Author Topic: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp  (Read 864 times)

aion

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Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« on: March 03, 2019, 04:48:04 PM »
At the beginning of the year, Paul Marossy (a legend at DIYSB) got in touch with me about helping out with a trace he had started close to ten years ago but never finished - the Bouteek Distorter Preamp. It's a super obscure amp-like pedal meant to emulate Marshall style preamp distortion tones. It was always marked as "limited edition" and only ever sold on one website. Based on the scant information about it online, I suspect that fewer than 1000 units were made, back in 2009-2010.

It was rumored that someone from Peavey was involved in the design process somehow, and the six-layer (!) PCB layout didn't bear the marks of some guy tinkering in his basement - but Bouteek never really went anywhere and they were completely gone by 2015.

Well, after some back and forth with Paul, I was able to finish up the trace and work out the problem areas he had gotten stuck on. And today, the Vortex Amp Distortion is released to the wild! I love preserving this stuff, so I was really excited that Paul got me involved and that I could be a part of introducing this pedal to the community.

Here's a demo of Paul playing it once we'd gotten the schematic finalized:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W4DUcpK3so

It's a pretty interesting circuit. Schematic is available in the documentation linked above, but basically: take two TS-style non-inverting feedback clipping stages with independent gain controls, then onto a Big Muff tone control and then a few additional opamp stages on the output to further shape the tone. Add in a 4PDT switch to change the sets of diodes in the first two stages and also change the lowpass & highpass filters on the tone control via CMOS switches. One side is "vintage" mode and one side is "rectifier" mode. (The Vortex splits these out into two DPDT switches for independent control.)

How's it sound? Pretty spectacular, I think. Despite being fairly common building blocks, the overall sound doesn't really fit into any of those boxes. Sort of a "sum of the parts" situation. I was really surprised at how refined it was when I played through it and I think people are going to love it.

Crazy story to go along with this. As I said, these are super rare. I found one that was listed on Reverb a couple of years ago but that's it. However, I noticed that particular listing was taken down and not actually sold, so I got in touch with the owner to see if he still had it. And not only did he still have it, but he only lived about ten minutes away from me! So after a long-shot Reverb message sent with no thought that it would amount to anything, I had one later that same day.

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cooder

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 06:47:12 PM »
Very cool, especially that you got your hands on one of those rare beasts and then managed to make a pcb!
Might hva eto get my hands on one!
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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 07:47:25 PM »
I have to admit that I peeked at the docs to see if you included the DC Out.   ;D

Interesting project.  Nice work, as usual.
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jimilee

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 07:56:30 PM »
Wow, that sounds great. Have you done a side by side and did you record it?


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aion

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 08:08:56 PM »
Wow, that sounds great. Have you done a side by side and did you record it?

Haha, I wouldn't want to sully its reputation by my own playing. I may see if I can get someone else to do it though.
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PedalsPlus

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 01:19:28 PM »
Wow, never thought I would see my pedal show up on a reverse engineering DIY project, cool.
A friend and I designed this circuit and the PCB CAD, yes, in my basement (haha).
Life got too busy to continue hand building these.
Perhaps I should dig out some old un-built PCBs and build some?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 01:21:22 PM by PedalsPlus »

EBK

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 02:24:45 PM »
Wow, never thought I would see my pedal show up on a reverse engineering DIY project, cool.
A friend and I designed this circuit and the PCB CAD, yes, in my basement (haha).
Life got too busy to continue hand building these.
Perhaps I should dig out some old un-built PCBs and build some?
Double wow!
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gordo

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 05:43:08 PM »
How cool is this thread, to have the originator show up and chime in!!!???

movinginslomo

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2019, 10:26:29 AM »
Wow, never thought I would see my pedal show up on a reverse engineering DIY project, cool.
A friend and I designed this circuit and the PCB CAD, yes, in my basement (haha).
Life got too busy to continue hand building these.
Perhaps I should dig out some old un-built PCBs and build some?

wut.

Leevibe

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2019, 10:38:24 AM »
So cool. What a story!

Wow, never thought I would see my pedal show up on a reverse engineering DIY project, cool.
A friend and I designed this circuit and the PCB CAD, yes, in my basement (haha).
Life got too busy to continue hand building these.
Perhaps I should dig out some old un-built PCBs and build some?


Thanks for jumping in! Yeah. You should build those suckers up!

Paul Marossy

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Re: Rescued from extinction: the Bouteek Distorter Preamp
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2019, 08:03:44 AM »
At the beginning of the year, Paul Marossy (a legend at DIYSB) got in touch with me about helping out with a trace he had started close to ten years ago but never finished - the Bouteek Distorter Preamp. It's a super obscure amp-like pedal meant to emulate Marshall style preamp distortion tones. It was always marked as "limited edition" and only ever sold on one website. Based on the scant information about it online, I suspect that fewer than 1000 units were made, back in 2009-2010.

It was rumored that someone from Peavey was involved in the design process somehow, and the six-layer (!) PCB layout didn't bear the marks of some guy tinkering in his basement - but Bouteek never really went anywhere and they were completely gone by 2015.

Well, after some back and forth with Paul, I was able to finish up the trace and work out the problem areas he had gotten stuck on. And today, the Vortex Amp Distortion is released to the wild! I love preserving this stuff, so I was really excited that Paul got me involved and that I could be a part of introducing this pedal to the community.

Just for the record, I was paid by someone to generate a schematic for it (and it was not enough money for the headache). I don't know where he got the PCB images that he provided me. He told me that someone at Peavey had a hand in it. And he had a built pedal that he could send me to look at but I declined. That's all I knew about it.

I had it breadboarded for like nine years, sitting on a shelf and wanted to close a very long miserable chapter in my life after having to go back to working in a death cubicle. I thought it sounded good and deserved to be out there in the world, so that's when I contacted Aion about it. I finally got it off my breadboard and built one for myself using my own PCB design.