Build Reports

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Lumin

Project: Lumin (BBE Sonic Maximizer)
Variant: 1590a

Build description

First Aion project. First build in which I sourced all the parts-not from a kit-4th pedal build overall. Been trying to learn more about the whole process. Aion’s “where to buy” page was a huge help.

The pedal works just the way it should-better I might say than my actual BBE model. I wanted to make my own because I’m just a DIY kinda dude, I wanted one with a smaller footprint on my board, and I just don’t really dig that candy apple red paint job on the BBE. Also, the mid control is a great bonus.

Still finding my way around finishing for pedals, so for now my artwork is applied with paint and varnish.

Modifications or part substitutions

I ended up ordering a pre-drilled enclosure from BYOC (I use them for a lot of stuff), and the holes didn’t quite line up so I had to solder some wire from the front of the PCB over to the back to connect the hi and lo switches, which I also clipped so they’d fit above the PCB. Likewise the LED is bent to fit through its hole. I used a combination of parts I already had and components I ordered specifically for it.

stompboxtom
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Another Magic Device Demystified

Project: Lumin (BBE Sonic Maximizer)

Build description

I’ve been using the BBE Sonic Maximizer VST Plugin for my guitar tracks in Cubase for quite a while. Always thought it was some exciter/enhancer type of thing. No, it’s just a plain state variable filter.
Anyway, it’s very useful to have one on my pedalboard now. Makes my sound more clear and defined.
Regarding the switches i could have omitted them. The 2193/75 Hz combo is exactly what i like. Going lower with the highs or higher with the lows sounds just harsh resp. boomy to me. Be careful not to overheat the switches while soldering, i killed one.
The other mod, the additional mid pot, i like it a lot. Roll it down to clean up chords, roll it up to fatten up single notes . Nice.
Altogether a great project and a must have for everyone who wants to fine tune their sound.

Modifications or part substitutions

Replaced the recommended TL072 opamps with OPA2134. Sounds a bit more clean and soft.

Noak Westerberg
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BB Tubescreamer?

Project: Perelandra (Xotic BB Preamp)

Build description

This is one of three Aion PCBs that I built a few months back. Great PCBs and the instructions are spotless and very useful. This is a great sounding smooth distortion circuit, but I did some mods…

Modifications or part substitutions

Too much gain for me, so I simply swapped the 1M gain pot for a 500k like in the original tube screamer. I also found it slightlt dark, so I swapped R19 for a 7k and R20 for a 13k. Now it sounds more like a tube screamer with the tone @ 2 o’clock but with the added benefit of the baxandall tone stack!

Jason Sisk
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Ares (EP-3 Preamp)

Project: Ares (EP-3 Preamp)
Variant: Ares

Build description

I built the Ares in a 125B enclosure, spray-painted a medium light brown with aged white knobs.

This pedal is a must-have for everybody. I found out about it on an interview with Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters. It really is a magical “more good” pedal that is like taking your guitar tone and putting it into High Def.

Modifications or part substitutions

I followed the BOM fairly closely for the resistors and capacitors and used the following semiconductors:
– IC1: LT1054CP
– Q1: J113
– Q2: 2n5485
– D1:1n4742
– D2:1N5817
– D3:1N5817

Tom
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First build success with Azimuth

Project: Azimuth (Zendrive)

Build description

First a huge shout out to Aion. This is my first pedal kit and I picked the Azimuth project both based on the strength of the documentation and recommendation as a solid beginner kit. That turned out to be a great combination that led to a working pedal right off the bench and tons of confidence in doing many more.

As for the pedal, no substitutions to the build. I chose not to solder in the battery lead since I always have external power.

When it came time to test the Azimuth I thought I might have swapped pots by accident. The tone control is very subtle. But a little reading on the original pedal quickly found that the tone was intentionally designed as a secondary control to better shape the voice. So it’s not broken — it’s a faithful clone!

I do have to admit after buttoning up the kit I looked down and saw my pot caps sitting on the bench. So I need to pull it back apart and put those on. But if that was the extent of my screw up I’ll take it!

Blake
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Luna 125B

Project: Luna (Tremulus Lune)
Variant: 125b

Modifications or part substitutions

I made my own vactrol with a green LED and cheap ldr from Tayda. I wrapped this in tape and then used black shrinkie to cover it. I also tried a red led with same ldr but not sealed and this sounded fine but I feel that it was less precise and the depth control reacted differently. Could just be imagination.

