Saturday, 28 April 2012

Catalinbread DLS

Manufacturers info:

The Dirty Little Secret is something we at Catalinbread have been harboring for quite a long time now and we’re finally ready after months of testing and refining to spill the beans...

In essence, the DLS is a ‘foundation’ pedal – a sonic platform to build the rest of your sound upon. It reacts to your playing dynamics and respects the character of your guitar’s pickups just like the classic British amplifiers it emulates. Use it to set your base crunch rhythm sound into a clean amp, roll your guitar’s volume back for cleans. Notice how treble boosters sound like shards of brittle glass or how fuzzes sound cheesy & thin into clean amps? The DLS seamlessly integrates treble boosters and fuzzes with clean low volume amps, delivering a thick cranked sound at reasonable volume levels.

What is surprising to people experiencing the DLS for the first time is that we’ve managed to capture the same dynamic interaction felt between a player and an amp but in a pedal. The DLS cleans up with light picking attack and volume knob changes – it reacts in the same way as those amplifiers do. It crunches when you hit it hard, cleans up when you play softly, and has that punchy cabinet ‘air movement’ thing happening even at low volume levels. By the same token the DLS respects your guitar’s characteristics. The result doesn’t sound like a typical ‘amp in a box’ pedal because it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a pedal – it feels like an amp.

The controls are simple and effective – Loudness governs output, Tone morphs from smooth and fat to crunchy and cutting, Gain goes from clean and clear to full crunch with harmonics, and the Rock/Rawk switch selects 60s - 70s JTM/JMP sounds (Rock) or ‘80s JCM tones (Rawk).

Since the DLS was designed to emulate two classic British amplifiers, let’s get into each mode setting and what they have to offer in variety of sounds.
         
Rock Mode:
This is your classic 60s - 70s rock sound. Chords are crunchy with lots of string definition and punch; single string playing is more clean than hairy and sounds clear and articulate. Picking dynamics are very apparent since there isn’t a ton of gain compressing your signal. The lowend “cabinet” resonance is at your chest, loose but NOT flabby.

Rawk Mode:
In Rawk mode, you’ll notice more gain and a more focused response – chords are thick, single strings have more smoothness and harmonic content. The cabinet feel is still there - tighter and more immediate. It’s quicker to decay into controlled harmonic feedback too.


Another aspect of the pedal we put a lot of thought into was how it reacts to different power supplies. There are significant differences to be had in tone and playing feel response based on what voltage is used – just like if you were running your amp with a Variac. Running the DLS at 18 volts, you’ll experience lots of dynamic movement happening – Kerrang! - there is a resonance to the sound giving the impression that you are playing through a 4x12 cabinet. At 18V you will get quite a bit more output than at 9V. At 9 volts, the pick attack is a bit more soft and smooth than running it at 18v but there is still plenty of punch and articulation. Using a battery, you’ll get a spongier playing feel and creamier sound.

We’re really proud of this pedal – it took months of critical listening to voice it just right and we think we’ve nailed it with the DLS. We hope it inspires you to do what you do best – make our music!








Video of Geiri's build:


72 comments:

  1. DOH !!!..only had the off board wiring to do..oh well back to the start lol

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    1. Sorry mate, dodgy transistor numbering on the schematic meant I connected the 2u2 and following parts to Q5 instead of Q6. My fault, I should have noticed.

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  2. Is this V1 or V2? Think they had a difference in the presence cap. Would also be interested in a layout of the DLS MKII!

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    1. This is V1, I'll do one for V2 when I get a confirmed schematic

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  3. Great work. Can you make a layout with an added bass, mid treble knobs rather than only tone knob. I know it would deviate from original DLS, but maybe we can call it DLS Mark....... and not MarkII.... :)

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  4. Anyone had this one working ?? got bypass but nothing else..tried all I can but not getting anywhere

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  5. Replies
    1. I've been over the layout a couple of times now and can't find anything wrong with it. What voltages are you getting at all the JEFT pins?

