Saturday, 24 November 2012

Buzzaround-Alike

Hello new and old friends! On this day AD, we have some exciting news. I, Miro have been dubbed as thee second-in-rank-admin to help Mark around on the blog. Many of you already know me from various post threads :) Anyway. I've started to draw layouts some time ago and we thought we might give a go for these too. My layouts look a bit different  and there is a reason for that. I have been using Linux as my only operating system for last 8 years and the software version Mark uses, well, doesn't work too well on Linux/Java. Comments are open, so please let us know if you think this is a bad move :)

As a tryout for Miro's layouts, we have Mictester's Burns Buzzaround-Alike. Description from Mictester:


The legendary Burns Buzzaround was a slightly unusual germanium fuzz that achieved its (undeserved) reputation for two reasons - some great guitarists used them, and they are virtually unobtainable. The original consisted of two stages - a two-transistor amplifier and a distortion stage that could have both the amount of signal sent to it and the bias point adjusted by external controls. The third control was a crude tone control which fed the output. Originally, the output was unbuffered, and the leads and amplifier following would load the unit, and the top end would be rolled off, and often the tone control would have little effect. 

The first stage in the sound-alike is just a high input impedance op-amp gain stage. You may wish to increase the gain by increasing the value of the feedback resistor, but it sounds pretty good as shown. In the original, the first stage didn't really have much effect on the sound - it just amplified it enough to drive the following stage into conduction. 

The heart of the beast is the germanium transistor stage. Apart from using an NPN transistor, this remains true to the original (why screw up a classic?), and still gives a wide range of sounds from the thin toppy fuzz beloved of sixties bands through to gated spluttery farts, with smooth warm distortion sounds in between!

The final stage is just a buffer - it isolates the tone circuit from the outside world, and allows a full range of control from muffled to glass-shattering!





49 comments:

  1. Welcome on board Miro and thanks for the assistance both now and over the last year or so. You probably answer more questions and certainly build more pedals than me now, so you're definitely better qualified for all this! :o)

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    1. Thank you. Don't know 'bout the qualified part :)

      Hope that my layouts are ok for the folks.. I know that v2 layouts look much better, but using it on modern Linux is just way too painful.
      +m

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  2. Gratz Miro! My juvenile leds and me wish you the best for this new time!

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    1. Thanks! This shouldn't change too much though... If people like my layouts, i might try to draw a few good ones in the future.

      Mark will be continuing, as always, with his perfect layouts.
      +m

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    2. Perfect like when 9V and ground are connected? Ha ha

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    3. :) To err is human. Plus i've verified a lot of your layouts without any problems, not to mention that they look just soothing.
      +m

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  3. Welcome and good luck Miro. You are definitely a big part of this blog's massive success. I have learned a lot over the last few years from all of you guys.

    The Buzzaround is a great sounding pedal. It's not easy to use but it's the only pedal from which I can get convincing Robert Fripp sounds like those on Islands, Red and In the Court. A big muff or a fuzz face will get you close but the BBB has something unique. I built it with 3 AC128 measured for Hfe and leakage and it sounds great.
    Has anyone compared the original to the work-alike? if you can clone the sound than you really have got a lost treasure in your hands.

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    1. Thank you! Mostly i was just worried that the v3 layouts look bad in comparison and some might not approve of them - mainly because Mark's v2 layouts just look much much better.

      Anyway. On the topic about the circuit.. Here's what Mictester said back in 3/2010:
      "This was tested today against an original 60s Buzzaround - we got all the Buzzaround sounds (and a bit more range on the tone control). The only real differences were that the modern one hissed less, but drew slightly more current from the battery."

      So it should sound close, probably even a little better :)
      +m

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  4. Nice one Miro, although i'm a relative newcomer to building pedals this is the only site i do my builds from as the content and information is top notch.

    IMO the best layouts site just got better (if that's possible)!!!

