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Topics - culturejam

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Build Reports / Aveces! - Tap Tempo version of the old STM tremolo
« on: July 10, 2023, 01:17:32 PM »
After much mucking around with the TAPLFO chip, I wanted to use it with the audio portion of my near-ancient Shoot The Moon tremolo (itself derived from the Tremulus Lune). I pared down the waveform options to just 4 (of 8 in the original code). Works and sounds great. I gave this one to my guitar teacher.

I laser cut/etched a face plate from 1/16" basswood ply and stained it. Then did some fine sanding to smooth it out and pull back the color a bit.

Side note: I named it "°Aveces!" because "sometimes there is sound, and sometimes there is not". Apparently I'm the only one that thinks this is funny.  ;D

Build Reports / StompLFO Test Board
« on: June 08, 2023, 09:18:14 PM »
I hesitate to call this a "dev" board because it's not really designed for rapidly testing code. It's really just for being able to diddle with the main parameters of the StompLFO from Electric Druid, which is a really cool LFO-on-a-chip with tap temp baked in. It's got 8 waveforms, including two that are pseudo-random. The code is open source, so you can modify it to suit your needs should you desire. That's beyond the scope of this post, but we could talk about that later if anyone is curious. :)

So this board has all the necessary components to get all the functionality out of the stock StompLFO code. And I also added a few things that make it easier to dial in and use it with some flexibility for breadboard projects or other types of circuit testing. I added two switches (using header pins and 2-pin mini jumpers) for 1) changing the microcontroller offset pin to either high or low state, and 2) bypassing or enabling a second set of LED pads that can be run off board to a breadboard or whatever. I also added a trimmer to set the minimum speed of the LFO because it can go slower than useful for some effects. Voltage regulator is also included to make it a self-sufficient package.

So that's what I've been goofing around with the last couple weeks (months, actually, if I'm being honest), among other things. I've also modified the code a bit so that the chip has only the waveforms I want and in the order I want in regards to the Wave pot sweep. Took a bit of monkeying around, but it's not real hard to do.

Open Discussion / Eagle CAD - End of Life in 2026
« on: June 07, 2023, 11:09:37 AM »

Open Discussion / Janky Tape Echo - DIY tape echo project
« on: March 06, 2023, 05:42:37 PM »
Did a quick search and didn't see this posted. Thought you degenerates would enjoy  ;D

Open Discussion / NGD: 2013 G&L ASAT Special Tribute
« on: March 05, 2023, 11:21:02 PM »
Saw this at my local shop where I take lessons. They got it in that day, and I noticed the pickup switch was dodgy (wouldn't select the neck pickup by itself, so the middle position and neck position were the same). So I managed to talk my way into a $50 discount and got it for $350 out the door with a so-so hardshell case.

I got the new pickup switch installed, and it's working great. No real plans for any other upgrades...other than perhaps a set of Hipshot locking tuners, but so far the stock tuners are just fine. Core-Tek makes a solid guitar, assuming the buyer specs it out well. G&L obviously did in this case.

Oh, and holy shit these are the brightest/loudest pickups ever.  It's like a single coil on 11...or maybe 37. It doesn't look the part, but this thing DOOMs.  ;D

Open Discussion / So apparently Fulltone is closing up...
« on: August 25, 2022, 11:46:56 AM »

Still seems to be a tiny bit of doubt that this is happening, but it appears to be true.

Can't wait for the market to flood with (even more) OCD clones.  ;D

Open Discussion / Line6 DL4 Mark II
« on: March 22, 2022, 02:09:51 PM »
Looks pretty rad.

The DL4 MkII honors that legacy by including every one of those original sounds and features, and retaining the same knob and footswitch layout, so there's no need for DL4 users to learn any new movesóbut the DL4 MkII also introduces many new sounds and features that bring it fully into the 21st century. The 15 MkII delays were drawn from our HXTM family of amp and effects processors and include Line 6 originals such as Harmony Delay, Pitch Echo, Euclidian Delay, Glitch Delay and ADT tape delay, as well as 4-Switch and 1-Switch loopers with up to 240 seconds of record time, expandable to several hours using an optional microSD card.

