Wednesday, 22 February 2012

DAM Grease Box

Dave's blurb:

So any huw. The Grease Box. It is at heart, a MKIII/MKIV Tone Bender. Its bare bones and the circuit blue print are very Tone Bendery. The idea here was very simple indeed. What if Colorsound still made the Tone Bender MKIV in 1981. What would that sound like?

Okay so, gibberish aside. The Grease Box is a fuzz box that thinks it’s an overdrive. It has a lot of midrange cut and a good amount of clarity. It is responsive to pick attack so comes over as quite dynamic for a fuzz box. You’re not gonna get the transparency of a TS-808 or other such things; it is a fuzz box at heart. Remember that. It’s kinda like a Distortion + and extra gooey Tone Bender MKIV meeting somewhere in the middle. The ‘Level’ control has a linear taper so retains a good dose of the highs as it’s rolled off. The ‘Overdrive’ control will darken the tone somewhat as it’s rolled back. The nature of how both of these controls react will give you a lot more scope than you’d think from a two knob fuzz box. It’s Greasy, ay.

Compact layout:


Mojo layout:


39 comments:

  1. Just put the compact layout together and once again.. DAM designs never fail. It's been about a week since i've built anything due to difficult case of bronchitis and high fever. Anyway.

    MP16Bs with 62 hFE for Q1, 67 hFE for Q2 and 94 hFE for Q3. Sounds really good. This is one of those that make me think why bother with any FFs clones/derivatives.

    Still waiting for one order, so i subbed volume pot for A100 - a mistake, that i'll correct once that package arrives. Unity comes in around 75%, so B taper is really needed here. At least with these fairly low gain transistors. I used 1N34A germ for the diode and i built it with a -9V pump to make my life easier :)

    Really good Tonebender III/IV variant. I like this a lot - not much as i do like the earlier TBs or my latest NPN germ Fuzzrite with 8n2 caps, but still. Nice.
    +m

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    1. NP. And Yeah. You'll be safe when sourcing MP16Bs. Relatively low on gain, but still good, consistant transistors. Just like only the soviets could have made them :)
      +m

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    2. Can you guys recommend a place to buy a good regulated power supply for these positive tip effects?

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  2. Just build this and sounds amazing already BUT a couple of questions!:

    I used AC128 trannies 60hfe Q1, 60hfe Q2 and 86 Q2. What should the voltages be? Collectors on Q1 and Q2 are about 2.3 volts but Q3 is pretty low, about 1,6v. Would replacing the 20k resistor with a trimpot help adjusting it to about 2,5 volts. Or does the Q3 collector need to have a different voltage?

    Then, do lug 1 of the volume and sustain pot go to ground? Or somewhere else?

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    1. Oops how did I miss that off. Volume 1 to ground, Volume 2 to output. And you could put a trimmer in there which would allow you to fine tune it, but then it wouldn't really be a Grease Box. If you want to get the most from it personally though, rather than have a verbatim copy then it's always worth adding a trimmer.

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    2. Yea. Sustain 1 is not connected. I could check the voltages from my build tonight...
      +m

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  3. http://mirosol.kapsi.fi/varasto/boxes/anodizedfuzz.JPG
    +m

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    1. Cool, are you buying the boxes painted or doing it yourself? One of my mates owns a auto body shop and is spraying every day. I was thinking about getting a load of boxes, leaving them with him and just asking him to spray a few at a time when he uses an interesting colour :o)

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    2. I've tried to paint and failed too many times. This particular one is from pedal parts plus.. I'm leaning more and more to those. They don't really cost that much more and if the painting fails (like it usually does when i'm doing it), it is someone else's problem. I might even get some pre-drilled boxes next time :)

      Although.. I've tried some of those new water based spray cans, and they seem to be much much better than any of the solvent based paints i've worked with.

      Your winter is nothing compared to ours and i live in a apartment building, so painting is not an option - at least not for next 5 to 7 months.

      You should really do that, if your friend agrees to it. Then you would always have suitable boxes for anything...

      One thing about the colours. I'm never getting any shade of green boxes again. I can't use them for anything else but maxon/ibanez overdrives :)
      +m

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    3. Hammerite paint is excellent. Hammerite spray is crap. Smooth and Hammered come out flawless (Black and red are terrible to get a good finish).. I don't even need to primer anymore as it drys like stone. You can even mix Hammerite and invent colours :)

      Example;
      http://oi47.tinypic.com/2a5nb84.jpg

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    4. That's excellent. Definitely going to have to try that

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    5. Thats the Grey Hammered effect. Blues turns out really nice too. Black and red are awful for some reason. I've tried and tried but I just can't get a good finish with those.

