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Messages - ahiddentableau

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General Questions / Re: What does a Pig Butt sound like?
« on: March 03, 2018, 10:22:30 PM »
It's bassy.  And it's got more sizzle/saturation than a transistor BMP.  So long as you can deal with the low end it's awesome.  One of my favorite pedals.

With regard to cost, I guess it depends on how you're looking at things.

If you're just doing one FF and have no future plans to make other fuzzes, then I'd say bite the bullet and just pay Small Bear or another reputable seller for a set you like the look of.  Sure, they're expensive, but you know you're getting the good stuff and you don't have to expend all kinds of time and effort sorting things yourself.

If you're going to do multiple builds, then it can make sense to source and sort your own supply.  This is more involved than you might like or immediately recognize.  It means you have to:

1) Source your transistors
2) Build a test circuit
3) Use the test circuit to sort your raw stock so you can use it intelligently

This is kind of involved.  It's not difficult, but it is time consuming.  So if you're not in it for the love, it's almost certaintly not worth it.

If you're going to do it for the love, then some comments regarding those three considerations:

1) Sourcing: If you look on eBay, for instance, there are sellers who sell raw stock.  The thing you have to accept is that you are, in fact, buying raw stock!  This means you're paying for 10 or 20 or 50 transistors at a time, and at the end of the day only 20-30% are going to be useable.  The level of variability is high.  You might get entire lots that are basically junk.  You might luck out and get a lot that are mostly keepers.  But the burn rate is high.  Understanding this in advance is important.

2) R.G. Keen has a simple circuit for testing Ge transistors.  It's on GEOFEX and is worth looking at in any case.  Lots of great info on Ge devices (thank you Mr. Keen).  But if you're going to build it you have to buy a specialized resistor (I think it's 2.49K 1% but don't hold me to that) to make the math work out.  This is easy to get from Mouser, but it takes time to get.  Another headache buying a set avoids.

3)  Then you have to actually measure all the devices.  This is also tedious.  Another headache.  It also gives you a good sense of just how temperature dependant germaniums are.  You'll have the device in the sockets and just the lightest touch will send the readings all over creation.  What I'm saying is, the testing is itself tempermental and seems to drive some people crazy.  Are you one of those people?  If so: buy a set!

All that said, I don't regret sourcing and testing my own supply.  I like cork sniffing, it turns out, even in a situation like this where the result is that I find out I don't think it ends up making a difference.  And now I have a healthy supply of tested devices for future builds.  If that appeals to you, then do it!

tl;dr version: it's a pain, so buy a set if you're not prepared to invest more time and money than you think you'll need to invest.

As far as devices go, I've had good luck with 2N404s and AC170s.  The 2N404s I sourced were especially consistent.  But YMMV.  It will vary.  Almost certaintly!

General Questions / Total Recall - Potential for Rate Control Question
« on: February 25, 2018, 02:45:22 PM »
I recently finished my Total Recall build and it turned out great.  Now I'm wondering about mods.  The most obvious mod I have in mind is adding a rate control to the mod section of the circuit.  Looking through schematics from other mod pedals and delays with modulation makes this look pretty straightforward: replace R51 with a 1Meg pot and a resistor to set a floor - this is what the Dirtbaby does. 

My problem is that this is so straightforward that I'm wondering if I'm missing something.  Why else wouldn't this be included as an option in the TR project?  Being true to the original?  I don't want to start mangling my build just because I'm failing to see the obvious.  Please advise!

When I built my FF last year I went a bit crazy with germaniums.  I bought 7 or 8 different types, then built R.G. Keen's test circuit and tested them all.  After a long A/B process, I'm (oddly) disappointed to say that I think the type of germ matters hardly at all.  Two pairs with similar gain and leakage will give you the same sound and response.

So my advice is don't bother focusing on type.  Focus on gain and leakage.  That's what matters.

Good luck!

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