Friday, April 1, 2016

Earthquaker Devices - Organizer

Hi Folks,

I know it's been a long time between posts but I haven't had much to report.
Everything is work, work, work.

I'm pretty sure you're not all that interested in balance sheets, economic order quotients or digging up tree roots and the intricacies of laying a flat garden path with recycled bricks.

Me either, but hey, that's my lot right now (Come on October!).

I did get a little reprieve and have been messing about in a friends studio, but nothing worth publishing yet.

A little way back there was a bit of spare cash and I spied a used Organizer pedal.
I'm a sucker for organ tones and I'm a lousy keyboard player so what's a man to do?

In earlier posts I've written about other pitch shifting devices such as the EHX Hog, Digitech Whammy, MXR Blue box and I think even a Boss OC3. Though the last two don't really count.

I liked the HOG, but it was too expensive and I had gear lust so it didn't last long in my collection.
There was a top end warble that I found to be a bit annoying for the price point. But this is just an artifact of the octave up pitch shifting.

I've heard it in the Whammy 4 and it is present in the Organiser (and POG and probably C9 too).

The Organizer is an interesting beast, but you'll want to use a nice clean power supply as it can amplify ripple from the DC input. I have a bunch of them and they vary within the same model designation, so its just a matter of messing about until you find a quiet one.

The manual suggests placing gain devices before it in the signal chain and after testing I can see why.
Any distortion after the fact will reveal clock noise from the delay chip on lag function. And if you're not using a clean power supply it will be even worse.

I would have thought that distorting on the input would have made tracking less accurate, but it works really well. I don't know the math or the way it actually works inside, but maybe its something about squaring off the waveform that simplifies things, but there is a harmonic component to distortion too so maybe I'm off the mark entirely.

What counts is the end result and it is pretty good.

The lag function "feels" like a delay when you move the knob, but I think may be its more akin to the halfway point on the HOG hold function (sort of like portamento on a synth). I'm not going to open it up, so I'll leave it a mystery.

Turing down the bass and dialing a blend of dry with the upper register can give a nice shimmer.
When coupled with reverb and delay the results are pleasing.
Dialing in the bottom end gives (as you would imagine) a nice full organ flavoured tone, especially when running into a Univibe (or clone) for that simulated leslie wobble.

Having seen the Decemberists this week, I know it's nowhere near the real deal, but still a really fund thing to play with.

I found the Organizer to be a fun and flexible pedal that I expect to retain in my collection (how many times can I keep buying the same basic thing right?)

Maybe one day I'll post a demo.....

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Found some stuff that I thought others might like :)

Anyone who knows me and has talked music, knows that I love Grandaddy.

I was trawling YouTube for video demos of the Yamaha Electone B-35n as I am soon to receive one to add to my collection.

I did'd find any good demos of that one specifically, but what I did come across was a channel that had some really nice songs that feature the Yamaha Electone C-35.

What's this go to do with Grandaddy you might ask?

Synth Arpeggios, I am a sucker for them.
Grandaddy uses them to great effect and so does the guy in the videos below.
Simple, beautiful.

Anyway if you're up for some nice instrumental tunes, then I suggest you head on over and checkout
Bagatellamusic also, do yourselves a favour and check out ( and by check out I mean throw your money at) Grandaddy and Jason Lytle 

Here are some videos that I quite liked. Enjoy!

Please note, I am not affiliated with any of the above.
I'm Just a fan.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Found Sound

I haven't been doing much music related stuff of late, so the posts have been few & far between.

Yesterday I was on the other side of town, near where I used to live & spend my money old music stuff. I decided to pop into the Swoppy, but didn't make it, as I saw that Found Sound was open for business (previously it was by appointment only).

I had a bit of a chat to the proprietor whom I have been acquainted with for a number of years.

Found Sound is a bit like the Swoppy, but the stock is a little bit fancier and they only sell items that they would like to own themselves (I'm paraphrasing).

Anyway, if you're in Melbourne you should definitely pop in and see what they've got.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Slow as a....

I sure do take my sweet time to finish stuff.

This time its an old junker guitar that I've had for a long, long time.