The DL4 MkII also features an XLR dynamic microphone input for vocal processing and looping; MIDI capabilities such as real time parameter control and preset selection (up to 128) via its MIDI In and Out/Thru DIN connectors; four heavy duty footswitches with colored halo rings; and switchable true, buffered, or DSP bypass. There's also a jack for connecting an optional expression pedal (automatically assigned to the Delay Time, Repeat, Tweak, Tweez, or Mix controls) or two assignable external footswitches.

Finally, although the DL4 MkII does everything that the original DL4 does (other than run on batteries), plus so much more, it is considerably smaller and lighter, making it an even more appealing choice for modern musicians of all types.

Identical knob and footswitch layout as the original DL4
30 Delay options: 15 new MkII plus 15 Legacy DL4
2 Loopersómono/stereo and pre/post signal path options
Up to 240 seconds of looping time, or several hours with optional microSD card
XLR dynamic microphone input for vocal processing and looping
MIDI In, Out/Thru DIN connectorsóreceives PC and CC messages
128 Presets via MIDI, with footswitch control of up to six
Switchable true, buffered, or DSP bypass
Input for optional expression pedal or two additional footswitches

Build Reports / FFX Delay Prototype
« on: February 19, 2022, 10:52:12 PM »
This is not anywhere near final art or even the actual name of the pedal, but I liked how this came out. Been working on the circuit since June 2021, and it's just about done. Few minor tweaks left, but it's just part values at this point. I'm really happy with how it turned out. Quick demo:

Since this is a DIY forum, I'd like to share some of the details on how this is not just another "by the datasheet" PT2399. A long time ago, I played around with a super-simplified PT circuit that didn't have input or output buffers and only used one of the PT's internal op amps. The goal was a delay with the minimum of parts. It worked out great, and was a really fun DIY project, but I wanted to take that idea to the next level.

But I wanted to keep the idea of just using the one internal op amp, and making up for it with some external filtering. So I added two filters in series for the delay output: a Sallen-Key active filter that you'd normally see in an analog delay, and also a simple one-pole variable low-pass filter. Then I added a simple LFO to provide some modulation (modified version of the EA Trem LFO).

I used my little Neje Master 2 hobby laser (5.5W) to do the art on the box. Backfilled with acrylic paint. 

Open Discussion / NAD - Mesa Fillmore 25
« on: February 11, 2022, 03:17:34 PM »
I spent all of 2021 purging gear (so much so that I got a 1099-K from Reverb), so of course it was time to complete the circle with a new purchase.  ;D

This is the Fillmore 25, which is supposedly an old design from the early Mark I era days of Mesa. Definitely does not sound like any of the Mark amps or the many derivative models and lines. It's much more Fendery (but the breakup is great). Also, the tone stack does not at all behave/interact like most Mesa amps. It's a nice change, frankly. I'm not afraid to change the settings on this one like I am on the Mark V:25.  ;D

I've only played it for a couple of hours, and of course it's still honeymoon territory, but I do like it quite a bit. This is going to be replacing my Princeton, for sure (anybody want a lightly used 68 RI Princeton?).  It can do that clean Fender sound (with tube reverb, no less) but also a whole lot more. It also takes up les space, which is always an issue for me.

In the Hi mode and with Gain dimed, it maxes out at around what I would call a medium-heavy overdrive. Definitely not a modern metal sound, but it can do 70s and early 80s hard rock pretty well. Actually, so far, I don't hear a whole lot of difference between the Drive and Hi modes. Hi has a little bit more compression and sustain, but gain-wise it's nearly identical to my ears. I actually think I like the overall sound of Drive mode better, but we'll see with some more time.

Apparently this thing was designed with edge of breakup / dynamic breakup in mind. It does this really well.

Things I would change: I don't have many gripes so far, but I'd love it if the reverb controls (one for each channel) were on the front panel. Also, it would be cool if they had a multi-watt switch option for 25w / 10w, but I can live without that. One last annoyance: the "Boogie" nameplate letters are painted on rather than being emossed/3D like on other Boogie-designated amps. Not the end of the world, but kinda lame for a pricey amp.

Open Discussion / Small Bear is being acquired (by SynthCube)
« on: January 07, 2022, 04:08:12 PM »
Read all about it:

Dear Friends and Customers:

Small Bear is excited to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle to be acquired by synthCube.