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    2. ok..not really sure im doing this correct..so ive done just q1 as follows..meter on diode test and the readings ive got are as follows
      G--S =857
      S--D =427
      G--D =85l like i said im prob doin this all wrong..please advise

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    4. No, set it to the 20V DC setting (or whatever setting you have on your meter around there) and measure the voltages between each JFET pin and ground. So you should have 18 voltage readings in total, 3 for each JFET. It just gives a good idea about where the issue may be. If you want to take a high res front and back pic of your board as well I'll see if anything else jumps out at me.

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  6. ok thanks..readings as follow

    Q1...G..898 S..939 D..940.
    Q2...G..625 S..940 D..940
    Q3...G..940 S..940 D..940
    Q4...D..940 S..940 G..469
    Q5...D..940 S..940 G..649
    Q6...D..940 S..940 G..940


    Hope ive done this correct, how do I send pics ??

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    1. If you can upload them to one of the photo hosting sites and post the links, or email me them ay guitarfx@hotmail.co.uk. I'll try and get some voltages in the meantime of a working pedal and see how they compare.

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    2. Great thanks..il email to you but there only from my B/berry..camera being repaired as we speak !!

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    3. Those voltages are looking very dodgy. I take it by 940, that's 9.4V? Have you checked for continuity between consecutive tracks? It's hard to tell in pics sometimes but things look very close in these places:

      http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j6/IvIark_2006/DIY/dlsguts011_2.jpg

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  7. Hi
    Yep checked continuity , i do that as i populate the board..and yeah meter was set to 20v so 940 would be 9.4v

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    1. The voltages show that that a problem has arisen by the first JFET, and with there being such a high voltage (compared to what it should be) on the gate is confusing because nothing much has happened in the circuit before it. The only things connected to the gate is the 47K and the 100p, and the only other components before it in the circuit are the 47n input cap and following 1M to ground. That doesn't leave a lot of places for a problem to occur and your cuts and placements seem fine. That would make even more of a case of a bridge somewhere and either this is an optical illusion or that is a definite bridge between Q1 drain and the 47n input cap / 1M / 47K junction which would actually explain the strange voltages.

      http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j6/IvIark_2006/DIY/dlsguts011_4.jpg

      Just check for definite that there is no bridge there because it certainly looks like there is, and failing that I'm going to build this next and see what happens.

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  8. Ok..Idont have any bridge where youve suggested so it must be just the pick..however I do have continuity from Board GND direct to next track that is the input..cant see any bridges and have tried desolder but it still bleeps...I also have a faint bleep from drain of Q6 jumping several tracks to tone 1 ( but not on the tracks its jumped if you understand ? is this because of links or something ??..really sorry, i just dont have the full understanding as yet

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    1. If you're getting something between Q6 drain and Tone 1 then that 100u cap could be causing it. It'll work without it (it's just a filter cap for the supply) so get rid of that and see if you're still getting the continuity.

      The input to the ground rail is strange, there's not a lot that can be bridging there but if you can hear it then there must be something. Just get out a magnifying glass, to check for stray strands of wire or burrs. Or just get out a knife and cut between the tracks to make sure there is separation. Check component side too because there is always the chance that there is a stray strand that side that is touching a component lead.

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  9. Thanks for all the help but I think its time for me to forget this one and try something else. I am new to this but have built quite a few now and have never had a problem like this as my soldering is fairly tidy for a newbie, my usual problems of a dodgy jack socket or earth or indeed a completely missed component is not the cause here lol thanks again and when you build it and verify , il try again

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  10. ok..didnt give up straight off..hate it when something beats me lol
    The continuity between Board gnd and input....cut between tracks as suggested..still bleep..desoldered the gnd and removed wire...no beep
    replaced gnd wire...bleep...removed gnd wire from dc gnd no bleep..rewired to a different gnd bleeps back...what the bleeps happening lol

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    1. Can you do a little sketch to show how you've got the offboard connections, and are you sure there is no bridge at the input socket?

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  11. Has someone verified this one? Can it be safely done?

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    1. tomo6314 has had problems but I've checked it over and still can't find any issues so I'm going to build it next to try to verify. So give it a few days until I can do that.

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  12. Its prob just me with my duff building..had a few issues with other builds but other people seem to fire them up lol

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  13. This one is verified, just build it and it works! Had to use some different pots and caps though. Gonna test it on my amp tommorow to see how it compares to the Box Of Rock. Thanks for the layout!

