“No Tomorrow” – distortion pedal with analog ‘bit crusher’ type sample rate reduction

Posted: March 13, 2012 in FX, No Tomorrow
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!

  1. Schpudd says:

    Impressive sounding pedal, can’t wait to see what comes out of it

    • 0xdfx says:

      Thanks Chris! It is a big one, but I think I have most of it worked out in theory anyway now! It won’t be something to everyones taste, but then the best things in life rarely are!

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