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CHITO
Score:
4

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OUT OF THE BLUE

Project: Blueshift (BOSS® DC-2 Dimension C)
Variant: Stock Bypass Wiring Version

Build description

AION Bill of Materials (BOM) religiously followed here. Most parts were purchased from Mouser Electronics. Other parts came from Small Bear Electronics & Tayda. I also used parts that I already had in stock. Strictly – NO VALUE substitution in this project.

BBDs, Clock Generators & Companders: CoolAudio brands

I opted for the “Stock Bypass” wirng method.

OpAmps: OPA2134 & TL072

I noted that there’s a typo in the Calibration Instruction. Correction should be: TR1 adjusts IC3 & TR2 adjusts IC9.
I followed the CoolAudio bias voltage – 3.36VDC & courtesy of a helpful Aion customer. The chorus effect is excellent! All the toggle switch combinations work with discernible effect changes. Very cool chorus effects! I tested the Blueshift extensively on the Clean channel my Fender 2×12 combo amp.

I will do further testing with the MN3207/MN3102 BBD/clock combination to see if there will be big differences in the chorus effect. I’m also looking forward to calibrating Blueshift further with the LabNation SmartScope. Overall, the Blueshift Chorus is indeed a challenging project to build but very rewarding once you get it working!

FYI, I use a P-touch 2730, Mac & Win compatible tape printer for the labels, 3M vinyl car wraps for enclosure color & aesthetics.

Thanks to Kevin for resurrecting the classic Boss DC-2 Dimension C Chorus. It’s a labor of love!

How many Boss pedals projects have you cloned? Try the Blueshift Chorus & tell us about it. Thanks.

CHITO
Score:
2

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THE RETURN OF MY REFRACTOR

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)

Build description

This is my second Refractor build, BTW. My first one is also posted here.

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

CAPACITORS: A mix of Panasonic solid polymers, low ESR electros and MLCCs. I changed C14 (3n9) to 8n2 effectively eliminating the squeal & oscillation during the initial test.

OP-AMPS: On ICs 1 & 2, I tested different combinations using TL072, OPA2134, JRC4558, NE5532 & KA4558 on IC 1 & 2. Like most of my builds, I settled with both OPA2134s.

I experimented with 2 kinds of diodes this time. I installed Russian D9E diodes on D1 & D2 first then changed those with Tungsram OA1160 which I bought from pedalhackers.com & I preferred the sound of the latter. This 2nd refractor project pretty much sounds like the original Klon Centaur this time after an extensive comparison with excellent YouTube Klon demoes.

I used Aion’s Refractor Bypass on the footswitch this time.

TEST EQUIPMENTS: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / IBANEZ S5470Q guitar. Only Refractor was connected.

Again, kudos to Kevin for an excellent re-design of the Klon Centaur Pro.

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

Modifications or part substitutions

C14 (3n9) substituted with 8n2
Tungsram OA1160 diodes on D! & D2

Devasya Dharma Drive

Project: Azimuth (Zendrive)
Variant: Zendrive Clone

Build description

I used an unfinished Hammond box, sanded it down to 1000 grit, and just drew on the dang thing with some permanent markers. Real classy.

The build was pretty uneventful, although the pots really didn’t line up well with the chassis/PCB and it got a wee dicey in that regard.

All the parts as described with the newer IC chip used by the current manufacturer of ol’ Zen.

One of my electrolytic caps was just too tall and the pedal would crap out when I screwed the box shut. I really pushed it tightening the nuts for the pots, and getting every fraction of a millimeter that I could out of the thing and it all fits in an uneasy truce.

The sound is AMAZING.

Dirk Funk
Score:
1

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ICMuff

Project: Corvus (Op-Amp Big Muff)
Variant: Modified (Jumpered) and TL072 in IC3.

Build description

My first build, and luckily no real issues. I think it sounds great! In general, I stuck to the “Where to Buy What” guide under Resources, but I will share some extra details that may help others in selecting components.

RESISTORS: 1/4W Xicon metal film.

CAPACITORS: EPCOS box film and Nichicon electrolytic. I used the parts list for the L5 Preamp as a reference for part numbers, then selected the values needed for the Corvus. Kemet MLCC for C6.

POTS: I used the “new version” Alpha pots from SBE, not realizing that the footprint is slightly different. Since there is no 2mm extension on the terminals, I had to bend them out at an angle, then bend the tips so that they lined up with the holes in the PCB. No big deal. You can see how I bent them in the pre-PCB enclosure photo. Ignore the footswitch orientation in that photo, I accidentally rotated it 90 degrees.