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  14. HI Mark, I did the DLS, though not this layout, but am having some problems, thought some expert help on this blog might solve the issue. Presently I have not put it in the enclosure but tested it by tying wires; yesterday everything worked fine. Today I changed nothing but am getting whistling/screeching high pitch noises occasionally, which is going away on moving the board or pressing some wires here and there. I want to know -is it happening because of some pseudo antenna receiver being formed somewhere? or there is some problem in my circuit-work? Any experience anyone has?Will it go away once I put it in an enclosure?

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    1. Don't know if i qualify as expert, but it sounds to me like a bad joint. You could try to locate the exact spot and look if there are joints that do not shine or have tips sticking out.

      Bad joint is more plausible than outer interference. Once you fasten it to the enclosure, you'll have a Faraday's cage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage), which will filter out outside interference. But still. You should check the joints.
      +m

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    2. Yes I'd reflow any suspect looking joints. Also I don't know what version you've used but is there a power supply filter cap? If you've fitted a battery snap do you get noise with a battery as well?

      Mirosol's point about the box is important too. I often get noise and whistles when I'm testing an effect works with pots connected on a breadboard, but get no problem once it's boxed.

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  15. Thanks mirosol and mark....I'll definitely have a re look. Yes with battery snap the noise is still there, Lets see. Will let you guys know what happened.

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  16. About the power filter cap, I guess you are talking about the 100uF? I have used that.

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    1. That should only filter out the noise from unstable power source, thus using a battery shouldn't give anything to filter..

      Your checklist could be 1) Solder bridges, even those annoying microscopic ones, 2) Bad joints, these happen too easily on pot lugs, 3) Isolate the point that makes the noise go away, and see if there's anything fishy looking there.
      +m

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  17. Mirosol you are the man......I reflowed some dicey looking joints and extended wires and the sound was gone. Then to experiment and find the real cause I made one of the joints in the tone pot lug a bit loose and it was back again. My guess is the pot lug joints were the real culprit. As earlier the DPDT lug 1 joint was the culprit I guess. Thanks a lot.

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  18. And after that tone pot lug joint experiment I could distinctively hear the circuit trying to receive a radio channel, so my guess is the faraday cage thing will also help once inside the enclosure.

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  19. Hi Mark, I've been reading through the FSB thread about the DLS.. It seems that the treble bleed across the gain pot is 47pf as opposed to 100pf as you have it on your layout - it's a fairly confusing thread at the beginning, so you may want to read through it yourself to see if I'm right.

    Further to that, Nick from Catalinbread was kind enough to shed some light on the V2 of the MKI DLS.. If you add a on-off-on DPDT across lugs 2 & 3 of the gain pot with a 47pf cap on the pole, a 5000pf for the up position and 100pf for the down position, you have V2. Not to be confused with the MKII DLS of course. Again, you may be best checking over the thread to make sure I read it right before adding in the updates/mods.

    I'm gonna have a crack a it next week hopefully, so I'll let you know how I get on.

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  20. Actually, the original has a 100pf and a 47pf in parallel. I think.. lol.

    I had another thought, if I were to use a voltage doubler with this circuit, could I add an external pot wired in a similar fashion to a voltage starve pot to go from 0v to 18v and anywhere between?

    There is another mod as well.. Use two SPDT switches rather than the single DPDT for the Rock/Rawk switch. It could yield some interesting results.

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  21. sooo lemme get this straight, the pedal as it currently sits, sends the signal, after being distorted, through lug 2 of the volume pot? so based on this and using your off board wiring diagram.....i should wire lug 2 to the upper right lug of my 3pdt?

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    1. also the instructions state to connect gain 3 from the board to.....gain 3 lug on the switch OR gain 3 lug on the gain pot? or both somehow? kinda confusing

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    2. The designations shown are what the wires connect to, not a designation of the board. So the wire shown coming out of the board labelled Gain 3, needs to connect to lug 3 of the Gain pot.

      Again with the Rock/Rawk switch, Gain 3 shown next to lug 5 is an indication of what that needs to be connected to, and so you can either take it straight to lug 3 of the Gain pot, or even where the Gain 3 lug connects to the board if you prefer. Whatever way you do it, everything marked "Gain 3" need electrically connecting together.

