Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tycobrahe Octavia

Requested by Javi .... haha
I don't think I'm going to find any marketing guff so here is what Wikipedia says about it:

The effect was used by Jimi Hendrix, and can be heard in guitar solos on the song "Purple Haze". Hendrix preferred to call the device the “Octavio”, and it is often referred to as such.

After Hendrix's death in 1970 one of the original Octavias became the basis for the redesigned "Octavia (TM)", manufactured by Tycobrahe Sound Company in Hermosa Beach, California, during the mid-1970s. A limited number of the devices were produced, and today a used one in good condition sells for over $1,000 on eBay. Stevie Ray Vaughan owned nine of these devices.


I can't find a vid either so this is close enough :o)





92 comments:

  1. I built one of these from another layout and want to mention lifting a diode to hear the non-octave fuzz. I put it on a switch a la the Foxx Tone Machine.
    Cheers,
    Peeps

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    1. Good idea, switch added

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    2. Is the diode lift switch right ? It looks like it is just shorting out one of the diodes, I thought one of the diodes was supposed to be taken out of the circuit, like in the Fuzz Central article on it.

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    3. I don't know. I did it, as you say, so that the diode is bypassed but the signal from that side of the transformer is still passing through. I'm not sure if that works the same way as I didn't see the Fuzz Central scheme and just did it as I thought it to be. It's an easy fix though, just put D1 exactly in parallel with D2 on the Sw1 row with a cut between anode and cathode, then the switch will remove it completely.

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  2. The fuzz only switch was a cool idea (mine has the same) but do you know If you can remove the fuzz and just have the octave part?

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  3. Oh great! Just 15 hours later than my build! That's a new record!

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  4. Nice, I have been planning on doing one and your layout looks much better than the ones I've found. One question - my TM022 has 6 pins. Should I just bend the middle one back and not use it?

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    1. Yes, middle pin of the secondary is not connected. You can bend it, or cut (as I did) or whatever you prefer.

      BR

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  5. Where are y'all finding the transformers? I checked tayda and did a few ebay searches and I'm not coming up with anything.

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  6. Smallbear has them as well as Mouser.

    http://www.smallbearelec.com/servlet/Categories?category=Transformers%2C+Inductors

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  7. If in the States, Mouser or Smallbear as stated on previous post. If in Europe, Musikdind or Banzai, both in Germany. Musikding has more reasonable shippin' costs.

    BR

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  8. Much appreciated! I checked small bear, too. I can't believe I missed them.

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  9. You can get the LT44 at Maplins in the UK (£2.39) code HX82D.

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    1. Yes, there seems to be a few sellers on eBay too and I got mine from here.

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    2. Class of Service: Europe3 (£10.00) + VAT

      Some stores must have lost their mind :P

      BR

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  10. what about adding a pre gain control like on the general guitar gadgets version. It's a nice touch to get the octave to stand out more.

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    1. if anyone is interested it looks like to added the pre-gain control from the ggg octavia you just need to put a 50k linear pot between the input and the 100n input cap. On the pot - 2 goes to the input on the board, 3 goes to input on the bypass switch and 1 goes to ground

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  11. Soo how does this sound? How does this sound compared to General Guitar Gadgets or BYOC, or Fuzz Central??

    I'd like one of these with the best tone, but soo many variations. I did the Fuzz Central and found the tone there, but needed tweaking and sounded farty. I actually got some feedback from Sean Michael and started the tweaks and immediately it started coming to life. There are a few more he recommended, but I got tied up with other projects and never finished it, but have the notes.

    Let me know the verdict on best one

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  12. Do the diodes need to be matched in a certain way? Also, anyone experimented with different ones?

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  13. I just built it and it works properly so you can verify it. I found the diode switch to be basically useless (IMO, the distortion is horrible with the diodes switched out) so i'm omitting the SPST switch and the original tycobrahe didn't have it anyway.

    it has a TON of distortion so i'm thinking about trying some lower hfe transistors and will probably an input volume pot as described above.

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    1. Awesome, thanks John. Did you wire the switch as per the layout or as described above: "just put D1 exactly in parallel with D2 on the Sw1 row with a cut between anode and cathode, then the switch will remove it completely."

      And thanks for the pics, great stuff.

