Saturday, 3 March 2018

Vertex Steel String

Original info:
"The Steel String Clean Drive faithfully recreates the tonality and feel of the iconic Dumble Steel String Singer amplifier in a stompbox format. Designed alongside a real Steel String Singer (#001), this 100% analog tone tool will do it all from Overdrive, to Fat Boost, to Compression, to EQ shaping and more. Get the unmistakable Crystal-Clear Overdrive and Fat Clean Tones from albums like "Texas Flood", "Venus Isle", and "Continuum" through any clean amp platform"
You can find Bugg's PCB and schematic here.


71 comments:

  1. Nice layout! Will try on the breadboard...

    The advertising copy makes me laugh - "this 100% analog tone tool will do it all from Overdrive, to Fat Boost, to Compression, to EQ shaping and more...." = 2 x muamps plus a BMP tonepot

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    1. The advertising is just to explain the price tag($200)! :)

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    2. I said the same thing on the official vertex yt demo and it got deleted almost instantly.

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  3. So, snarky comments aside, this sounds quite nice on the breadboard for low gain OD sounds. Maybe not $200 nice, but I'll probably build one.

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  4. Man, in a gear world full of bullshit artists, Mason at Vertex takes the cake. Perfect example of a pedal I would clone and sell the shit out of with no moral hang ups whatsoever. How he's still in the pedal biz after the BBE wah debacle, I'll never understand.

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    1. I totally agree. People are weird man. However good this pedal is, I would never give support this guy staying in business.

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    2. And to think this is still a modded "free circuit"...

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  5. Thanks man.
    Been slightly interested in this one for a few months and if it lives up to hype I might keep it as my new "always on" pedal.

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  6. Verified! Sounds pretty good. Signal is very clean. Wouldn't say it was anything special though.

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    1. Thanks, Gavin. I'll proceed since it's verified. Now, we just need the Ultraphonix layout.

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    2. Cool! Thanks Gavin! Does it sound close to the video?

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    3. Very similar as far as listening to vids go. I've been playing this for a couple of hours now and i'm really enjoying it. It does have a really nice quality to it. I used SMD J201s, as always, which i think helps.

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    4. Hi Gavin, how do you manage soldering smd transistor on a vero ?
      Thanks

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    5. I use the Jfet adapter boards from here, there the best in my opinion. http://www.diyguitarpedals.com.au/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=286

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  8. Hi mate you have to solder them first to a daughterboard.

    (https://www.bitsbox.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=140_151_154&products_id=3144)

    Paul @ DIY Guitar Pedals has a tutorial on his channel too.

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    1. Thanks for the info ! There's a lot oF pedals that uses J201 but the old J201 are becoming rare... It will be my next challenge !

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  9. I built it up last night, its very sensitive to which transistors are used. Pn4117a in q3 and q1 made it really crunchy and the lower vgs j201 I have sounded ok. I settled with a hot set of j201 in the q1 and q2 and went with 2n5485 set in the q3 and q4 .It still gets kinda crunchy with gain dimed out but its just loud and clean(ish) for most of the gain rotation.

    I'm wondering if masons using this same layout for the ultra phonix and dynamic distortion .With a few component changes its a bsiab2 and we all know that shit gets rowdy. Just a thought

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    1. Arent mu amps supposed to be less sensitive to what jfets you use?

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    2. The Ultraphonix sounds like a Zendrive to me, just sayin'...

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  10. Hi guys! Nooob quesgion: Why the out comes from the volume pot? Doesn't It come from the 3pdt?

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    1. Hi there. It's the output of the circuit. It goes to the 3pdt.

      See it like this: Your guitar signal goes from the input jack to the 3pdt. When the switch is off, it goes straight through the switch directly to the output jack. You bypass the whole circuit (therefore True Bypass).

      When the switch is on, it takes a detour. Instead of going through the switch, your guitarsignal goes to the 3pdt, and then from the switch to the circuit. That is the IN on the circuitboard. It goes from the switch INto the circuit.
      After all the magic happens into the circuit, your guitarsignal has to come back to the switch. That goes through the OUTPUT wire of the circuit. In this case it comes from the volume pot. After the signal's back in the switch, there is another wire from the switch to the output jack.

      So the wires from the input and output jack always go to the switch. Your signal just takes a detour or not.

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  12. Going by the schematic - is it really necessary to create two effectively independent +Vb's going to both the top muamp tranny's 1M resistors (R5 & R13)???

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  13. How much overdrive can this pedal produce? Can it replace a tube screamer, or is it more or less a clean boost? I think of building a dual pedal, with the Vertex in front of a Friedman BE-OD

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    1. on my build it has pretty mild clipping on its own with the gain maxed its like a tubescreamer at 9 oclock. definitely more of a clean boost in my experience. maybe i built it wrong? anyone get more gain than me?

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    2. Nope you're dead on. Its a clean boost. The q5 from the BSIAB really makes a difference as we see here without it makes more or less a clean ish boost even with controls dimed. I do like how the so called tone knob blends in bass. I'm keeping that for a future idea .

