Sunday, 22 May 2011

Perfbord Big Cheese UPDATED 01/06/11 VERIFIED

Ive never done this before, but today I did by hand copy out onto Pad-per-Hole (perfboard) the OLC Chunky Cheese schematic.

For those interested, here is the layout. You can get the details of the components from the OLC PDF (

Here is just the links UPDATED 1st JUNE VERIFIED

Here is with my cheesy (pun intended) scribbles of the component locations. Id love it if someone could check and see there arent major boo boos. UPDATED 1st JUNE VERIFIED

Ill have a go at verifying this tommorow. Damn drawing took me hours as it is! Kept screwing up the drawing and wanted it Tipex allowed! OH yeah, one other thing, Input is the pad at 2,V (top left of the board).

My grand plan is to build this, then a take on the Brown Source called the Tone Source, and then I have bought some oversize boxes to build my own CheeseSource out of :)

Wish me luck...



 I have fixed this. There was 2 issues with the previous attempt. Firstly, I had forgotten to add the 9v to the second IC (top right of the layout, to pin 7). Secondly, the volume control needed to be grounded from the Lug 1 connection. With these fixes in place, the pedal works as advertised. Happy days!

I will make up the Tone Source next, then make my version of the Cheese Source :)

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Creamy Dreamer and Micro Fuzz complete

Finished these two off today with some sexy graphics and knobs.

Really like how these came out.


Micro Guitar/Bass Fuzz

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Another big update (4 new pedals)

Hello effects builders and other viewers of this blog (all 3 of us, I think...)

Been off writing for a while, but definitely not off building. In fact, Ive just finished (mechanically, if not all cosmetially) 4 new pedals. One of them is recognisable as its a modification of one of my previous builds. The others are new. And one even features some parts put together by Mr Melx of Melx: Adventures in Effectors.

Flatline Compressor

Up first is another of Mr John Hollis' fantastic designs. If you havent checked this guys work out yet, you must. Everyone needs at least one Hollis design in their life. Roll on over to this awesome place of goodness.

The Flatline is an optical compressor pedal. For this youll need to be using an IC (I recommend fitting this in a socket) and also some form of vactrol. In the spirit of DIY, I, and many others, use an LDR and LED combo, in shrinkwrap. I've sourced some excellent performing LDRs from Bitsbox, for 50p each. These are the same I've used in my Easy Vibe, combined with standard 3mm LEDs.

Here is the vero - note they have used an yellow LED, which I think is fine for single LED/LDR effects, but the brightness of which varies greatly from batches, so in effects that use multiple LED/LDR I would use red or green.

This is what my board looked like. I have to bodge an resistor value that I didnt had.

This was pretty easy to box up, I used the ever popular method of sticky sponges to attach the board to the back of the pots.

This one I finished off with a nice decal that came courtesy of Google images :)


Keen readers will note I recently put together the Easy Vibe, again by John Hollis. This proved to be a rewarding and excellent build. Noting in the FAQ that one could make a passable Small Stone using the same circuit with a few changes, I set to work. Basically, you make all of the caps in the phase shift stages the same value (100nF). John also suggested adding some feedback. When I had this unboxed, the feedback seemed to work. Boxed up, nothing much is going on, so I assume that my ears were off when I was testing, or something bad happened when boxing up, but I did some troubleshooting and couldnt hear a difference. Anyway, by that time Id drilled the box and stuff, so the switch stayed. I also kept the phase / vib switch. This one doesnt sound exactly like a small stone or phase90 or anything, but is definitely more phasey and vibey, and a different beast to the Easy Vibe. I named it the Mayophase after the smashing pumpkins (nice use of phaser on many of their tracks, I recommend Thirty-Three off of Mellon Collie...)

This was the first time Ive attempted painting a box, too. I bought some automotive spraypaint for £1 a pop in a pound-shop. Primer, and gloss black and white. Thing is, I felt the primer looked so nice I stuck with it!

