Author Topic: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)  (Read 463 times)

Invertiguy

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Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« on: April 12, 2019, 01:31:39 AM »
I'm quite the lover of weird fuzzes, and the folks at Spaceman have a number of products that fit the bill. When I discovered their Sputnik II fuzz, I was immediately enthralled by it. Unfortunately, by the time I found out that such a marvelous device existed the Sputnik II, which was a limited production product and not at all cheap to begin with, had long since ended its production run and was both incredibly scarce and incredibly expensive on the used market. Luckily, I found that the good gentlemen at Dead End FX, ever the intrepid explorers of sonic weirdness, had already probed the device, discovered its secrets, and released their Laika Fuzz board for those of us without a grand to spend on an original unit. I promptly snatched one up and set to work building it, and after about a month of on and off work it's finally finished! So behold, The Cosmonaut!



The graphics and finish are pretty simple, nothing too out of the ordinary here. The enclosure is a 1590BBM in Robot Silver Sparkle from Mammoth. The graphics were designed in GIMP using a picture a found in a Google image search and printed onto a waterslide decal using my cheapo Canon inkjet. I stuck it onto the enclosure using the usual method and sealed everything up with Envirotex. It turned out rather smooth, with very few bubbles to speak of and no runs around the jack holes on the sides. However, it did have a few drips hanging off the bottom, and when I went to trim them off with my X-Acto knife one of them snagged and not only put a chip on the bottom edge when it broke off but also pulled a portion of the Envirotex away from the enclosure. After a moment of panic, I grabbed a tube of superglue, squirted a bit underneath where it had pulled away, pressed it flat, and wiped away the extra, and voila! Good as new! Well, maybe not quite, but it did dry clear and fill in underneath the lifted portion well enough that it's hardly noticeable (and who looks at the bottom of their pedals, anyway?). Definitely a good trick if you happen to run into similar problems.



Here's the guts. As stated on the build document, the whole thing fits in a 1590BBM, but there's definitely not a lot of room left over for the jacks. I ended up putting mine under the board with the edge of the jack wafer right against the front of the enclosure. There's just enough clearance that nothing touches with the plugs inserted, but I stuck some electrical tape on the bottom of the board just in case. The plastic portion of the low profile lumbergs was just a bit too wide to fit between the side of the enclosure and the board, so I opted for more traditional open frame Neutriks.

I haven't gotten to play around with it for very long yet, but so far I'm in love! It's a very thick, massive, chewy fuzz with quite a bit of tonal variation thanks to the filter switches. The Range (gain) control takes it from a low growl to absolute sonic devastation! The Drift mode is absolutely wild and can produce some very interesting pseudo-feedback sounds when you mute the strings, as well as intermodulating with your notes to really change the character of the thing. Definitely a worthwhile build!

DLW

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2019, 05:35:11 AM »
nice work! very clean

trailer

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2019, 06:32:45 AM »
This looks great! One of favorite recent builds here.
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Bret608

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2019, 07:18:15 AM »
Really cool build! Hoping to try one of these out myself when I have time...it would certainly help make a small dent in my languishing germanium stash. Are those the transistor gains written on top of each one? If so, it seems this circuit is accepting of a wide hfe range! Good to know.

Bio77

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 10:45:20 AM »
I really dig the aesthetic. Took me a few looks to notice the skull. Awesome!

Timko

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 11:40:16 AM »
Very nice work.  The graphic has just the right amount of fade to it.  Great looking build inside as well.  I need to go look at this circuit now.  A germanium pedal with a transformer (which I assume is an octave thing like an Octavia)?  Yes please.

PMowdes2

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 01:51:21 PM »
No octave, from memory it only uses one side of the transformer and it's right at the input, I guess it helps set the input impedance
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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2019, 02:30:54 PM »
Looks really good! Diggin' the sparkle under the graphic.

Invertiguy

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2019, 11:27:46 PM »
Thanks for the kind words everyone, I'm really enjoying this build so far and am fairly proud of the way it turned out! Now I just have to find something else to do with the other 197 germanium transistors I have on hand ;D

Are those the transistor gains written on top of each one? If so, it seems this circuit is accepting of a wide hfe range! Good to know.

Those numbers aren't the gain, they're just for identification purposes as I was sorting through a bag of 50. They're all MP16Bs, and the Hfe and leakages are 74 and .093mA for Q2, 53 and .053mA for Q3, and 86 and .091mA for Q4. The build documents call for an Hfe of 70-80ish, but Q3 appears to be fairly sensitive to leakage and wouldn't bias up right with the transistors I had in that range. Subbing in a lower gain transistor with about half the leakage got the voltages looking right and didn't seem to have any adverse impact on the sound, although I'll probably try swapping it out if I can find a transistor with similar leakage and higher gain in the batch of MP20s I'm currently sorting through.

Very nice work.  The graphic has just the right amount of fade to it.  Great looking build inside as well.  I need to go look at this circuit now.  A germanium pedal with a transformer (which I assume is an octave thing like an Octavia)?  Yes please.

No octave, unfortunately (although it's certainly not a deal breaker for me). As PMowdes2 said, it only uses the primary of the transformer at the input of the circuit, which acts as an inductor ala the AMZ pickup simulator to help it play nice with low impedance sources, such as active pickups or buffers. Definitely not a bad addition though, as this thing sounds MEAN with a Tubescreamer in front of it!

TGP39

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Re: Cosmonaut (Dead End FX Laika Fuzz)
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2019, 11:31:21 PM »
Fantastic looking build.  Spaceman Effects is one of my favorite builders and you do this build justice.   This is certainly on my list of fuzzy goodness builds.   
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