It has featured in a couple of posts already:

Scratch plate templates and Summer Projects

During one summer storm after painting the body, somehow water managed to get into the guitar's storage container and soaked it for a couple of weeks before I noticed.

The paint was pretty messed up, but the body was as good as before (eg: fairly rubbish).

Anyway a couple of weeks ago I felt the need to do something with my hands and slapped it back together in an afternoon.

Its not setup, but plays fairly well and stays in tune.

I'm using it to trigger a midi pickup and it is performing quite well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

ZVex Distortron

Last year I built a tagboard ZVex SHO clone.

It was nice.

Clean to very nasty and pretty cheap to build.
It also sounded really good.

Then one day it stopped working.

I tried debugging it, but the  accursed thing would not come back to life (even with a new transistor).

The accursed circuit went back into a box for another day.

I decided that I'd try to find a real one online for cheap (I'm not super cashed up).
Unfortunately that didn't pan out, but something else did.

I'd just finished an exam (which was conveniently located a short walk from my favourite shop) and had a few dollars in my pocket that I had been saving up for such a conjunction in locality & circumstance.

They didn't have any SHO's in store, but they did have a ZVex Distortron.

From what I can tell of the online reviews, this pedal doesn't really get the love that it deserves.

I imagine that has something to do with that its named fairly conventionally and isn't particularly eye catching. People are fickle and these things do count for many of them. I say they're missing out for being snobby.

This pedal is well made, has a small footprint and most importantly sounds good at any volume or setting.

It can clean up fairly well, though it always has a little bit of menace around the edges.
That my friends, is exactly what I was looking for in a dirt box.

It gives a massive amount of boost and a huge amount of dirt if you want.

The subs make my Princeton rumble something fierce but the 3 way switch takes care of that.
There is a lot of tonal variety and sounds great through an amp and equally good driving a series of pedals into a DI rig.

I didn't have a JTM45 to play into as recommended on the ZVex site, but I do have an Epiphone Valve Jr and a Fender Princeton. It sounds great in both amps and I imagine that it would sound great in any amp that you care to use.

Anyway, my advice is go try one out and judge for yourself, other people's opinions will only get you so far.



Its been a while since my last post, hasn't it?

Not terribly much has been going on in a musical sense of late.

This past year has been consumed by study and Kerbal Space Program for the most part.

More recently I've been tinkering with Arduino and am thinking of ways to incorporate it into future projects. There's something nice about not having to calculate R/C values for an LFO and being able to send a bit of code over an output instead.

There are a few things to write about and answers to some questions to post.

I'll try a little harder this year.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Simulating Pickups & Splitting Signals

SHO Clone & Pickup Sim

Last weekend I decided to make Jack Orman's Pickup Simulator. I've had the parts collected in a little bag for a long, long time. It's a really simple circuit, and one that I really should have built earlier (say back in 2009).

The purpose of the Pickup simulator is to deal with certain pedals that prefer to be fed straight from the guitar and not through the buffer of another pedal (EG: Fuzzface, Big Muff, Octavio).

I didn't have the Mouser 42TL019 transformer on hand, but I did have the Mouser 42TL018 which has a similar enough primary coil value.

The pickup simulator works really well, but that's not the only reason I wanted to make it.

I usually record in stereo with one effected and one dry track. The drawback with this is the guitar had to go into a pedal that had stereo outputs. Which by default, introduces a buffer for each channel.

Since the schematic shows that the transformer can be tapped to obtain two different impedances, I figured it should also be useful in sending the signal to two destinations. Even five, if you don't mind a bit of transmission loss in the secondary coil.

Both of my guesses turned out to be correct.

Splitting the primary gives the best signal, and improved the character of the guitar signal significantly when compared to the buffer split.

One side of the stereo pair goes through effects, the other simply goes into an analogue amp/speaker simulator. It was on the clean side that I noticed the most improvement (Especially on the Bass VI).

This is a no frills tool, but it has the potential to bring some life back into otherwise lifeless sounding effects.

This has been one of my cheapest builds, and its probably the simplest. I wish I had invented it, this should really be available as an off the shelf product.

Until next time.


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