Author Topic: Custom pedal looper  (Read 1933 times)

Muadzin

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Custom pedal looper
« on: January 27, 2015, 04:13:12 AM »
New custom looper day!





I will be upgrading this mess of a board to a new pedal train board soon and figured it could use a new looper to minimize current tap dancing.



The current custom looper I used only had 3 loops, pitchshift, dirt and modulation and it was becoming a chore having to do the extra tapdancing to handle the delays and harmonizer. A new looper was needed. The main problem being that my harmonizer and delays are run in stereo. So a solution had to be found to able to switch in stereo with a single stomp, which seemed to be rare as all DIY switching seems to be mono, and of course the signal had to be split at some point in the chain.

Ultimately I decided on the following chain that I felt was necessary for my needs.
- Loop 1 pitchshift, mono: mostly Whammy and the Bit Commander, the latter will probably be replaced by an EHX Pitchfork
- Loop 2 dirt, mono: not so much a single on/off loop as an double A/B loop which switches between a loop with my dirt pedals and a loop for clean sounds. Oddly enough I also placed a Big Muff ?Lady clone in this loop set for leads Preamp Send/Return, mono: I've been using an AMT F1 preamp as the basis of my sound lately between dirt and basically the rest. The AMT gives me the sound of a Fender Twin and allows me to either go directly into a mixing desk using its cab sim simulator or go directly into a set of EHX Magnum 44 power amps and whatever cabinets are available. Thus eliminating my need to haul extra amps along. Which I've done quite enough over the years, thank you very much!
- Loop 3 modulation, mono: Everything that goes swirly, woosh and chop chop. I'm thinking of adding a TC Electronic Dreamscape to add flanger, chorus and vibrato for even more swirly and woosh.
- Loop 4 harmonizer, stereo: Eventide Pitchfactor. Expensive as hell, but its one of the few harmonizers that will do more exotic scales then just major and minor. Does also a shitload of other stuff that scares me. Sometimes I lay awake at night, thinking how much it can do. And if it watches me thinking of it. I always catch it watching me......
- Loop 5 delays and reverb: because I worship at the altar of the Edge so I'm a delay whore. The nova delay is awesome! It would be even more awesome if it did both filter delay and had a looping function, then I could chug the Line6. Which is both huge and demands a separate power source.

This in itself would have been a herculean task, 21 jacks had to be wired up, but no, I had to be even more ambitious. There obviously had to be a splitter between loops 3 and 4 to go from mono to stereo. I choose the AMZ 2 channel splitter (http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.nl/2014/08/amz-2-channel-splitter.html). I also wanted to include a repeater buffer that would come after loop 2 so my dirt boxes would play nice with the stuff that would come afterwards. Luckily my only exploits into designing a vero layout was such a thing exactly (http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r19/Muad_zin/repeaterbufferV4.jpg). For further madness I also wanted to include an EP-3 preamp (http://tagboardeffects.blogspot.nl/2014/05/a-pair-o-preamps-echoplex-and-tillman.html), because I like things that give more brightness and clarity to my guitarsound, because I'm not into bassy dark sounds. Or maybe I'm just getting deaf (you think the sound at a concert is too bright and shrill? Explanation: a FOH sound engineer with hearing damage (higher frequencies are the first to go)). Anyway, I chose the version with the 18v chargepump for extra headroom. While the buffer and splitter are always on I decided to make the preamp switchable. In case it is too much (and I run into a sound engineer whose hearing is still intact). With so many gizmos I'd reckon that this would make this looper also a multi effect. Because I couldn't find any design for a stereo switch I settled on using a 4PDT switch and wire that up as a double millenium switch, with only one channel controlling the LED. With that much gizmos and stereo routing the wiring could only be a nightmare. And it was.



It took me two full days of soldering just to hook everything up. I spent the entirity of christmass working on this thing. For background entertainment (because I like to have some television on during soldering, as I can generally get the gist of whats on whilst doing something else) I watched (or oldered) during the entire Hobbit trilogy (extended versions of the first two installments) and the entire last season of Doctor Who.

After two days I was finally finished with the inside and it was time to start plugging things up to see if everything was working. With lots of apprehension and dread I fired it up and to my surprise, it being the most complicated build I ever made, there were only a few minor complications that were easily fixed. I have had much simpler circuits give me much greater headaches by comparison. Oddly enough the biggest headache was the LED switching as switching off the LED of loop 1 caused all the other LED's to go off as well. Weird shit that I solved by separating the grounding between the loop 1 LED and the others.

And then it worked.



Didn't have any more decal paper left at that time to do a proper cover so I went for a simpler look at first. But I didn't like it so after I finally managed to get some decal paper I went for something decent. Next stop, unpacking that huge pedal train Grande box standing in my hallway! NHPBD to follow.

alanp

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Re: Custom pedal looper
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 08:58:31 AM »
I'd've thought the Cult Mechanicus would have been more appropriate :)

Pretty sweet build :D
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Hogharry

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Re: Custom pedal looper
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 11:23:06 AM »
 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
I think it's a stellar build and you should be proud of your dedication to detail.

That said, I should make you aware that perfectionism is a recognised psychological condition* and you may need some kind of therapy if this level of awesomeness continues. ;D Actually we could all try for a group discount! Or perhaps channeling it into pedal building is a form of therapy, so we're all sorted.

I am so pleased you went for the final graphic decal, it looks great! :)

*This is true. Don't ask how I know about it unless you really want to hear the answer, it's a long story. :'(
...and then of course I've got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side...

nzCdog

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Re: Custom pedal looper
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 07:41:59 PM »
woah that is intense guts!  awesome build :)