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  4. I think there's a mistake in the Mojo layout, from the left of the board, moving right, the first 10K resistor goes between the emitter of Q1 and -9V. I think instead it should go between the emitter of Q1 and +ve ground (one hole lower).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, well spotted. Layout updated.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I think this will be my next build, and seems a good candidate for a 1590A too, so, ordering another enclosure and some 100k pots to Tayda right now.

    Should never have tried the David's effects, now can't stop building'em! David an Bjorn (from Mad Professor) are both incredible.

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  7. Hi all,

    It seems I have a size problem (and I'm no talking about a Zvex Super Hard On :P)

    As you can see on this pic:

    http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/9800/grease.jpg

    the vero is ready to be wired and set into a 1590A box. The problem is that the 3 russian trannies are nearly bigger than the board itself, so I don't really know how fit it all in a so small box.

    Any suggestion is more than welcome. Don't know if taking off the sockets, turn the board and set the solder side up and wrap the trannies with insulating tape.... Left side (the one with the 470pF cap), has to be oriented up to make place for the DC jack. I'm using for this pedal Alpha 9mm pots.

    Any solution?

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    1. Well you either need to insulate the legs with cut off wire insulation (or similar) so that you can leave a longer lead to allow you to lay them down somewhere that you have a gap. To one side maybe or over the resistors on the left. Or alternatively you're going to have to use smaller transistors. I've got some GT108G and GT309B which are both smaller than the usual silicon transistors we use. They also come in a really useful range of gains that would be great for this. Look how low profile they are, they're the middle transistors in this pic:

      http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j6/IvIark_2006/DIY/new_ge.jpg

      Well worth a try, especially for 1590A builds.

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    2. Thanks Mark, I'll replace the 100n mylars with monolithics to save space and try the insulated legs. If still no way to fit them, will have to look for the "russian dwarfs" (but haven't found'en still on eBay)

      BR

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    3. If you're struggling to find some email me at guitarfx at hotmail dot co dot uk

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    4. Thank you once again Mark. This Evening i'll try to fit the GT308B. I hope that the monolithic's space saving be enough. If not possible I'll let you know as can't find the GT108G and the GT309 are "A", so, very low hfe I'm afraid (about 20-25 for what I have seen)

      BR

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    5. Yesss! Ceramic monolithic! They have made enough room to place the GT308 U.F.O.s. I've tried about 15 different trannies to find a good tone.

      I started with 62-65-95 hfe and the sound was powerful, but too gated, had to try several more, and finally the choosen ones are: 45-50-90 hfe. Don't know why, but Q1 and Q2, (in my build) have to be real low hfe, while Q3 sounds fine from 70 to 110. I finally chose the 90 hfe one as the sound was very balanced, but was very good (just a bit different) with a 70 and a 110.

      So, I think the "secret" of this effect is using low hfe for Q1 and Q2. Don't know if it's so for these trannies or a general rule, but anyway, and as supposed being a D*A*M, the Miro's comments and so on, this effect really kicks asses.

      I'll build next the Sonic Titan, and will finish (for a time) with David's effects.

      BR

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    6. Well, better an image to show it:

      http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/3375/greasepcb.jpg

      If conpared with the previous we can se that replacing the Mylars with the monolithics, and so allowing the 10uF electrolithic be placed a few milimiters up and so releasing the gap between Q2 and Q3, has allowed me to use the GT308Bs with no problem.

      BR

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    7. Mark, a quick question.

      I've finally ordered some GT108V. The pinage is the same than in GT308 (ECB)? (can't get for clear in the different forums I've checked).

      BR

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    8. On my GT108's the pins are in a triangle. The pin without a bezel at the bottom which seems to be connected to the case is the base, and looking at the pins with the base on the left, the top pin is the collector, right pin the emitter.

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    9. Thanks Mark, I've finally found them here in Madrid, and hope that tomorrow they'll be here on my hands :)

      I want to build the new Grease Box that I've been ordered with these new trannies, as the GT308 were a really tight fit. Let's hope they sound as good as the big UFO ones.

      BR

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    10. Well, received this morning the little UFOs (GT108V) and have just finished testing them. Well, luckily, ordered just 10 units. Leakage is barely noticeable, with readings of 0,02v, 0,01 or even three of them 0,00v. In fact, I obtained the same hfe readings with the Germanium tester than with an ordinary multimeter.

      The problem is that out of these ten trannies i had:

      2 -> Between 40 and 50hfe
      7 -> Between 50-60 hfe
      1 -> 82 hfe

      Will have to try in some effects, but the HFE seems too low. For Q1 and Q2 in a tonebender / grease box they can be of use, but for the Q3 I think i'll have to use a GT308.

