Way Huge Red Llama-I don't get it

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Leep Dog, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. Leep Dog

    Leep Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Any red llama users out there wanna give me some tips on how to get good tones with it? I play an ac30 and Fender DRRI. This pedal receives a lot of praise so I figure I must not be using it right. the online demos of this pedal sound good too. What am I missing?
     
  2. Del Pickup

    Del Pickup Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can't help you with setting suggestions as I don't have one of these pedals but it's possible that the amp and pedal just don't work well together.

    I've got a Crowther Hot Cake that many people love but I just can't get it to work with any of my amps in a way that I find good to my ears. The only use I have for it is when I use it as a clean boost.

    Actually the Hot Cake was supposedly designed with an AC30 in mind - Paul Crowther was the drummer in Split Enz and Neil Finn used AC30's so that was his test bed apparently.

    Might be worth checking out........
     
  3. vjf1968

    vjf1968 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Isn't the Red Llama supposed to be used with an amp that is on the verge of breakup?
     
  4. Stratburst

    Stratburst Friend of Leo's

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    The concept is that it's best as a boost for your amp. If you don't like your amp's breakup sound, then it isn't the pedal for you.

    I don't own one but I have a Green Rhino and a Swollen Pickle. Both are great.
     
  5. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    There is no consensus that it is best used as a boost. Many people use it with a clean amp and the drive turned up with satisfactory results. There is not a wide range of tones you can get out of it or a secret mojo setting. If you can't find a tone you like twiddling the two knobs, then it may not be the pedal for you.
     
  6. bawdyli'lmonkey

    bawdyli'lmonkey Tele-Holic

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    My understanding of the RL is that it adds a tweed style breakup, and can get fuzzy at its highest settings. Not sure what you're expecting out of it, but if its not that then maybe you have a different tone in your head. What else have you tried?
     
  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Red Llama is a derivative of the very old yet cool Tube Sound Fuzz by Craig Anderton.

    While the circuit is VERY simple and there isn't really much to change, that just means that what Tripps DID change is very much along the lines of the whole "the devil is in the details" thing:

    - current limiting resistor increased from 100 ohms to 1K ohms (yes - one THOUSAND ohms)

    - pair of low pass filters (remove treble) increased "a bit."

    ...That first change IMO is a doozie - the current does indeed get decreased (the CMOS inverter chip is a hungry beast), but the supply voltage gets knocked down to less than SEVEN volts.

    And - inverters are a bit different from your typical transistor stages or op amp stages - the increased treble rolled off is IMO a bit on the strong side, because inverters have limited headroom and tend to load each other down. Translation - Anderton used very small caps in those two slots, but Tripps went a bit bigger.

    It's also probably more appropriate to think of CMOS (mosFET) inverters as being more like power amp chips - they tend to really pass a full range signal unless they are "choked" quite a bit. So even though Tripps slightly reduced the coupling caps vs. what Anderton used, it really doesn't IMO roll off enough bass.

    ...So it is indeed another instance of limited usefulness IMO, at least in stock form. Just knocking up the supply voltage a bit (e.g. decreasing the current limiting resistor) can do wonders. I'm not advocating for the full-on Anderton circuit, but I don't necessarily think the extreme that the RL is derived into will work for quite a few guitarists.

    Bottom line (IMO) - if you find yourself needing to keep the gain/fuzz/drive low or VERY low, either the R.L. in stock form isn't for you, or something that is a bit more derived away from both it and the TSF is probably in order. It is a REALLY cool foundation IMO, but (also IMO) both Anderton and Tripps just scratch the surface with the design. It's not to say that either was short sighted - Anderton put it out as a DIY thing, and IMO Tripps has kept it "crude and low-fi," for the charm that potentially comes with that. If he (Tripps) didn't, it wouldn't be a good foil for what it's typically supposed to be paired up with - typically the Green Rhino if you're a WHE nut. And the super rare Camel Toe put the R.L. and G.R. in a single box.

