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Lab Series Preamp preorders now available – fully assembled pedal from Alchemy Audio

I know most of us are DIYers, but I wanted to let you all know about this in case 1) the Lab Series L5 Preamp project was a little too intimidating of a build, or 2) you’ve had someone gawk at yours and ask you to build one for them, but you don’t have the stamina to do another one. Here’s the answer!

Alchemy Audio Lab Series L5 Preamp

Alchemy Audio based out of Chicago will be doing a run of 50 fully assembled Lab Series Preamp pedals. I’ve been working with Johnny on the initial prototype, and he’s knocked it out of the park in every way. He’s a very skilled builder who has been doing builds, modifications and repairs for several years and his work is impeccable.

Johnny recently sat down with Reverb.com to do a demo video:

You can preorder from Reverb.com or directly from Alchemy Audio.

Four enclosures left

I still have four more Lab Series enclosures remaining from the group buy this past fall. These are powdercoated, drilled and screenprinted, and with the right hardware, you can build one that looks exactly like the pedal above. Once they’re gone, that’s it, so don’t wait if you are interested!

…and a DC-2 update

Closing in fast. The 17 pages (!) of documentation are complete. Now I just have to do some final testing of the PCB before placing the order with the fabrication company. I’m going to tentatively tell you it’ll be in about 4 weeks (middle of April), but I am hoping to be able to surprise you with an earlier release if things come together.

Filed under Announcements

Which new projects do you want to see in 2017?

2017 is here, and as I mentioned a few months ago, I’m cutting back my hours at my day job so that I can dedicate more time to Aion Electronics. Last year was my best year yet, but with a new house and a new baby over the summer and fall, other than the Lab Series Preamp, I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to devote to new project development.

This year will be different. Now, my first order of business is to get the Dimension C Chorus finished up – and it will be soon. But after that, I’m all ears. It’s up to you!

So, here are the circuits I’m currently exploring. If you could do me a favor and read through them, then check the boxes next to the ones you’re interested in, that will help me prioritize.

New projects for 2017

Filed under News

SALE: 20% off PCBs November 24-28, plus 3 new projects

Black Friday Sale

PCBs are 20% off from now through the end of the day Monday, November 28! No coupon is required. The sale excludes bypass PCBs, but the Lab Series L5 Preamp is included!

Projects →

Three new projects

I have three new projects available now. (Yes, they are included in the sale!)

EHX Op-Amp Big Muff Pi - Aion Corvus FuzzCorvus / ’77 Big Muff Op Amp

The Corvus Fuzz is a replica of the 1977 Big Muff Pi redesign that used op-amps instead of bipolar transistors. It was designed by Howard Davis and was available from 1977-1980. It’s been described as having a harder edge, more of a “grinding” sound than the original Big Muff Pi which is smoother. It’s most well-known as the pedal behind the guitar tone on Smashing Pumpkins’ 1993 album Siamese Dream.

View the Corvus Fuzz →

MI Audio Crunch Box PCB - Crescent DistortionCrescent / MI Audio Crunch Box

The Crescent Distortion is inspired by the MI Audio Crunch Box. The Crunch Box started out as a tweaked Bluesbreaker with some inspiration from the OCD, and quickly gained traction as one of the best high-gain “stack of amps” pedals on the market. While the Crescent Distortion is not a direct clone of the Crunch Box, it is most similar to Version 3, but with an added option for 18V operation using a charge pump as well as an external “Presence” control.

View the Crescent Distortion →

Suhr Riot DIY PCB - Fusion DistortionFusion / Suhr® Riot Distortion™

The Fusion Distortion is inspired by the Suhr® Riot Distortion™, which itself started out as a tweaked clone of the MI Audio Crunch Box and has a similar Marshall-like flavor. The Fusion is not a direct clone of either the original Riot or its successor, the Riot Reloaded. It’s most similar to the original version, but with an added option for 18V operation using a charge pump as well as an internal “Presence” control which the original does not have. Aion Electronics has no affiliation with Suhr® or JS Technologies. Riot Distortion™ is a trademark of JS Technologies.

View the Fusion Distortion →

What about the Boss DC-2?

