Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

Chat about Equipment Info
 #12704  by strumminsix
 Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:58 pm
Time to go completely analog. I've been using a cross between real fx and modellors but mostly nuttin at all except a tuner and Phase 45.

I've decided that I'm done with those and time for a change.

Have any of you build your own? I'm thinking about:

Seems like they go for about $50 less than retail.

 #12707  by caspersvapors
 Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:27 pm
thats pretty sweet, whats the difference between digital and analog when it comes to pedals?

 #12731  by confusions_prince
 Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:06 pm
caspersvapors wrote:thats pretty sweet, whats the difference between digital and analog when it comes to pedals?
Good question. I always thought the biggest difference was with tube amps to newer ones.

 #12746  by strumminsix
 Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:38 am
confusions_prince wrote:
caspersvapors wrote:thats pretty sweet, whats the difference between digital and analog when it comes to pedals?
Good question. I always thought the biggest difference was with tube amps to newer ones.
This areas is one of my weaker ones so hopefully somebody smarter than me comes along quickly especially if I am incorrect.

As I understand it (as it was explained to me years back) analogue vs. digital has changed over the years. Back in the 60s when pedals had tubes in them they were called analogue but when they started use op-amps those were called digital.

Now fast forward into the 80s/90s?? - they started using IC chips (integrated circuit) to accomplish the work of other components. When that happened pedals with IC chips were called digital were those without were called analogue.

All that said this is how it was explained to me and I cannot say for certain that this is 100% correct.

 #12752  by phpbb
 Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:10 am
Time to dust off my E.E. degree...

Analog vs Digital is a question of conversion from a wave form (analog) to a set of numbers (digtal), and then back again.

Tubes vs Solid State is another question unrelated to Analog vs Digital.

The main reason people like Analog is that (IN THEORY) the wave form always remains a wave form. What comes out of the guitar (starting with the guitar strings) is simply amplified and altered and sent to the speakers. If you use analog gear, your guitar string's wave's are essentially the same waves that exit the speakers.

The problem with Analog is that it's extremely expensive to have that Theory meet reality. So, to make things more cost effective, Op amps and Solid State were introduced. The lower the cost of these, the more likely these also can introduce distortions that get added to the wave form that were not intended to be there.

Another problem with analog is that there are two different types of Distortions that can get added. Tube Distortions are Even Harmonics, while solid state distortions are Odd Harmonics. The human ear finds Even Harmonics much more pleasant than Odd Harmonics. The Odd Harmonics are the main reason you want to turn down music that is playing too loud from solid state amplifiers.

Digital's concept is that we can make Analog Theory meet reality for a much cheaper price. All you have to do is convert that wave to a set of numbers. Digital manipulates numbers using things like Fourier Transforms. It then converts the numbers back to a new, converted wave form.

The problem with Digital is that the music purist despises the idea of any conversion from non waves, and it turns out to be expensive to buy accurate Analog to Digital and Digital to Analog Converters that don't introduce their own version of Odd Harmonic Distortions. However, no matter how poorly the conversion is done, once its a number, the transforms introduce very little distortion and are pretty much infinite in possibilities.

People market things as "digital" when they really are not "digital audio". Like Strummin said, there are companies that pack tons of analog conversions using Ops Amps onto a Chip and call it "digital". This is "audio through digital technology" but its definately not "digital audio". The audio wave must be converted to a digital signal to truly be "digital audio". If you don't see a product list information regarding is A/D and D/A conversions, like a "Sample Rate" of 48k or something like "16 bit" digital audio, more than likely it is "audio through digital technology".

In Short:

If I had infinite money, my set up would be one of the two:

A> Complete tubed system, where each component is designed for each other (including the wires)
B> Digital System with convertors on the guitars and speakers transfering the signal with fiber optic


Since I don't, I'd buy what sounds best to me.