    ...Speaking of which - a TS'ish type OD box driven into a R.L./TSF/etc. can sound pretty daggone good when stacked together. This assumes that your dirt needs exceed just the mild variety of stuff.

    But yeah - it's understandable not to get the R.L. in stock form, IMO/IME. There's so much more on tap, but not as WHE has the thing wired up. IMO.
     
  8. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    If you set your amp for a bright clean sound, the RL might need a little help from your guitar's tone control.
     
  9. kp8

    kp8 Friend of Leo's

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    How does it compare with the version that RG Electronics/Tonefactor put out as the Dirty Dan/Mule (actually the same pedal)?
     
  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Robbie told me that he used the straight-up TSF circuit for the Dirty Dan - he didn't care for the R.L. variations on the original TTBOMK. So what he licensed to Tonefactor was agreed to be the same thing - e.g. NOT the R.L. circuit.

    When things changed over to Mojo Hand, IDK what WRT licenses remained in tact, if anything.

    The R.L./TSF/Dirty Dan is a painfully simple circuit, but if you change any of the handful of component values, you can really end up with something...not expected. :eek: For instance, Robbie told me that the first ones that Tonefactor made had linear instead of log (audio) taper volume pots, and they didn't understand why unity gain was happening at 8:00 on the dial... :eek:

    ...Or something to that effect. I'm paraphrasing on Robbie's behalf, and I hope he doesn't mind. Like I said - this is a REALLY simple circuit - you change something even slightly and it can vaporize any of the intended charm from the original design by Craig...
     
  11. czech-one-2

    czech-one-2 Friend of Leo's

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    Robbie W is a member here, here's a thread about the llama that he joined in on, its a good read!
    http://www.tdpri.com/forum/burnt-fingers-diy-effects/189563-red-llama-build-mods.html#post4656449
    Its funny, Tripps originally used component values that he had on hand,no science or 'tweeking to perfection' involved. And Mr, Wallace just used values that were common and plentiful in his kit,like two .047 caps as opposed to the .033 /.068 found in the red llama.


    The RL works best for me as a 'dirty clean' boost into a clean amp.
     
  12. mattyboy

    mattyboy Tele-Meister

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    The volume control on your guitar can make a big difference when using this pedal. I turn mine down to around 4. Sounds like a tweed amp with a slight amount of gain thrown in.
     
  13. Leep Dog

    Leep Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    What amps do you all run it through to get it to sound good?
     
  14. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    You'll probably get 10 different answers from 10 different people.

    You may even get some replies of people using them thru tweed'ish amps, of all things.

    In MY case, I use BF/SF Fenders - I want this type of pedal producing all the dirt/fuzz/etc. But that's just me...
     
  15. telerocker1988

    telerocker1988 Tele-Afflicted

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    Same here...bright clean 6L6 based Blackface/Silverface Fenders with the bright switch on. In my case it's a TRRI and a '68 Super Reverb.

    I like a bright biting tone though.
     
  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Red Llama, Tube Sound Fuzz, and many variations of these types of pedals will all lean towards a bright, gritty, old school'ish sort of vibe. That's why Anderton called it "a fuzz with a tube sound."

    The original EHX Hot Tubes also used the same "CMOS inverter" chip in it. Again - the name kind of indicates that you get some of the old school ratty (not pedal!) sort of sag, sting, AND some of the fuzziness. Much of that is equated to pushed tweed amps, but it's just a benefit of the design.

    A CMOS inverter was basically intended just to be an electronic switch. That is what this chip is used for in something like the Groove Tubes Soul-O amps - channel switching. But it also distorts really uniquely - you can't get op amps or (discrete singular) transistors to do the same thing.

    Without getting too much into the tech-speak, an inverter is a "p channel' mosFET "on top of" an "n channel" mosFET. Unlike how transistors are typically biased, an inverter basically uses the ENTIRE supply voltage. That's why it stays so bright and gritty even when overdriven, IMO.