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    3. No. The 10k source resistors on Q2 & Q4 keep the gain low.

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  14. Great job, thanks for sharing, what type are the red capacitors?

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    1. Use what you want or have. The type isn't all that important.

      Red image depicts a panasonic metal film caps. Those are quite nice caps :)
      +m

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    2. Just one quick question, the resistor labelled "CLR" what value is that one?

      In advance thanks
      Erik

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    3. Current limiting resistor. Sets the brightness of your led. Lots of guys on here use 4k7 resistors.

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    4. One last question from the noob, I'm short of the 68nF polybox (between the 1u cap and 1M res), if I use a 47nF cap instead would that be disastrous?

      Thnaks
      Erik

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    5. ....or could I put a 22nF and a 47nF in series instead?

      In advance thanks
      Erik

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    6. Sorry for the spam, just googled it, I'll be quiet now.

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  15. Also verified! Built with generic j201s. Sounds nice! It'll be a great low gain overdrive Thanks for the layout!

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  16. Look for the Jack Orman AMZ dual booster. It 90% the same as the ssscleanboost. Sounds very very nice and subtle in front of a Tubeamp. In front of a ss amp it is just a boost.

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  18. Hey everybody,

    I am new here. Built just my 3rd pedal, the Vertex Steel String. Now I am finished and have a strange problem: Pedal works, bypass is okay. But in action the pedal is very softly/quietly, I have to turn both volume and gain full for a usable level. Then I mentioned the Filter behaviour: turn completly to the left, there is no signal at all. Turn rightwards the signal gets louder and has more high frequencies, but sounds not nice. It seems to figure as a second volume knob. No more or less bass is adjustable.
    I checked the board and cut all lines between the copper stripes with a knife. For the bypass and footswitch I used a pcb from Musikding, which is foolproof (everything is named very good). I carefully soldered the pots, so I have no idea where to search for the mistake. Anyone has an idea for this behaviour of the Filter pot?

    Thanks very much, i love this site and the community here!
    Morte

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    1. Supplement: The J201 I used are in the correct direction. Even if I crank up all knobs, I get no overdrive, just loud.

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    2. Hi. Triple check your build. Knife the gaps again to make sure there are no shorts anywhere. Tiniest short or a bad trace cut could explain the filter pot behaviour. Reflow all solder joints in case of a bad joint. Measure voltages for the transistor pins. Triple check the 2n2 at filter connection. If that is shorted, it could explain the behaviour.

      How are your J201s? There have been a lot of cheap chinese fake JFETs flooding the markets since through hole ones were discontinued 8 years ago. If you got yours through ebay from asia, they are most likely fake and thus could be the reason for your behaviour.

      Use an audio probe to check if there ia a heavily boosted signal at Q2 drain. If not, then you have an issue with the first muamp-JFET pair.

      Hope some of these will help...
      +m

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    3. Thanks! I will do the things you told. I got my J201s from uk electronic in germany, so they shouldn't be fakes. ;)

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    4. So, I got it!
      After going through the whole thing I finally found out: the lugs 1 and 2 of the filter pot were sticking together because of the pressure of the board above it. Did't see it because of all the wires ... ;)) Now I repaired it and have a nice sounding little cream machine here. Not much gain, but lot of volume reserve. I like it! Thanks for help, miro!

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  20. One more question: During error search I tried to measure the 2M2 resistor on the left. DMM showed only "000" in the 2000k area. Other resistors are just normally with their values if measured. Tried it different times, but no other reaction. Is it possible that the resistor is broken? Is this a influence to the sound of the pedal? Because it works now ... Should I swap it?

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    1. That resistor should have no influence on the sound of the pedal.

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    2. Your DMM can not "see" the right value, because it is out of range. 2M2 is higher than 2000k, so the DMM will display all zero's or no number at all. Try a higher scale. kr Frans

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  23. Got the PCB from PedalPCB and build it. Plugged in and wanted the magic to start. Not! In front of my Fender princeton tube preamp it is just a boost. Nothing more, nothing less. Mile's away from what I hear on You tube. Nothing special, only big low end loss. Gonna experiment with the circuit, cause I want to hear the same as in the vids. Made an active Baxandall tone control and that did the magic!

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  24. Update: When you look at the schematic in the link above, I changed the BigMuff tonestack to get in 12o'clock position the same curve as in the Fender tonestack. (see the Duncan tonestack calculator) And now I have a good sound! I lost some output power but I do not care. I have good low and high end now. I have changed the following parts, C11 to 3n9F, C12 to 10nF, R15 to 100k, R16 the same 22k and the pot to 500kB. Now I can dial in the sounds that I hear in the video clips. In the clip above he is playing with an amp that is already in slight overdrive.

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    1. Getting ready to build the pedalpcb version as well, so I'm looking forward to try out your tweaks Frans. One question though; doesn't the active Baxandall tone control encompass more than substituting the C11, C12 and R15, and the pot to 500K?

