I just accidentally got stuck in hold mode on this thing for over an hour.
I really think the limitations of some gear can be very inspiring.
Looping with only 800ms? Yes please.
If I could design my own delay/looper I think it would look something like this:
Pure digital delay. No harsh treble but definitely not analog like at all.
1 second max delay time.
2 second looper with room to store and recall exactly 33 loops.
No USB or memory card for import/export.
And I guess looping would function more like sampling. Set feedback high, create soundscape, press and hold a switch and it loops it. No start/stop/undo/redo etc…
Ok let’s do this?
Here’s a simple guide to modding the Distortion + / OD250 / YJM308 / Ross Distortion…
This is generally a great circuit but has its drawbacks (especially in reissues).
It can be muddy at low gain settings yet fizzy at high gain settings. It also tends to cut a lot of low end with low tuned/baritone/bass guitars.
All of this is from my own trial and error experimentation and not any sort of formal electronics knowledge/training…
Let’s start at the beginning:
C1 (absent from the DOD 250) filters out some highs and is partly responsible for low gain muddieness. I like to take it right out. This increases clarity and helps balance things once more low end is added in the rest of the circuit. Removing just this capacitor and leaving everything else alone gives better low gain tones. If it’s too bright at this point it’s easy to remove some treble at the end of the circuit.
C2 is the input cap and definitely filters out too much low end for my liking. My current favorite value here is .47uf but 1uf could work for some. The risk in going too high here is mud even at higher gain settings. If you’re a chronic bridge pickup user a larger cap could work but neck pickups could definitely get somewhat muddy.
C4 is a pre clipping output/coupling cap. A larger cap allows more low end clipping. The Ross distortion uses a 10uf cap here and that sounds best to me. Big thick low end crunch instead of just fizzy treble clipping. You could go even higher which could be a good thing if you plan to use it with a bass.
If you’re using a polarized cap make sure the negative side faces away from the op amp towards the diodes.
D1/D2 clipping diodes
The vintage MXR and Ross distortions both use germanium diodes which tend to sound warm and sort of fuzzy but are fairly quiet.
DOD uses silicon diodes which are louder, crunchier, and brighter.
I really like one germanium and one silicon. This preserves some of the fuzziness of the original d+ but opens it up a bit and gives a pretty good volume bump.
The Kowloon Walled Bunny uses 1 germanium and 1 led which also sounds great but isn’t really my thing.
I really really want to try mosfet clipping in here.
Socket the diodes and swap them until you’re happy.
C5 filters out some highs post clipping.
This is the best place to get rid of any fizziness. I increase this to .0022 or .0033uf.
Another great option (especially if you’re building your own) is to remove this cap and add a tone control. My favorite is mark hammers “stupidly wonderful tone control” which is basically a modified rat style filter. http://www.muzique.com/lab/swtc.htm
I’ve also tried a big muff tone circuit here which sounds great but you lose quite a bit of volume unless you’re using 2 LEDs for clipping.
Some versions of this circuit use a small cap in parallel with R4. REMOVE IT unless your circuit oscillates without it.
If you’ve done any/all of this and still aren’t happy there’s one last place to tinker. I only recommend this if you use your pedal mainly for higher gain tones. Low gain/boost tones will most likely get muddy.
R2/C3 form a filter that works with the gain pot. You’ll notice as you turn the gain up you get less and less bass response. Increasing C3 while decreasing R2 proportionately will simply increase gain. Increasing C3 alone will give you more bass at high gain but risk muddy low gain. Reducing just R2 will increase gain and give you more bass roll off. I recommend .1 to .47uf for C3 and a slight decrease in R2. These are definitely worth socketing because they are highly interactive with eachother and the gain pot.
Lastly if you have a version that uses a 4558 op amp but want the classic 741…
The 1458 op amp is a drop in replacement with the same pinout and is essentially a dual 741. Be careful not to damage the 4558 when removing it so you can sell it to a tube screamer snob for way more than it’s worth. ($0)
I couldn’t resist modding my Ross since someone had already been in there and messed some things up…
If you want to mod a d+, 250, or Ross and just want a bigger, thicker version of what the original circuit sounds like without messing with much here’s what to do.