This is still in progress. I have what I think is the finalized PCB design, but it still needs to be thoroughly tested and the documentation needs to be written. In the past three months I’ve moved to a new house and had a baby, so it’s been all I could do just to keep up with orders! I expect the DC-2 project to be released sometime in January or February 2017, once things level out a bit at home.

Speaking of 2017: starting January 1, I’ll be dropping my hours at my day job, taking Fridays off to focus on Aion Electronics. Things have been going very well this past year: I’ve not only been able to release several new and exciting circuits that have been well-received, but I’ve also been contracted to design a series of pedals for a few companies that you have definitely heard of. By taking Fridays off, it will give me the time I need to focus on creating new projects and doing contracted design work.

The DC-2 will be the “flagship” of next year, but I have a lot more projects partially completed that I am excited to finish up. Much less on the distortion/overdrive side of things and more on the modulation. It’s going to be an exciting year!

Filed under Announcements

Lab Series Preamp project enclosures available for a limited time – signups close July 11, 2016

Since I first released my Lab Series L5 Preamp project, several dozen people have asked me whether they can buy the enclosure along with the PCB and nameplate in order to replicate my prototype build.

So, I decided to do a limited run of these enclosures. Here’s what they look like.

The only differences from my prototype unit are that these enclosures are in a matte black color and that they have “9V AC ONLY” printed on the back near the power jack.

The enclosures will cost approximately $38 each, though I haven’t gotten a final quote yet so that number may shift by a few dollars. Shipping to the USA will be around $6, but unfortunately shipping outside the USA will be at least $25, possibly as much as $30. The enclosure is just above the weight cut-off where international pricing jumps from $12.50 to $25 and I am not sure what the total package weight would be yet.

If you’re interested, please fill out the interest form below. This is not a preorder and you do not have to pay anything until the enclosures are in my hands and ready to ship. However, I will place my final order based on this number, so please don’t fill out the form unless you intend to buy one! Also, please note that even if you have told me already that you want one, you still need to fill out this form! It’s the only way I can get an accurate list of people, and it saves me a great deal of time digging through my email and searching the forums.

Aion Electronics is not well-equipped to stock and ship the enclosures—keep in mind that everything else I sell is small and flat!—so this will be one-time offering and not a permanent product. Once I close signups and place the order next week, the other options for getting an enclosure would be to order a one-off through Pedal Parts Plus (which would cost around $50 plus a lot of your time for coordination) or for someone to organize a group buy via Mammoth Electronics, which is a little cheaper but has a 10-enclosure minimum for custom printing.

Please fill out the interest form below to let me know you want one. I’ll place the order on Monday, July 11, so signups will be open until then. Thank you!


Lab Series L5 Preamp Enclosure Interest Form

Filed under Announcements

Refractor (Klon Centaur) back in stock, 20% off through June 22

Refractor restock

The Refractor (Klon Centaur) has been out of stock all this month, but after a few manufacturing delays it’s finally back. It now has a very cool matte black solder mask instead of the previous gloss black.

Until June 22, the Refractor will be 20% off for any number of boards. Enter the coupon code CARDTABLE at checkout to apply the discount!

View the Refractor Overdrive project

Lab Series enclosures

I’m planning to do a limited run of enclosures for the Lab Series L5 Preamp that look identical to the prototype unit shown on the project page. I’ll receive the sample enclosure next week, and if it meets my standards, I’ll send out an email asking for a head count of people who are interested. This will not be a permanent product, just a one-time offering. Stay tuned!

Coming soon: Boss DC-2 Dimension C chorus

Next up in the Pro Collection is the Boss DC-2 Dimension C chorus. I’m building the prototyping unit right now, and it’s hard to say exactly when the project will be ready for release, but I am hoping for sometime in August.

Filed under Announcements

Introducing the “Pro Collection” of DIY projects

Looking for something to challenge your building skills? The Pro Collection is a line of DIY projects designed for the expert pedal-builder who wants something a little out of the ordinary. They are designed like professional pedals with specific assembly techniques and components used, and they also come with artwork files if you want to get the enclosures professionally screenprinted.

