28 December 2011

Laney PSU Board draft

So... I found some perfboard kicking about in my house that happened to be the exact size (more or less a few mm) for my power supply board. I decided to work on a template to practice making a layout for the real board.

On the right is what will be the DC Filament Circuit, and on the left is the Full Wave Rectifier. The Diodes in the rectifier are spares I got a long time ago and don't fully trust, so they are in there just for an idea of how the board will end up looking.

The board should also include the bias circuit and the reference for the AC Heater Elevation. Floating the AC filament supply on a reference voltage can help a little with heater hum but in this build I'm using it mainly to keep the cathode followers in the circuit healthier for longer.

25 December 2011

Modded High Gain Soldano Style Preamp Complete

This is just a very quick update which also ties in with my new soldering iron that I got as a christmas present.

So first things first here is the new iron. It's a pretty simple 48w temperature controlled soldering iron that goes up to 430°C in 1 or 10° steps.
Now as for the amplifier heres the progress that i've made so far.

It's been populated with Vishay CCF60 high temp low tolerance resistors. These are ideal for this kind of circuit as they have a 1% tolerance and are a metal film type so they really help keep the noise floor in high gain circuits down. Also note the Panasonic power resistors, this is my first time using these but they were spec'd right and were a better price than the Xicons that I have used in the past that were on backorder.

The coupling capacitors are Mallory 150 series polyester film capacitors. These are very high quality and are a perfect balance between all that vintage mojo you hear about from the traditional mustard caps and also the clarity and edge of the Sprague Orange Drops.

The electrolytics are a mixture of Sprague Atoms & F&T axials. These are all very well spec'd and are a perfect match for the SLO circuit.

I shall be starting on the poweramp tomorrow hopefully and will also give a breakdown of that.

Merry christmas to all and if I don't post again before then I hope you have a great new year.

24 December 2011

The Laney Gut Project pt2

Progress has been a little slow... mainly due to waiting for funds and deciding on parts. Let's take a look!

So, the INGO transformers are mounted. Power Transformer, Output Transformer and Choke in place of the original transformer set. These transformers are SLO100 replicas.

The rocker switches are a green illuminated power switch and a standby switch marked to show the on/off position. I thought that was a nice touch. with all these things, it seems parts from 1986 sometimes aren't QUITE the same size as what is available now. Luckily those switches JUST about fit. The illuminated switch (unlike the old Marshall rocker switches) just need to be wired to the mains voltage and a neon lamp inside the switch will light up. On the old switches Marshall used there was a 5th pin especially for powering the bulb from a different tap on the PT. Snazzy.

As for sockets... I really like to use Belton Octal & Noval Sockets. They feel decent. This time round I got the actual Belton shields to fit the preamp sockets. This things are tough! Not the flimsy metal shields you get sometimes. They also look awesome.

The pins on the Belton octal sockets can be hard to manipulate. They won't handle much bending and shaping before they snap or tear. It's best to be careful if you want to try lining up the pins like this. If you do break a pin, it's actually pretty easy to swap in a new pin on these sockets so all won't be lost. Just get a spare socket to steal the pins off, that's my advice!

The Screen Grid Resistors in the photo (Green things) are 1K 3Watt enamel coated resistor from Vishay's Sfernice range. They are small in size for their power rating and more importantly they look good!

The 'purple' wire... ok it's not as purple as the spec sheet claimed it would be... and the black wire is silver tinned copper stranded 20AWG Teflon insulated wire. It solders really nicely and the insulation can handle really high temperatures, so no need to worry about melting it during soldering. The wire is rated for 600V. Teflon sleeve is also used on the octal socket connections. The pins are wired with 18AWG bus wire and sleeved to protect against shorts.

This is some filament wiring. The wires are twisted to reduce any noise that might be radiated from the wires themselves. I do this by trapping the wire in the chuck of a small battery powered drill. Wiring over the top of the socket rather than around the pins reduces the risk of creating a hum loop. Only two of the 4 preamp sockets are wired here... in parallel with the octal base filament pins... because the first two preamp valves will be using DC heat.

