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Aionfx...general thoughts?

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by Okieactor, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I see a lot of threads that mention individual pedals of theirs.

    In general though,
    • Are they good?
    • Are they true to the original circuits and sounds?
     
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  2. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    I've built one their Klon clones: just purchased the PCB from them. PCB's are good quality.
    Documentation is detailed to for the full build, and covers mod's for all the Klon variants.
    Their documentation claims it is true to the original. (I don't have an original to do a comparison. :()
    I did have a query, which they responded to lucidly and promptly.
    Highly recommended. (No affiliation.)
     
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  3. micpoc

    micpoc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've only built one pedal from Aion; their clone of the Boss Dimension Chorus (do not recall their name for it), and, having two separate PCBs that have to slot together correctly, it was EASILY the most complicated pedal I've ever made... and it worked.

    The damn thing WORKS.

    I cannot say enough good about AionFX. He's taken on some unusual projects that no one else has—multiple Cornish pedals, the Lab Series preamp—and seems really dedicated. I do not know how many builds are in my future, as I have most of what I want in analog effects at this point, but if I were going to attempt another, Aion and Madbean would be my two go-to dealers. Highest recommendation.
     
  4. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    High quality. Excellent documentation--probably the best I've ever seen from the DIY pedal community. I think they are a bit spendy but you get a well thought out project and info which makes it easy to mod the thing if that's your jam. I have never built one of his kits but everything I've heard about them is good, and I would expect them to be high quality.

    As to the question of whether they sound like the originals, I don't think you're likely to come across anybody who's got real experience with all of the originals. The projects are based on the traces that have been published within the DIY pedal community over the years, most noteably from diystompboxes.com and freestompboxes.org. I think most of this information is as good as can be expected, but at the end of the day you're still mostly talking about some dude in has basement who posted a schematic to the internet. And vintage circuits are notorious for using different parts/values at different times for various reasons (price, availability, etc). To the extent that the original information is correct, the AION projects will be right. He did recently reverse engineer a few circuits himself, too, so given his overall reputation for detail I'd have a high level of confidence that those particular circuits are correct.
     
  5. pi

    pi Tele-Meister

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    I built a tonebender using their PCB. Their stuff is quality. Also, their documentation seems very thorough and well researched.
     
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  6. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    I have built 4 of their kits, Refractor (Klon clone), Andromeda (Nobel’s ODR1 clone) Stratus (TS 808 clone), and Azimuth (Zendrive clone).

    They are all top notch kits. I can highly recommend them. As others have stated, the documentation is excellent.
     
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  7. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    If you go with just the pcb, is the Mouser list going to be pretty dead-on to what you need?

    I’m currently attempting a Les Lius from pedalpcbs and getting parts from guitarpedalparts. And the main thing that is a buzz kill there, is that it’s hard to get the parts once you have the pcb. Pretty much to the extent that you’d have to get the list and order the parts first, before getting the pcbs, there are so many unavailable parts. And mouser is hard to sort through because it’s not just for pedals.
     
  8. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    I can relate. The shopping can be more intimidating and time consuming than the build.

    Regarding the question, yes. The BOM is going to be dead-on, or if not dead-on (sometimes things are out of stock or become obsolete) it'll be very close. He even includes the enclosure and jacks and so forth on his BOM (unless things have changed in the past year or so).
     
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  9. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Sourcing parts can be a challenge. Try Small Bear Electronics for pedal parts. Good people, easy to deal with.
     
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  10. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    +1 on Small Bear Electronics.
     
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  11. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I can heartily recommend both Aion FX and Smallbear Electronics. I actually built the Refractor twice because I accidentally plugged the wrong power supply into my first one at a gig (oops :confused::rolleyes:). I’m currently building the Aion L5 preamp :) - it’s the biggest PC I’ve attempted but it’s going well. I will compare it with my original Lab Series L5 amp, which I absolutely love but it’s too big and heavy to play out.
     
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  12. SpikeVelvet

    SpikeVelvet TDPRI Member

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    PedalPCB has the build documents on their website. You can see what is needed before you order the PCB.
     
