Sunday, 2 February 2014

Emerson Custom Guitars Paramount Overdrive

Well I must admit I wasn't expecting it to be this, a few people may find this amusing though.
Info about the original:

The Paramount Overdrive is a Medium Gain (Second Stage Overdrive) that stacks very well with almost any pedal. It can be ran at 9-18v (18v for more headroom). The Paramount is an original Emerson circuit that is powerful has plenty of usable gain on tap to fit most any situation. The Paramount's character is refreshingly unique yet sits in the mix very well and has a familiar sound. This pedal is very dynamic and responds well to pick attack and the subtle nuances of the player.






and the schematic:




95 comments:

  1. I once tried the E-M Drive, as I said before I've personally classified this circuit in the WOT section (where WOT stands for Waste Of Time).

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  2. StoneD to each their own. The E-M is actually fairly tweakable despite its low parts count.

    I made one for shits-and-giggles for a 1590a build, played with the caps and transistor and it's actually quite nice now, IMO better then the original.

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    1. Johns....what tweaks and changes did you make?

      G

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  3. Interesting. Might be worth a try - i actually love the em-drive, you just have to make sure you're using it for the right thing. It's a great stage 1 boost. It will crank, but it makes a fantastic foundation for the next overdrive in the chain. I would be curious to see how this works with the Em.

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  4. So this look like a the em-drive with another transistor and a tonestack. Am I wrong?

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    1. Correct! Except the base bias resistor goes to the collector instead of supply. Wasn't expecting that :)

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    2. So its a Darlington powered electra with tone stack? Actually sounds pretty decent in vids. Worth a build for the time it'll take. :)

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  5. May give this one a try, the em drive I built sounded a bit like a fart box :)

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  6. Can i usa another Ic ? something like 2n3904 or another ?

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    1. You can use any transistor in theory but it uses a Darlington which is like two regular transistors eg 2n3904 wired in a Darlington formation but in one transistor. You'll find a gain drop with a 2n3904 but I imagine it will work fine. You could build it with a socket using the 2n3904 while you wait for the right transistor to arrive. Good substitutes would also be MPSA12, MPSA14,ECG46, ECG172A, 2SC982, 2SC1472K, 2N5525, 2N5306 according to online sources.

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    2. wow, i just found a mpsa13 and bild one, it's amazing, good tones, nice overdrive , and almost for free.

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    3. Good to hear samuka! Sounds like it's verified. :)

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    4. Yes thanks samuka, a nice quick verification :o)

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  7. Emerson is fast becoming the new Lovepedal.

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  8. Can you guys post a link to the schematic for this one? I'd love to breadboard it and play with different values/trannies etc.. Thanks in advance. Bart

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    1. I've added it to the main post

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    2. I'll beat everyone to the biggest question.. What software you use for drawing schematics?
      :P
      +m

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    3. sPlan version 7 mate. It's really easy to use for a schematic amateur like me! :)

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  9. Verified as well. Used a B1M for volume (only had two B250k). As small as it is, you can also use sockets for all seven components ( or just the ones you want to try other values) and skip the breadboard. Lots of volume, but I am getting some ground noise as the volume is increased, probably the big loopy wires and no case. More like a boost with a little OD bite.

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  10. Worth mentioning that if you replace the 2.2M resistor with a diode (1n914 works well), you essentially have a bazz fuzz with added controls. Just a thought....
    Cheers
    Dave

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  11. Tried the diode (1N914 and 1N34A), both worked, but you lose the tone control, or it simply does change the signal as modified by the diode. Sound is more fuzzy, almost compressed. FWIW.

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  12. Sorry, meant to type, "does NOT" change the signal. Put the resistor back in, tone control returns.

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  13. Can this or the em-drive be used for bass in someway? Has anyone tried?

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  14. Looks like I may try to build a dual drive emerson custom box soon...any pros or cons on boxing both this and the em-drive up together?

    Also, will the dual off board post let me have 2 independent drives? (I assume it will..just wondering) Any thoughts on how to put a switch in to change the order of the drives?