One other thing I decided to try out, was an in line filtered IEC. This is rated for 6A and should provide some filtering on the raw AC is it comes into the amp before the power transformer. I've not used one before so this will be a test.

Little Angel Chorus Build Log Part 2

I have finished populating the board using Hitano electrolytics, panasonic box film caps and one ceramic disc cap.

I chose the film caps as they provide a very clean and smooth sound which is exactly what I am aiming for with this chorus as I want it to be thick & lush. The electrolytic choice of Hitano's is my usual go to cap for pedals as they are have a very low leakage, quiet and very high quality.

The ceramic cap wasn't planned originally as they can sometimes be a bit harsh and work best in overdrive & distortion circuits but the film cap I had didn't fit the hole spacing on the board.

18 December 2011

Heavily Modified New SloClone Build

Well this started out as something else but has quickly taken a different direction due to a request.

The plan so far is to use Mallory 150 series for coupling/decoupling alongside F&T & Sprague electrolytics in the preamp with Nichicon & United Chemi Con Electrolytics in the power amp.

Voicing wise this is going to be a bit of a departure from the stock SLO voicing in that it's going to have an overall tighter feel with a fair bit of grit & grindiness in the midrange and I also plan on making the gain a but more aggressive also.

I've ordered all the electronics & hardware in and i'm discussing the chassis & headshell cosmetics currently.

Here is a picture of the SmashGuitars PCB's that I will be using in this build.

I shall update the blog with more info on this as the project progresses.

17 December 2011

Little Angel Chorus Build Log Part 1

Well I have been saying I would do this for some time now but mundane day to day things such as work, fire & floods have been getting in the way.

I was going to do it in a completely step by step fashion but decided that would be boring and take up about 100+ posts. So instead I have split it into sections.

Here we have the board populated completely with all the resistors and the opamp sockets for the NE5532 and the PT2399.

In the image that I have uploaded it shows that one resistor is mounted upright due to space requirements on the PCB making it so that it couldn't be flush with the board. I generally solder resistors that have to be mounted like this last as I populate the PCBs in component size order as this makes it far easier in the long run.

With this I am presuming that you know how to solder but if not I am planning a future pedal that has a smaller component count that I will do an entirely step by step guide.

I'm hoping that tomorrow I will have some time to do the capacitors which I will go into more depth on as there is some thought to be put into this stage as they have a bigger impact upon the final sound.

Also note I may also be posting the layout for this pedal once I get permission from the designer and may venture into offering BYOC style kits if their is enough interest.

16 December 2011

Blog Update

Hey guys this is just a quick post to let everyone know that I am still keeping up on this.

I have just been completely snowed under at work with christmas commitment & whatnot that I haven't really had much time to do anything for myself.

This weekend i'm finally going to have some time to myself and I received my Little Angel Chorus PCB's so am going to get this thing put together with a "semi" tutorial hopefully.

here's a picture too to show the excellent work done by Frequency Central who designed this circuit.

5 December 2011

NGD: Ibanez RGA7

Well this was something of an impulse buy as it was at a fantastic price that I just couldn't refuse.

I thought it would take quite a while to get used to playing a 7 string but it just happened naturally once I got over how much bigger the neck is.

These photos are stock but I have since changed the bridge pickup out to an EMG 81-7 and cut the bottom out of the battery box to accomodate the 9v battery

I shall post some clips of this over the weekend hopefully.

4 December 2011

Custom Overdrive

This is part of a project im working on that should turn out to be a metal guitarists wet dream....

A customer requested the cosmetics on this i was personally going to go for a gloss black powdercoat with silver lettering and chrome chicken heads. However i am very pleased how its turned out.

Its based around a TL082 dual opamp and has enough gain to kill a charging rhino, the clean boost also is  a bit extreme and can take your signal from unity gain at about quarter way up to gradually getting tighter and tighter going into complete saturation at the top end.

