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Hink85
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Ultimate telecaster drive

Project: Andromeda (Nobels ODR-1)
Variant: Novels ODR-1

Build description

I built 2 of these stock, one with the OPA Brown Burr 2134, since I had like 14 leftover from my stint at Purdue. The other was rc4558 chips.

I struggled playing my telecaster, even with Lindy Fralin Blues special pickups, simply because it sounds bright and thin. I love thick, clean and articulate notes when I’m playing rhythm parts. This overdrive is a killer with this combo and my Bassman amp. The bass can get out of hand, so you definitely need the bass control. A must build if you play a tele, and want to fatten it up.

CHITO
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1

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THE “WALL OF CRUNCH” PEDAL

Project: Equinox (Marshall Guv'nor)
Variant: The 5mm red LED clippers

Build description

RESISTORS: Yageo 1% metal film – NO value substitution

CAPACITORS: Solid polymers, CDE dipped silver mica caps & a variety of 5% box caps.

IC: TL072

DIODES: 5mm Red LEDs for the clippers & Qznium brand LED as effect ON indicator

AESTHETICS: Small Bear’s light plate. Vvivid brand car wraps & Brother label printer / tapes

EQUIPMENTS: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / Line 6 Flextone II HD amp. IBANEZ S5470Q guitar, ESP JH-600 with EMGs. Only Equinox OD is connected.

TEST RESULTS: This is the first time I heard a pedal effect that can mimic the “Wall of Crunch” of Marshall amps. The Treble, Mid & Bass controls effectively shape the sound of the Equinox.

Thanks to Kevin & the AION staff for an excellent re-design of the Marshall Guv’nor / Drivemaster clone.

Never a Guv’nor user yet? Build the Equinox OD and experience the “Wall of Crunch” of a Marshall rig. A project that’s easy, fun & rewarding. Tell us about your build experience when you’re ready! Thanks.

Surya
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The Insomniac Overdrive (OCD)

Project: Titan (Voodoo Lab Overdrive)
Variant: Straight OCD

Build description

I’ve been using this pedal for about a week now in a jazz combo and a blues band, and it sounds killer. At low levels it adds thickness to those weird add9#13 jazzy chords and cranked it simply rocks. I use it after an EHX souk food. The Klon before OCD combination sounds really good (to my ear). I haven’t built the refractor from aion yet, but I think it will be even better than the soul food. The PCB and documentation quality was top notch. I used parts from smallbear and Mammoth electronics and the 3pdt border from Aion because it’s so much easier. All in all, would recommend 11/10!

RB fan
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Distortion Master

Project: Nebula (DS-830 Distortion Master)

Build description

Maybe not one of the sexier selections, but this one is criminally underrated. Great sounding Marshall-type distortion. This can easily go up against other MIAB offerings that seem to get more attention. Controls, as you would guess, are very interactive; Bass knob can really bring the thump. I think this can do lower distortion/drive settings, but, honestly, that’s not what I’m looking for in a ‘distortion master’. I want loud, somewhat saturated tones without flubbiness or brittle high end – heavy distortion without losing dynamics. That’s exactly what I get from this one.

Modifications or part substitutions

I used stock Si diodes, IC, but I put the softness trimmer on the outside. I did go ahead & double up on the feedback clipping with 2 additional Si diodes with pleasing results.

Ryan C.
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Marshall BluesBreaker MK1v1

Project: Cerulean (Bluesbreaker)
Variant: MK1v1 (early model MK1)

Build description

Smoothed out the overdrive by making the original, original spec (aka MK1v1) for R2, R3, and C2. I also was looking for John Mayer-like overdrive tones and judging by pictures of his BluesBreaker and educated guesses about his rig, he’s likely using v1 specs. It really smoothed out the drive and overall tone for my single coil Stratocasters. It really is a good illustration of a “transparent overdrive” where single notes ring and chords bring out the overdrive.

Modifications or part substitutions

I didn’t trust the 1N914 diodes (the yellow ones) from Tayda since I didn’t see many Google results for 1N914s with yellow bands so I bought NOS ones and put them in the alternative diode section. Instead of putting a switch in, I hard wired the alternative diode section direct to the output block. The presence is dialed all the way down so it’s a short. As true to MK1v1 as I could but with high quality parts and PCB 🙂

Ryan C.
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Klon Centaur (Silver) Clone

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)

Build description

Stock build to the Aion Electronics documentation. Used matched Russian D9E Germaniums. Silver polished case from Tayda Electronics and the oxblood knobs from Small Bear Electronics. The knobs are a little large but they don’t bump into each other when adjusting. I’ll keep looking for smaller knobs. Love the growl out of this thing and the form factor. PCB is top notch!!