Lab Series L5 Preamp

Lab Series L5 Preamp PedalThe Lab Series was a line of solid-state guitar and bass amplifiers designed by Moog in the late 1970s. They are the product of a few years of research into the sonic characteristics of tube amplifiers on top of Moog’s already-vast expertise in analog audio design.

This project is a replica of the preamp section of the L5 guitar amp, which is where all of the unique character comes from in the amp. In addition to some really interesting filter design work, it also features a unique OTA-based overdrive which has never been used outside of these amps to my knowledge. The result is an effect that is the very definition of “amp-like”… because it is one.

This pedal can be used as a deluxe overdrive effect if the levels are kept low. But it’s more than capable of driving a power amp by itself, and that’s going to be where it shines.

l5pre_pcb_populatedNow for the fun part: Twelve knobs, 80 resistors and 50 capacitors. It’s designed for a 1790-sized enclosure—think Electro-Harmonix “XO” series. It’s not a difficult or finicky circuit, but it’s going to be a lot of soldering and you have to be very careful because one resistor of the wrong value could take a very long time to debug. If you’re willing to put in the time, though, all the information is provided for you to end up with something that looks just like the photo above.

I’ve made a spreadsheet of the parts so you can very easily order most of what you need from Mouser. The remaining items can be obtained from Small Bear or Mammoth Electronics in the United States or any of the major European part stores. There are no “unobtainium” or mojo NOS parts to hunt down.

The screenprint artwork for the above pedal is available for download and can be sent directly to Pedal Parts Plus or modified to taste using Adobe Illustrator. (Note that the text is in black so it can be seen in the PDF. If you’d like to print it as white on a dark enclosure, just tell them to change it to white during the printing process and they can take care of it.)

Logo nameplates

I also came up with something extra for this project since it’s such a special one to me:

logoplate

These are ultra-high-resolution aluminum nameplates featuring the original Lab Series logo. They’re $5.00 each, and they come with the screws and nuts for mounting to the enclosure (one black screw and one silver screw to match the colors). The screenprint artwork has been designed with the nameplate in mind, and the drill marks are built into the artwork.

Next up: Boss Dimension C

The next release in the Pro Collection will be the Boss DC-2 Dimension C. This circuit is legendary for two reasons: first, it’s considered by many to be the best analog chorus ever made, favored by guitarists and keyboard players alike; and second, it’s enormously complicated—probably the most densely-packed PCB of any commercial pedal. Because of this, it’s never had a proper DIY clone PCB.

All that will change in about two months! This is going to be a fun one: I started out with the design rules that 1) it had to be no bigger than the original Boss unit, 2) it had to have all the same functions as the original, 3) it couldn’t use any SMD, and 4) it had to use all flat 1/4W resistors instead of the stand-up 1/8Ws of the original. It also supports either the original MN3207 BBD or the higher-headroom MN3007, and it has two different choices for the bypass method.

Stay tuned!

Filed under Announcements

Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2015: 20% off PCBs!

This weekend only, all PCBs (excluding bypass boards) are 20% off! The discount is automatic, so no need for a coupon code. Sale ends Monday, Nov. 30 at midnight (6:00 GMT December 1).

I have a large restock order expected to arrive on Wednesday, so your order may not ship until December 3 if it contains one of the following projects:

  • Refractor
  • Titan
  • Procyon
  • Azimuth
  • Lumin
  • Aurora
  • Halo

 

Filed under General, News

New projects for Valentine’s Day

Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey last week! (If you haven’t done it yet, please do! Here’s the link.) As promised, I’ve got three new projects that are available today. All of these projects have detailed circuit history and analysis on the page as well, so there’s plenty to read about.


Ibanez ST-9 Super Tube Screamer / Cirrus Overdrive PCBCirrus Overdrive (Ibanez ST-9 Super Tube Screamer)

The Super Tube Screamer is a very rare TS variant that was only released in Europe and Japan in the mid-80s and only in extremely limited quantities. It’s a standard Tube Screamer with a semi-parametric midrange boost before the clipping section. Very cool circuit. The STL Super Tube is very similar and you can build either version with this PCB.