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    1. I can't really see any problems with that except that if you decided you only want one drive on your board you'd have to build another one or unbox it.
      Here's a link to an effect order switcher. It's made to be an external box but the principles should be the same.
      http://www.beavisaudio.com/projects/Looper-Switcher/index.htm
      If you're referring to the dual effect example in the offboard wiring section, then yes that will give you two independent effects.

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    2. Hey Eric, great idea!

      Curtis Kent has a great demo vid of a Paramount and an Em-Drive together if that helps.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHGaUNBK4ik

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    3. That's the video that got me thinking about this dual pedal chumbox! It will definitely be my next project with a toggle switch for order switching.

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    4. haha look forward to hearing the outcome. It's a neat idea Eric.

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  15. I'm a newbie to the pedal world. I tried drawing a schematic using the vero board layout. It came out close, but I guess I don't fully understand the parallel wiring of the diode, 100n cap and the 47u cap...

    Also, where does the diode come into play on the vero layout. Is it just not necessary in the vero build or is it one of those "understood" things if I'm going to build this. Just put a big order into Tayda (well, big just means lots of stuff, but not a lot of money. Enough to build this twice over and a lovepedal that I thought I might like. If all goes well, some of my factory pedals might be coming off my board and going onto craigslist :).

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    1. The schematic is a true representation of the complete pedal circuit. The diode and caps that you're talking about all go between the 9V supply and ground. The diode is a parallel reverse polarity protection diode which I always omit because I find it ridiculous to include them without a fuse inline with the supply. Under reverse polarity at best the diode with burn out, at worst it will explode and take part of the board with it. So I made a decision a while ago with my layouts to always omit them if a parallel diode is used, and will only include reverse polarity protection if the original used a diode in series with the supply which won't cause any damage at all under reverse polarity, it just doesn't conduct.

      The 100n cap between supply and ground is a secondary filter cap which people include because lower value caps are better at filtering higher frequencies. I've never heard any difference whatsoever by adding this second cap, and so I tend to omit that too. You could actually add it to this layout if you wanted without having to add any rows or columns by putting a 100n cap from the hole to the left hand side of the emitter to the bottom row.

      The 47u cap is the main filter cap which I will always include if one was used in the original effect.

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    2. Welcome to the land of no return (in a good way) Ben!

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  16. Sorry for the double comment if this comes thru twice, my iPad was acting fishy. I am waiting for my parts and studying this and other circuits in the meantime. From what I've learned breadboarding an LPB1 and rangemaster type circuit, I am assuming that the 2n2 and 220n caps are input caps that are being blended with by the tone pot. If I swap the 2n2 with say a 1nf cap and the 220n with say a 470n cap, am I essentially widening the available frequencies being boosted with the tone control?

    In a book I've had for some time by Craig Anderton, he has a small chart that puts a 220n cap as boosting around 90Hz so anything much larger I would assume would be overkill. His smallest cap for the booster would be 5n and he puts that at affecting 4kHz. I assume based on the math in the book, 2n2 would be dealing with 8kHz and 1n would be messing in the 16kHz range.

    This is more of a "do I understand how this works correctly" question than a practical "I'm gonna build it this way" question. Although, I guess that is what a breadboard is for...

    Thanks for the warm welcome, chumbox.

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    1. Yes you're right about how the input caps are working in conjunction with the Tone pot, and swapping to a 1n and 470n would indeed widen the frequency response of the Tone pot.

      The input caps create a filter along with the input resistance of the transistor so the cutoff frequency you get from each cap depends on that.

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  17. Built it and loving it! It has a nice flat response so it doesn't color my sound. I didn't have a 2M resistor so i tried 1.8 and 2.2. The 2.2 sounds a bit more grainy which i like.

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  18. Mark, where did you get the reference for the schematic? I'd love to see some gut shots but I can't find any...

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    1. It was degooped by someone else and the connection points drawn down, and I made the schematic from the drawing. I'll ask if I can post gut shots

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  19. What would be the best way to maximize gain with this build?

