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The ultimate overdrive

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by bancika, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    I started this project three years ago and was nearly completed when I lost interest for DIY altogether and stopped all projects. Recently I regained will to build stuff and started completing what I started before. This one is based on Timmy overdrive. I wanted a transparent sounding and super configurable overdrive that allows selecting a bunch of different clipping options. Towards that goal, I came up with a diode array that employs a DIP switch that can engage any of the diode in the array and combine it with others if desired, like shown below. Any diode that has it's corresponding switch closed will effectively be bypassed. Only those that have open switches are active at any given time. And because there are two signal phases, we need two of those arrays. The last switch of the array turns the whole array on and off, so we can have clean boost option as well.

    [​IMG]

    Of course, not all diodes are the same. I wanted to have as much variety as possible, so there are few silicon diodes, one germanium, one schottkey, one rectifier, one MOSFET wired as a diode and one LED. Each clips at different voltage and each has its own unique sound with different mix of crunch and compression, as some clip harder than others.

    Apart from this mod, the rest is pretty much stock Timmy overdrive. I also wanted to go with point-to-point construction on an eyelet board, I love working with those. They don't make the most compact layouts, but they are nice to work with and mod...and they are very sturdy. To allow easy swapping of ICs I used a wire wrap socket that fits the point-to-point layout nicely. At the moment I'm using Burr Brown OPA2134 which sounds a bit clearer and less compressed than 4558 or 4559.

    I think I got what I wanted with this pedal. It doesn't have tons of gain, but that's the idea. It can add some of crunch, compression and focus to the clean sound or it can take already crunchy sound and turn it into screaming lead tones. And having separate bass and treble cut knobs is miles ahead of single tone knob. You can use bass knob to precisely dial in how much bass gets cut, so the sound doesn't get farty (for example if you want to get high gain sound that is still focused and stays tight for palm muting), and you can control treble to make it sound sweet, not too bright, not too dull.

    I'll try to record few clips when I get a chance

    For more info visit http://diy-fever.com/effects/the-ultimate-overdrive

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
     
  2. boldaslove71

    boldaslove71 Tele-Meister

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    Tesla would be proud ;)
     
    trancedental and matmosphere like this.
  3. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

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    Option anxiety; I can feel it coming on...
     
    Mr Green Genes likes this.
  4. Alex83Tele

    Alex83Tele TDPRI Member

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    I dig it. You've given me the courage to go ahead with an idea I've wanted to try. Having a separate enclosure filled with diode clipping circuits of all different designs (parallel, series, and odd combos) that can be plugged into a modified diode clipping circuit (distortion+ etc.). The missing piece was the DIP switches. Nice work!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  5. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    thanks. You could that. Alternatively, you can make a compact module that can fit in some pedals. Please check out my article on that
    http://diy-fever.com/misc/flexi-clip/ it's the same idea, but meant to be applied to existing pedals.
     
  6. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    totally baller
     
  7. Alex83Tele

    Alex83Tele TDPRI Member

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    Nice article, Lots of cool ideas in there. I might see if I can fit it into this mxr classic distortion, that I picked up for $20 (I'm really disappointed it that pedal, which I expected a little bit, but ugh. Even for $20). There's not a lot of room in those guys, though. And my distortion+ already has an extra pot, so I can over clip the signal and get that bitcrusher sounding effect. No room in there. I've never built a pedal from scratch, so maybe now is the time.

    I have seen some examples of parallel circuits where one side has two diodes in series and the other has one with the polarity reversed. Have you come across any desirable traits in odd combos like that. I'm not sure what the diode facing opposite the other two would add. It didn't make sense to me, but I'm new to this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  8. Special Brew

    Special Brew Tele-Meister

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    Awesome build! I absolutely love the way you have made the board.
     
  9. animest4r

    animest4r NEW MEMBER!

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    Cool overdrive[emoji41][emoji41][emoji41] do you sell this? I would like to own one.
     
  10. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    check out the section of my article titled "Asymmetrical clipping", hopefully it will help clear things out...and read the whole article for The Ultimate Overdrive and for Flexi Clip (under "Misc").

    Sorry, no, it's a one-off build for me. I (almost) never do commission work or batches of pedals. No enough time, my day job doesn't leave me with time and energy to do projects, so I couldn't take on projects that I wouldn't finish in time. This pedal I built in 2013 but finished it just last week, I'm that slow :)
     
  11. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

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    Basically what bancika said: that is an asymmetrical clipping circuit. It *supposedly* makes the clipping more *natural sounding* and whatnot. Basically instead of clipping an incoming waveform to roughly 0.6v, one side of the wave clips at 1.2v. Whether that sounds "natural" to you is kinda your preference.

    A lot of people will tell you that the diodes you use will color the sound. In my opinion this is correct. Germanium resistors sound way different than silicon, and silicon signal diodes sound way different than LEDs. A lot of this has to do with where the clipping occurs, but if I recall correctly is also has a lot to do with the diode's response when voltage nears clipping. Germanium gives a real smooth-sounding clip. LEDs a usually very crunchy. Silicon signal diodes tend to be raspy.
     
  12. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like the Dale resistors and the switching system for the diodes
     
  13. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    yeah, pretty much that...it's just a bit different. Whether it's better or worse it's personal, but it's good to have it at your disposal. Many amps feature asymmetrical clipping due to the way the 3rd triode in the chain is biased (pretty cold bias) - Soldano SLO, Mesa Recto's, Engl's...even Marshall's to a degree. When people say it's "natural", they probably mean it's more amp like. There's nothing natural about distortion. Acoustic guitars are natural :)
     
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