OP AMPS: RC4558P in IC1 and TL072 in IC3. I also tried a 741 in IC2, and really couldn’t hear a difference, but I stuck with the TL072. It should be noted that I never really had a golden ear for tone. Also, I mixed up the IC placement on the first try, not realizing that IC3 is directly above IC1. Figured it out pretty quick, but for about 2 minutes I was bummed.

FOOTSWITCH: The recommended red 3PDT was out of stock at PPP, so I bought the “industrial” blue-green switch.

ENCLOSURE: I rolled the dice with a random powder coat 1590B from PPP. Not sure how best to describe the color, its a silver powder coat with a slightly yellow tint. I’m really pleased with it.

WIRING: The wiring was the trickiest part of the build. Next build, I’m going to solder most of the wires to the PCB from the back side, or maybe insert the wire through the back and solder from the front. My point is, its a little awkward to solder the wire from the same side that the wire is inserted. It also leaves more bare wire than I would like. Next time I’m also going to buy the footswitch PCB just to save time, plus its cheap and looks more professional.

Modifications or part substitutions

C9: I didn’t have a 120n capacitor for C9, so I measured all of my 100n’s and used the highest value, 107n. Just in case, I socketed C9, although it sounds fine as-is.

Modified circuit: As recommended, I socketed the jumpers for “Normal” and “Modified”. I left it jumpered to the modified circuit.

Score:
4

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OG-TS

Project: Stratus (Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer)
Variant: Straight TS-9!

Build description

A buddy of mine recently found out why little green overdrives are infamous, and he asked me to make him one. “Straight TS-9 spec,” he said. Well I couldn’t JUST build a part for part clone, so I talked him into adding a clipping toggle and a flat mids toggle.

For the finish, I decided to experiment with spray paint and stamps- After several coats of white, I applied the stamps and finished with several coats of clear to seal in the mojo.

It’s gold, Jerry! Gold!

Modifications or part substitutions

Stock build with clipping toggle (stock vs red LED) and flat mids toggle

TXVaporGuy
Score:
1

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First Refractor Build

Project: Refractor (Klon Centaur / KTR)
Variant: Stock with some mods

Build description

This was my first build of a Klon style overdrive. The PCBs from Aion are really top-notch and very well designed. While this build is spec’d for a 1590B, I opted to use a 1590BB for the additional space necessary for the few mods I wanted to do and having a 9V battery on-board. I chose to follow the part types that were outlined in the 2009 FSB schematic (based on availability), just so I could get as close to the “real deal” as I could get.

*I named this overdrive Mythical Overdrive simply because the diodes are thought to have derived from unicorn tears or something along those lines… I am in no way affiliated with RimRock FX and while they use this name on their “Klone”, I have no intention of selling this unit, it’s strictly for personal use so I could care less if they frown upon my use of the name.

Modifications or part substitutions

No real substitutions, but rather, switchable mods.

-D1 and D2 are placed on a DPDT toggle that go between Russian D9E and 1N34A diodes hence the “Mythical Diodes” or “Bill F. Spec” notation on the front of the housing.

– C14 is switchable between “Normal” 3n9 and “Fat” 8n2 capacitor.

– Additional switch on back of housing allows user to cut battery power from the pedal so that the 9V battery is not drained by running the buffer when disconnected from DC power with cable plugged in.

CHITO
Score:
1

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CHROMATORIUM

Project: Chroma (Boss SP-1 Spectrum)

Build description

RESISTORS: Yageo & Xicon brand metal film & no value substitution except for the R7 experiment.

CAPACITORS: HQ Panasonic solid polymers, low ESR electrolytics, CDE silver mica + film caps

OpAmp (Quad): TL074

The effect of this pedal reminds me of my Japanese-made Jackson Spectrum model guitar with an active circuit. Incidentally, the Boss SP-1 is also called the Spectrum model. My guitar also sounds like a wah pedal when a knob is activated and turned. Chroma EQ is very useful for guitar solos that sound like a wah pedal parked in different modes/positions.

I tested R7 with 22K and the wah effect sounded muddy. With a 27K resistor, it was useless. The pedal emitted a blaring computer-like sound even at a low knob setting. I restored the 18K as originally designed by Aion. And, BTW, the dual balance pot mod was very easy to do. Overall, it was an easy build for me.

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

Thanks to Kevin for an excellent re-design of this pedal based on the Boss SP-1 Spectrum model.

Please share your build experience on the Chroma EQ. Thanks for reading.

Modifications or part substitutions

The R7 experiment for a variant effect

Score:
5

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Two Ares Builds

Project: Ares (EP-3 Preamp)
Variant: 2N5484/5 FETs

Build description

Box #1 (Black)
Standard Aion layout with side jacks. For this build, I used 2N5484 and 2N5485 tansistors and did not measure the IDSS values. Everything else was pretty much stock and it was my first pedal build.

