Saturday, 18 February 2012

MXR ZW44 Zakk Wylde

OK you may not like the guy but this is a great sounding overdrive/distortion pedal.  A modded and souped up Boss SD1 with no output buffer.  I've added a clipping switch that will allow you to switch between the stock 3 diode asymmetrical arrangement, and a second arrangement of your choice.  I've included 4 diodes to give a more compressed symmetrical clipping but put in there whatever you like, germaniums, schottky, LEDs, MOSFETS etc.  I really like this pedal and have an original but will probably still build this up at some point anyway for the extra clipping options and because I hate the fact that the crappy bypass on the original meant that your signal chain was permanently connected to the effect input.  Tsk!


18 comments:

  1. Built it.

    Gain pot is reversed. Swapped that, and it's ok.

    For a second i though about putting my Sonic Distrotion for sale... But then i found out that it was just a solder bridge. :) This is just ok sounding medium gain od/distortion. Needs to be played loud for chance of any real creaminess.

    If someone is not a fan of ZW, i'd really recommend Ibanez Sonic Distortion to build instead of this. This is not bad, but i think i was a bit disappointed.

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  2. Oh. Forgot this: http://mirosol.kapsi.fi/varasto/boxes/44.jpeg

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  3. Hey Mirosol, Have you tried in front of a dirty amp? thats when it shines (in my opinion) I prefer this to the Ts9.. A little less mid honk if you get what I mean.

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    1. Hmm. I'll try that tomorrow at rehearsal. TS9 sounds very alive with slightly cranked JCM800 - I have no complaints about that :) But maybe this could work there.. I only have Laney VC15-110 at home and this is a apartmen building, so cranking the clean is not really an option :)

      I just built Wampler's Plexi Drive with J201s week or two ago, and if compared, ZW44 is quite useless. Not saying that ZW44 is no good, just that i may have expected too much. Although, Plexi Drive is more overdrive than distortion, if you ask me.

      Still looking for perfect overly dirty distortion... Best so far is probably that Ibanez/Maxon Sonic Distortion (SD9). That is, in my opinion, saddly undervalued. Well. Next dist-build is probably BJB/MP Stone Grey..

      Thanks for the tip Vince!

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    2. I only mentioned it because when I first got the ZW-44 I was like, 'wheres all the distortion?'..Then I read that Zakk throws his in front of his Marshalls dirty channel.. I tried that and 'Boom'! the thing screamed :0)

      I want to build the Wampler, Theres so many that I get lost and can't remember what I'm doing next lol... I want to try the SD9 too! I'll get there soon...The Stone grey sounds nice too.

      I'm in the middle of the Catalinbread Heliotrope..So touch wood that works :)

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    3. I just made a single pedal with two Wampler Plexidrives and I LOVE IT! I don't know if you're talking about that one but I'm guessing. I use one side for low-gain crunch and the other for medium-gain drive. Combining both makes them fat and nice!

      I made the Stone Grey the other day and I was a bit underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, it's very good! It's just not the sound I'm after personally.

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  4. Geiri: How was the stone grey? Lacking in distortion like this one?.. :) Just thought that i'd save myself from the trouble, if it's not "over the edge" enough...

    Vince: SD9 is definitely worth a try. In my opinion it beats the living daylights out of classic metal distortions like HM2 and even MT2. Yeah. Wouldn't use that for base tone, but it's really good. Here's mine: http://mirosol.kapsi.fi/varasto/purkit/green.JPG Style is slightly soviet-inspired.. :)

    Could Suhr Riot be better than ZW44 or Stone grey?

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    1. Nice looking pedal :o)... The Riot sounds nice too, I'm waiting on toggles switches from china for that one though. I'll definitely try the SD9. But deffo try the ZW44 in front of the dirty channel as a booster...

      Check the demo' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUI-bnGo6o8

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  5. Thanks for verifying this one mirosol and the pics. Geiri did you make the Plexidrive with the layout on here?

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  6. NP.

    I admit that i built plexidrive from other layout. Had the board waiting to be boxed for a couple of months. Finding perfect set of J201s was also pretty painful... But worth the effort nevertheless.

    Thanks Mark for perfect layout once again! (Remember to turn that gain pot around.. :))

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  7. Another. http://mirosol.kapsi.fi/varasto/boxes/44_2.JPG
    +m

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  8. Hi Guys...can I get away with a 22n or 15n for the cap off the emitter ??..trying to use some of my stock stuff up before ordering more as ive lots of opamps/cans etc that i cant remember what i got them for..18N thats a strange value ive not used before

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  9. Im guessing if i put a 15nf and a 3nf in the same holes will do it ???

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    1. I'd go with that Tomo ;o)

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    2. 18n is a standard value, but not as popular as some others. I bet that 22n would work just as well, if you don't want to solder caps in parallel.
      +m

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  10. Hello here!
    A newbie question about the "Led+" wire : If I want to build this one with a millenium bypass, can I use this wire to drive the millenium? I'm afraid the resistor would lower too much the power... I guess the best way is to forget this "led +". Right?

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  11. hice este proyecto..... y suena.... pero tiene un silbido en el pote de 1M (GAIN) cuando esta a maximo y me toca bajarle casi todo el gain para que deje el silbido y esto me ha pasado en muchos otros proyectos y nunca he llegado a la conclusion de que podra ser..... en cambio hice el proyecto del MXR GT-OD y me salio de una y sin problemas....... al que me pueda ayudar con lo del silvido quedare eternamente agradecido

    I did this project ..... and it sounds .... but has a whistle in the 1M pot (GAIN ) when this at max and I have to turn down most of the gain to stop whistle and this has happened to me in many other projects and have never come to the conclusion that may be ..... however the project did MXR GT -OD and I came over and smoothly ....... who can help me with the whistle will stay forever grateful

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  12. Hi all ..... went back to build this project and only had to make a change that I forgot to comment before the transistor ..... must rotate 360 degrees, it is not like other image says okay .. ... here I give you link the transistor data sheet ... to be guided and see .....

    http://diagramasde.com/blog/71817/MPSA13-MPSA14-pdf-ON-MPSA13-MPSA14.html

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