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80's Boss BE-5 Pedal Board. Which Boss single pedal circuits are inside?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Squier Buyer, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Thanks for the details... I'll review your changes and try to figure out what I might want to do with that OD section. I really appreciate you sharing your idea's.
     

  2. Casey Butt

    Casey Butt TDPRI Member

    9
    Feb 16, 2011
    Michigan
    Sorry to resurrect this long-dead thread but I've seen people referencing it with regard to the BE-5, so I thought I'd update it here in case people turn it up in "BE-5" searches. I felt I should address...

    This was poorly stated by me. The 1571 chips are companders. The BE-5 uses essentially the same circuit as the CE-3 and CE-2 but uses additional companders on the input and output to increase dynamic range and further reduce hiss. Assuming there isn't any tonal penalty (which I doubt), this is a technical plus for the BE-5.

    I should also mention that the CE-3 and CE-2 are actually very similar circuits. The only differences are the input buffer, some small component differences and the BBD chips themselves... and the stereo functionality of the CE-3. The BE-5 Chorus uses a BJT input buffer, similar to the CE-2 rather than the CE-3 (though the component values are different). The components around the "rate" control are also from the CE-2 rather than the CE-3. The BBD chips themselves, however, are from the CE-3.

    It looks to me like the Chorus in the BE-5 was a merger between the CE-2 and CE-3... which are already very similar to start. The companders were added to increase the dynamic range handling capacity over the CE-3, and the "rate" controls were returned to CE-2 values to make it behave more like the CE-2. It's somewhat like a CE-2 with stereo split capability (which is what the CE-3 was also marketed to be).

    But there's one thing that I believe makes it a little too 'strong' and ruins it somewhat. The BE-5 chorus has a higher ratio of effected signal to dry signal and this, in my opinion, is too much. One resistor is responsible for this, and that value is 39k in the BE-5 vs. 47k in the CE-2 and CE-3. This makes the BE-5 chorus more 'warbly' and vibrato-ish than the CE-2 or CE-3. Some people probably prefer that, and in the '80s more was more. Personally, I'd up that 39k resistor (R096) to 47k (or more) if you want a more subtle chorus effect. Put a 250k pot in series with it and you have an 'effect' control ala the CE-2B.

    For all you non-tech types, which is no doubt the majority of the people reading this (if you even made it this far), sorry for all the techno-babble. The take-home message is that the BE-5 chorus is a cross between the CE-3 and CE-2 (which are very similar in the first place). They're all in the same family, with the BE-5 chorus being 'stronger' because of one resistor.
     
    noah330 and wildschwein like this.

  3. Casey Butt

    Casey Butt TDPRI Member

    9
    Feb 16, 2011
    Michigan
    Another thing I should mention is that the BE-5 chorus contains a 'high pass filter' capacitor in the effected signal path that's larger than the one in the other Boss chorus pedals. Boss's standard value for this cap would be 0.033uF, but the BE-5 uses 0.1uF in this spot. That lets significantly more effect through on the bass notes. That might seem like a good thing but it isn't necessarily. Too much chorus on the low frequencies and the fundamental root note gets too warbly and irritating - that's why bass chorus effects usually filter off even more of the effected low frequencies than guitar chorus pedals. In my opinion, this is why the BE-5 chorus doesn't sound as good as the CE-2, CE-3, CE-5 or CH-1... that capacitor is simply too big. On the other hand, the CE-1, which was taken from the chorus circuit of the Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus amp, lets even more chorused low frequencies through than the BE-5 chorus... and many people still see that as the holy grail of chorus.

    But for anyone interested in mods, this is a relatively easy thing to adjust - change C106 from 0.1uF to something larger (like 1uF) for a full frequency chorus effect (ala the CE-1/JC-120) or change it to 0.033uF for the CE-2, CE-3, CE-5 type sound.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    wildschwein likes this.

  4. floydster75

    floydster75 NEW MEMBER!

    Age:
    43
    1
    Aug 21, 2017
    stirling
    This is a great thread, thanks to all. Just got a Boss BE-5M with a headphone output. It's great for Pink Floyd sounds. Anymore info on this anyone?
     

  5. Tony Forman

    Tony Forman Tele-Meister

    The Boss BE5 was a favourite with Rory Gallagher.
     
    floydster75 likes this.

  6. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    Dear Casey, thank you some much for all the info! I just found this thread, and I just have one or two questions. To silence the compressor you suggested replacing the 1uf caps. I can only find 0.1uf caps on the schematic. Or am I mistaken? Furthermore I was wondering if you could tell me how you moved the noise gate. Thanks alot in advance! I'm gonna try the chorus mod tonight ;-)
     

  7. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Wow. Great info.

    I was reading this thread thinking I had this unit & only realized I have a ME-5. Was just talking to a co-worker about it 2 days ago.

    Still interesting read. Thank you.
     
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  8. Rowdyman

    Rowdyman TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    86
    May 17, 2013
    Eastern Canada
    Hi, Be careful with this one.