3 easy cap swaps
C2 becomes .033uf - big enough to let most low end through without getting muddy
C3 becomes .33uf - less low end is filtered out as distortion is increased
C5 becomes .0033uf - more treble is filtered post clipping to reduce fizz.
Swap diodes to taste. I’m really into standard symmetrical silicon diodes right now.
Now you’ve got a nice thick sludge machine out of what used to be a fizz machine.
Welcome to the family.
It’s amazing what a guy can cough up when he’s sick.
My lady is gone and I’m drilling every box in sight.
blnk page dirt 1993/distorter - YouTube
This is my current favourite high gain pedal.
It’s basically an IC muff with a girth control on the input, a wacky tone stack, and an LM308.
Most of the interesting stuff is in the tone stack. Here’s what’s up:
The IC muff uses an extra cap in the tone stack that gives some more options for tweaking.
The normally treble side of the tone stack now has hard clipping diodes and is a full range tone similar to tone bypass muff tones. the bass side now filters less treble and also some bass for some actually usable dark low-mid range tones. No mid scoop anywhere.
Adding hard clipping after the feedback loop clipping adds some very hairy character to the distortion that reminds me very much of an HM2.
Since the hard clipping is only in one half of the tone stack rolling back to the bass side of the tone stack also cleans up the gain somewhat.
I’m definitely doing some of these for my second batch.
Recorded with an iPad and a practice amp (univox/stage model 65b) but you get the point. All controls straight up.
I was supposed to be building a batch of pedals today/this weekend but instead I can’t do anything but lay around with bronchitis, pneumonia, and this guy. He’s pretty great. The other two not so much.
I’m finally done prototyping and will be building a small batch of each of these next weekend!
Both of these pedals started as classic circuits loved by many but hated by me.
Let me take a moment to introduce you to the blnk page dirt family.
- low to medium gain hard clipping
- all frequencies are clipped equally
- huge, thick bottom end great for baritone/drop tuning/bass
- tone control usable throughout its entire range
- enough clarity for complex chords even at max gain
- tons of volume for clean(ish) boost or pummelling your amp and shredding your speakers (unity volume is just before noon)
Use this pedal if you love:
Use this pedal if you hate:
- thick, chewy, mid range focused fuzz
- girth control has a huge range from huge and gainy, dirty mid range boost, all the way to bright treble boost
- very touch responsive but in a very abnormal way. Roll back your volume or play very lightly and you get something that somewhat resembles fixed wah pedal tones.
- great for instant sustained feedback
- usable for standard guitar/baritone/drop tuning/bass
- LOUD. unity volume is around 10:00
Use this pedal if you love:
One knob fuzz
Use this pedal if you hate:
One knob fuzz
Pricing not yet determined. (It’ll be reasonable)
Website/store/demos coming soon
I tried to make a list of all the pedals I’ve owned since I became obsessed in the late 90s.
I’m probably missing tons but if I don’t remember them I’m sure they’re not worth mentioning…
Small stone - big box reissue x 2
Small clone - big box reissue x 2
Deluxe Memory man - big box reissue x 2
Vintage memory man - non deluxe model
Deluxe memory boy
Deluxe memory man tt 1100
Little big muff
Big muff reissue x 3
Tall font russian big muff
Black Russian big muff
V5 IC big muff
Green russian small stone
Stereo electric mistress
Blue box x 2
78 custom badass od
Distortion plus - reissue
Distortion plus - vintage block logo
Kfk 10 band eq
Kfk q zone
Tuna melt tremolo
Chicken salad vibrato
Vintage rat reissue
You dirty rat
Deucetone x 2
Ce-2 x 2
Re-20 x 2
blue clipper stomp box
Green ringer in line
Korg tone booster
V847 Union Jack wah
Black cat superfuzz
Big shot aby
Twin city aby
OH NO! Look what showed up in the mail today.