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  14. I just tried it with two 2N2222A's and a 2N3906 and I think that I like it better with them than with the 2N5088's and 2N5087.

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  15. I got mine completed. it sounds just like the tychobrahe original that I used to own in the 70's, but I also added the pre-gain pot for more flexibility. I definitely like it better with the 2N222A's and 2N3906 too, and it just fit in a 1590B, but it was a pretty tight squeeze.

    pics:

    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/Octavia/Octavia-01.jpg

    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/Octavia/Octavia-02.jpg

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  16. BTW, I think that the diode switch is actually shown wired incorrectly. the way it's shown now, when it's connected to lug 3 of the volume pot, it is shorting out the diode, whereas it's supposed LIFT that diode out of the circuit, and not short it out. IMO, that's probably why it sounded so bad when I wired mine that way.

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    1. Cool, I'll change the layout. Thanks John

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    2. yep. that's correct now. ;-)

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  17. with some careful measuring, i managed to mount a SPDT switch for the octave up/off in mine. the octave off switch works great now.

    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/Octavia/Octavia-01.jpg

    http://johnkvintageguitars.homestead.com/Effects/Fuzz-ODs/Octavia/Octavia-02.jpg

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    1. That is a sweet build... I have a green ringer I am not too fond of so, I am going to go for this one... looks like it fits inside a 1590B with no issues and once again
      Thanks for the great layout!

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    2. Hi John,

      Just wondering why you used a SPDT instead of SPST?
      Isn't it just a diode lift?

      Thanks

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  21. So, the layout bpoard is all setup for the diode lift switch. But If I didn't want it, then I would just put a jumper across from D1 to D2. Is that right? So when I switch the octave off, it is essentially cutting off D1, D2, and therefore pin 1 and pin 3 of the transformer. Is that right? And that renders lug 3 on the volume completely dead, is that right?

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  22. I would like to be able to attenuate the octave effect like you can on a Fender Blender.
    Would it work to replace the octave switch with a potentiometer?

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  23. The original Tycobrahe Octavia is positive ground. I am assuming this version is negative ground? Yes?

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  24. Help me if you can! I built this, and it performs pretty much exactly as I expected, except, the octave overtones really aren't as pronounced as I had expected. To get the ring to come out, you really have to play two string chords. Is there a mod to any values to bring out the octave more? Or is that really a function of the transformer? I built mine with the lift switch and the pre-gain control (which is really just an extension of your guitar's volume knob)

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  25. Mark: I found a comment on another board that says the schematic you were working from has an error in the orientation of Q1. So I turned it around and sure enough it is much improved! Q1 should have emitter up. Source: http://www.music-electronics-forum.com/t3859/

    Interesting that it isn't really apparent that it is wrong when you listen to the build because it does function.... unless like me you just didn't think it was giving enough elecfunktronics

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  26. I just built this and tried a load of different transistors. I was able to get a decent octave tone with a 2N5087 and two 2n2222As, but the output was quite low and there was a LOT of fuzz, which swelled and bloomed in a totally uncontrollable way. Turning the gain up made things worse and the note seemed to get compressed out.

    I've just read the post above and turned Q1 around in its socket. Bingo. Less fuzz, a bit more output and a strong octave. The note has stopped ducking out now, as well.

    Now I'll redo my transistor comparison and see which I prefer this time.

    Can someone please confirm which way round Q1 should be? It seems better reversed, but that doesn't mean it's right!

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    1. Hold on... I've just seen a set of build instructions which suggest that Q1 can go either way around and does, indeed, give different results. That's confusing.

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    2. I've tried it both ways and I get a much better sound and much stronger octave with Q1 installed as shown in the layout.

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    3. Further digging reveals two different but almost identical schematics, both drawn by people who have traced original Octavias, and who are both adamant that their version is 'correct'. I think I'll just trust my ears on this one.

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  27. I built this 6 weeks ago and with the boost dimed found the fuzz to be very fizzy and spitty also gated with a volume swell , built another one tonight and it`s the same. Either this is a feature or I`ve managed to make the same fuck up twice. I`ve tried a variety of trannies and orientated q1 both ways but still the same. So, is it supposed to be like this?

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    1. I havn't really played mine since I finished it in the middle of the night when I couldn't turn it up. Yesterday I finally tried to play it at day volume, and I agree, mine is sputter and swells too.