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  5. Great news! You and Mark really is a perfect team!
    And both of you seem to be very cool guys and your also always helpful.
    It's also fun to see how you have evolved Miro, with that i mean that i have constantly seen your knowleadge grow throughout the comments etc.
    Just wish i had more time myself to actually learn in the way you do, but im slowly getting there and not that i have my breadboard i might actually start do some designs to haha.
    Much love for all the help and support, and ofc the always so great designs!
    -Jimmie

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    1. I really thought that v3 layouts would have been a problem for the people. Or maybe they just don't want to say anything :)

      Thanks Rudeez for your words. This day seems to get just better and better.
      +m

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    2. Let me put it this way, i like the v2 layout better, but that dosn't mean your v3 ones are hideous :p as long as one can read them im more then happy!

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    3. I doubt very much if the aesthetics will be of concern to anybody, if you're sharing your layouts it won't make a difference how it looks as long as its readable. I've started doing some layouts myself and I'm using v3 too, I would prefer to use v2, but I cannot seem to get a decent library of components for it. Anyway, well done mate.

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    4. No that's true, I had to make my own up to make it look the way I wanted.

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  6. Even if some people prefer the look of the V2 layouts, I can't see too many people not wanting the extra layouts. I admit I do prefer V2 which is why I never moved on to V3, but that doesn't make layouts done using something else unwanted. I'd be happy with hand drawn layouts if they were worthwhile effects.

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    1. Took me a while to understand that myself. For example, VOX Distortion Booster - A classic, but it just sounds horrible without any mods. And once modded, it just sounds bad. :)
      +m

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  7. Very interesting project and very good news about you getting onboard!
    Although I've never been very active on here, I've followed the blog for a while and look for ideas in the archive on a nearly daily basis - so much to do, so little time. But still, each new post is a new bit of inspiration, so the more the merrier!
    Apart from the layouts themselves, the comments are a great source of information, tips and tricks, so in that regard you were very much an active part of the blog itself..!
    I even considered starting my own little blog, with build reports, the odd schematic/layout an hopefully a few sound clips, too. That just to say, you two have a very useful little blog going on here!

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  8. Welcome! Looking forward to further posts!

    As a fellow linux user, I wanted to ask what software you use.

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    1. Oracle's java, version "1.7.0_09" through bchemnet repos and DIY Layout Creator 3.23. I'm currently running LMDE on my main machine. While i'm watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer on the couch, i draw my layouts on Fedora :)
      +m

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    2. Just get a Windows laptop like normal people! :o)

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    3. LMDE is excellent, I have used it exclusively ever since my Windows partition crashed. Other than some software compatibility glitches, I think I prefer it to Windows.

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  9. Miro, congratulations on the recognition as being a very important part of this blog.
    Mark, congratulations on landing such a capable sidekick.

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  10. Well done lads! The best, warmest, friendliest site on Internet just got better! Looking forward to building this as I'm a big fan of King Crimson, especially the Bruford/Wetton era. What hfe do you recommend for the transistor? Cheers

    YA"Mark"

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    1. Should be pretty high hFE.. On the FSB people talk about 120-140.
      +m

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  11. Mirosol

    Glad to see your layouts added! Lot of notches on your verification belt. Feed the fuzz addiction :)

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  12. I have to agree with all the above comments, and a layout is a layout, regardless of it's looks. On another note, should there be a cut under the 100nF cap in the bottom right corner?

    Mark L

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    1. Yup. There should be. And now there is. Thanks for heads up!
      +m

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    2. Great post thanks!

      Hey anyone out there seen the Bogner pedals? any or all 3 of those on vero would ROCK!!!

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    3. Great post thanks!

      Hey anyone out there seen the Bogner pedals? any or all 3 of those on vero would ROCK!!!

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  13. Just finished building this.

    Definitely one of my favourites. Will get boxed. And soon.