    These inverters can be tuned for softer sounds - the Blackstone Appliances Mosfet OD also uses the exact same CMOS inverter chip as the Red Llama/Tube Sound Fuzz. I'm just tossing that out as proof in the form of a product, in case some folks just plain don't bond with any of the more crude/grittier/"automatic tweed sounding" type inverter-based pedals tend to sound.

    ...Tripps also uses what is basically a tweaked Red Llama as the final gain stage(s) of the Fat Sandwich. The Red Llama and similar stuff IMO stacks really well with a more trad OD or even just a booster in front. This is basically what the Mad Professor Stone Gray Distortion is - TS'ish type OD into a RL/TSF'ish design.

     
  17. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had the Llama and Green Rhino for a few months now (these 2 together are the Camel Toe). For gigging, I use them with teles into my 1/2 power Twin Reverb on 5-6. The Llama is 2nd in the chain, I use it as a light OD/boost, always on, with Drive at 11:00-12:00, Volume at 9:00. I back off on guitar volume 1/4-1/3, and this gives me my baseline rhythm tone, a touch sensitive, slightly hairy Petty-esque tweed tone, which cleans up nice with the vol knob, and I can roll up the guitar volume for a fatter/louder/grittier OD sound, but still relatively clean if played lightly. For heavier sounds, with lots of beef and sustain for crunchy chords and singing leads, I'll add the Rhino, stacking it into the Llama, with Rhino's drive all the way down-8:00, and volume about 9:30-10:00, again guitar volume knob up for solos.

    These 2 together, at these settings get a great drive sound on my Twin, the most dirt I want for what we're playing, although there's TONs more gain on tap, if desired, by upping the Drive on the Rhino.

    With my 5e3 clone, I use only the Llama, as a boost, with drive at about 9:00, volume about 10:00-11:00, as the 5e3 already has lots of natural OD and midrangey tweed tone. Goosing the guitar volume up gets close to the Rhino/Llama sound on the Twin, so no Rhino needed there.

    Last pedal in my usual mini board is the yellow Dano Tuna Melt tremolo. All 3 fit in my modified Boss BCB-30 pedalboard, very low tech setup, for the clean, crunch and heavy crunch sounds I need. When I use the 5e3, I lose the Rhino, and add in a Boss DD-3 delay for some light delay/faux reverb. The Llama has pretty much replaced my old Keeley BD-2, which I previously used as my always on light OD/boost. Also got in a Soul Food recently, not sure yet if/how I'll use that one, as the Llama/Rhino combo sounds great, and seems to do everything I need. However, I am curious how the BD-2 and Soul Food combo would stack together, using the Soul Food as the always on OD/boost. More fun for another day.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  18. telerocker1988

    telerocker1988 Tele-Afflicted

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    I think Way Huge/MXR/Dunlop make the best new mass produced pedals.

    I haven't played a Way Huge pedal I haven't liked. The Green Rhino, Red Llama, Fat Sandwich, Pork Loin, Saucy Box, etc are all fabulous. My fav is the FS but the RL closely follows.
     
  19. Architecture101

    Architecture101 NEW MEMBER!

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    Hi! Did you try using BD-2 into Llama? Because that is what im using right now. The llama is always on breakup sound.

    I think its better than bd-2 in that application but i miss the cleanup of the bd-2. I use the bd-2 as gain boost.

    Im thinking of selling the bd-2 and getting a tubescreamer type pedal if that is a better combo. Or maybe red llama into a klone??

    Also i was wondering if anyone tried to stack it with a fuzz face? I think that would be too bright??
     
  20. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

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    No, not yet, I have some stacking experiments ahead, with Llama and Soul Food, Green Rhino, BD-2, and SD-1. I already like GR into Llama, will see if I can do better.
     
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