      So I switched things around just like you, to no avail. It sure doesn't sound right. I'll get some voltages posted tomorrow. Anyone want to help?

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  28. OK--I found three differences among the layouts:

    Harald Sabro used a 100u capacitor in front of the boost lugs. (Mark shows 22u)

    Harald Sabro used 180k resistor from Q2emitter to ground. (Mark shows 22k)

    Harald Sabro used 100u capacitor from Q3emitter to ground. (Mark shows 220u)

    Not sure when I'll get time to make these changes for this....but I'll try them out eventually. If anyone does these, please let me know how you make out. Oh, one more thing, Harold used a 1M resistor from input to ground, Mark used 4M7. I don't imagine that one matters in any way, though.

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  29. I found another layout that matched Mark's 22k resistor, but Haralds two 100u caps. So I soketed all three and played with it, and sure enough that soinded best to me. The 22k resistor kept more octave than the 180k to my ear.

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  30. mojo321 i had the same problems you both had with this, so you're final choice was the sub a 100uF cap for each of the 22u and the 220u and leaving the 22k ? Also did this fix that fizzing and poping sounds ?

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  31. I'm not ready to call it my final choice. I still want to try the 220u on the boost capacitor, and I want to try some other transistors. But there was a huge improvement going to the 100u on the boost instead of 22u. Also, the 22k resistor I socketed, and when I pulled it out to change it, it sounded good with nothing in the socket (100% resistance). Putting a jumper in it's place (zero resistance) made the pedal ground out completely (no sound). I am thinking I may put a temporary trimmer in there to see if I can find a sweet spot.

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  32. cool, i swapped out the caps and the fizzing and poping is virtually gone and a definite improvement in control. Im definitely looking forward to hear about any of your further changes.

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    1. Tried swapping caps as described above and it did make a big difference but still not perfect. After a bit more experimenting I finally got it spot on, basically I have the stock layout but done away with the 220uf cap completely and it now works great.

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    2. Aah the old "filter cap changing the character of a pedal" malarky. :o) I really should make a point of never adding one when it wasn't on the original schematic, and in future I will. I've removed it now from the layout and shaved off a column too.

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    3. Haha! Hey Mark, or anyone, what's this thing I have read about biasing the diodes? Can't remember where I read it, but they were saying that if you bias the diodes properly you get more of the octave coming through? Any ideas on how to do this?

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    4. possibly you mean matching the diodes, measuring them for matching forward voltage, I did with mine.

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    5. Yes I think you just mean matching them. Measure the forward voltage with the diode setting on your multimeter and choose the two most closely matched.

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  33. Ah, OK, thanks, that's a new one on me. Yeah, forward voltage. I just found this:
    http://techsci.msun.edu/strizich/EET_110/Labs/Labs10-1-2-3.pdf

    I made the change back to your new schematic, and it sounds great, for a fuzz. But that darn octave just isn't coming through. I'll try to match the diodes.

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    1. I've found with a few octave effects that the octave is more obvious when you reduce the tone level on your guitar and play higher up the fret.

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    2. Yeah that`s deffo the case with this baby.

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  34. Octave works and sound is nice, but Boost pot does nothing. Sounds like its turned all the way down. I didnt want to have a diode switch so i connected SW1 to Vol3, maybe this is wrong ?

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    1. Connecting Sw1 to Vol 3 is fine if you want the octave to be always on. I haven't built this so don't know how the boost pot is supposed to work, but it certainly matches the schemes. Maybe someone who has built it can chip in and tell you what to expect from it. In the meantime, are you sure the pot is ok and no cold joints?

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  35. The Tycobrahe sounds fantastic! I went with the TFletcher and Kallas mods (2N222A's, 2N3906, 50k linear pre-gain pot, 100uF cap substituted for the 22uF cap). I made a few errors at first. To save others from the same hassles I had, don't try using any transformers which don't follow the 3:1 impedance ratio. I tried using some higher-end transformers with disappointing results. For the final build I used a 42TM022-RC from Mouser ($2.75). Also, be sure you don't connect the middle transformer lug on the secondary side of the transformer. If you do, you might think the effect is working but it is not (you will still hear the octave-up effect but it sounds muffled, thin and unpronounced). I still don't sound like Hendrix, but that's a completely different issue ;)

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    1. Isn't the TM011 somewhat more into spec? 1,5k:500R vs 1,5k:600R? Or is that an irrelevant difference?

