VHT V-Drive clipping configurations

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by yonie, May 29, 2012.

  1. yonie

    yonie Tele-Meister

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    Hey guys,

    I asked VHT customer support about the different clipping diode configurations on the (awesome) V-Drive pedal. Here's what I got;

    *****

    VHT V-Drive Diode Configurations Threshold Voltage Symmetry Ratio

    1. 1N34A + BAT46 (0.357V + 0.252V = 0.609V) 1.7/1
    1N34A (0.357V)

    2. 1N4148 (0.606V) 1/1
    1N4148 (0.606V)

    3. 1N916A + 1N916A (0.622V + 0.622V = 1.244V) 2/1
    1N916A (0.622V)

    4. 1N4148 + 1N4148 (0.606V + 0.606V = 1.212V) 1.4/1
    BAT46 + 1N4148 (0.252V + 0.606V = 0.858V)

    5. Infrared LED (1.051V) 1/1
    Infrared LED (1.051V)

    6. 2N7000 + 1N34A + BAT46 (0.622V + 0.357V + 0.252V = 1.231V) 1.4/1
    BAT46 + 2N7000 (0.252V + 0.622V = 0.874V)

    7. 2N7000 + 1N34A + BAT46 (0.622V + 0.357V + 0.252V = 1.231V) 1.2/1
    Infrared LED (1.051V)

    8. 2N7000 + 1N34A + BAT46 (0.622V + 0.357V + 0.252V = 1.231V) 1/1.4
    Red LED (1.753V)

    9. Red LED (1.753V) 1/1
    Red LED (1.753V)

    10. Red LED + 1N4148 (1.753V + 0.606V = 2.359V) 1.35/1
    Red LED (1.753V)

    11. (No Diodes = Clean Boost)

    Measured Diode Forward Voltage Drop (Clipping Threshold)

    BAT46 = 0.252 Volt
    1N34A = 0.357 Volt
    1N4148 = 0.606 Volt
    1N916A = 0.622 Volt
    2N7000 = 0.622 Volt (Drain and Gate Connected)
    Infrared LED = 1.051 Volt
    Red LED = 1.753 Volt

    *****

    Hope this helps clear up a little bit what kind of different configurations the V-Drive has to offer through the Select knob.

    If anyone can chime in what kind of classic OD pedal uses one of these configurations please do so!

    Thanks.
     
  2. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow... that is an amazing level of detail from a company. Kudos to VHT for opening up the whole store to you! I'm sure 11 Gauge or other will chime in shortly. I'm interested, too!
     
  3. Will Chen

    Will Chen Tele-Holic

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    Dang! I gotta try one of these...
     
  4. matt505

    matt505 TDPRI Member

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    Yonie, thanks for passing that info along!
    I've popped mine open and knew there were various LEDs, MOSFETs and diodes involved, but sure nice to see the specifics!
    Honestly, the clipping selection is just the tip of the iceberg here...the depth, tone, and texture controls offer a LOT of EQ shaping, and the voltage control gives a range of different 'feel' - squishy to tight...
    It's definitely an OD, does NOT have boatloads of gain...
    fun pedal and a ton of useful features for the $$...
     
  5. yonie

    yonie Tele-Meister

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    It really is a great pedal and I believe a lot of pedal affectionados are really missing out on something by just wanting that one $300+ pedal. Personally I really like the texture control, have not seen another pedal that offers the same easy way of adding in harmonics. Also the preset bass EQ settings coupled with the tone rolloff really works great without having to tweak the amp all the time when changing clipping config.
     
  6. filmix2

    filmix2 Tele-Holic

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    Just bumping this .. I have one on order and am curious to know if anyone has some additional insights on this little "Diode Lab".
     
  7. filmix2

    filmix2 Tele-Holic

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    Very cool pedal.. Works as described.
    Lots of tailoring available.
    The only oddity was a bit of self oscillation when the texture knobs was turned up past 3 oclock....
    Very tricked out, decent sounded pedal.