  13. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

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    I highly recommend Aion boards. I haven't built any of Kevin's kits, I started building his PCB's when I purchased a pedal that used one of his boards a few years ago and did some searching. They are high quality, and his documentation is excellent. Aion might not have as many different circuits as say PedalPCB, but you need to know what your doing with them. Someone mentioned parts, PedalPCB gives you a list, Aion gives you a BOM. For anyone just starting, a BOM is a lot better. I've been working with electronics for 30 years, and I still have to take my time on Mouser's site, it's very easy to buy parts that are the right values but in no way will they fit on the PCB, especially capacitors. Madbean is also excellent, and supplies a BOM in documentation, at least some that can be loaded right into Mouser's site.

    I think it's a golden age for DIY'ers, there is a huge selection of boards, plenty of layouts/schematics on DIY Stompboxes, Freestompboxes, Tagboard Effects, Effects Layouts, and Small Bear, Pedalhacker, Love My Switches, Tayda, Stompboxparts have the specialized and hard to find parts, the rest can be purchased from Mouser and Digi-Key. The hardest part for me is to decide what do I want to build today?
     
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  14. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    I’ve bought the Azimuth (Zen Drive clone). I’ll try to remember to update this thread when I complete this and if/when I do any of their others.
     
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  15. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Afflicted

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    I believe the Refractor has diode protection? You might be able to change the power diode and get it running again.
     
  16. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Afflicted

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    I have Aion's Blueshift chorus in my build queue this year, and I used their BOM import to Mouser to order the available parts, easy peasy comparatively speaking, vs just using a list from other PCB places. I also have their deep blue delay clone coming up to replace the guts in my broken Garage Tone delay.
    The L5 preamp is in my wish list, maybe after I build the chorus :)
     
  17. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I looked at it and it was damaged enough that I just made a new one. One way to prevent this in the future is to put a tag on the plug of the AC wall wart power supply so you know it’s not a standard 9V DC supply!
     
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  18. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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    The Refractor does have protection now, but it didn't in earlier versions (not complete protection, that is).
    I retrofitted with reverse and over voltage protection. You may well ask why. Well, I ..................
    That was the reason for my communications with Aion. (As mentioned earlier, their response was precise and prompt.)
     
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  19. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    I have nothing but positive things to say about aion pcbs and kits, everything they do is quality.

    same for madbean and pedalpcb. If you like more challenging builds, deadendfx and lectricfx are amazing as well.

    if I buy outside of that bunch of suppliers, it is very very specific and can't be acquired from those guys
     
  20. Okieactor

    Okieactor Tele-Holic

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    Update:
    I got the Azimuth (Zen Drive Clone), and put it together. Here’s my review.

    Pros:
    -Finished product is very good. No way I could tell a difference in a blind test, must have gotten the circuit dead on.
    -The wire harnesses and layout is really well thought out, it keeps it very well organized inside.
    -The bezel for the switch looks cool.
    -General look of it is good too, plus top jacks.
    -Shipped me a missing part for free and while discussing that, got help verifying that everything was ok.

    Cons:
    -Kit was missing one of the box caps and I didn’t have a replacement, so I had to wait.
    -The mlccs (tiny ass ceramic caps) and box caps can be hard to ID because the the writing sometimes is like faded (interestingly all the resistors are labeled with the value on them, not the traditional ring code system).
    -I had to kind of guess at the end because the instructions apparently are out of date, and 2-3 components got moved to the switch board between versions, so I could do it by process of elimination, but then I was also missing a component so there was a lot of 2nd guessing. Also there is an addendum to instructions that the germanium diode is backwards from how it is shown in the outline on the pcb. So...for the easiest kit, there were a lot of blanks to fill in.

    Recommend?:
    I wish he’d get the right instructions uploaded, and maybe shore up the QC on all the parts being there, and maybe find a way to label the box caps and mlccs on an individual baggie or put a tape tag on them maybe, BUT...
    In the end, very satisfied with the pedal. It is very high quality, not just a learning experience, like I’ll actually play it. Probably going to do the “Cerulean”, (Bluesbreaker) at some point, and maybe the Klon.
     
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