 #12771  by waldo041
 Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:24 pm
BYOC, is a good outfit. i use there military spec'd circuit boards. i have tons of components. so i usually do not need to order a whole kit, but would with no problem. they give you everything you need, although i would drill my own enclosure,but they do provide for that if you wanted to go that way.

good luck if you try it. building your own pedals is a very gratifyinmg and addictive hobby. learning what to tweak and what not to tweak helps to really dial in a tone that buying off the shelf just cannot do. if you need any help let me know. BYOC also has there own forum for troubleshooting but i also recommend

tons of info and highly educated people around there. make sure you do your search of a topic there first as they can be brutal to the newbs sometimes, just because there are so many redundant questions being asked. all and all they are great people that have taught me alot.

as far as your questions about the ic or opamp's. they are one in the same. an opamp is an Integrated circuit. the opamp in a TS9(tubescreamer)for instance is a jrc or rc 4558 chip. it is actually 3(or is it 4?) transitors inside in a circuit in itself. in the tubescreamer instance the simple replacement of this opamp with one from a different manufacture can greatly change the tone of the pedal. point being, with analog the actual circuit usually can be tweaked for your own individual taste, either by you or analogmike,keeley or someone similiar. you cannot do that with digital.

hope this helps.


 #30573  by paulinnc
 Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:09 pm
I recently stumbled accross They have a lot of kits and stuff too. I think between them and byoc I will be building pedals in the not too distant future.

 #32394  by Revv23
 Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:33 pm
I know the technical arguments; I believe analouge sounds better. Issue is analouge pedals are typically only good at one thing where an effects box can dial in any setting you want. It sucks being a purist. :(

I'm getting a BYOC wah and probably thier tbe screamer kit too... the TS9 kit really looks nice to me as it comes with the parts for many of the more common mods; so i'll really be able to experiment with it.

 #33190  by Larree
 Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:34 pm
That is cool! I am going to turn my guitar bro Russ on to those sites. He builds his own pedals from scratch. He has a few different fuzz and distortion pedals.

Me? I like to use effects in the studio, but when I play live I just like to plug into an amp and turn it up to 10. No reverb. no pedals. Just a loud assed guitar screamin' at ya! A Les Paul into a Marshall does me right. YEAH! ROCK!

 #33223  by gr8fulbluz
 Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:00 am
very cool OK but do I wanna screamer or a triboost :-?
I wanted a screamer but I like the looks of the tri-boost.
tough call for me the only pedal I have is one of them old Zoom 2020 multi effects. I wanna real pedal 8)

 #34196  by Revv23
 Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:35 pm
Hey guys - i just finished up the BYOC compressor clone. This pedal rocks. I've messed with compressors before and didnt understand them. Now i dont think ill ever shut this thing off. It doesn't really mess with your tone add all - just adds clarity, volume, and sustain. Very nice.

I think next ill do the octave fuzz. I love hendrix. :)

 #34247  by XxRouninxX
 Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:13 pm
nice i might try building my own compressor.. goodluck with the octavia thing, that sound is the shit.. im currently using a prescription electronix experience box for my octave, its all smeary sneery, and gets the job done, but octavia schematics are relatively simple anyways so i might give it a try.

The thing i love about building my own pedals is i know whats going into them, and i can test my transistors for leakage, and be sure they are matched, or i can add a capacitor here, change the resistor value there, and hone in on my sound (on the other hand, its not always that easy :( )

im actually dangerously close to cloning a mutron, i was gonna clone a vibe, but that schematic is a little scary to me, the mutron looks a little easier.

 #34269  by CaptainTrips
 Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:21 am
Ive worked with boards before, usually point of sale printers and hardware (think of any retail store's receipt printers), so Im well versed in soldering and the like. How hard are these to do? It seems like if its all new parts, new board then it would be pretty easy cause solder likes new boards. Ive had to work on some pretty crummy boards and it can be a pain in the ass to get the solder to stick.

 #34278  by myoung6923
 Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:32 am
If you have decent soldering skills then they are pretty easy to put together.

I put together a phase 90 clone from and it was pretty easy - took about an hour to do the whole thing. But, I didn't like the 1/4" connectors that came with it - they were pretty cheap. Also, some of the resistors that came with the kit were the wrong ones - they were pretty good about sending out the correct ones after I contacted them.

 #34285  by CaptainTrips
 Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:15 am
Cool, I'll definately have to give it a go. I bought a used EHX Small Clone and it promptly broke on me. It would play fine for four to five hours and then needed resoldering. And then there is the Crybaby that broke on me . . . Yes Ive decided Ill never buy another used pedal.