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  36. I built this up, and the octave sounded great, but the fuzz didn't sound right - not very fuzzy, just muted and farty. I noticed that the layout does not include the 220uf cap from Q3 emitter to ground. Once I put that cap in, the fuzz came to life - sounded like a great silicon fuzz. Anyway, great work you've done on this site, just an amazing body of work here. Thanks and Keep it up!

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    1. How the hell did I manage that?! Thanks for the heads up, I'll correct it now

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    2. Jeepers! I revisited this page to build another Tychobrahe and noticed that I did not have the 220uF on my first build. It's amazing how fuzzy the octave up sounds with this extra cap. The first build (without the cap) has a nice clean octave up w/minimal fuzz. I've added a SPST switch to select between the clean and dirty modes. Sometimes those mistakes can add more features onto a pedal. Love it! :^)

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  37. Will a 42TU013 work in this? I have one sitting around and am curious if it will work.

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  38. I built the Tonepad version of the Tycobrahe Octavia - but get no effect only led at power up.

    Using an external 9v ps that works with other tonepad projects eg. ITS8, Ross Compressor and Ross Phaser. I suspect the issue might lie in the existence of a two versions of this project a positive and negative ground circuit - I used the latter.

    Transistor voltages are listed below for any helpful suggestions:

    E B C

    Q1 - 2N5087 4.2v 3.6v 2.8v
    Q2 - 2N4401 2.3v 2.8v 9v
    Q3- 2N4401 1.6v 2.3v 4.9v

    I have checked the off board wiring and ensured that it is as per Tonepad offboard wiring schematics.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

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    1. Maybe is not my bussiness, but shouldn't you ask for support at Tonepad? I know there are lots of very kind people here, but sometimes you ask too much, guys :P

      J.

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  39. You are not wrong JC, I posted the problem an as many diy pedal websites and blogs as I can hoping to get a response but yours is the first!!

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  40. New to all of this and I'm having a difficult time getting this build to work. I built to spec (with 42TU011), and have a clean signal when in true bypass, but extremely low volume when the effect is engaged. Both pots function, but output is too low to hear if octave functions. Triple-checked my layout and off-board wiring, checked for solder bridges and re-wet all joints on the board. Measured circuit voltage at 9.29V. Checked my switches and jacks for continuity. Checked resistors and all caps with my DMM and everything seems functional, but I'm a bit lost on how to test and what to look for with the components around the transformer as I've never done a build with one. Not picking up any readings on any of the transformer pins, nor the 100n cap and diodes. Transistor readings as follows:

    Q1
    C = 2.92
    B = 3.61
    E = 4.28

    Q2
    C = 9.29
    B = 2.91
    E = 2.35

    Q3
    C = 4.92
    B = 2.35
    E = 9.28

    My apologies for the novel, but I would greatly appreciate any help anyone might be able to offer!

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    1. Found and fixed the bug I made on this last week. Great pedal, love it!

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    2. Chris, I'm curious what the "bug" you fixed in your version was. I have the same voltages for Q1 as you did where the collector and emitter are the opposite of what they should be, but if I reverse the orientation, I get completely different voltages and a less pleasant output. I'm also having issue with "pops" that I thought might be due to either a bad ground or a cold solder, but I've re-checked everything and noticed that others had the same issue, as well.

      Your solution would be much appreciated.

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  41. I'm probably making a stupid mistake. I knifed it, checked it, resoldered it, but something goes very wrong. I get no sound at all. Is there a document where I can see how the signal runs?
    The transistor values are very low (around 0,7V)
    Have I placed the transformer correctly?

    Images:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2346008/tycobrahe/IMG_7189.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2346008/tycobrahe/IMG_7190.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2346008/tycobrahe/IMG_7191.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2346008/tycobrahe/IMG_7192.jpg

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  42. hmmmm
    okwilliam... looks good to me from what I can see but, have you tried checking the pinouts of the transistors? Do you get a bypass signal?
    Spot check the layout really close because IvIark's layout works great.

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    1. thanks for the reply. The pinouts are quite dead. I flipped them as well. I will trace it again and see where I loose the signal. I will reply asap!

