February 6, 2012

Building A Klon Buffer

I kept reading the Klon's buffer is the best buffer ever and "makes everything sound better", etc. Curious as I am, i wanted to try this myself. I didn't need to source any parts except a 1590A sized enclosure and some jacks that I bought at a local electronics store. I decided to paint this one too and went with blue metallic. The layout I used came from FSB once again and was made by mcaviel.

My build looks like this:

I can't really say how the buffer "sounds", because it's barely coloring my tone. The most noticable difference is a very very slight volume drop because i used two 1k resistors in parallel instead of a 560k for R5. This won't make much of a difference though because a buffer is not something you switch on and off all the time, hence no footswitch. I probably don't have a large enough effects chain yet for it to make a difference in my signal.
Nonetheless, this is a highly recommend project for beginners because it's so simple. No need to drill for a foot switch and pots, four little holes and you're set. And they don't even have to be aligned. No battery clip nor LED.

Building A Clone Of The Deep Blue Delay

I decided to build something different than a dirt box this time. Everyone raves about delays and I have never played or owned one before. I kept looking for a simple delay with parts that are easy to source and inexpensive. The Deep Blue Delay, a digital delay based on the PT2399 designed by Björn Juhl, the owner of BJFe, caught my eye and I decided to build it. Being a member of FSB I quickly found the thread about the pedal. Being a beginner myself and never having tried building a delay pedal before I decided not to try to make my own layout for now and go with what's already there and build mictester's vero layout (you might've to sign up, not sure).

I also decided it was time to get away from the plain metal-box look of most of my pedals (I have two solid-color-powdercoated boxes, but that's also a bit boring). I thought about spray painting, but that's not a good idea in my apartment. I decided to finish the enclosure with acrylic paint and a brush and try the BJFe inspired look of labelling the box by hand. This is how the box looked after color and clear coats:

I know now that if i don't want this wavey look with the aluminum shining through, i should use a primer. However, in this case that look fit perfectly with the deep-blue, waves, sea, etc. theme. The finished pedal looks like this (this is the one from the header of this blog). I had to cut the vero board a bit and leave out the battery because the layout was pretty big and I wanted to fit it into a 1590B sized enclosure.

You might've noticed that there is a fourth knob that the original doesn't have. This is a volume control. I added a 25kB pot in series with the 12k resistor in the feedback loop, because I heard about a possible volume loss with the pedal in some instances. This proved untrue in my case (in some cases this is probably due to tolerances in the parts combinations), but the volume boost is a nice feature. Turning down the mix knob (taking the delay out of the signal) the clean boost is a cool feature to have. I changed the IC for a TLC2262, which sounds a little bit better on the cleans, but it's not a necessity. Here's the schematic including the mod i did: 

Building this pedal is highly recommend as it is a pretty easy build for a delay and is tons of fun. I sourced all my parts, including the PT2399, from Tayda because they have the cheapest prices and I've never had problems with them.

Update 03.06.13: due to some questions and issues about the stripboard layout, I would recommend to rather build this pedal with the layout Mark from GuitarFX Layouts posted here. It is verified and fits in an 1590B-sized enclosure including a battery.

February 5, 2012

First post

Hello. This is my first entry for this new blog that I made. Lame entrance, I know, but this is in fact my first blog ever. I have never done this before, so don't be too hard on me. 

I started doing this almost two years ago, and have been mostly building dirt pedals which included a few opamp overdrives (OCD, TS, Timmy, Klon), a few boosters (SHO, LPB-1, Rangemaster), and fuzzes (Axis Face Si, Bonamassa FF, Tonebender/Supa Fuzz). 

This blog will document my quest in becoming a better solder jockey and produce neater, cleaner and better pedals, and maybe serve as a warning (ha!) or even help for the beginning to intermediate DIYer that wants to get into building pedals himself.