CHITO
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HALO FUZZ – BMP CLONE

Project: Halo (Big Muff Pi)
Variant: Triangle

Build description

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

CAPACITORS: Panasonic solid polymer cap on C!4 A rare NOS Sprague .004uF 1KV Sprague ceramic cap for C10. Two more rare green-colored .05uF NOS ceramic caps for C6 & C9. I had all of these old caps since 1988. All the other caps are 5% WIMAs + a large blue 1% .01uF Vishay box cap on C11.

TRANNIES: All 2N5088

DIODES: I just used two 1N4148

I had to bypass the AMZ Mid / Presence control because I already had this stainless steel enclosure with 3 pre-drilled & straight-aligned pot holes (pretty much looks like a genuine Big Muff) which I scored in eBay about 2 years ago. Ironically, my build is a Triangle variant.

FYI, I use a P-touch 2730, Mac & Win compatible tape printer for the labels, 3M vinyl car wraps for color & aesthetics and a non-polarized & wired LED assembly sold at eBay & made by Alpinetech / Model# PLB-6. I used ribbon cables for the pot connections.

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

TEST RESULTS: As compared to my old BMP, the Halo Fuzz has downright identical smooth fuzz quality but has more headroom, lesser noise interference & a bit more tweakable tone control.

Thanks to Kevin & the AION techies for a better re-design of the famed BMP.

How many BMP variants have you cloned? Build the Halo Fuzz & tell us about it. Thanks for reading!

CHITO
Score:
1

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DON’T JUST FUZZ IT, FUSE IT

Project: Fusion (Suhr Riot)

Build description

POWER MOD: 18V mod via the charge pump circuit

RESISTORS: Yageo brand metal film / no resistor value substitution on the project.

CAPACITORS: Panasonic solid polymers, low ESR electros, CDE silver mica caps & one standard 2.2uF e-lytic.

OP AMPS: AION specified ICs

CLIP MODS: AION stock mods

As usual, I installed Small Bear’s light plate.

EQUIPMENTS: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / IBANEZ S5470Q guitar. ESP Korean-made JH-600 model guitar with EMG pickups. Only Fusion is connected.

TEST RESULTS: I haven’t used nor heard a Suhr or Riot distortion yet so I can’t compare this unit to it but I’m very pleased with the overall sound & tonal character of this distortion. The Presence mod via the trimpot clearly & substantially change the highs of the pedal. The circuit is fairly devoid of electronic interference. Lots of Volume to spare too!

AION-designed PCBs are extremely well-thought-of & with simple & clear instructions, making pedal building fun & easy.

Kudos to Kevin & the AION tech staff for an excellent re-design of this pedal based on the classic Suhr / Riot distortion!

Please share your build experience on the Fusion Distortion. Thanks for reading.

Modifications or part substitutions

CDE brand silver mica caps in place of MLCCs

CHITO
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KLON CENTAUR PRO OD

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)

Build description

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. 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…..build & play it yourself!

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

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

CHITO
Score:
0

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DON’T JUST FUZZ IT, FUSE IT

Project: Fusion (Suhr Riot)

Build description

POWER MOD: 18V mod via the charge pump circuit

RESISTORS: Yageo brand metal film / no resistor value substitution on the project.

CAPACITORS: Panasonic solid polymers, low ESR electros, CDE silver mica caps & one standard 2.2uF e-lytic.

OP AMPS: AION specified ICs

CLIP MODS: AION stock mods

As usual, I installed Small Bear’s light plate.

EQUIPMENTS: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / IBANEZ S5470Q guitar. ESP Korean-made JH-600 model guitar with EMG pickups. Only Fusion is connected.

TEST RESULTS: I haven’t used nor heard a Suhr or Riot distortion yet so I can’t compare this unit to it but I’m very pleased with the overall sound & tonal character of this distortion. The Presence mod via the trimpot clearly & substantially change the highs of the pedal. The circuit is fairly devoid of electronic interference. Lots of Volume to spare too!

AION-designed PCBs are extremely well-thought-of & with simple & clear instructions, making pedal building fun & easy.

Kudos to Kevin & the AION tech staff for an excellent re-design of this pedal based on the classic Suhr / Riot distortion!

Please share your build experience on the Fusion Distortion. Thanks for reading.

Modifications or part substitutions

CDE brand silver mica caps in place of MLCCs