View the Cirrus Overdrive project →


Ibanez MT-10 Mostortion / Quantum Distortion PCBQuantum Overdrive (Ibanez MT-10 Mostortion)

The Mostortion was a late addition to the “10 Series” in the early 90s. Similar topology to a Tube Screamer, but it has a 3-band EQ like you’d find on an amp as well as a unique MOSFET op-amp. This one never got a lot of attention but it’s a fantastic circuit. It uses onboard 9mm pots for a five-knob layout in a 1590B.

View the Quantum Overdrive project →


Maxon OD-880 Overdrive Soft Distortion / Quark Overdrive PCBQuark Overdrive (Maxon OD-880)

The Maxon OD-880 was released in 1976 and is sort of a transitional circuit (or hybrid) between the MXR Distortion+ and the Boss OD-1 OverDrive. It has hard-clipping diodes like the Dist+, but also adds an input buffer and a gain recovery stage, and gain is adjusted via a feedback resistor (like a Tube Screamer) rather than the inverting input ground resistor. This project has an EQ switch to control the bass and gain structure as well as a clipping diode switch.

View the Quark Overdrive project →


Micro 3PDT Bypass PCBMicro 3PDT Bypass in yellow

These micro 3PDT bypass boards are the smallest bypass PCBS out there. They were already available in blue, red and white, but now you can get them in yellow as well. This way you can match the color of any of my PCB projects.

View the Micro 3PDT Bypass project →


Restocks are also available for the Nimbus (Maxon OD-820) and Prism (Boss FA-1) projects. The Stratus (Tube Screamer) is currently out of stock, but a redesigned V2 will be available with the next round of releases in about a month. (No more running wires across the board to use the switch mods!)

As always, shipping is only $2 to the United States and $4 to the rest of the world, no matter how many PCBs you buy.

Filed under Announcements

Three new projects for the new year

You may notice that this announcement is surrounded by a brand new Aion Electronics website. More on that in a different post—there are three new projects we need to talk about!


Pearl OD-05 / Fractal Overdrive PCBFractal Overdrive (Pearl OD-05)

I’m super excited about this one. The Pearl OD-05 is a fairly obscure effect from the early 80’s—a TS-type clipping stage with a cut/boost parametric EQ in front of it. It sounds incredible, and you can wrestle tons of great sounds out of it without much trouble… but it’s never been commercially cloned, and it’s never really grabbed the attention of the DIY community. (It doesn’t help that every schematic out there is incorrect or incomplete.)

View the Fractal Overdrive project →


Ross / Dyna Compressor PCB - Aurora CompressorAurora Compressor (Ross/Dyna Comp)

Another big one—the Dyna/Ross circuit holds the distinction of being the most enduring guitar compressor circuit out there in its over 40 year history. This is a particular favorite of mine, and while this project is not a DIY version of my Aion Compressor, it’s not far off. You can build a spot-on Keeley Compressor clone with this PCB, and it also has a treble switch mod built in so you can get some really cool 60’s jangly sounds with it.

View the Aurora Compressor project →


BBE Sonic Stomp Maximizer PCB / Lumin EqualizerLumin Equalizer (BBE Sonic Maximizer)

This is a DIY workalike of the BBE Sonic Maximizer / Sonic Stomp. It’s based around a state variable filter that splits the signal into bass, mid and treble and adjusts the phase response of each of them before combining them back into one signal. The effect is similar to an equalizer or the presence control on an amp, but not quite the same as either. Based on the Bajaman “Sonic Stump” project, but with the addition of two switches to control the high and low cutoff frequencies as well as a Midrange knob.

View the Lumin Equalizer project →


3pdt_pcb_whiteMicro 3PDT Bypass PCBs in white

Another new color for the Micro 3PDT Bypass PCBs in addition to red and blue. I plan to add yellow in the coming months so that you can get a bypass PCB that matches any project you order from here. These are the smallest 3PDT bypass boards out there and are only $2 each.

View the Micro 3PDT Bypass page →


As always, shipping is only $2 to the United States and $4 to the rest of the world, no matter how many PCBs you buy.