Following a final agreement, Small Bear customers will be able to continue ordering directly from the Small Bear webstore, as soon as arrangements have been completed for synthCube to accept and fill those orders. Please note that it is likely to take a few months for synthCube to receive our remaining stock in Massachusetts, get it organized on their premises and re-stock depleted items.

We expect that the combination of Small Bear and synthCube will provide expanded parts selection for DIY audio enthusiasts, including makers of stompboxes, modular synths, amps and more.

The combined company will continue to serve both hobbyists and commercial accounts. Small to mid-size stompbox, modular synth and DIY audio companies will continue to find deep inventory and competitive prices for components purchased in bulk, with a particular focus on analog and digital components specific to audio DIY.

Please watch this space for updates as we build our partnership.

Steve, Judy and the Small Bear Team

Open Discussion / Anybody got a factory Ibanez SD9 schematic?
« on: September 26, 2021, 10:09:21 PM »
Trying to troubleshoot a non-working SD9 for a buddy. I need a factory schematic because the part numbers matter. This one is MIJ.

All I can find are schematics from GGG and Dirk Hendrik. Anybody got a source or a file they can email me?


Build Reports / Mucking around with a JFET boost design
« on: June 30, 2021, 09:16:51 PM »
This is the first build of an idea I've had for a while. Still have a couple issues to correct, but overall I'm happy with it.

Simple JFET boost concept with an input cap switch. But also has a "drive" switch that toggles in a set of clipping diodes and a master volume control. The boost alone is pretty clean up to a certain point and then gets a bit dirty. The clippers obviously give it a bit more of an overdrive sound, so it can sort of pull double duty on a small board.

Got the box from Smallbear as a closeout color on the cheap. Laser etched the graphics with a NEJE Master 2 (5.5-watt diode laser), which is definitely the best of the cheapo diode lasers I've tried over the past 3-4 years. Combined with Lightburn software, this thing is quite passable as a pedal art platform. Two passes a medium-slow speed and 80% power gets down to bare metal (took about 30 minutes for this pedal, more if you have more complex art). Good for personal stuff, but not really fast enough for commercial opps.

Might end up as an Function f(x) product, idk.  ;D

Build Reports / Modulated Echo - Spatial Edition
« on: March 31, 2021, 01:46:50 PM »
I'll be releasing this as a DIY project at some point in the near future, but wanted to post the first build now since I liked how (almost) everything turned out. Sound clips are in the works.

The base delay circuit is one that I and earthtonesaudio (of DIYstomboxes fame) came up with several years ago, and as I recall, it was the inspiration for madbean's Cave Dweller project. I had initially intended the original as a pseudo-reverb type of effect (short delay time and loads of feedback), but it also works out pretty well as a longer delay. Then recently I was playing around with a CD40106 oscillator and working on getting the wave shape to resemble something usable for modulation effects (triangle shape, at least), and I wondered how it would work with a PT2399 to wiggle the delay time. I still need to hook it up to my scope and have a look, but it seems to get pretty close to a triangle, if not a little bit more like a sawtooth.

To cut to the chase, it works pretty well with a PT2399, so I boxed it all up. I did the LFO as an on-the-fly perf layout, and I'm quite pleased with how that turned out. PCB for the delay was one already populated that has been kicking around my work bench for years now. I'll be doing a new integrated PCB that puts everything together. Still have a few minor things to work out, but the circuit is 95% done. More details to come!

The Depth and Time controls are highly interactive because of how it's set up. It's odd, but also offers a lot of flexibility on the tone of the repeats because as the Time control is increased, there is more and more low-pass filtering of the delay line. So you can turner that back a bit and then crank the Depth and get longer, clearer repeats. Or you do the opposite and get darker, more  BBD-like filtered repeats. Modulation ranges from mild to borderline insane.

The enclosure is etched with my little hobby laser (5w) and then backfilled with acrylic paint. I found the graphic on a stock image site and thought it would be cool on a pedal. I did white on the top, and white and gold on the bottom plate. Gold looks pretty solid on a blue box.

Definitely had to compromise on control layout because of using a PCB not designed for this kind of application. Perf LFO uses board-mounted pots for stability. Miscalculated the drill spot for the DC jack (classic culturejam!), so that's fugly. But this is a true prototype sort of build, so I don't mind.

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