    Was worth the $109
     
  8. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Sorry to bump this thread from quite some time ago, but I've become a fan of the V-Drive.

    I first purchased the VHT V-Drive almost a year ago in March, 2014. I saw it used at the local guitar shop and purchased it after trying it out for a short time. I hadn't even heard of the pedal before seeing it. I just saw a cool black pedal with lots of knobs to tweak.

    The pedal didn't have a manual but was able to find it online. The controls are aptly named.

    I tried to find as much as I could about it on the web and came across these nice reviews:

    http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/VHT_V_Drive_Pedal_Review
    http://thoughtfulguitarist.com/2013/02/vht-v-drive-review/

    The second review linked to this thread on TDPRI listing the clipping diodes used and their configuration.

    I found the thought behind the pedal intriguing. The idea of having selectable clipping diode configurations as well as the ability to emphasize or de-emphasize the bass response pretty cool.

    The second post of this thread expected 11 Gauge to chime in. Perhaps this one got lost in the shuffle. Hopefully people that understand these things will comment further.

    I figured some pictures of the pedal might help.

    VHT V-Drive - outside:

    [​IMG]

    VHT V-Drive - inside:

    [​IMG]

    I see under the Select control are the clipping diodes. Below the Depth control are the capacitors for the low-pass filter.

    The op amp is a socketed NE5532. I read a thread from 11 Gauge regarding the use of this op amp and his opinions considering current consumption.

    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/burnt-fi...119-ne5532-users-something-you-need-know.html

    I'm curious to know if switching op amps is possible with this pedal and if doing so would have any effect....

    I realize that I know/understand very little about electronics, so I hope that people will chime in on their opinions on this pedal and I can learn some more.

    _

    To answer the question regarding which "pedals" might be reflected in the clipping diode configuration, if you read the comments after the ThoughtfulGuitarist review, someone emailed VHT.

    Their response was:

     
  9. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Please forgive my continuing discussion of this pedal, but as I kept playing through it and after doing some more reading, I wanted to see how "versatile" this V-Drive may be. I got out my collection of Boss overdrives for comparison.

    [​IMG]

    As much as I'm skeptical of "setting everything to noon" I figured I had to have reference points so I set the controls of each Boss pedal to the center positon.

    On the V-Drive, I chose Position 3 on the select dial to mimic the listed 2:1 asymmetrical clipping diode configuration that's supposed to be like the Boss SD-1. I kept this the same for all the pedals. I'm sure this isn't quite correct (e.g. OD-2 normal/turbo), but I thought I had to keep some things the same. I chose to change the Volume, Tone, Drive, Depth, and Texture controls to match the V-Drive to each Boss overdrive. I turned the V-Drive's Voltage control to the max.

    I hope the pictures show the settings on the V-Drive that got me sonically close to each Boss pedal.

    I used a SSS Stratocaster into an Ampeg Jet II Reissue J-12r turned to the edge of breakup....

    Boss SD-1:

    [​IMG]

    Boss OD-1:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Boss OD-2 (normal)

    [​IMG]

    Boss OD-2 (turbo)

    [​IMG]
     
  11. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Boss OS-2 (color set to full overdrive - to the left)

    [​IMG]

    Boss OD-3

    [​IMG]

    Comparing the pedals first-hand really reveals the "rhetoric" of how people describe each of them.

    SD-1 - smooth, compressed, trebly with bite
    OD-1 - rough, aggressive, not particularly bass-heavy
    OD-2 - (normal) a lot like the OD-1, (turbo) more drive, more bite
    OS-2 - (overdrive) bright, cutting
    OD-3 - rough, aggressive, bass-heavy

    The thing is, I found I could dial in very similar tones to each pedal using the V-Drive. I expect that the responsiveness when turning the dials on each Boss pedal or V-Drive may not behave the same, but I tried to minimize the number of variables.