I’ve got a whole lot more up my sleeves for 2015. The new projects aren’t going to stop coming, and in fact I have no less than eight PCBs in the queue just waiting to be prototyped and documented, and four more that are in the design process. Ambitious? Maybe. But there are a lot of cool pedals from the 70s and 80s that haven’t really hit the DIY scene yet that I’m excited to introduce. Keep watching!

Filed under Announcements

More new projects for November

I mentioned in my last update that you hadn’t seen the last of the new projects for the year. Here’s the latest!


Marshall Guv'nor / Drivemaster / Equinox Overdrive PCBEquinox Overdrive / Marshall Guv’nor

Marshall’s first compact overdrive pedal, which was later re-released as the Drivemaster, has a 3-band EQ alongside standard Drive & Volume controls. This PCB uses compact 9mm pots so the 5-knob layout fits inside a 1590B enclosure.

View the Equinox Overdrive project →


Aion Solstice - Marshall Shredmaster PCBSolstice Distortion / Marshall Shredmaster

The Marshall Shredmaster is the drive pedal most associated with Radiohead, being used by Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood on The Bends and OK Computer. Like the Guv’nor, this layout uses 9mm pots to allow for five knobs in a 1590B.

View the Solstice Distortion project →


Aphelion - MXR Distortion Plus, DOD 250Aphelion Distortion / MXR Distortion+, DOD 250

The Distortion+ first came out in 1973 and could be considered the grandfather of modern distortion pedals like the Boss DS-1, Ibanez SD-9 and OCD. It’s a pretty simple circuit, but three switch mods help to keep things interesting.

View the Aphelion Distortion project →


Solaris - Fuzz Face DIY PCB ProjectSolaris Fuzz / Dallas-Arbiter Fuzz Face

Speaking of grandfathers, the Fuzz Face could be considered the grandfather of the entire stompbox industry, first released nearly 50 years ago. I designed this project to be the end-all Fuzz Face, incorporating every mod I could think of, but without deviating from the legendary tone.

View the Solaris Fuzz project →


3pdt_pcb_redMicro 3PDT Bypass Boards in red

If you didn’t catch my last update, I’ve got micro 3PDT bypass boards available now for only $2 each. The first run was only in blue, but red ones are now available as well. I eventually plan on having yellow and white as well, so watch for those too!

View the Micro 3PDT Bypass project →


As always, shipping is only $2 to the United States and $4 to the rest of the world, no matter how many PCBs you buy.

Thanks for your support!

Filed under Announcements

Four new PCB projects for fall… plus 3PDT bypass boards!

It’s been exactly one year since I started offering these projects and the response has been incredible. Thanks to everyone who has gotten a board (or five), liked it and told others about it! But with all that, it’s also been nearly a year since I released any new projects. No longer! Four new PCBs are now in stock and available on the site, along with two more “mini” projects (3PDT wiring boards).

As always, shipping is only $2 to the United States and $4 to the rest of the world, no matter how many PCBs you buy. Here are the projects:

Boss OD-1 OverDrive / Corona Overdrive PCBCorona Overdrive / BOSS OD-1

A clone of the very first BOSS compact pedal from all the way back in 1977. This was actually the first circuit to use op-amp feedback clipping diodes, predating the Tube Screamer by at least a year, and it’s a great little pedal. It has the standard clipping diode mod, as well as an EQ mod that changes the high-pass filter in the feedback loop which affects the gain structure and low end.

View the Corona Overdrive project →


Chroma Equalizer / Boss SP-1 Spectrum DIY PCB ProjectChroma Equalizer / BOSS SP-1 Spectrum

So I lied—there were actually three “first BOSS compact pedals” that were all released at the same time in 1977. The SP-1 Spectrum was another one in that group. It’s a semi-parametric equalizer with two controls: frequency and balance/mix. This is one of the rarest Boss pedals out there, regularly selling for $500+ on eBay—and this is the only DIY project available anywhere for it.

View the Chroma Equalizer project →


Comet / Boss DS-1 Distortion DIY PCB ProjectComet Distortion / BOSS DS-1

More vintage Boss! After the success of the initial line of compact pedals, the BOSS DS-1 Distortion was released in 1978. The circuit is essentially a mash-up of a RAT, Big Muff and Distortion+, and while the current Taiwanese model (after 1994) is pretty hard to listen to, the original Japanese units were amazing. This PCB supports either the vintage or modern version, and has a clipping diode mod.