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  20. So, this isn't necessarily a question about this pedal, but it's a recent layout and it's near the top of my list of projects to help continue getting my feet wet (I'm currently about to house the Lovepedal Delux 60 boost. My preliminary prototype sounded sweet pushing my Rivera Jake Studio clean sound into overdrive). Anyway, my question pertains to ease of wiring into the enclosure. Can I put the supply voltage into any of the holes in the strip it's assigned to (given there aren't any breaks along the strip) and get the same result? Same for ground/input/output etc? In a tight enclosure, it might help a newbie like me make cleaner guts and fewer inches of wire to jam into an enclosure...

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    1. Since the 47uF capacitor and the 4k7ohm resistor are in parallel (according to the diagram) it shouldn't make a difference. So I believe you should be able to put the 9V supply wire anywhere on that strip. The same should work for ground. I'm not so sure if input and output lines work the same though. I'm under the impression that the order of the input and output caps matters but I could be totally wrong about that, I can't remember what the equations for that looked like from my circuits classes. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this.

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    2. Hey Ben and Stephen

      You can place the 9V, ground, input and output anywhere on the same strips in the Deluxe 60 vero because there are no cuts along any of those strips. Make sure that you connect the input and output wires to the correct end of the cap i.e. connect the wire to exactly the same strip.

      In saying that I don't see why you would want to connect it anywhere but on either edge of the vero. Generally the easiest place to connect wire is right on the edge of the vero out of the way of all the components and you can tuck the wire straight under the board with no issues. I'm assuming this is what is happening. I personally find designs that place the wires mid way down a strip look messy and poorly thought out if this was the plan.

      For a newbie put the Deluxe 60 in a normal 1590B enclsoure and you will have absolutely no trouble with making a clean layout while learning the ins and out of wiring it all correctly. Happy wiring! :)

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    3. Oh and on the Deluxe 60 the 47k resistor does very little so I actually took it off and replaced it with a protection diode for the mosfet tranistor. Just a thought.

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    4. I was really just wanting to go the other edge on the supply and ground. I've already got a 1590A and I'm gonna be close, but it's looking good. The way I'm laying the board in, the edge in the diagram with the in/out/supply/ground is facing the bottom of the pedal (the switch end) and the opposite edge is facing where I've mounted the power jack. I just wanted to use super short leads from the power jack to the supply and ground strips instead of going under. The output goes to lug 3 on the pot so that might have to be turned under the board. I'm going to tape up the solder side so that it doesn't short and it's all barely gonna fit for this newbie, but it should work. My next few builds will probably go in a 125B or 1590B enclosures with the ultimate plan being this boost and a good distortion pedal replacing my GT-500 so I can sell it for some other gear! Got a 7 month old and a 3 year old occupying my time right now so this building pedals hobby is slow going, but sticking with it and super excited to experiment and hone in on a sound that is my own. This site is invaluable!

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    5. Sounds like you have a lot going Ben but you certainly have your head around the wiring. Keep up the great work. Yeah this site is amazing to say the least. :)

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  21. Could somebody explain to me the difference between having the bias resistor going to the collector instead of the base? Difference meaning, how the transistor will sound/react when biased this way. Thanks

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  22. Has anybody else had problems with this build?

    I been working on mine and it will not work for nothing... No sound is coming through it at all... I followed the layout guide.

    I used Polyester film capacitor and electrolytic for the 47uf cap. I used metal film resistors & darlington MPSA13 transistor.

    I have checked my solders and the board over with a magnifying glass and can not find any flaws.

    What can I do to trouble shoot this board?

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    1. I had problems at first too. The solution to mine was changing the 100n cap. The first one was bad. It may be a bad board component.

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    2. First thing to check is that you get the clean true bypass signal going through with the switch off. If you aren't even getting that (which requires no power or any components on the effect board) then you may have a 3PDT switch or input / output jack wiring issue.

      Once you have established you are getting the true bypass signal then make sure your effect wiring is correct. If this is ok I then always move onto ground wiring and power wiring in case the whole board just isn't get correctly powered. You can use a multimeter to follow the signal if need be.