Thewintersoldier
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Tonebender MkII

Project: Deimos (Tonebender Mk II)
Variant: Stock values

Build description

Stock values per build doc using a set of ac125s I got from LIC pedals a while back. This thing rips!

Modifications or part substitutions

100k on R1

Fretts
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Vortex

Project: Vortex (Bouteek Distorter Preamp)

Build description

I used to build pedals from scratch starting in the 80s because there was no alternative then. Having any part of a project ready-made is like a real luxury.
Build went well, I took my time doing just an hour or so every few days.
This thing is beastly. It will not make any usable clean or evan clean-ish sounds at all. The variation that the switches make and the interaction between the Drive and Pre controls cover a lot of territory when the Tone is factored in. I spent about three sessions exploring the settings until I found a grinding AC/DC tone that really worked for me and that’s where it’s going to stay – I might as well weld the knobs in place now. When I want that kind of a grinding amp overdrive sound, this circuit does it beautifully.

Modifications or part substitutions

I built this as per the documentation, no variation except I used an orange LED for the off/on indicator and I got the DC jack as far down from the audio jacks as I could, and positioned those as high up as I could without hitting anything. Makes dealing with the DC plug easier.

SL
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Corona

Project: Corona (Boss OD-1 OverDrive)
Variant: Asymmetrical/MOSFET

Build description

Built following to build documents instructions with no changes. I did both the clip and the EQ mods. For the clipping section I used the stock OD-1 asymmetrical clipping and the MOSFET clipping. Really like the sound of this pedal. Even with the drive set almost to 0 it adds a great character to the tone. I found that when the EQ switch is in the modded position it can become muddy when looking for more lead tones especially when I turn my small stone on in front of it. It does add a nice thickness in rhythm situations though. The instructions/build documents were easy to follow even for someone as amateur as me when it comes to pedal building. Really enjoying this pedal

Ryan D.
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Compressor based on Ross circuit with modifications

Project: Aurora (Ross/Dyna Compressor)
Variant: Ross Compressor

Build description

This is my first Aion pedal build. I appreciate the level of detail in the build notes. It really made the build easy. I had never used a compressor on my rig before and I wanted a good sounding compressor at an affordable price, so the Ross compressor circuit caught my eye since so many people claimed to like it.

For this build, I wanted somewhat of a vintage look and feel. I used a powder coated 1590B style enclosure in burnt orange and used Davies 1400 style cream knobs. This was also my first time using a water slide decal, finished with a clear coat. I like the look of the LED bezels, so I added one of those as well. I can’t stand the white washers that come with the 3PDT foot switches, so I replaced it with a metal flat washer for a cleaner look. The treble switch is just an ON/ON SPDT (instead of ON/OFF/ON), so it only allows two different tonal options. But, I prefer the simplicity of two options vs having to decide between three, anyway. I decided against using the provided lock washer on the SPDT switch just because it looked a bit unfinished on the front since you could still kind of see the teeth – so I only used the nut and very carefully tightened it so as not to scratch the decal with the wrench.

Modifications or part substitutions

– I used the 150k reverse audio pot for attack control. As you can see in the photos, I used a solder-terminal pot but soldered thick solid-core (18 GA?) wire onto each lug, and bent them in the same shape as the PCB mount style pots’ blades. This just made it easy to solder in the same way as the other pots, instead of using wires for just that one pot. Since the wires obviously don’t have the same “shoulder” like the PCB mount pots do, I just put some electrical tape on the backs of all the pots to prevent shorting on the back of the board, in case I pushed the board too far down before soldering. Worked great.

– I used an ON/ON SPDT treble switch instead of ON/OFF/ON. I didn’t populate the board at component label “C9” (left it empty). Instead, I put a 1nf cap (“stock” value) on CX3, and 470pf “471” cap on CX2, which is somewhat between the values of the two caps for the treble boost options described in the build docs. If anything, I feel like the 470pf cap might be a bit too bright for my taste, although not extreme, but I may consider bumping it up later. The stock value 1nf cap sounds pretty good in my opinion – seemingly unaltered from the bypassed tone, to my ear. So switch up is the stock 1nf and the switch down (toward the word treble) is the 470pf.

– I used a 150pf capacitor for C1, as mentioned in note 4 of the build notes.

– I used a 200 Ohm trim pot for the input trim control.