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  43. Q1 looks like it is in the wrong way

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  44. This is my build, did it a while back...
    http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r233/jimijam_photos/e3cdb28986758a9baed6111c6f23d486.jpg~original

    http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r233/jimijam_photos/304e07b715461a043409eb3d4b9105d5.jpg~original

    I wish I added a pre-gain to it... I may do that really soon... :)

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    1. I checked it again compared to your images. It looks good.
      But I get nog signal. The transistor don't give a signal.
      And if I connect the guitar signal (rev tracing) on the board it only sounds at the end somewhere (output/volume, after the transformer)
      At the start the signal dies after 4M7.
      Any ideas? A power thing?

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    2. Hmmmm yeah I am not really sure what it could be.
      I will trace mine and let post the voltages of the transistors and anything else I can find

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    3. Here are my transistor voltages with 9.19 measured power supply:
      Q1 C 2.84 - B 3.63 - E 4.29
      Q2 C 9.19 - B 2.84 - E 2.29
      Q3 C 4.94 - B 2.29 - E 1.66

      Similar to what Roy Trevor posted more or less...
      Your issue could be the power going into the pedal and I would start probing all of the components to make sure they are getting power where they should be.
      The + of the 33uF should be getting some volts and if it isn't there is an issue as an example... good luck!








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    4. You may want to check out this video
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idWhtCU7xw0
      and there is another on how to build an audio probe
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWvIfDSxbIk

      And of course you can read through all of these debugging tips
      http://www.diystompboxes.com/pedals/debug.html

      :-)

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  45. Sounds great either with 2N5087 (Q1) & 2N4401 (Q2,3) or with 2N3906 & 2N222A. I tried all four combinations and they all sound good. 2N3906 & 2N222A has the lowest gain and the 2N5087 & 2N4401 has the highest. Pretty much a matter of taste.

    I ended up using 2N3906 - Q1 with the 2N4401 at Q2, Q3.

    Listen to the solo on T2 - Questions and Answers from 1970

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  46. Just finished this and it sounds really good gets a bit farty when i have the switch engaged and boost nearing max. However i have not tried any changes from the stock image. Probably add the pregain control and try alternating the transistors as people have mentioned above. I used an LT44. Also socketed the diodes so may try some other Ges/Sis in there for fun.
    Thanks for all the previous comments on this post everyone, this always helps so much.

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  47. Built this with an octave foot switch and an additional LED to show me whether the octave is on. Best fuzz pedal I’ve ever heard!

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  48. built it as just an octavia, 3906 and 2 times 2222A, there are better fuzzes around ;)
    octavia sound lovely.

    linked between sw1 and volume 3 and omitted switch.

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  49. I've just built this and with the effect on it sounds very gated, I also used a DPDT footswitch to switch the octave in and out, but when I engage the octave switch I seem to get a large increase in volume. I built the effect exactly as the layout above using an LT44 transformer. Did anyone else get the same results?

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    1. I messed about with different combinations of transistors and I found that flipping Q1 180 degrees makes the fuzz less gated, I also tried 2n222a's in q2 & 3 and that made an improvement. However, I have to turn the boost all the way up to reach unity volume, is this normal?

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  50. How do I do this without the fuzz. Clean octave

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  51. Did anybody tried this circuit without the Octave effect components, only fuzz? It would be similar to the new Dunlop BOG Fuzz Face, they claim it to be the Octavio circuit without the octave effect. In the circuit pics, there's 3 transistors, similar to this one. Thanks!

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  52. some pics of the Dunlop BOG:

    http://s35.photobucket.com/user/jetbycraft/media/Dunlop%20BOG%20Fuzz%2001_zpsj8ql0egc.jpg.html

    http://s35.photobucket.com/user/jetbycraft/media/Dunlop%20BOG%20Fuzz%2003_zps3eippow0.jpg.html

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  53. Just finished the build and when using the D1 lift switch, the volume drops drastically, even when I turn up the pedal volume and boost all of the way. When the diode is back in the circuit it is loud and works fine. Any ideas? I did check and D1 has a forward voltage of about .225v and D2 about .249v

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Used an audio probe and found out one of my diodes was jacked up. I replaced it with another and chose one that had a matched forward voltage. This appears to have fixed the problem.

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