      If you are sure about this and have checked all your solder and cuts, the first component I usually blame is the pinout of the transistor. Make sure the collector, base and emitter are as stated. The odds of a cap or resistor are possible but these are pretty stable even with terrible handling.

      Start with the true bypass signal and let us know if that is even happening first off. :)

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    3. and when I say a 3PDT switch issue I don't mean faulty switch, I mean a wiring issue across the switch. Those switches are tough as guts and are 99% ok in my experience parts wise.
      :)

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. @chumbox - I had the switch working correctly it was bypassing right and everything. But I will check the power and ground like you said!

      Thanks a ton!

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    6. DIYstompboxes has a great forum article on 'what to do when it doesn't work' that might provide some more help.

      http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=29816.0

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. Hi guy's! Is it okey to sub the 2m resistor with a 2m2?

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  24. Doh! Just read vaas comment- sorry

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  25. Built it, works fine with a 2m2 cap instead of a 2m cap. Thanks for an amazing site and all you guys talking and sharing your thoughts and results with the rest!

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  26. I built this pedal, the sound is cool!
    But In my opinion lack a bit of gain,Bass are not cute, they fart.
    It seems more 'fuzz' than overdrive.

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  27. Can someone draw point to point wiring from the board to power jack, I/O jacks, pots, and 3dpt switch?
    im starting to learn how to build pedals.

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  28. Check this out: http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.fi/2012/02/offboard-wiring.html

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    1. I still don't know where to connect the wire on my board.
      For EM Drive, someone drew it out so I understood.
      EM drive's in and out of the board was actually from the pots, but i dont know how paramount wiring works.
      Especially when there is a tone pot.

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    2. Check out the notes for building the pedal, which are under the layout. It says you need to connect gain 1&2 to tone 2, so run a wired between lugs 1&2 of the gain pot and run that to lug 2 of the tone pot. The input goes into lug 3 of the gain pot, so you'll run a wire from the switch to lug 3 of the gain pot. The output is from lug 2 of the volume pot, so you'll run a wire from the switch to lug 2 of the volume pot. If you look at the offboard wiring diagram, where you see it showing input and out from the board, that will be lug 3 of the gain pot, and lug 2 of the volume pot respectively.

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  29. it says Gain 1&2 to Tone 2. Do they go separately from the gain pot, to Tone 2? Or do you add a jumper from Gain 1 to Gain 2, then out to Tone 2. Or do you you jumper from Gain 2 to Gain 1, then out to Tone 2? is there a jumper involved? or not?

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    1. It doesn't make a difference how you do it as all you are doing is making an electrical connection across all three terminals i.e. you are connecting them together, just do what ever is the easiest and neatest to suit your build

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  30. How similar does this version sound compared to the original with Diode?

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    1. the diode in the schematic is not involved in the circuit. it's there for reverse polarity protection. it's not really needed. so with or without it the effect will sound the same.

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    2. Thank you!!
      MAN I LOVE THIS BLOGGGGG

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  31. Would using PIO caps for 100n, 220n, and 2n2 improve sound?
    what does the original Paramount have?

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  32. I dont have any 2n2 or 220n caps, this my very first pedal and I wanted to ask if I can sub in another value

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  33. Replies
    1. you didn't wrote what values you got?!
      anyway...with some maths,you can add caps and resistors in oarallel or in series to be able to go as close as you can to the given values

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  34. Thanks for the help
    I have a lot of 100nf caps and some 47uf and 100uf
    And what maths do you use for coos I know about ohms law for resistors but I'm completely lost about capacitors

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  35. Since you could run the original Paramount at 18V, is there any reason you couldn't run this version at that voltage as well? Anyone have any experience doing so?

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  36. Hi,
    I want to build my first DIY effect pedal and I have question about the offboard wiring. I want to wire an Emerson Paramount OD board to the different jacks, pots, etc. For not to be wrong, i have draw the wiring schematic here:

    http://jbadini.piwigo.com/picture?/1/category/1-effect_pedal

    Have I made mistakes or is it correct??
    Thanks for your answers!

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  37. Hello, I'm new in this blog, I'm having trouble with the tone pot, when is in the middle position I have a gain drop, help please!!

