Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Roger Mayer Spitfire

Info from Roger about his original:

The Roger Mayer Spitfire is the latest fuzz guitar effect in the Rocket Series and has been deliberately designed to produce the classic triode tube type distortion that is particularly rich in harmonics that are very musical and pleasing to the ears. This basically means that chords can be used at high levels of distortion without sounding raucous or just plain nasty, as would be the case with other types of fuzz boxes.
The Spitfire maintains the guitar's original tone characteristics with the open sound, detail and sonic heritage that have their roots in my association with the making of Jimi's recordings. I have added a few new design twists and coupled with my extensive knowledge from the retro fuzz and distortion boxes we already produce have come up with a new sounding modern distortion/ fuzz sound that does indeed sound fresh and distinctive and not just another boring reissue or clone of a 30 year old design.
It has definite advantages that will appeal to those players who strive for a modern sound with strong roots in the past. The Spitfire is a very Low Noise analogue high gain design, stable, free from radio and other electronic interference that cause so much trouble. It has a greatly increased output level that enables it to overdrive the front end of any amp very hard. Turning up the Gain or Drive control will produce feedback at very low sound levels and a virtually never ending sustain that is very full and tight with the top end staying sweet encouraging soaring string bends and wild solos.
The overall EQ has been carefully developed to produce a well-rounded fatness and musical tone, not the nasal or fizzy thin type of fuzz sound that is common with digital modellers, multi effects etc. Analogue circuitry really does sound better when it comes to high gain low noise situations; there is no contest. The unit really comes into it's own during live performance situations as it cleans up superbly well using the guitar volume control whilst maintaining the guitar's original tone as the signal goes from wild distortion to the original guitar tone.
This effective control from the guitar makes life a great deal easier for the live player who likes to change tone effortlessly from his axe. The Spitfire even when used at high gain levels maintains a very clean transition from note to note that is transparent and free from the usual nasty type of spitting sounds heard so often when the signal decays and a new note begins. This of courses encourages fast solos with lots of sustain that actually sound louder due to the fact that the spaces between the note are not filled up with mush and noise.
The circuit senses and uses electronic information fed directly from the guitar's pickups to control it's own operational parameters and it is recommended to use the Spitfire 1st in the signal processing chain to take full advantage of this internal feedforward feature. It is this particular feature of the Spitfire that that helps to make it quite different from early fuzz pedals and makes the unit respond very well to each individual players touch, style and playing technique.
Five minutes playing with the Spitfire will convince anyone this is not just a re-hashed design but genuinely innovative with some new tone colours.

The unit comes in the very rugged Rocket housing and features Hard Wire Bypass and an attractive and striking Signal Red paint finish. It has two controls: Output Level, Drive or Gain and is powered by an internal 9 Volt battery with an operational life of over 150Hrs so changing a battery should not be a problem. An external power supply (not supplied) can be used. Successful operation is simple and is probably our easiest box to use with no previous knowledge or study of a manual required.




23 comments:

  1. So, here we have one cap difference and the original date determines the transistor and opamp.. BC549B and LM301 (or maybe even some other compensated single opamp) could be nice middle-of-the-road choice.. Then i'll just need to figure out how make those two caps switchable... :)
    +m

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    1. Should be easy enough, I'll do a switchable Spitfire/Mongoose

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Nice one mate, but you missed the 2n2/3n3 switching :o)

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    4. Ohhh.. Didn't notice that at all...
      +m

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    5. I deleted the drawing, is it was in fault...
      +m

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    6. I wouldn't delete it mate. The 2n2 and 3n3 is just a last filter to cut highs at the output and the actual audible difference will probably be negligible at best, most likely none whatsoever. You cover the most important differences.

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    7. Heh. Went already. I didn't even save any backups.
      +m

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  2. Just verified it, great pedal, great fuzz sounds without any muddiness! Getting feedback is easy! Thanks!

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  3. HI, besides LM301AN, any other IC we can use?
    Thanks.

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  4. HI, besides LM301AN, any other IC we can use?
    Thanks.

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    1. You could try any single opamp, however the LM301 has compensation between pins 1 and 8 and you'll want that. So options are pretty much the LM308 or NE5534.
      +m

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    2. LM308, NE5534, OP07. The TL071 and LM741 should work too but they don't have compensation from pin 8 and so you can omit the 22p cap, and it may not sound exactly as intended.

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    3. Forgot about OP07.. In my experience, missing compensation causes whine, oscillation and noisiness. But it may still be good thing to try everything out.
      +m

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  5. For what its worth, I think the NE5534 uses pins 5 and 8 for compensation rather than 1 and 8 (its internally compensated for, so also 'shouldn't' need the cap)although I'm finding it is squeeling a tad at the top of the gain. I'll experiment with external comp - tried 33pf between 5 and 8, but it didn't have any effect.

    Great site guys, haven't posted before but I really appreciate the effort you guys put in.

    Anyone else had good results with NE5534 (sounds pretty good through a loud valve amp, just want to get rid of the oscillation when the guitar is turned down.)

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  6. I just built this one this morning and I like it a lot. it also works great with a bass. I've tried NE5534's, OP07's, a CA3130EZ, the stock LM301AN (national semi), TL072 and an OPA277 in mine. the 5534 gets too sloppy at max gain, and the TL072 will feed back a max gain. my personal favorite is the OPA277. the stock LM301AN is also nice, especially if you're going for a little darker, more vintage fuzz/OD.

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  7. can any of you guys help, I have built this to the letter and cant get any sound atall. I have done all the usual checks, component position, power across the circuit, power across the ic and beep tested all wires and all tracks across the circuit everything checks out, ive years of electronics experience and still cant work out why this wont work, any ideas?

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  8. oh to add to my last post... I am also using a new battery and all resistors were checked before I started

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  9. Hi John. If you're sure you've done everything from the Faults tab on top of the page, post some hi res pics to an image hosting site and paste the links here. Be sure to include pics of the component side, copper side and all off board wiring. Try to make them as clear as possible.

    You could also start a thread in the Debugging section on the forum and post the pics there.

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  10. hi, thanx for your quick reply Ciaran, I did all the checks, there was no dry joints no shorts and every track and wire tested correctly. Ive clearly been sold crapy componants, when will I learn not to buy anything from ebay. Was supposed to be a quick easy build, so I have binned it now, thanx again for your help anyway.

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  11. How does this or the moongose works before ge fuzzs? i want to use it as a splitter with a blender after in the chain so i got here searching for splitters that don't mess with the impedance sensitive old style fuzzs. Maybe i even copy the parts i could need to just split to get parallel fuzzed signals so i can send to trebly stuff as a fuzz factory or split it again with this thing to refuzz them at different, sustain, grain and tonal textures. I know Roger did the axis for Hendrix as a safe for wah fuzz but i'm not sure if the outs are safe for fuzz as well. Have any of you tried to stacking this? Works the same or enough near (the splitting impedance matching) on and off?

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