Author Topic: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war  (Read 370 times)

Lubdar

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DREAMEATER

It's been a minute since I've been active here, but let me take you on a journey...

From the time that I started learning about building guitar effects pedals, I was captivated by the ideas behind Death By Audio and the crazy sounds of A Place to Bury Strangers live shows. Hearing about Oliver’s mysterious Armageddon pedal being his so called “ultimate fuzz” drove me to learn about what was going on inside of it. I had to know more!! Come to find out that the Armageddon is an evolving idea based on Oliver’s continuous experimentation. Several variants of the early idea have been realized and presumably released as custom DBA pedals. Supposedly DBA eventually released part of an earlier variation of the Armageddon as the Fuzz War which was based on a 7 transistor design. 

There had been some schematics floating around online, but the general consensus was that the design was problematic and highly dependent on transistor choice. My curiosity led me down a rabbit hole where I tested transistor types to figure out which ones worked best. I would breadboard, and re-breadboard ideas determined that I could make this work right. Nevertheless, there were always issues with the underlying design. The instability of the design, lower max volume, and peculiarity of transistors, most likely contributed to the retirement of the 7 transistor Fuzz War and introduction of the current production model Fuzz War (which in itself is a beast!!!).
So time passed, I breadboarded multiple variations on a theme, but always stuck to the source schematic. I took a break from pedal building for 3 years because…well, life happened. July 2019, I decided to get back into exploring pedals, and decided: I’m going to find that sound that started it all. The sound that started my journey. So I cracked open my 7 transistor fuzz war and traced the circuit. Lo and behold it was slightly different from what I had seen online, confirming my suspicions about the evolving nature of the design. I breadboarded this but was weary of some of the design limitations. It was at that point I decided to take a different approach. Continuing to re-use the schematic would only result in the same problematic issues over and over. I had to take a different approach. I finally understood I was searching for a sound not a schematic. I’ve taken the DNA of the 7 transistor Fuzz War and expanded on it.

From a design perspective, I wanted to achieve the following:
1.   Improve the circuit stability
2.   Increase the maximum volume
3.   Maintain the unique clipping and gating characteristics
4.   Add variability to the tone control for Mids and Highs

This isn’t a clone, it is a sonic recreation of the older Fuzz War heavily inspired by the source material. I have had so much fun working with this pedal, experiencing highs and lows as I overcame challenges to bring it into creation. It does everything the old Fuzz War does, but can do more,…and LOUDER. This is sound has kept me up late at night, consumed me for years, and so it goes…fuzz never sleeps.

I owe much to all the things I've read through posts here and from AMZ, and the old RG Keen website :)

Best regards,
   Bradford


breadboarding things out...



First ordered PCBs and the inspirational source material...




Prototype...




Batch of screen printed pedals



All ready to go...





Kitchen Countertop pictures




Some youtube demos on guitar, bass, and in the context of a song...
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM2y8F8FtZo" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM2y8F8FtZo</a>
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8LStLAE1cw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8LStLAE1cw</a>
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoUQD6ly9qI" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoUQD6ly9qI</a>



(--c^.^)--c

JoeR3155

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Re: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 06:40:22 AM »
Great stuff, thanks for sharing this. Sounds great!
I don't believe I've actually destroyed any diodes, despite what you might hear

marmaliser

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Re: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 07:39:28 AM »
Nice work ,  are you planning to share the schematic or sell / share boards?

SirEgno

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Re: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 07:49:50 AM »
Very nice. I like how it sound with bass.
Beautiful the graphic and the knobs of different sizes.

Lubdar

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Re: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 08:08:41 AM »
Thanks everyone!

At some point I will probably sell boards or post the schematic. 
There are still a few minor tweaks I want to work out though before I get to that point.

I'm initially trying to sell off some of them to fund a trip to visit my girlfriend in Europe.

Best regards,
    Bradford

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selfdestroyer

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Re: DREAMEATER DarkSun a revised/reworked V1 7 transistor DBA fuzz war
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2019, 09:50:59 PM »
Was following this on Instagram. Really loving how these came out. Great job man!