    Perhaps I could try a comparison with the Ibanez Tubescreamer. Position 2 on the V-Drive uses a pair of 1N4148 diodes for symmetrical clipping. That's what's nice with the V-Drive. Maybe I can dial in a nice TS9 tone match, but if I want more bass, I just have to turn up the Depth control....

    Currently, my main overdrive is the Vox V810 Valve-Tone. Another direct comparison to the V-Drive I haven't done yet.

    I will say that despite what VHT says in their description of which Select dial position reflects a particular pedal, the other controls have to be tweaked to match. For example, an SD-1 is not as bass-heavy as an OD-3. To match the OD-3, I had to turn up the Depth control to boost the bass.

    The VHT email says that Position 6 is like the Zen-Drive....I don't have that pedal, but I could hear from videos online that it's pretty thick sounding. Merely setting the Select to 6 wouldn't match a Zen-Drive if the Depth is set to 1.
     
  12. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    In comparing the Boss overdrives, there can be a bit of overlap between products. But....each product has a voice of its own. In the above comparisons I didn't change the clipping diode configuration.

    I wanted to investigate an instance where I might be able to compare clipping diode changes with some of the gear I have...without doing mods (a skill I don't have at the moment).

    As I kept reading about clipping diodes, I found they're a major difference between the black-labeled MIJ/MIT DS-1s, pre-1994 Boss DS-1 and the 1995-present silver-labeled MIT Boss DS-1s. The old ones having clipping diodes with a higher voltage threashold.

    (Forgive my jump from yellow pedals to orange ones....)

    I gathered four Boss DS-1 pedals for comparison:

    1991 black-labeled MIT
    1995 silver-labeled MIT
    2003 silver-labeled MIT
    2008 Keeley-modified MIT

    Previously, I compared the 1995 and 2003 DS-1s and was surprised to hear how consistent they are. That should be expected as they have the same components despite being made 8 years apart in the production run using the same op amp (according to BossArea).

    Boss DS-1s:

    [​IMG]

    Boss DS-1 bottom labels:

    [​IMG]


    I set up just the 1991, 1995, and Keeley-modified 2008 (in non-ultra mode) and I hope the settings can be seen in the photo below.

    Boss DS-1 comparison:

    [​IMG]

    Forgive the simplicity of my observations, but the tones with the pedals under these settings aren't exactly the same, but they're pretty close.

    Forgive my air quotes and oversimplifications in the following statements.....

    Using the "less-desirable" 1995 DS-1 as a reference point:

    ...the black-labeled MIT "has more air" since you can turn up the distortion more, raise the tone control, and roll the level back slightly to the match silver-label.

    ...the Keeley-modified "has more volume/gain on tap" and is "less compressed" because the clipping diode configuration lets more signal through, therefore you can push your amp harder.

    ...the converse descriptions of the current-production model DS-1 can be applied.


    Back to the V-Drive and its selectable clipping diode configurations, ThoughtfulGuitarist's review describes the changes in tone using the Select dial as subtle. In general, I agree with that statement, but if you set the Voltage control to the max for more clean headroom, and the Drive control to 4, tune the pedal slightly to the brighter side, you can hear the tone "opening up" and the signal getting louder as you turn the dial from Position 1 to Position 11. Clipping diode values do have an effect on tone and responsiveness (hence my tangent comparing old and new Boss DS-1s in a V-Drive thread).

    I was surprised how much I've grown to like this pedal. I find it a bit underrated, but I'm not well versed in the boutique overdrive realm. I'd recommend giving it a good run-through.
     
  13. Stratburst

    Stratburst Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds like a freakishly great pedal for the $$$. My only issue is that I'd suffer from option anxiety if I ever had it on my pedalboard. This would be more suited to a studio guitarist who is trying to dial up specific tones.
     
  14. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, that's a downside to the pedal according to the Premier Guitar review.

    A lot of people, including me, tend to be "set it and forget it." I guess that's why a lot of electric guitar players will have multiple dirt boxes on their boards.

