Build Reports

Showing the 10 most recent build reports. Submit yours →

Lucas
Score:
4

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High Noon

Project: Stratus (Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer)
Variant: Stratus with bright switch and clipping mod

Build description

This was my first pedal build, so I thought this would be a good place to start. Sprayed the enclosure and did the artwork myself. I really enjoyed this build.

Modifications or part substitutions

Used the bright mod and a clipping switch to toggle between LED clipping and the standard diodes. I also replaced the current limiting resistor for the LED with a 330 ohm one after these pictures were taken because I didn’t feel like the LED was bright enough.

Banjerpickin
Score:
7

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Double Tube Screamer

Project: Stratus (Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer)
Variant: Stock/SD-1/LED/MOSFET

Build description

Right side has the option of TS9 stock (symmetrical) diode clipping and asymmetrical clipping like the Boss SD-1. Left side has option of LED clipping or MOSFET clipping, a la the Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive and Fulldrive 2. Both also have a diode lift option, and independent bright switch mods for each side that adjusts cap values in the tone stack to decrease treble bleed. The sound great separately, and really great stacked! Stacked you can get some crazy long sustain with pretty light distortion.

Modifications or part substitutions

Everything followed to a T.

Chuck
Score:
2

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Red Army Overdrive

Project: Halo (Big Muff Pi)
Variant: Red Army Overdrive

Build description

My third build in the Halo series, first with the new (to me) board. Straight up build of the Red Army Overdrive with the presence/mid range control. Did a low volume test (past my Grandson’s bed time) but initial result is impressive. Not sure where I got the box but all the fiddly electronic bits came from Mouser; pots, jacks, knobs and switch came from Small Bear; the green wire from Guitar PCB; and, of course, the Halo v1.5 and 3PDT boards from aion. Can’t wait to turn it up tomorrow!

Modifications or part substitutions

Presence/mid range control.

Gordo
Score:
0

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Aurora Comp

Project: Aurora (Ross/Dyna Compressor)
Variant: Jangled Keeley?

Build description

This one is all the Ross parts and tantalum caps for the 1uF’s. I’ve been building for a very long time and this Ross was on my bucket list. Adding Keeley and Janglebox mods made it an easy sell. This is an easy-ish build and a really nice sounding comp. Really nicely laid out board.

Modifications or part substitutions

Stock

Score:
2

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Shreds!

Project: Solstice (Marshall Shredmaster)

Build description

This was my second PCB but it ended up being my first fully assembled pedal. Did the graphics myself, etched it on the enclosure and it worked the first time. Awesome!

The circuit itself has a lot of gain and I find it’s a good companion to the Equinox (Marshall Guv’nor), which sits right before this one in my drives stack. Lower gain settings also work good but I found it shines around medium gain.

A little tighter than the Equinox, but also rewarding as a starter project for beginners!

Score:
3

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Guv’nor, innit?

Project: Equinox (Marshall Guv'nor)

Build description

My very first pedal build! Simple enough for a newbie, and it sounds really cool on my Marshall 6100.

The enclosure is acid etched with a custom design. Took many attempts to get the etching mask to stick properly to the aluminum with the acetone+alcohol technique… after etching I painted the enclosure in red and black!

I didn’t double check the pcb and ended up swapping the gain and level labels on the etching mask, so I might redo the enclosure some day… I’ll also have to check the components because there is a sweet spot that really works but the tone shaping seems a little off.

All in all, a very usable pedal and definitely recommended for beginners and advanced builders!

CHITO
Score:

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AN OVERDRIVE ON STEROIDS

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)
Variant: Stock AION design + selective mods

Build description

PARTS USED:

RESISTORS: All 1% metal film – NO value substitution here

CAPACITORS: A mix of solid polymers, low ESR electros – The 2 MLCCs (C8 & C13) were substituted with CDE dipped silver mica caps. Dipped silver micas, per my experience using ‘em, they do wonders to the sound of pedal circuits. They’re kinda pricey depending on where you buy ‘em but it’s worth including those in your capacitor arsenal. I will also try the C14 mod (for thin treble) in a later time.

IC1 & 2: TL072 – I didn’t test any other OpAmp

DIODES: I didn’t bother to try the D9E either although there’s a lot of ‘em in eBay. I tried 1N270 but didn’t like the result so I used a BAT41 instead. I have previously used this diode & I like the quality of the distortion.