The tone control is pretty much a midrange sweep that just adds mid-high mids in.
The cut switch just boosts it a bit more and makes it cut through anything.

complete with true bypass circuitry of course with high quality solid core teflon wiring.
anyway enough rambling on heres a pic

28 November 2011

Entwistle HDN - High Definition Neodymium Pickups. Updated with a clip!

Well i've been playing these for around a week now and I didn't want to write this up straight away as I wanted to get familiar with the pickups and tweak the heights/polepieces to get them spot on.

And now a week later I am still completely impressed with them. Firstly there's the fact that they are high output and ultra tight in the low end, usually to have this kind of clarity and tightness you would have to sacrifice your cleans completely with say a ceramic pickup... But not with these you get those thick palm mutes and the pinches just really leap out at you going hand in hand with a great midrange grind. Then you switch over to the clean channel and get incredible bell like cleans that have a piezo like quality to them.

The neck pickup is just as impressive as the bridge its higher output than I am used to from my other guitars with Bare Knuckles in but it still retains that same clarity that the bridge had but with extra fluidity with is amazing for legato work and the cleans again are excellent being warmer and fuller than the bridge and very clean and crisp sounding.

Now onto tunings. I have used these pickups in tunings ranging from E Standard right down to B standard and the same qualities remain throughout the tunings and have even outshined the other pickups I own in some of these tunings.

In short these pickups are a metal guitarists dream come true but it doesn't stop there either.
If you knock the gain back on the amp you get into that 80s rock territory that many people crave.

The HDNs also react extremely well using an overdrive pedal which results in even more tightness and cut (not that they needed it) But all in all it makes for an extremely versatile set of pickups for the rock or metal guitarist.

I have a seven string coming my way this week too and i'm not even considering any other brand or type of pickups so far if Entwistle can provide the goods again.

Now you can buy these excellent pickups from here.

22 November 2011

The Laney Gut Project pt1

This is my first post here! Hello!
This is start of a build project in the chassis of an old Laney AOR. AOR's can be picked up second hand pretty cheap or for at least the cost of a blank chassis and a custom head shell. Under the plastic face plate are a bunch of covered holes perfect for trying a number of designs. The chassis is also punched for a whole host of parts... the only downside is that the sockets are riveted onto the 3mm steel chassis, which makes swapping the clamps and sockets hard work!

Details are yet to be decided, but this is going to be a 100watt single channel high gain head. The transformers in the photo are a new SLO style PT and OT available from Tubetown.de. The Choke in the photo's is the original Laney choke. This will be replaced but right now it is riveted to the chassis and the rivets need removing.

More to come....

18 November 2011

Flying V Stain Test + Pickup Update

Here's the primary test of finishing this guitar. I decided to go for a deep blue as the grain on this thing is terrible!

This is just one coat so far i'm going to let it dry overnight to see how dark it settles before deciding whether to do another coat or not.

Also I have an update regarding the pickups that are going in this.

They are something a bit unique that I have never tried before and I have been given promises they will be ultra tight, hot & extremely clear.

They clock in at 16.5k for the bridge pickup and 9.5k for the neck pickup and both feature Neodymium magnets.

I shall give a full review once I have the pickups in and the guitar back in one piece.

10 November 2011

NGD: DIY Flying V

Well this was a heck of a lot easier than I thought it would be. It took about an hour from opening the box to get it together and setup fully.

I am actually pleasantly surprised with this. For £53 its a heck of a lot of guitar, there are no sharp fret edges and the wood is solid and it plays really nice & has a very warm & full acoustic tone.

Now onto the bad parts. The tuners are absolutely junk and these will be the first thing to be changed.
The pickups are also absolute junk but that is exactly what I wanted from them for my pickup experiment which shall be ready once i've got the PCBs fabbed.