    Used AC176, measuring at 127 and 20K pot instead of 22K. This thing is really great fuzz. I'm not configent if it'll make it through the cold due to that one germ, but it has much better chance at it than many of the others...

    Master volume control would be nice addition, but i'm not going to bother with it. Timbre and balance make weird combo of volume and tone - remaining usable :)

    Recommended build. And as from now on, verified. (Yes. There is two 10K resistors in parallel in the schematic :))
    +m

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  14. Boxing day's boxings part 4:
    http://mirosol.kapsi.fi/varasto/boxes/fuzz-a-round.JPG

    Just amazing fuzz. A keeper.

    :( I only managed to finish four boxes today.
    +m

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  15. Thanks for the layout! I wanted to build this and compare to a Buzzaround I built the other day. So far it sounds great, but there's one issue for me: I have a small amount of weird/sputtery/dead space at the end of my sustain pot that I can't seem to get rid of.

    I've tried different germaniums, changing the pot value and general troubleshooting elsewhere. Is there anything you can suggest?

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    1. How's the pot itself? If the carbon resistor plating is broken, that could explain it..
      +m

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    2. Unfortunately, I've changed the pot 3 times (tried a B50K in there too, for kicks). I has the same behaviour with any pot I use. I can only assume there's an error in my build somewhere...

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    3. Hm. Weird little problem. You could try to take 4K7 in series with lug 3 - Just snip the wire, solder the resistor between it and you're done. Or make additional cut and add the resistor on beard - just below the 27K.

      It could also be that the 4µ7 connecting to Sustain 3 is bad..

      Let us know if those'll fix it.
      +m

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    4. Unfortunately, even those good suggestions didn't seem to do it. That said, after all the attempts at troubleshooting the board was starting to get a bit haggard, so decided to scrap it and start again. I think I've got the new one working just fine! Thanks for the help!

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    5. Oddly enough every one of these I've built (this, another layout on FSB, the original 3-GE version) exhibits strange behaviour in the balance pot: it starts with a touch of volume, then goes silent, then increases normally throughout the rest of the sweep.

      This is likely because I'm using a 25k pot instead of 22, but I've tried to alter the 27k resistor just before the balance pot to compensate and it hasn't made a difference.

      Is this normal?

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    6. Did not notice anything like that in my build.. Rudeez? How about you? I went with 20K pot though..
      +m

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    7. Strange. It doesn't bother me too much, as it really is hard to notice, but I can't get it to go away no matter what value pot I use or what value I use in place of the 27K resistor (tried a trimmer yesterday).

      In other news, I've been really enjoying all the layouts you post here. This week I built a 2 Buzzarounds, a Shin Ei Companion and a Mosrite Fuzzrite. Now I'm looking for something new!

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    8. Check the DAM fuzzes. I like those a lot!
      +m

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    9. A few years too late but I think it's to do with the pot - if you're using 20-22k pot you won't have the dip, but if you're using 25k you'll get that strange dip and the bottom range of the pot. It's not a huge deal either way I don't think, just a quirk!

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  16. here's my take on this, love it. unconvential controls and it really is something diffrent.
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2828668/reaperpedals/pandemonium/pandemonium.jpg

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  17. I just built this one today. I used an NTE103A (hfe 102)and it sounds great. even though the balance control basically works like volume i also added a master volume on the output since all of the controls are so interactive. BTW, it also sounds great running on 18 volts. thanks for posting it Miro!

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  18. I finally got around to building this one. It's working but it's a lot more gated than my regular Buzzaround. The regular one only (lightly) gates at low balance settings, but this is noticeably gated at any setting.

    I guess it's time to try some more transistors. I tried a couple A129 and 2N1302 which I thought would have been perfect but they didn't hit the spot.

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  19. Just built this using a AC176 and a 1N270 and its a really great sounding pedal. Pots are acting a bit odd though so i need to check my build. The Sustain pot only works in the last 10th. I will check in the morning but happy with two successful builds today.

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