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    1. I have the same problem, but when my tone pot its on treble position, it is a gain drop... And when its at bass position have a extra boost!!!! I dont know why :/

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  38. Hi all,

    I seem to be having trouble with the tone know on this build. It does affect the tone as expected, but it seems to also affect gain and possibly volume. When I set the tone know to a bassy setting it gives a dramatic boost in gain as well. I perceive a volume boost too, but I am not sure if that is actually boosting the volume or if it is just perceived volume from the extra gain. Conversely, setting the tone knob to a trebly setting actually seems to clean up the signal and removes the gain. All of this seems to happen independently from the gain knob which functions perfectly. I have been over the wiring now multiple times, and I can't find anything wrong. I checked for solder bridges and found nothing. I have checked all my grounds and run continuity checks on everything. I am at a loss for what might be causing this. Any ideas?

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    1. I have the same trouble.. We need help... I have mine on protoboard, not soldered yet! I change caps.. And still causing trouble..

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    2. I am using the MPSA13. I didn't make any part substitutions.

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    3. I cannot fix it yet... I'm using MPSA29, I have the same trouble... Did you finished?

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    4. Hi there,
      Yep. I just built this last night and have noticed the exact same issue. Tone set to zero gives an increase in gain and tone set to max seems to clean it up a little. Something is obviously not quite right. Also noting that the gain is not as high as that seen (heard) in the videos.

      Anybody else noticed this? Any suggestions as to what might be the cause?
      Regards
      Mark

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  39. Somebody can help us with this build? IvIark help!

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  40. Anyone confirm this build working at 18v? I want to put a chargepump into my 1590A build!

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    1. If your electrolytic cap is rated for 25V you'll be fine to run it at 18V. Not sure what the benefits of higher voltage will be for a circuit like this tho. :)

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    2. Hey Charles Sale! Thanks for the reply! I'm so dumb. Such a low parts count. The only components that really care about voltages are elec caps, ic, and transistor... Should've known it would work right off the bat =X

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    3. Yeah most regular caps are rated for at least 60V or so, and transistors are rated around 50V I think? At least for MPSA13s. Actually they seem to be around 30V. Anyway, there's no harm in trying I don't reckon.

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  41. Just in case builders are still confused about the TONE knob. I've confirmed that the volume increase going CCW (bass side) and the volume decrease going CW (treble side) is indeed how the original EM Paramount Drive works! I've built this into a 1590a and compared it with my friend's recently purchased Paramount.

    I'm really happy to say that the sound identical :)

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    1. *I'm really happy to say that they sound identical :)

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    2. Many thanks for this update! I was still thinking that mine sounds quite different to the one in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHGaUNBK4ik. But I did only have a little testing. To me, the gain seems lower than the clip. Although I was testing at night and not really digging in. Thanks again!

      BTW, did you substitute any parts at all? Or just stock, per the provided BOM?

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    3. Hey, mdtcarroll! My initial build I didn't substitute any parts. Later I switched out the 2n2 with a 1n and added a 100n to the 220n for a total of 330n, which, as you might have read above, changes the tonal range. BUT

      When I tested them side by side, this didn't affect my tonal range. They sounded exactly the same. I even had 2 of my sound guys have a listen for their opinion.

      Perhaps larger/smaller values would change the tone!

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  42. Thanks for the layout, I built this circuit and played it for a while unboxed, it has some good tones. Once I boxed the circuit and added it to my pedal board I found it doesn't seem to be interacting properly with my other pedals. If I use this pedal in front of anything with a buffer, (boss tu2 for example) the paramount curcit gets loud and the volume control becomes unresponceive. Acts the same way if a second overdrive is enguaged after this curcit. By itself, or at the end of my loop it works perfect, it's very strange. Anybody have any ideas, or is this normal?

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  43. Hi
    I also really breath when the volume is in the last ten percent.
    Someone has an idea or a solution?
    Thank you

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  44. Hi
    I also really breath when the volume is in the last ten percent.
    Someone has an idea or a solution?
    Thank you

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