      The Vol 3 wire is the output of the board, which then still needs to be attenuated by the volume pot. So the Vol 3 wire goes to lug 3, Vol 1 goes to lug 1, and lug 2 is indeed the final attenuated output which goes to the stomp switch as shown in the offboard diagram.

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  22. check the data sheet on your transistors peeps, on a 2n5457, the gate is the SECOND PIN.....NOT ..an end pin as depicted in the drawing. (btw im not placing blame here, after all the drawing is correct, i didnt check my part)
    . be sure you note this before clipping leads short.

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    1. You must have got some really unusual 2N5457's, mine are Fairchild:
      http://www.fairchildsemi.com/ds/2N/2N5459.pdf

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    2. ....tales of a noob. it only takes one eff up to learn.

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    3. no you are correct i read the data sheet wrong. so the troubleshooting continues.

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  23. I ended up putting this in an enclosure with a SHO. Without really thinking about it, I kinda tricked myself out of using the DLS at 18v because of that. Is there any way that I can limit the power going to the SHO, while keeping the DLS running at 18v? I thought about adding in a resistor to the SHO vero, but not so sure what value.. 50k?

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    1. On SHO's post, Vince suggested using 100K pot as "master volume" for SHO. You could do that with a small trimmer daughter board.. :)

      But to your real question.. How about supplying DLS with a 18V pump? That way you would have 9V for the SHO and 17,5-18V for DLS - And you would only need 9V to feed to the box.

      Doubler pump layout is here:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-yYGKBiFIRr8/Typ6JJ_JHoI/AAAAAAAAAhU/FSsSt8acW58/s1600/Charge+Pump.png
      +m

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  24. Excellent idea, thanks for that link Mirosol. I could bypass the pump with a dpdt as well couldn't I? Would be good the have the option of both.

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    1. Yes. You could. Personally i don't see the point in that switch, as you're most likely going to use it just to demonstrate how bad it sounds with 9V when compared to 18V :D I know i would :D
      +m

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  25. Hahaha.. Yeah, you're probably right. So it sounds much better running at 18v? Most OD's I try that have that option are a bit of an anticlimax.. Hope this is an exception. I really like it so far, nice and smooth without the weird artifacts like my old BYOC OD 2 had. Sounds great going in to a totally clean amp and it does what it claims to do very well - stacking. I'm using it as my final dirt pedal, before my Nova Repeater and Hardwire Reverb but after my cloned Kalamazoo and Pharaoh. The SHO is there to boost for solo's or add some niceness to my clean signal. It certainly works better than my OD 2 ever did.

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    1. Most of the ODs i've tried with 18V have sounded more open due to massive headroom that opens up on most ICs and FETs. I bet you'll get it much brighter, but i wouldn't guarantee it to be much more amazing.

      Maybe if you set that switch inside the box? That way it can be easily reverted back to 9V, but you'll be out of the option to show off :) I think that would be one of those "set and forget" switches.
      +m

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    2. Just as a follow up Mirosol, I added the charge pump and it really does make a difference.. it has a lot more weight to it now. Although, that could just be perceived weight due to the extra output. Either way, it sounds great!

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  26. Hi
    Could I replace the toggle with a DPDT footswitch and just use the same lugs on the switch for the same effect

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  27. DLS MKIII scheme is out!!

    http://www.freestompboxes.org/download/file.php?id=21177

    Thanks for the crazy guys at FSB!!

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  28. Just finished this one, gets really loud at 18 volts! But has heaps of tone!

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  29. Thanks for great site. Just built this, all works well except for low output volume - loudest volume with highest gain is still softer than bypass volume. Any ideas how to troubleshoot this? Change pot? Change a resistor (don't know which one). Thx. I'm a noob.
    Dave

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    1. That behaviour is usually caused by wrong resistor value or a tiny short passing most of the signal to ground. You could try probing it to see where the signal goes low...
      +m

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    2. Thanks for the reply. I'll triple recheck values and probe.....