Here's the obligatory photo but the lighting is crap so some proper ones along with a "stock" soundclip shall follow tomorrow.

And here is the clip!

DIY Flying V stock test clip by Tony Boyes

6 November 2011

New Guitar Incoming....

Well kinda.

I forgot I bid on this a sometime over the last fortnight and completely forgot about it.

Its got the following spec.

Basswood Body
Maple Neck
Rosewood Fretboard
22 Frets
2 x Shit humbuckers

All the hardware will be replaced with something worthwhile and the pickups are part of my grand upcoming experiment which should be of great interest to the metal crowds.

Oh yeah it also cost the grand sum of £53

4 November 2011

Preparing your Vero/Stripboard

I thought I should link to this before I start with the build log as my camera on my phone sucks for close up photos even with macro enabled!


The link above shows you how to cut the traces and also add in jumpers. It's all self explanatory really but this information is here now if anyone needs it.

2 November 2011

The effects of capacitance on tone.

This is the first part of something that I was asked about on the MetalGuitarist forum.

In itself it can be quite awkward to explain but there are a few basic rules that apply and I will go through them in the simplest application there is to a guitarist.

The tone control. The main properies of a capacitor used in this application is to increase or decrease the high frequencies depending on how they are wired.

A common value that is used as a "tone" capacitor is 0.022uF if you increase this to say 0.1uF you will roll off a far larger amount of the high frequencies.

For a quick reference here are a few common capacitor values that are used in guitars

0.10uF - Darker sometimes described as a muddier sound (no good for metal imho)

0.047uF - Less dark, with a pleasant frequency curve through the travel of the pot.

0.022uF - This cap gives a brighter sound and does not roll off as much high end and also has a good frequency curve throughout the travel of the pot

Another point that i have seen come up on various forums is that a higher voltage capacitor will change/alter the sound. This is NOT true a using a 600v  Orange Drop will have the exact same effect as using a 100v Orange Drop as your guitar will never see 600v going through it and if it does there is something seriously wrong!

Also using a really low value capacitor will give the effect of reducing the low end frequencies when wired up with a pot this can be seen in an excellent post on the MetalGuitarist forum.

I shall do more of these in different applications if people request them.

31 October 2011

New Amp Plans

Well I was kinda challenged to do this one but it's something I actually have an interest in myself so i'm going to roll with it and see how it turns out.

The challenge was to make a low powered amp thats around 20w or less that can do metal without the bass farting out as it's never really been done before.

Heres the plan so far

  • Single Channel
  • EL84 power stage
  • Cascaded Gain Stages
  • Variable Voltage Regulation for Power Scaling
  • Built In Boost Circuit
  • Adjustable Negative Feedback Control (Depth)
  • Stacked Controls For The EQ Section Where The Second Stack Controls The Boost With The MV Control Being Push Pull To Turn The Boost On/Off
I wont be starting this until after christmas but i'm really excited for it.

30 October 2011

Shock Treatment (SHO update)

Well I got around to rehousing this today and also labelling it up using a Dymo labeller.

Here's the final version.

Hopefully some more parts should be in tomorrow and I have decided to do the little angel chorus.

29 October 2011

SHO style build

First off i'll give credit where its due.

I used the layout from http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.com that was made by IvIark
Its an excellent layout.

I built this using a 10k linear pot and wired it in reverse as i didn't have a 5k linear rev pot handy.
This gave great results as I now have a massive range of clean boost for the first half of the pedal before the dirt and crackle kicks in!

Also this is my first ever build using Vero/Stripboard so it isn't the tidiest but i plan on tidying it up later.

Also as my step drill bit still hasn't arrived its built in a "DIY" enclosure that was crafted by my girlfriend Laura.

I enjoyed doing this so much that I have also ordered parts for a chorus build and an OD that I am going to cannibalise a BIYANG OD8 for the chassis as its the perfect layout.

18 October 2011

New Headshell Day!

I was originally going to use this for my next amp which would have a similar chassis but black with white lettering but i tried it with my current SLO and it just looks awesome.

