Aionfx...general thoughts?

ICTRock

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going to take the evening to walk this off, give it a think before blowing it up ... but the urge to address some of these finer points of your review are very real as a long time participant in diy pedal building
 

ICTRock

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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-I had to kind of guess at the end because the instructions apparently are out of date, and 2-3 components got moved to the switch board between versions, so I could do it by process of elimination, but then I was also missing a component so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.

about a quarter of the time, whether it has been an amp kit, pedal kit, or parts order I've had at least something missing.
Labeling the bags is ok if you can also verify the contents of the bag otherwise you're as off the course as if the parts were missing. the world is imperfect and I've received a decade (factor of ten) off in parts value because they got placed in a mislabeled baggie.

Regarding the instructions, I can't help but notice the purchase page had the correct instructions for the pcbs you received in your kit as well as the older kit instructions. So it isn't like you had to guess so much as you may need to download some extra documentation.

You may not know this but aion is a single employee operation. R&D, quality control, documentation, supply-side logistics, marketing, customer service, sales, support .... all one person. Most places selling you diy pedal pcbs and kits are single person operations.
 

timewaster1700

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I’ll chime in super late and add my experience. I’ve done 3 Aion fx pedals: Maxon OD820 and Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face clones where I sourced the parts and followed their guides. These were years ago and I would already rate these highly. Then recently a full kit (Helios) rat clone. Sounds fantastic. Incredibly detailed instructions. Well designed to be easy to get a very nice clean outcome. Love this company and can’t recommend enough!
 

cdwillis

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I order most of my PCBs from PedalPCB, but AionFX is great too. Something I like about Aion is that they include the breakout board for the stomp switch with your order automatically. It keeps your LED resistor, LED, and pop resistor right there with the switch. On the pedalpcb boards the LED is right up by the power jack. I like that location better (your foot doesn't cover the LED if you're hovering over the switch), but it can be a pain to fiddle with the wires and LED all in that cramped space. I found soldering the wires and LED to the board before it gets placed in the enclosure helps a lot.
 
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Decibel_jr

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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?
I've built several of their pedals from pcb only. They do put a lot of research into each pedal and all the parts including optional configurations in their documentation

My builds:
Asteria MK III aka CatalinBread Formula 55
Azimoth aka Hermida Zendrive
Quantum aka Ibanez Mostortion
Refractor aka Klon
Convex aka Dinosuaral OTC 201 (optical compressor)

My favorites are the Azimoth, Quantum (currently sold as the Karma MTN 10, Hostortion mosfet distortion and other variations) and the Convex. I liked the Convex so much I built two of them!
 

Endless Mike

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I concur with all of those who have praise for Aionfx. I asked him a couple of questions. He responded with surprising promptness, politeness and was very thorough. I'm already buying more boards from him.

Going back to sourcing parts. It can be daunting. I have the PCB for their Refractor/Klon. Why I'm building a Klon, I don't know. Anyway, I have a *ton* of parts, I've been building and accumulating components and parts since 2007, and in spite of accumulating a ton of parts/components, I found I needed things for this build. I used to just buy from Tayda, end of story. They were out of things, or just don't stock certain things, such as the 390pf multilayer capacitor. To shorten this story, I wound up buying from Stompbox Parts, Tayda, eBay, AliExpress, Amazon, Digi-Key and Newark. A lot of that was for the Refractor, but also because I'm running low on a few things and also to begin to use solely metal film resistors instead of carbon comp.

I bought a bag of 390pf MLCC capacitors from Aliexpress for 5.00, all in. I'm sure some will take issue with buying from Chinese sources. I will admit to feeling a bit weird about it, but at the end of the day, almost everything we purchase is impacting someone in a unpleasant way, so until I get rid of everything and move off grid to a cabin in the woods...

Anyway, There are a ton of resources for purchasing parts. I took a break from build from 2016 until last month. In that time I'd swear Digi-Key and Mouser have become easier to use. It also seems that many of these big places have dropped their minimum purchase. I still find Small Bear to be a bit pricey, but was surprised as the prices at Stompbox Parts. Some may disagree, that's my experience, it may not jive with yours. Or I might be a bozo. We're all bozos on this bus.

so to the person asking about parts sources, check out those places. You have a crap ton of options.
 

zippofan

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I save up my orders from Mouser since shipping is expensive but usually a lot quicker than Tayda, they take weeks to get here. I get all my jacks, enclosures and switches from Love My Switches, though enclosure colors are limited I know they'll be here in less than a week. Small Bear is great for those hard to source items like germanium transistors/diodes, BBD's, funky pot tapers/values (W taper!) and cool stuff like tropical fish capacitors. I'll use eBay for some parts too, like a lot of NOS film caps that someone is trying to get rid of.

I sure do miss Mammoth for their enclosures, lots of colors, not too expensive and they shipped pretty quickly.
 




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