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  30. Hey guys, just finished this board and started testing it(as I always do) and it seems I'm getting no sound beyond Q1's gate. I'm using J201's and subbed a 3.3uf for the 2.2uf electro and a 3.3n for the 3n cap, as I didn't have the exact values. I've checked everything as much as I could before posting, found a couple of silly mistakes, fixed them and the result remains the same. Here are the voltages I'm getting: Battery: 9.35v

    Q1 D 0.78 Q2 D 8.48 Q3 D 8.48 Q4 G 0.00 Q5 G 4.04 Q6 G 4.29
    S 0.70 S 0.78 S 0.00 S 0.00 S 4.30 S 4.35
    G 0.00 G 1.39 G 0.78 D 4.30 D 8.44 D 8.44

    Cheers for any insight you can give me. This is an awesome site, no doubt!

    Jason.

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    1. Whoops, it seems the voltages have been realigned...lol

      Q1 D 0.78
      S 0.70
      G 0.00

      Q2 D 8.48
      S 0.78
      G 1.39

      Q3 D 8.48
      S 0.00
      G 0.78

      Q4 G 0.00
      S 0.00
      D 4.30

      Q5 G 4.04
      S 4.30
      D 8.44

      Q6 G 4.29
      S 4.35
      D 8.44

      That's a bit easier to read.....lol

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    2. Fixed it!!! I found an accidental ground connection!! Great sounding circuit!!

      Cheers, Thommo.

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  31. Is there any way to get more gain out of this one - mine sounds nice but could do with a bit more gain when I listen to Youtube reviews. Can I alter some resistors to run the trannies hotter?
    Cheers
    Phil

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  32. Hello ! I have the same "problem" than glabrescens !
    Effect sounds like it should, it makes his job, but have low output volume ... (lower than bypass volume except all pots are full !!!) and "light" gain (middle with my LP but almost "clean" with my strat RI62) ...
    Do you resolve your pb glab ??
    Which resistor is concerned ? or where can I test the lost of signal, like mirosol says ???
    (sorry for my language ... i'm french, not too good in english ! lol)

    for information, I didn't find exact values for 200k resistor and 200p cap (right bottom of the layout)
    I've used 220k resistor and 220p for the cap (and 180 too ... but same result)
    Is it possible that's the pb's cause ?
    and, instead of 200k, used a 220k resistor in the middle top (connect to the vol3 trough the 3n cap)
    for this cap, I've used this one :
    http://www.banzaimusic.com/Evox-Rifa-MKI-3-3nF-100V.html

    Is it ok ?

    Thanks a lot

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    1. For info :
      I changed 220k res. by 200k yesterday (not yet the caps).
      Output volume is better !!! I think it's "normal" volume but I can't try mine & the original to compare.
      Gain is not to high that I would like, but "marshall sound" is here on my Fender Blues Deluxe RI.

      Dynamic is really awesome (and more on 12,15 or 18v, more headroom & dynamic but less gain) !!!

      Thanks for this site & your job
      Greetings

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  33. Question, if I want to build a DLS without the rock/rawk switch and wire it permanently to rawk mode, what should I have to change to this layout?

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  34. Sounds really great. Cleans up nicely when guitar volume is lowered. Two things I'll ask about before I bother to go ferreting through the thing:
    1. Crackling on the "tone" pot. Is this working as a bias in any way, or do I have to change the %^$# pot?
    2. Like the Catalinbread Galileo, this one has full volume just a bit louder than unity - a little more in "Rawk" mode, a little less in the other. In the Galileo I assume it's not supposed to be an overdrive, but to shape your amp - volume gets controlled by the amp and the guitar. Same here, or did I screw up somehow? It's got plenty of gain and the volume is above unity, just not a lot. I'm comparing it to the Purple Plexi, which is way way louder than unity.

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  35. Hi, here are the voltages my meter reads. The gain level is rather low though. Wall @ 9.04v.

    .... Drain Source Gate
    Q1 5,80v 1,30v 0,00v
    Q2 8,76v 5,79v 4,17v
    Q3 8,76v 6,36v 5,80v
    Q4 4,13v 0,00v 0,00v
    Q5 8,76v 4,13v 4,17v
    Q6 8,76v 4,91v 4,13v

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