      They seem useless too for a Fuzz Factory or a Fuzz Face. Will have to check how they sound anyway because the FF's I've built with GT308 with Q1 ~45 Q2 ~60 sound really fine.

      I really expected higher hfe but... that's what the cat dragged in

      BR

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  8. Well, as I was tired of having this effect without enclosure, and the Tayda's ones I ordered on Nov 29th have still not arrived, I've had to use several solutions that I don't like much but... no more options at the time:

    - I've had to use a Multiconp G102 instead of the 1590A. The multicomp is even smaller than the 1590A, and the free space inside is tighter. It has some molds inside to screw pcb's, rails etc, that dicrease the free space.
    - Had to take off the trannies sockets, and solder'em directly on the vero. Luckily, I've not fried anything :P
    - PCB has to be placed with the solder side up. No way to place it in other way.

    - Could no install the voltage converte :(

    Let's see tomorrow when the pain has dried if I can fit it all correctly... and close it. Today I've made a tryout and is the tightest fit I've ever built.

    Hope that tomorrow everything will work, as this pedal sounds really fine.

    BR

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    1. You're a braver man than me! :o)

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    2. More than braver.... a bit insane :P. This has been a really hard one to finish. My advice: NEVER use a G102, is a real pain in the ass. The only good about this enclosure is that it's really robust, 3.3 mm thick, nearly 2x the usual 2mm ones.

      We'll, this is the Grease Box, together with the Drag'n'Fly, you can see tgat the G102 is a bit sammler:

      http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/8181/flygrease.jpg

      This one of my 4 Dwarfs together:

      http://img4.imageshack.us/img4/8391/fourh.jpg

      Next 1590A will be the DAM Sonic Titan, but this time i'll wait for the Tayda's enclosures to arrive :P

      BR



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  9. Just built it, and it's a mean basterd on "full throttle".
    Works great with guitars volume knob, to back off, and get many nice sounds.
    Q1=62 hFE, Q2=72 hFE and Q3=87 hFE (3xAC128, matched).
    Q3 collector biased to -2,5V and Q1 and Q2 also got a common VR, but clock is too much so i can't play and test if -4,5V is better sounding than -3V that i got with the 10K resistor.

    I am gonna tweak this fuzz a little bit more, tomorrow, but it's real nice sounding as it is.
    Maybe some 2N404A or AC125 i got can make it a notch better? hope so :)

    D*A*M sure knows how to make nice fuzzes :P

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  10. I have a feeling this circuit will like some leakage, at least for Q3. AC125 sounds like a great choice, 2N404 maybe not. But try everything you've got!

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  11. I ended up with this;
    Q1=AC128 (87hFE)
    Q2=1T308b (46hFE)
    Q3=AC128 (62hFE)

    Q1 and Q2 biased to -8,2V
    and Q3 got a "Sundial" B10K with a range of -1,3V to -3,5V
    I also had to tame the output with a 100K VR cause it was very loud.

    The reason i went with a "sundial" was that this circuit had so many nice sounds
    depending how you sat the bias on Q3 collector.
    -2,5V sound like the Grease Boxes on Youtube, BUT... -3,1V was my sweetspot :)
    It sounds just like ZZ-Top when they playing at Rockpalast in Germany 1980;

    http://youtu.be/GBGGe5eCdAA

    This circuit seems to like almost everything you feed it with, but i have no idea
    why Q1/Q2 bias -8,2V was so good, cause if i lower it to -4-5V i cant get that
    ZZ-Top sound when -3,1V on Q3.

    This is by far my best sounding circuit, and i have built many over the years.
    All three transistors was very low lekage, and went pretty good matched because of that.

    This build turned almost everything i thought was good for fuzz faces totally upside down.
    I am not so good at electronics but i'll take it any day of the week, the sound is what's counts :)

    I was going to build the Retro Channels The Fuzz now but i am affraid that this circuit will nail that sound with the bias trimpot, so... i think i go for a booster or buffer instead.

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  12. sorry, just noticed when i soldered in -9V inverter circuit that my Q2 says Mn39b, 6-82 some Russian stuff i think, but 46 hFE and almost no leakage, cheap good tranny.

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  13. I just built this and it sounds great! It's fat and juicy and the controls are nice and simple. Thanks for the layout!

    http://i825.photobucket.com/albums/zz176/Dub-T-123/5C6820D5-924C-499A-9F34-509D4DC130F7_zpsn04edwjn.jpg

    http://i825.photobucket.com/albums/zz176/Dub-T-123/BF2EFC37-7DF0-49DB-9B97-2778258CF45E_zpslwfajc8t.jpg

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  14. Greetings! Building the first ge fuzz. Love the DAM fuzzez. I have a q's. From left to right is it q1 q2 q3? Thnx!

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