View the Comet Distortion project →


Meteor / Ibanez SD-9 Sonic Distortion DIY PCB ProjectMeteor Distortion / Ibanez SD-9

The Ibanez/Maxon SD-9 Sonic Distortion hit the market in 1983. It was originally advertised as a heavier version of the Tube Screamer, but it shares nothing in common with the TS9—it’s closer to the BOSS DS-1 or MXR Distortion+ than anything. This project allows you to build the original SD-9 (which is different from the current reissue) and has switch mods for clipping diodes and midrange.

View the Meteor Distortion project →


Micro 3PDT Bypass PCBMicro 3PDT Bypass Boards

These little guys are the smallest 3PDT bypass boards out there, at only 0.65″ x 0.75″. They makes true-bypass wiring dead simple, and the pads match up directly with all of my PCB projects. Right now they’re only available in blue, but watch for more colors to trickle in this fall—eventually you’ll be able to get one to match whatever color of PCB you’re using. (Switch not included!)

View the Micro 3PDT Bypass project →


3PDT Klon Centaur Bypass PCBRefractor (Centaur) Bypass Boards

If you’ve built my Refractor project or any other Centaur clone, you know the most frustrating part is cramming those resistors onto the bypass switch. Those days are behind you! Drop one of these PCBs onto a 3PDT switch (not included) and it’ll take no time to wire up. These were designed for the Refractor project, and have a black solder mask to match, but they’ll work for any Centaur clone project.

View the Refractor 3PDT Bypass project →


 

That’s what I’ve got for now, but I have a lot of stuff planned for this fall—there will be more projects to come still in 2014. Stay tuned!

Filed under Announcements



Spring updates (plus free shipping sale)

Spring is here! It’s been awhile since I posted an update, so I wanted to write a note about what’s been happening lately.

Free shipping on 2 or more boards

For starters, through the end of the month (March 31) I’m running a small sale: free shipping worldwide if you order 2 or more boards. Enter the code “SPRINGFREE” when you check out and it’ll be applied. (Note that due to a quirk of the store system, you will still need to choose “Free Shipping” from the select list after entering the coupon.)

Restocks

Around the beginning of the year I was having trouble keeping the Refractor (Klon Centaur), Cerulean (Bluesbreaker) and Stratus (Tube Screamer) in stock. I’ve got enough on-hand now to last for a long time, so if any of these were unavailable last time you checked, they’re available now.

Cerulean (Bluesbreaker) PCB revision

The Cerulean project has been updated following a couple of reports of bypass switch popping. Apparently this a problem in Bluesbreaker PCBs from other DIY sites as well. More information is available on the Cerulean project page and in the revised documentation, including how to fix this on a pre-revision PCB.

250k dual pots for Nimbus (OD-820) at Small Bear

Steve at Small Bear Electronics has started stocking 250k linear dual PCB-mount pots for my Nimbus (Maxon OD-820) project. (Up until now you had to get the pots from Tayda and do some tedious soldering if you wanted it to be PCB-mounted.)

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thank you for your support!

Filed under Announcements

Building a custom overdrive pedal for Mike Weiss of mewithoutYou

For about eight years now, mewithoutYou has been my favorite band. They’ve been a huge influence on me both musically and personally. This past summer, after I’d been building my own pedals for a few years, the thought occurred to me that I might be able to give something back besides a few dollars every time they come through Iowa. So I got in touch with their manager and asked if I could build a custom pedal for Mike Weiss, their lead guitarist. It was a blank check—anything you want just as long as you’ll use it!

Within a couple of days, Mike sent me an email saying that his main overdrive (a Fulltone Fulldrive 2) had just quit working and he was in the market for a new drive pedal. So all of a sudden I have the opportunity for my pedal to be a big part of my favorite guitar tone by my favorite guitarist. Pretty surreal.