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    2. Hoi Erik, a active baxandall tonestack is much better than this. In fact I completely removed the muff tonestack and that was a big suprise! I connected the neg. side of C10 directly to R17 (buggs schematic six string stinger). Between C10 and R17 I made a lowpass filter from the 100k in serie with a 47nF cap to earth. Perfect. The output power is a lot more. For some nice sizzle I put a switch with a 18k res and two antiparallel 914 diode's to earth. Perfect again. My complain of this pedal was the loss of bass. So I changed C5 and C9 to 1uF. And back is the bass. And now I am hearing a lot of what I hear in the yt demo's of the Vertex SSS. This is coming at the end of the pedal chain with a very little overdrive and leave it on. Further have I build a part of the XoticBBPreamp, the baxandall tonestack, in a pedal and that is the first pedal in the chain. Works really great.

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    3. In mine baxandall pedal I changed the caps and res. to get a perfect sound. I used the same values as in the Duncan tonestack calculator. This really opens the sound of my Strat. I use a tube Fender Princeton preamp and the combination with this toneshaper is fabulous!

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    4. Last update, I did rebuild the tone stack to the original. There was still a difference with the demo's. I have seen them all and discovered that the beautiful sound does not come from the pedal!! When you listen to Linda Taylor demo you will hear that when the volume with the pedal is the same as without the pedal, there is almost no coloring of the sound. When the volume and gain are at 12'o clock the magic starts. I tried it with the original values on my tube amp and yes, the first tubestage in the amp is pushed into saturation. That is the magic that we hear! That is also the reason that it will not work in front of a SS amp. In every demo on YT you can hear the volume jump when they kick in the pedal. You can get some overdrive from the circuit but the main overdrive is the tube in your amp. So nothing special here, every fet-booster will deliver heavenly tone with a tubeamp. Rock'on.

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    5. Thanks Frans. So first of all I'm playing through my pc/Revalver 4, but I still think the ability to shape the tone applies. So your baxandall tonestack, the values you used are not those from the Xotic BB Preamp? But those shown in the Duncan tonestack calculator, correct? And is that all you have in that pedal? I will definitely make another of the without the bigmuff tonestack and a LP filter added. Also, I read a review on the PedalPCB homepage of the SSS, and he pointed to the fact that matching the jfet's (~80mA) gave the best tone.

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    6. Hoi Erik, in my toneshaper I used the same values as in the duncan calc program. The bb preamp values are perfect for a overdrive or distortion cause than you do not need the bigger range of the duncan values. I think on high volume the BB values will be better. But you can tweak the duncan values enough to get the good sound even on high volume. The pedal is made with a single chip with two opamp stages. Stage 1 for high Z input and amplification, stage two is for the active baxandall tone stack. This has become a great pedal and I have it in the last place in my chain.

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  25. Built this today ; it sounds pretty good -- some might light it as a blue box or a boost... Could not get the Filter pot to work (no tonal difference, did not seem to do anything) .. Used all J201s with a 2n5457 in the Q1 position, and changed some 10ks to 7.5k ; might come back to this later and socket the transistors / fix the filter pot issue.

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  26. Hi everybody! I'm new here. Has anyone tried to build this pedal using another transistor than the J201? MPF102 maybe? I know MPF102 gain is lower than J201, but, would it work? Can someone help me?

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  27. Leo, from what I can read from googlenet, the mpf102 is a N-channel JFET transistor like the J201, so you should be able to use the mpf102. How they differ soundwise I don't know, but I have a bag of mpf102's, so I'll try and swap them in my sss.

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  28. Ok so I tried and swap the J201's for BF102's in my sss, and I've a short sound clip from each. It should be noted that I've tried to match the J201's but not the BF102's with which the sss sound a bit harsher to my ear. But it should be easy to mod the tone for your liking.

    https://soundcloud.com/erik-holm-nielsen/j201-vol10-gain6-filter10-1

    https://soundcloud.com/erik-holm-nielsen/bf102-vol10-gain6-filter10

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    1. Wow Erik, that sounds great. Great job. How can?? I can not get that fat tone you have. What kind of amp are you using? Did you do mods on the pedal? I put the pedal away because I did not get this sound. Maybe I will try further.

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  29. Hey Frans, yes I modded it inspired by your initial big muff tonestack tweak recommendation. I've installed a switch at C11 to give 10nF or 22nF and a switch at C12 to give 47nF or 2n2F. Also I installed a B100K pot instead of R15, as I couldn't decide whether having a 100k instead of a 10k had any positive effect. And lasty I swapped the filter 100k pot for a 500k.
    I'm playing through my pc using a soundcard, so there's no magic there, just a lot of tweaking in Peavey Revalver 4. I hope you'll your sss pumped up as well :)

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    1. I was playing yesterday through my Fender Frontman 15 and indeed I was able to create these sounds with the modded Steel slinger. So it is a nice boost to give a little hair on the sound. Although I like my BBToneshaper more. lol

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    2. Erik, you did a great value mod on the BM tonestack. With C11 on 10n and C12 on 22n you can dial with the R15 pot from flat to Fender scooped characteristic! Very nice!

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