The next job is to try a whole heap of op amp and diode combinations to find the right colour distortion to suit the circuit, and also work out the minimum value for the voltage sag for the combination I decide on so that it stays within a  useable range.

The sample rate reduction side of the circuit is based on the “Analog Bit Crusher” by Colin Raffel at experimentalists anonymous, although I’m not sure how low I want the frequency to go yet. I’m not sure whether to keep the sample rate reduction fairly modest, or to allow a huge range, which will get next to unusable at the lower frequencies. The distortion is something I have cooked up from research and information on the net. I was quite surprised how little is required for a distortion circuit to be honest! The tone control is the improved big muff tone section by the legendary Jack Orman, which is something I may tweak once the distortion circuit is sorted.

Here’s the progress on the overlay for the pedal, no artwork as of yet, but that is on the way! I have changed the names of the controls back to what they really are, after all this pedal is going to be intimidating enough without you guys having to work out what each knob does!

I’m not sure on the colour scheme of the decal yet, a bit depends on the final artwork. When I start building them I’ll probably do an option for a powder coated enclosure with aluminium knobs, and a cheaper unpainted enclosure with plastic knobs for a bit cheaper. As soon as the circuit is finalised I’ll construct a prototype on vero, and then get to drawing the PCB. As these are going to have PCB’s and I won’t be  painting the enclosure myself the price should be pretty good on these, defiantly less than £100, and should have a lead time of around  a week rather than a month.

Over the past half a year or so I have had a distortion in my head that I have been able to get from any pedal or amp that I have ever tried. The WMD Geiger Counter has got pretty close, but is still a little way off. It’s a hard sound to describe but I’ll try. I’m imagining a thick bottom-heavy distortion which is harmonically rich but has this subtle (to not so subtle) undertone of chaos and breakdown adding this really thick texture to the overall sound that can go from slightly clangy to all out square wave mess.

In the last week or so I have started doing a fair bit of research into different distortion, sample rate reduction and tonal circuits, which over the next few months or so I am going to be breadboarding, tweaking, revising and tweaking again until I get something I am 100% happy with. I’m also adding in the ‘sag’ feature you get on some fuzzes which is basically the same effect the Bomb Idea creates, which will directly effect the voltage reaching the op-amp and diodes that create the distortion part of the circuitry. The combination of the starved distortion and sample rate reduction is going to create some pretty terrifying noise at certain settings, but also will hopefully create some really sweet lead line tones. That is primarily what this pedal is aimed towards – big strong lead riffs – rather than a power chord type distortion.

One thing that is very important with this build which is different to the pedals I have built so far is the fact that I am making it as easy as possible to produce small batches of them while not compromising the design. While the paint jobs on some of the other pedals I have built looks awesome it is prone to chipping fairly easily compared to a powder coated pedal that the bigger builders can produce, and takes a lot of time and resources on my part, which is reflected in the price of the other pedals. For this reason I am going to look into getting some high quality and high durability stickers printed for the fascia, much like the ones found on some of the Catalinbread pedals, which will cut out hours in the enclosure preparation process. I’m also hoping to get some PCB’s printed up.

It is going to be roughly the same size as a Barber Dirty Bomb, that is a Hammond 1590BB enclosure, and is going to feature 6 controls and one toggle. These are:

Gain – The amount of distortion

Tone – The overall tone

Body – Additional tone tweakability

Sag – Controls the voltage for the distortion part of the pedal to allow sagging

Sample Rate – Reduces the frequency of the signal to introduce some clangy goodness

Volume – The output volume of the pedal

And the toggle will change the order of the sample rate reduction and distortion parts of the circuitry, to create 2 different flavours.

At the moment it is looking like the controls are going to be named (in the same order as above) Rage, Character, Mood, Cells, Stress, Output and Rage>Stress/Stress>Rage.

Probably be laid out something like this…

While I was brainstorming ideas and themes for this design I came across a wonderful artist Eduardo Lino Costa whose work can be found here. Eduardo has very kindly offered to produce some artwork for this pedal, which I will add as soon as he has completed it. I’m very excited to see it as he does some great work which I really think will fit well with the theme of the pedal, If you would like to contact Eduardo regarding his work you can email him at eduardolino@gmail.com

Here’s one example of Eduardo’s work:

By the way I have decided to call the pedal No Tomorrow rather than Native Cybernetic Organism because it was just too much of a mouthful, and N.C.O sounded a bit rubbish!

What’s on my board… now

Posted: March 8, 2012 in General
Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a bit of a self indulgant post, but I love sharing my setup with people and talking pedals! I’m always switching the pedals in and out of my board, so here’s my current setup which is working really well for me:

Korg Pitchblack

Devi Ever 90

Railhead T.U.A

Bright Onion Pedals Custom Looper / Amp Channel and Boost Selector

    -Karma FX Pedals OCD Clone

    -ISP Decimator

WMD Geiger Counter with Zoom FP02 expression pedal

EHX Small Stone Nano

Malekko 616

Playing a PRS Custom 22 into a Traynor YCV50 Blue. This pretty much covers all my needs, but may look a bit strange. It probably looks weird that I’m using the decimator in the loop after the OCD clone, where it is not compatible with the 90 or the TUA (after all the looper switches the amp channel to dirty and there is no way you would want that TUA going into a dirty channel!), but it makes sense to me. I only ever use the 90 and the TUA in bedroom settings where the noise is so low that I don’t need the decimator, but I use the amps distortion boosted by the OCD clone at louder levels which is the only time I care about going from clean to dirty in one stomp (the looper brings in the OCD clone and decimator and switches to the amps dirty channel). The OCD clone produces a bit of noise when set up in a booster configuration but the amp is next to silent at the level I have the gain at, so I may as well have the decimator there. The amps FX loop doesn’t seem to like anything you put in there too much, so there’s little point running the decimator, small stone nano and 616 in it, as I seem to lose so much of that certain something from my clean tone. If I really want a killer solo sound with delay I use the T.U.A on modest settings – after all I’m not going for this sound when I’m cranked ever. The WMD sits perfectly after the looper so I can use it through the clean channel for some crazy dirt tones, or use it after the boost from the OCD clone and before my amps dirty channel where I can add in some really, really nice undertones without trashing my whole dirty tone. A lot of FX geeks would sneer at the placement of my delay and noise gate, but I’m past caring about that as this is a setup I’m finally happy with that suits all my needs down to the ground.

The WMD on modest clean settings into the dirty channel is something I really, really like. Ideally I want to capture this sound in some kind of sample rate reducing distortiony fuzz box over the next year. I want one box that provides a thick fuzz which has this really rich textured undertone you can get by applying a tiny bit of sample rate reduction without getting into obnoxious clanging territory. Hmm gonna be a few hours spent on the bread board for this one methinks…

As a drive to shift the 6 pedals I have left I have further reduced the Morse Devices to £28 each delivered in the UK, if you do it direct through me, That is ridiculously low in anyones book!

I have also added an option to buy one of 3 unmade new design Solar Lifeforce LDR volume pedals to the ETSY shop, delivered in the UK for £50. This is the only way to get one of these, click here to check it out!

As I’m in the process of moving house and don’t want to have to take any 0xd FX stock with me I’m having a bit of a sale. These prices are for direct sales only, and include delivery within the UK.

Morse Device (x4) – £30 each

072 (only 1 made) – £35

Until I have moved and settled in there won’t be anymore pedals, I know as soon as I sell them I’m going to get the old “Can you build me a Bomb Idea?”, and for the foreseeable future the answer is going to be ‘No’, so get your pedal while I have some left!