I tried the AION Refractor Bypass PCB but I screwed up the 3PDT during soldering so I ended up using a used Carling 2PDT. Luckily, those 3 resistors did fit snugly in the switch’s “crevice” like it was designed to cradle the resistors as you can see in the posted picture. The DPDT works okay but I will still re-install a Refractor Bypass PCB soon.

Lastly, I installed Small Bear’s light plate & used an RGB LED. Doesn’t the picture look cool?

EQUIPMENTS: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / IBANEZ S5470Q guitar. Jackson Japan-made Warrior guitar with genuine SD Invader humbuckers. Only Refractor OD is connected.

TEST RESULTS: IMHO, the Refractor OD will beat the TS9 Tube Screamer hands down. This baby has a very distinct sound quality! Don’t just listen to it…..play it yourself!

Kudos to Kevin & the AION tech staff for a superb re-design of the Klon Centaur Pro OD.

Have you been in the back of a Centaur lately-:)? Please share your thoughts here. Thanks for reading.

Modifications or part substitutions

Dipped silver micas were used instead of the 2 MLCCs

Robert Jackson
Score:
4

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‘Cause of Randy Rhoads!

Project: Aphelion (250/Distortion+)
Variant: Distortion+

Build description

I tried this Aion Electronics MXR Distortion+ build with a vintage Motorola LM741 and then with a Burr-Brown OP275, which seemed a little more harmonically rich and lively, but wasn’t really all that much different than the LM741 to my ears.

Someone recommended that I try an OPA2134. Well, that really woke things up. First off, the output has to be double what it was previously. This board lets you switch between two diode arrays. I have one set up like the original pedals were and then the other one is set up for asymmetric clipping with two diodes on one side and one on the other. With the 741 and the 275 the asymmetric clipper only hit unity gain with the volume pretty much all the way up. Not anymore! Now unity gain is where you see it in the photo. Not even 12 o’clock. This thing has an insane amount of gain now and it’s really clean. Not noisy at all. The 741 and 275 were about the same; they weren’t terribly noisy, but there was a little noise there. To get to that same amount of noise now I’m at least doubling the output volume.

So yeah, it’s loud, but it’s also much more alive and harmonically rich. Maybe because the circuit is being hit by more voltage. I don’t know exactly, but it’s a whole different beastie now. Still kind of a one-trick pony, although now it can behave like a clean booster if I back off the Gain because there’s so much Volume on tap. I’d have to say that one trick is kind of cool.

BTW, someone mentioned to me that the OPA2134 is an expensive op-amp. They’re currently $3.30 each at Mouser if you buy ten. So WAY more expensive than something like the Tube Screamer’s JRC4558, which is like 30 cents or so. Still, it’s not a break-the-bank kind of thing for a pedal you plan to use a lot. Or even a little.

Modifications or part substitutions

OPA2134 op-amp and alternate asymmetric clipping array.

Robert Jackson
Score:
5

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The Legend of Rat-Boy!

Project: Helios (RAT Distortion)

Build description

I had a couple of things in mind with this build. First off, if you look at photos of the early hand-built Rat pedals, they had tantalum capacitors. Those were very expensive in the 70’s and they didn’t make it to the mass-produced version, but I wanted to go that route.

Also, I built this with a socket to try several op-amps. I actually wanted to prove that there’s no audible difference between the current Texas Instruments OP07DP and the original LM308, which I had in both the DIP8 and TO-99 packages. I figured the modern TI op-amp would be fine, since its slew rate is as low as the old LM308. It just doesn’t sound the same, though. Also, it turned out that the old TO-99 LM308 sounded MUCH better than the DIP-8 version I had. Which seems odd, but made me wonder if the DIP-8 version I bought was a counterfeit. On the alternate diode pads I set up asymmetric Boss-style silicon clipping and that turns out to be the setting I mostly use.

As always, this PCB was a delight to build. I love the work Aion does with these old circuits and the options offered for experimentation with nearly every project.

Modifications or part substitutions

Old-school LM308 in the TO-99 enclosure. I had to put a couple of drops of epoxy on the legs to make sure it didn’t pop out of the socket. Also, asymmetric clipping on the alternate diode pads.

Robert Jackson
Score:
1

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What a Great Centaur Build!

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)
Variant: Standard Configuration

Build description

I’ve always wondered how these beasties behaved, so I stuck pretty close to the build notes. As always, things went very smoothly and I was delighted with the result. It’s a very nice circuit. Quite pleasant to use and a beautiful PCB to work with.