Here are the in progress shots:

Drilled and sprayed box:

Obligatory gut shot:

For the graphics I printed a nice red decal to give a result of burgundy on grey, which I feel looks pretty damn classy! Very happy with my first painting experiment :) I will do more of this in the future.

Next up, Melx will hopefully appreciate this!

A while back I won his Ebay auction for charity, and he promised to include a Bazz Fuss circuit for me. I have also recently made a D*A*M meathead sorta-clone. I decided to put both in a box together, as a gift for my best friend. The idea is to have switchable circuits in one tiny box. This was a bit of a squeeze :)

DAM meathead, layout courtesy of IvIark, cheers buddy

For the transistors I went through a few to make my choices. Where the BC182L is, I used a tin hat style 2N2222A, and for the 2N3904, I replaced this with one of the vintage mushroom cap Si trannies Melx sent me with my charity auction pack :) These things are pretty cool!

Everyone knows what a Bazz Fuss is, so go Google if you wanna know more. Its a tasty bass fuzz which works ace on guitar and uses about 6 parts. Awesome.

Here is my efforts to jack this all into a tiny case, with a DPDT toggle to switch between the two.

I also used some of these nice tiny 8mm DC jacks (for DC only setups, they only have two wiring points, rather than the third one on the larger ones for hooking up a switchable battery jack). Perfect for tiny setups. Any perfect for me, as I only really use DC anyway.

I went for a pretty unconventional layout, my take on the smaller pigtronix pedals if you like?!

Its unfinished at the mo, ordered some nice knobs for it, and im going to finish it with a decal of the recipients artwork, as this will be a gift to my best mate.

Last but by no means least, I have succombed to the inevitable and build a DIY Big Muff hahahah
EVERYONE surely must have built their own Big Muff. Now, I went through a pretty sizeable Smashing Pumpkins phase as a teen, and at that time, some scamp made a pedal called a Creamy Dreamer (google is your friend). This was simply a modified Russian Big Muff, and gained notoriety because the dude responsible claimed Billy Corgan used it, and this all escalated into people beleiving this was THE pumpkins tone, and was even used on the recording of Siamese Dream (some 7 years hence to the release of the Creamy Dreamer...lols). Anyway, if you wanna read about the CD, there is some fun info here, or search other forums. Its notorious as the kid basically got loads of free info on how to mod a muff, then gave no credit for his commercial product.

So, to the Dreamer. This was at the time a $200 Big Muff, something like £150 over here. I remember my best mate and I really wanting one, but settling in the end for NYC RI muffs. I still have the box, but an ex bassist borrowed the article itself and its in pedal heaven now. Not to fear cos I built my own DIY muff, based on the below, and it kicks ass.

Thanks to Harald Sabro, legend he is.
Here is a build review from him, too, so you can compare handiworks...

My build uses probably cheaper parts than Haralds, nevermind. I do have one WIMA cap in there! Some substitutions, I cant find 560pF caps anywhere, so I used 470pF instead. Same with 15k resistors, I dont have them so used 18k. Lastly the 82k's, I had to bodge with two of a value nearly half of 82, I forget :) it fired up first time regardless.

This was boxed up in a sexy Banzai powdercoated box (not something I will repeat, due to cost and hassle of working with Banzai, but its a subtley different shape to my eddystones). The plan will be to add chicken head knobs and some nice decal.

Ive only experience with the Green russian sovtek, the black sovtek and the USA NYC reissue, but this beats them all for me. The Green Russian is next best. Im sure purists say the Rams head, or the '74 IC that Billy Corgan used for Siamese Dream or something, but whatever. This'll do for me, and its fulfilled a childhood dream of owning a Creamy Dreamer, with the satisfaction of doing it myself!

Fuzz on, people.

More to come as and when I find time and inclination. Thanks as always to Melx and Mark. Legends.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Cheap Isolated PSU

Granted its on back order but there are many a positive discussion thread about this beast flying around:

Ive ordered one, should arrive in a 6 weeks Id guess. Seems a bargain for what looks like ostensibly a VL PP2 clone with most of the features.