18 May 2011

It's alive!!!!

Well after a good while i've finally got this thing up and running and i must say it sounds bloody amazing!.

I had some issues with channel switching that lasted since saturday when i finished the amp (when it was nice and tidy) to now when i sorted it out.

I misread a few values of resistors which caused this but now its sorted!.

However internally its a right mess now due to all the fault finding time on the bench.

So for now there is just  a pic of it externally and i shall get some gut shots up after i have tidied it up this weekend.

7 May 2011

The O'netics are here!!!

Well they are finally here after many issues and delays I can finally get this thing going.

They have a little cosmetic damage and it seems the couriers have dropped the package at some point as one of the fixing plates is bent upwards but hopefully the transformers themselves should still be fine.

3 April 2011

Boards almost complete!

I know that i've been useless updating this thing but im going to keep to it more now that the project is moving along.

I am still waiting on a few resistors & caps to finish these boards off and im also going to change the 1uf Orange drops (The MASSIVE orange caps)  to Xicons possibly as they are smaller and fit a lot better. I will have to wait until the build is finished and then A/B them to see if there are any tonal advantages.

 Still waiting for C34 & C35 for the preamp board along with 3 resistors, they should be here sometime this coming week.

Still waiting for 4x 220k 1watt resistors for the power board. These are crucial as they are the bleed resistors that discharge the caps that can potentially kill me.... Definitely need those in there

Badly Painted TS

Well here's the TS it's the very first time I have ever sprayed anything and will be redone as i aren't 100% happy with it.

However it will do for now until I build my other pedals.

26 March 2011

TS808 complete!

Took about 30mins from start to finish and worked first time with no problems.

There was a 511k resistor missing though so I had to nip out to Maplins to get a replacement.

The toughtest bit of this build was the switch wiring as it's all so close together.

Here are some pictures of it currently. I am going to design a finish & paint it soon.

23 March 2011

I'm still alive!!!

Just a quick update to let everyone know that this project is still on the go. I just havent really gotten around to doing much with it as I want to wait until all the parts are here.

The majority of the parts are now here including the Chassis which is an absolute work of art!

The custom pickup from Hayden @ Bulldog pickups is an absolute beast! It turned out a lot better than I ever imagined it would.

Its hot, tight, articulate, has a very hifi sound to it and cleans up amazingly well. I shall be posting some clips of it in the near future along with the SLO Clone when the build is complete.

3 March 2011

The first package for the SLO has arrived!

So here we have it, the real beginning.

In my possession now are all the resistors, capacitors, PCB's and a few of the switches and LDR's etc.

I can finally get started with populating these and hopefully the rest should arrive shortly and i should have the amp finished within the next two months max.

I'll be posting more pictures of the PCB's assembled.

20 February 2011

Decided upon the remaining build parts

I have been looking around at the various electronics suppliers for getting the remaining components,chasis,transformers & headshell.

I have come to the conclusion that getting all of these from different places that I would have to do is going to end up costing more in the long run with shipping and minimum orders.. The remaining cap I need is only available in quantities of 2,500 at $4.15 each!! Mental.

On the transformer front I just got an email back from Heyboer regarding custom transformers for this project. It turns out it will cost more than getting the Hi-Def transformer set from O'netics which was designed for this project and has proven to be up there with the best.

And the chasis,pots,switches,wire etc i am going to get from Rob @ c3amps.

So all in all I can get EVERYTHING that I need to finish the build from one place!.

Hopefully I shall be ordering them over the next month or so.

And the project begins

I have ordered the first lot of parts for my SLO build. Whats on the way is as follows.

All resistors
All Capacitors (apart from one but its easy to get hold of)
A few of the switches
All the rectifiers other than DB101
PCB's Pre & Power (smashguitars)

A big thanks goes out to Koa-Dogg from sloclone forums for this great deal that saved me over £100

And here's a picture of the goodies!