    I bought a BE5 brand-new back in the day,,,
    I think I paid about $450.00 for it!
    I agree with the others who have commented on the excellent effects/sound quality of this unit.
    But,,,,The jacks are soldered directly to the board inside, and there is nothing but the plastic case providing support.
    Shortly after purchase,, the unit started to act up. (cutting out, strange sounds, etc)
    When I opened it up I discovered that the 'main-board' had a hairline crack in it. (grrrr)
    I was able to repair the broken traces and get it up and running again.
    The thought at the time was that I , (or 'someone'), had inadvertently stepped on a cord, (plug),
    where it 'sticks out' of the jack and the resulting stress was more than the cct board could take.

    At some point later, I traded with a good friend, the BE5, and a Mesa Mk2b, for two old Pro-Reverbs
    and an Ibanez multi-effects box.
    The Ibanez box, and sadly, the Pros, are long ago traded/sold off , but my friend still has that BE5
    and it still works great all these years, (30+?), later.

    I strongly recommend that you use only right-angle plugs on this box. That way you can't accidentally
    step on the plugs and repeat my error.
    That is what my friend has done, on my advice, and has had no more trouble with it since.
    It still sounds great! I wouldn't hesitate to buy another, except that I have pretty nearly given-up
    the 'effects habit', for some years now.

    Good Luck, RM
     

  9. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Maryland
    Back to the BE-5, this is one of the best sounding multi-effects units I have ever used. I actually have one on a little board with a TU-3 and a wireless power supply and I bring it to gigs that I have to fly to.

    Here is a great tip - if you don't want to use the chorus plug a dummy 1/4" into the stereo out and you'll basically have a Boss VB-1 vibrato.

    You're correct to assume that inside it's basically a bunch of petals wired together. The delay is the early DD-3 and there is a MN51010RBA inside.

    The chorus is actually an analog chorus that is based off of the CE-2. It's based off of the same circuit and the Panasonic chip is in there as well.

    The Distortion is based on the OS-2 and it actually sounds pretty good.

    The noise gate is pretty simple, but it works. Just don't set it super high, if you use it as a noise reducer you're going to be better off. The compressor is probably the weak point of the unit, but it does work well enough.

    Back in the day my guitar instructor loaned me his BE-5 (this would have been mid 1990) and I fell in love with it. I tracked one down about 15 years ago and have used it as a backup/alternative for years.

    Here is mine, which has seen a lot of use. Note the dummy plug, as I use the vibrato more than the chorus.

    The only thing this box is missing is a tuner. IMHO it sounds better than most of the fancy effects of today:

    * Another tip - eventually it's going to be hard to switch. If you take the unit apart just put a little epoxy on the tops of all the switches and it will work perfectly again.

    ** If anyone knows where I can get a few replacement knobs please let me know!

    [​IMG]

    Some day I will make a board with my TU-1000!!!!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017

  10. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Collins, CO
    Nice to see this thread brought back from the grave again. Good mod tips in case I ever find one again.
     

  11. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Maryland

  12. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    OK, so it turns out I am blind! Unless I am mistaken, the following caps are the ones that need to be replaced for the compressor mod: C004, C012, C020, C024.

    I'm gonna try it out tonight and will leave some feedback once I'm done!
     

  13. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    Wow, the compressor mod is f**king AWESOME! Sorry about the language, but there are no other words to describe it. So yeah, the values I wrote in the last post were 100% right. I also did the chorus full range CE-1 mod (change c106 to 1uf), and it is really great, if that's what your into (and am very into it). So thank you Casey, for helping me make this amazing pedal even better!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018

  14. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    I always feel like picking one of these up when this thread reappears! They're dirt cheap and I am also a big fan of the Boss GT-3 and GT-5 so have a soft spot for older Boss multi-FX.
     

  15. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    Wildschwein, you really should get one! They are well worth the cash. I was really happy with mine, but after mods it is just so much better.

    I tried mine out again this morning, and the chorus did seem a little bit too much. So I did the following mod that Casey mentioned:

    "up that 39k resistor (R096) to 47k (or more) if you want a more subtle chorus effect"

    So in summary I have changed 6 components and the BE-5 seems like a brand new unit!

    I might sit down later today, do some more research and see what other mods I can do to it :)
     

  16. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    I just found another cool mod :)

    I figured I should post it here so that all the info is in one place:

    "1: On the EFFECT LEVEL control for the delay, I soldered in a 223 (22nF) cap between the wiper and ground. This gives the "initial repeat" a slight drop in high end so the 1st repeated note does not interfere with the original note. If you don't proceed with step two then the high end cut provided here will stay consistant with all additional repeats.
    2: On the REPEAT control for the delay, I soldered in a 503 (50nF) cap between the wiper and ground. With this cap, every repeat that occurs will have less high end which is very much like the workings of a "tape echo"."

    I found it here:
    http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=100793.0
     

  17. wildschwein

    wildschwein Tele-Afflicted

    How hard is it to pull the board to work on?
     

  18. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's


    All u need is the tu1000 and the BE-5 and a JC120 to sound like guitar from a Nerf Gun advertisement!
     
    jailonwheels likes this.

  19. jailonwheels

    jailonwheels TDPRI Member

    Age:
    37
    10
    Dec 4, 2017
    Austria
    Not hard at all! You just have to remove the 7 or so screws on the back, remove the knobs from the potis and 4 screws on the inside. I'm gonna open it up again later and take some fotos
     
    wildschwein likes this.

  20. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    I had one of these and I was a complete idiot to get rid of it!
     

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