Box #2 (Orange):
For the second box, I jammed top-mounted jacks into the enclosure. If you want to do this, as well… it would be wide to find a smaller 9V jack, as the flange and barrel on the recommended part required me to shave a little aluminum from the enclosure.

For this one, I fabricated a transistor tester (as recommended in the directions) and matched the FETs to recommended IDSS values.

Sound:
The pedals have substantially different sounds – which can almost certainly be traced back to the FET selection. Build #1 is a bit more smooth and has less top-end clarity than #2. Actually, #1 loves my Strats and #2 loves my Les Paul.

It’s hard to describe this effect other than to say that when you turn it off, you immediately feel it missing.

In the “traditional” EP modes, you get a very small gain boost, but it makes the sound much more harmonically complex. Cleans get a bit fuller and fatter. Drive sounds cut better and sound bigger (hard to do both, but this does it).

The 3rd voice is a pretty drastic boost – and not a clean boost at all. It changes the signal and adds seasoning.

I am using it at the beginning of my pedal chain (although it’s great at the end) and pushing a TS-9 and/or a ZVEX Box of Rock. It HATES fuzzes.

Great pedals. Kind of a must-have.

Modifications or part substitutions

-Good idea to socket the transistors. Different IDSS values give very different sounds.
-I opted for Switchcraft open jacks, which are easier to deal with in my opinion
-One of the builds used top-mounted jacks. See above for comments.

CHITO
Score:
2

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A CROWN FOR A CLASSIC OD

Project: Corona (Boss OD-1 OverDrive)

Build description

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

CAPACITORS: Panasonic solid polymer caps for C9 & C10, a CDE dipped silver mica cap on CX2. I made mistakes in my build on the Corona by using wrong cap values. I have since removed and replaced the wrong part(s). This resubmitted build report rectifies those errors too. I used a low ESR 1uF Nichichon electro in C5 and a 10uF Panasonic solid polymer cap in C7. I had to install C2 in the solder side of the PCB because it was in the way of the OpAmp insertion. A smaller size cap would have been okay but I just preferred to install a WIMA box cap. I only tried 3 kinds of OpAmps so I can’t tell if other brands of the same type would be okay.

OP AMPs: Tested the unit with Texas Instrument MC3403 first then the Raytheon RC3403 and TL074. I liked the sound of the TL074.

CLIP MODS: AION suggested mods; Boss OD-1 & SD-1 (asymmetrical clipping) & ZenDrive using the obsolete green-banded 1N34 diodes from my NOS.

Installed Small Bear’s light plate that has become a part of my pedal projects. This is also one reason why I prefer to use the 125B enclosures. They make good light plates for this model.

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

TEST RESULTS: I haven’t used a Boss OD-1 yet so I can’t compare this unit to it but I’m very impressed with AION-added EQ circuit. The bass boost is clearly audible at the flick of the toggle switch. Except for the diode lift mod, the Volumes of the other two clip mods I chose doesn’t differ much in Volume, which I really like better so I don’t have to twiddle with the V knob.

Kudos to Kevin & the AION tech staff for a superb re-design of the classic Boss OD-1.

Please share your build experience on the Corona OD with us. Thanks for reading.

CHITO
Score:
1

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CLASH OF THE TITANS

Project: Titan (Voodoo Lab Overdrive)

Build description

I used high quality parts on this project starting with the 1% metal resistors meticulously measuring the exact value of each before populating the board. I chose the 18V option for the built-in power supply conversion. CDE dipped mica caps were used in place of the MLCC & so with C4 & C5 & a solid polymer cap on C3. Capacitors 10, 11 & 12 are miniature Panasonic electros. The rest of the caps are either Panasonic or Wima brands, all within 5% tolerances. 5mm Kingbright brand LEDs were used for the alternate clippers. All the part values are the same as designed by AION. SPDTs are all “center-off”. The AION recommended OpAmp was installed.

Lastly, I installed Small Bear’s light plate. It makes your pedal look sooooo cool!

Equipment used: Marshall JVM 205H head / Marshall 1960A cab / 1997 Fender Strat Ultra & 1988 Fender HM Strat both with Seymour Duncan “Everything Axe” pickup set / ESP JH-600 with 2 EMG humbuckers. Only Titan is connected.

TEST RESULTS: A very quiet project circuit even with the Drive at full setting & with the Volume at 50%. A killer tone for both rhythm & lead parts. The HP/LP feature is very discernible. I also noticed that the volume of the red LED clippers is better & louder than the IN4148 on this circuit. The Tone control is very effective. This is so far the best-sounding DIY overdrive/distortion I have assembled. A great circuit design!

Thanks to Kevin for improving the design of DIY pedal circuits.

Titan builders…..we wanna hear from you!