Archive for April, 2012

This circuit requires a digital voltmeter panel, you can get them on ebay for around £4-8, depending on where you get them from and what you want. Bear in mind you will want to mount it in an enclosure, so getting a panel with a bezel is a good idea as it will sit nicely. Otherwise you may have to mount it inside the enclosure, in which case you will probably want a window, which can be done using some thin transparent perspex, but is a right P.I.T.A.

The output is around 1.6v-9v depending on your input supply, the minimum voltage set by R2. On the pedals I’ve produced I used a 680r as R1, which is fine, but 2.2k cover you better. You could put caps on the input and output of the 7805, something like a 0.33uF tying the input to ground and a 0.1uF tying the output to ground should work OK, and just helps to stabilize the voltage, but it will work well without it.

Make sure you use a linear pot for the VR1, as an audio taper would be very strange here! For the output I used a jack rather than a socket, mainly because it stops people plugging into the wrong side. If you want reverse polarity protection then you could put a 1N4001 or similar in series with the input voltage, but this will reduce the output voltage by around 0.6v (off the top of my head), so bear this in mind. Depending what voltmeter panel you choose it may have reverse polarity protection built into it. You shouldn’t need a heat sink on your 7805, but if you find it getting too hot then you can connect it to you enclosure to help dissipate the heat, providing you’re using a Hammond style enclosure. I used a 1590A, and it is a tight fit, but you can get everything in there, even if you have to use a shoe horn!

Parts:

D1      3mm LED
R1       2.2k 0.25w
R2      2.2k 1w
SW1     3PDT
U1      7805
U2      Digital Voltmeter Panel
VR1     10k Lin

As you can see, it’s a pretty basic circuit, even if you add the mods I have described above. The hard part is firstly sourcing a good panel, and then squeezing it into the enclosure. I’m probably not going to make any more of these, at least for the foreseeable future, as I don’t have the facilities to cut the rectangular hole required for the panel efficiently enough to be covered by the price I charge for each unit.

Enjoy!

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Morse Device Artwork

Posted: April 24, 2012 in FX, Morse Device
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The next batch of Morse Device will be created using a sticker overlay on top of a powder coated enclosure. This should be much more durable than the previous paint job! If this works well I’ll probably use this method for the No Tomorrow and any future pedals as it saves everyone cost, me time, and allows for much more complex graphics. Anyway, here’s the idea for the new Morse Device graphic!

No Tomorrow Update 3

Posted: April 19, 2012 in FX, No Tomorrow
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Just a quick update on the No Tomorrow. As I’m moving house I haven’t had much time to spend on this bad boy, but it is progressing nicely when I have had time!

Here’s the latest schematic, admittedly in low res. Once I have got the circuit finalized I will publish a high res schematic.

Since the last update I have:

  • Replaced the tone and body controls a high and low control. These basically cut the bass, and cut the highs. I think that I will probably get rid of the high pass filter (lows) and have one tone control which is a low pass filter, there to cut the harsh highs. I may make it active, a bit depends when I have the rest of the circuit up and going.
  • Changing the op-amp used for driving the distortion to a TL061. I tried a load of opamps and I liked the way this one sounded. It responds really well to voltage starving, and the starve  was limited to ~4.5v, which is just before the IC cuts out, at least audibly.
  • The distortion diodes are 5mm red LEDS. I was trying 1N4148, some BAT85 Schottky, 1N60’s, 1N4001’s and to be honest I liked the LED’s best. I think they complement the overall sound well.
  • I have messed around with the sample rate reduction a bit. I haven’t had a good enough result yet to include in  the pedal, but hopefully once I get a bit of time to spend on the circuit and the layout I will be able to get it working well. Although sample rate reduction was the driving force behind this pedal I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up getting dumped in the end. The problem is with these analog ‘bit crusher’ circuits is that you get this carrier frequency (which changes tone with the sample rate) which drones away in the background. Look at the Catalinbread Heliotrope – an awesome pedal, but the carrier frequency is certainly audible, and while I personally class that as insignificant when the pedal is used by itself, it becomes an incredible pain in the ass when you want to use it with a distortion or other gain pedal, and next to unusable with a secondary gain in a live context. And that is the problem with using it here, it is a combination of the 2 effects, and the problem is massively amplified. Who knows, maybe in the long-term I will get it working well enough, maybe it is impossible without reverting to digital, one thing is for sure I’m not clever enough at electronics to get this feature working well at present.

Regardless whether the pedal has sample rate reduction or not in the long run or not, it is going to sound brutal! The starve works really well, and gets some unearthly tones. Who knows the path this pedal will take, in the end maybe I’ll have dual gain sections, each with independent gain and starve controls and full blending. Actually, that could be very cool indeed…

No Tomorrow Update 2

Posted: April 3, 2012 in FX, No Tomorrow
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Work on the No Tomorrow distortion/sample rate reduction pedal is going well, with prototyping starting, er, tomorrow! I have a big box of caps, diodes, op amps, pots and resistors arriving today, and a couple of prototype boards planned out, so it is game on as far as prototyping is concerned!

I have a fairly long list of op amp/diode combinations planned for the gain stage to find something that not only sounds great as a distortion but responds well to being combined with not only the  sample rate reduction circuit, but also the voltage sag feature. It is defiantly a distortion more than a fuzz, but I want it to be able to touch on fuzz territory at lower voltages. The EHX Metal Muff sounds incredible when you reduce the voltage, and get’s pretty fuzzy and velcro-y which is exactly what I am after, but I really don’t want the distortion to sound like that. The tone control is going to take a bit of a tweak I expect and I’m unsure as to how much to limit the sample rate reduction. Certainly for me I like a slightly reduced sample rate which is easily tweakable, but some people might want to drop it right down, which then makes it slightly harder to tweak as the pot is in effect more sensitive. But I also love pedals that have a huge range and allow you to really experiment beyond where most manufacturers allow you. Maybe I should add a high/low toggle ala the Catalinbread Heliotrope, but then most people I have seen using that pedal (including me) don’t use the really low sample rates at all… it is basically going to be one big experiment!

One thing for sure is the voltage sag will be limited much more than that of the Bomb Idea. I am going to set the bottom limit to just within the useable range, probably around 3.5-4v, which really depends on the op amp/diode combination I plump for.

The intention I have for the No Tomorrow is to produce a pedal that can provide a, dare I say it, solid state sounding distortion (not tube territory here!) as a base and then lets you tweak and destroy it into clangy computer territory, which is really the sound I have had in my head for a long time now. I want it to be up to you how much you factor in the destruction, for me I want a subtle undertone of chaos, but I want the No Tomorrow to go further than that if you want it to. I’m not pretending or trying to produce a pedal that can replicate a Dual Rectifier in a box, or provide smooth tube amp distortion, but one that can provide you with that “shit the bed” feeling, which will sing your lead lines.

And then there was one…

Posted: April 2, 2012 in 072, FX
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Finishing off from the “Get out and fucking stay out” sale, I have but one pedal left – the 072 dedicated buffer.

If you want it you can buy it from my ETSY store, shipping to the USA is available at a small additional cost, as always shipping in the UK is free!