I didn’t want to mess with perfection—a Tube Screamer flavor into an AC-30—so I sent him two TS-based pedals to try out. The first was a single-channel Fulldrive clone and the second was a Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive. After playing with them for awhile, he preferred the LDO, so that was the variant I ended up building. Here’s how it turned out:

mewithoutYou custom overdrive pedal

mewithoutYou custom overdrive pedal

The etching on the front is derived from the Celtic triskelion which goes back a few thousand years. At some point, it was adopted by the church as a Trinitarian symbol and is sometimes seen in Gothic architecture.

I got the pedal to Mike right before they left for their spring tour last week. He’s been playing it every night and sent me a note saying he loves it and it’s working great with his rig. He’s going to try to make a video of it before long, so keep an eye out for more updates.

Here’s how it looks under the hood:

mewithoutYou custom overdrive pedal

I used the Stratus PCB to build it. The documentation for that project include the parts list for a Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive, so there’s nothing top-secret about it. The switch on the left (PCB left, outside right) controls the clipping diodes, which is directly from the LDO. The switch on the right is set up as the “Flat Mids” control from the Fulldrive 2, which reduces the gain and changes the EQ a little.

Anyway, I’m really happy with the way it turned out and excited that I had the opportunity to be a tiny part of the band. This is my favorite custom project I’ve done so far, and I doubt that will change any time soon! (…Unless Mike wants another one.)

Filed under Custom Builds

Aion Compressor on Saturday Night Live with Imagine Dragons

I gave an overview awhile ago of the custom Centaur pedal I built for Wayne Sermon from Imagine Dragons. Not too long after I built that pedal, he wanted to add a compressor to his board and so he ended up with one of mine. I originally thought it was only going to be on his B-rig for smaller shows, but apparently the Grammy Awards and Saturday Night Live count as small. Here’s a shot from “Radioactive” on last night’s SNL:

Aion Compressor on Saturday Night Live with Imagine Dragons

The cameras didn’t ever get too close to the board, but the knobs light up so it’s pretty easy to catch. He had it on the whole time for both songs. The videos are embedded below.

Here’s a picture of his pedalboard that their guitar tech sent me:

Imagine Dragons pedalboard with Aion Compressor and custom Centaur

The compressor is on the top row and the Centaur is the gray one on the bottom. I know he played the same rig at the Grammy Awards last week, so my pedals were onstage there too, but there was too much smoke on the stage to get a good view of the pedalboard. It’s a pretty surreal feeling, to be honest, but it’s very fulfilling to see my stuff being used like this.

Here are the videos of their two performances.

(By the way, Wayne’s guitar was made by a company here in Des Moines called Bilt Guitars. They’re great guys and make a killer product.)

Filed under Artist Sightings, Custom Builds

Custom Centaur pedal for Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons

It’s a long story as to how I got hooked up with Imagine Dragons, but last year I got the opportunity to build a custom Centaur clone for their guitarist, Wayne Sermon. He was putting together a new live rig from the ground up and wanted to include a Centaur, but didn’t want to give up the pedalboard real estate for his original unit. I designed a PCB that would fit into a 1590B-sized enclosure and then built the pedal with an almost antique-looking distressed finish. Here’s how it turned out:

Klon Centaur clone for Imagine Dragons

And here’s the inside:

Inside of the Klon Centaur clone built for Imagine Dragons

After I built the first one, he tested it against his real Centaur. He couldn’t hear any difference between them, and this one is about 1/3 the size, so the real Centaur got the boot. He then asked for another one for his secondary rig. So he actually has two of these now.

I later used this PCB design as the basis for my Refractor PCB project. If you want to build one, you can buy the PCBs right here on the site.

Filed under Custom Builds

New blog

Here it is. I don’t plan on posting too frequently, but I wanted to have a place to post news about Aion Electronics, pictures of custom pedals I’ve built for others, and interesting DIY modifications and projects that I’m doing.

I’ll also occasionally post things that other people have made with my PCBs. If you’ve got something unique, special or interesting that you want to share, send me an email—the address is my first name at my domain name (or just fill out the contact form).

More soon. I’ve built a couple of really cool one-off pedals in the past few months that I’m itching to share!

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