    Lately, I've been into using only one distortion/overdrive pedal. Recent favorites are the VHT V-Drive, Boss SD-1, DS-1, MD-2, and MXR Super Badass Distortion. I think I'm liking exploring the tonal pallets of each pedal.

    The V-Drive is quite tweakable but it very much exists as an overdrive pedal.
     
  15. filmix2

    filmix2 Tele-Holic

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    Glad to see there is some renewed interest in this pedal... It is a champ and not nearly so daunting when you spend some time with it.

    Even though I traded mine for my most current Tele, I still wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone in the market for a versatile TS-ish pedal.

    I am very much pedals with bass contours, as i think that an make or break a pedal for someone and their application

    Fwiw, after selling all my larger amps and even 2x12s, i dont need something with much bass response and make due with pretty standard trim these days: SD-1 C6'd, MXR Super Badass, and OD-3, oh yes and a rat..

    Anyways.. still a big fan of this pedal.
     
  16. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    I'm glad some other guys like it too.

    I think the oscillating tones could be something weird that happens with the voltage pump and a waning battery charge, at least that happens when I turn the voltage knob with a sub-optimal battery in it. Unless the previous poster was using it with a 9V power supply. I've mainly used mine isolated running off a battery.

    I just picked up a used Digitech Bad Monkey for $20. I could do a BM and TS9 comparison with the V-Drive.

    I guess I'll restate my question about swapping op amps seeing that the NE5532 is socketed. Is it possible? What would happen? Nothing much?

    And...what is that other socketed thing to the upper right and what does it do?

    (see the innards picture above)
     
  17. filmix2

    filmix2 Tele-Holic

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    The other chip, the LT1054 is the charge pump.
    This is what enables you to supply higher (and lower) than 9v to the Op-Amp.

    So with all those cool BOSS's, which ones do your prefer?

    I love my OD3 and SD1. Never owned a DS1, though that may change very soon.
     
  18. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks.

    The charge pump does have an effect on the "tightness" of the tone using the V-Drive.

    Funny you mention you liking the the OD3 and SD-1. Of the "yellow" Boss pedals, those are the ones I prefer as overdrives. I use the SD-1 the most. Either as a boost when running a Fender Blues Junior or Ampeg Jet II J-12r at breakup volumes, or as a smooth compressed overdrive when playing the amps clean.

    I like the DS-1 but recently I've been leaning toward the dialable bass-heavier MD-2 Mega Distortion and MXR M75 Super Badass Distortion. If I want to get into DS-1 territory with those, I've been dialing back the gain and bass.

    I did a little comparison between the V-Drive and the Digitech Bad Monkey. I chose settings on the Select dial toward the lower end of the voltage threshold of the clipping diodes to get the compression and saturation to match. Position 2.

    I set the DBM with the High and Low tone controls at 1 o'clock. Keeping them at noon, the pedal seems anemic.

    Using the V-Drive, I found I had to max out the Tone and Depth controls to match. The Texture dial was about 3 o'clock. But, I didn't have to turn up the Drive much at all and singing tones with good harmonics were happening.
     
  19. vgp001

    vgp001 TDPRI Member

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    I'm putting up this post to make a few corrections to what I wrote about the DS-1 pedals above:

    I opened up my DS-1 pedals (non-Keeley modified) and I was wrong about the op amps and the date of manufacture of one of the pedals.

    The black-label MIT has the Toshiba TA7136AP op amp like the MIJ pedals.

    What I thought was a 1995 DS-1 is actually a 1998, but it contains the Rohm BA728N op amp.

    I was mistaken about the 2003 having the Rohm op amp, that one has the Mitsubishi M5223AL op amp.

    I didn't open up the 2008 Keeley-modified DS-1 but I expect that it has the New Japan Radio NJM2904L op amp.

    Sorry to be off-topic, but it was bugging me that I posted incorrect information.
     
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