Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #126102  by schmidtz
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:16 pm
I was able to get everything through SmallBear!

All resistors were just run of the mill 1/4W metal film... except one that is carbon film (didn't have the value in metal film),
The enclosure is a 1790NS,
I subbed 1N4148 for the 1N914 diodes,

The million dollar question... the optocouplers were Macron type MI1210CLF-R,

The 4 way position swiches are the "Rotary 3P2-4T",
All the electrolytics were 25V,
The box caps were Topmay TMCF07 5mm,
A few caps were Panasonic ECQ-V when the box equivalent wasn't available.

Everything else is exactly as in the build documentation.

 #126103  by cmc64
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:51 pm
First off, thanks for all of the info guys! Everyone digs an envelope filter discussion. Great comments all around - I am not familiar with the MeatSphere (very nice sound and a lot of flexibility and the great work on the amp - excellent clean tone) or the Jacques Trinity so I will look into both.

myoung6923 - that was some tip-top playing on GSET - the jam at the end in particular really took off and as mentioned had that 1973 kind of flavor - just fantastic.

The Qtron+ that I had was the big old silver 24v box (and had a really sketchy drive switch) and it just didn't do it for me. It seems that the consensus is that the non '+" version sounds a bit better so that is yet another one to investigate. But having been down the EHX road before, I will most likely try something new.

The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser (from what I have heard) does not really reach the Mu-Tron realm but it is a very good sounding E.F, and combined with a great sounding phaser (and with the expression pedal input) it appears to be a very versatile effect. I have had my eye on it for some time now, and being a phaser addict that I am when I have some extra $$ laying about I am going to pick one up. That one looks like it could be a lot of fun.

I have been sitting here staring at the screen thinking for some time now..... I have a Mu-Tron, I love it and I will be without it for a month (or so). If I am going to pick up another envelope filter it probably makes more sense to get something that I really like the sound of (like the Pigtronix) but that heads in a different direction. Having a Mu-II, there is no need to repeat myself - picking up something new and different is making the most sense. I know what works and sounds great - and I have it. Now should be the time to break new ground.

Thanks so much everybody, for your input. I really appreciate it.
 #126105  by tcsned
 Wed Mar 27, 2013 3:02 am
I have a Pigtronix EF and it's a cool pedal, I use it as a Phaser on stage, the EF isn't very Dead-ish, but is cool. I use a HAZ MU III which others on this board hate but it works for me. I had an original Q-tron but liked the HAZ better. The Q died, it wasn't the most durable thing ever. I also have a Q+ that I picked up here but haven't had time to test it out yet. I had a Musitronics MU III back in the 80s that I paid $50 for. It was a touchy bastard, but may have had more to do with my ability and gear than the effect. It stopped working one day and I threw it out like the genius I was :?

I'm gonna make a point of trying out the Q+ soon, if it works I may take the HAZ out of service as its getting old and takes up a lot of pedalboard space.
 #126109  by Pete B.
 Wed Mar 27, 2013 7:30 am
Two other units that are pretty Jerry sounding are the Emma Discombobulator, and the original MXR Envelope Filter. They are both discontinued but I see them pop up on CL, Ebay, etc.
I sold two Discombobulators to buy my first MuIII, so I don't have one anymore.
I picked up a vintage MXR unit for $185. It has a hole drilled in the side for the 9v battery lead, which I run to a wall-wart with a 9v connector. To my ear it sounds very Jerry-ish overall, and it responds better than my MuIII on the high-E string above the 12th fret. I wish the High-Range button on the MuIII were a foot-switch. I would use it more.
Funn Stuff!
 #126112  by Smolder
 Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:46 am
Pete... is that the auto-Q you're talking about? I have one... haven't played with mine in a while.
 #126123  by cmc64
 Wed Mar 27, 2013 1:11 pm
I have been looking at the Emma - from the sounds I have heard it is certianly a contender. I know that the original MXR company made an envelope filter and I ance not hears or used it. My first E.F. was an MXR (Dunlop) and while it was a good sounding effect with a fair amount of flexibilty it just wasn't what I was looking for. Built like a tank and the knobs had glow-in-the-dark markings which were nice features. I got it used - mint with all of the original packaging for $75. Good deal bit not my thing. I took it back after a few weeks and picked up a Mu-Tron Phasor II in great shape for $225. Love my phasers and that is one of the best.
 #126133  by redeyedjim
 Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:00 pm
x2 on the original MXR envelope filter - it gives a surprisingly good Jerry-style EF effect, and it's dead simple to dial in. From the lack of controls you'd think it was an auto wah, but from the tone it's definitely more of an envelope filter sound - it offers up nice, round notes that vary with attack, and it tracks very well.

I have a MuTron III as well so I know what the real deal sounds like, and while the MXR doesn't have the range of a MuTron III, it's a very, very credible effect. I've spent some time over the last 18 months looking for something smaller/less valuable than the Mutron III that I'd be more comfortable hauling around. In that quest I've tried an unmodified Proton v1, a Proton v1 with the resistor mod, a Maxon AF9, a 3Leaf GR-2, and the current Proton with the decay knob. They each had their virtues, but frankly none sounded as good to my ear as the vintage MXR does, and it is BY FAR the least finicky EF I've tried. It kicked the latest Proton off my board, for whatever that's worth.
 #126137  by Pete B.
 Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:37 am
Smolder wrote:Pete... is that the auto-Q you're talking about? I have one... haven't played with mine in a while.
My MXR just says "Envelope Filter" across the bottom.
It doesn't say "auto-Q" anywhere on this unit, and there are no glow in the dark knobs or LEDs
The 2 knobs are labeled Threshold and Attack.
The Threshold sets how treble-ee the note will get (kind of a peak knob), and the Attack sets how fast it goes from bass to treble and back to bass (kind of an envelope speed knob). I really like this control.

On the Emma, I set all knobs at 2 o'clock and that's it.
 #126152  by Smolder
 Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:25 am
Anyone tried the Mooer Sweeper?
 #126164  by Coldshotblues
 Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:32 pm
I have a MXR auto-Q Not a bad sub for the Mu III its built like a tank and a little smaller footprint on the pedal board. It would make a good back up for your Mutron.
I use mine at home in my practice rig.
 #126252  by cmc64
 Fri Mar 29, 2013 3:20 pm
Well, I was at a local guitar shop today and they were having a sale on effects and had a brand new QTron for $99.99. So I picked up it. It spent approximately five minutes on my board and it is now back in the box and going back to the shop. I figure I must have gotten a bad one because when I switch between the Modes - LP, BP, HP and Mix I get a loud snap through my amp and when I switch the SWEEP knob from UP to DOWN I get a very loud hissing through the amp. I tried it with my Fender SuperChamo and my Mesa MK IIA and these issues happen with both. It also sounds,well, my apologies to you guys who really dig it, but it sounds terrible. My almost 40 year old Mu-III sounds and performs better than this brand new effect. Very disappointing.
 #126298  by zoooombiex
 Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:02 pm
I feel like I've posted this before, but FWIW ... I've tried a few - Qtron, Qtron+, Emma, MXR, 3Leaf (v1), Mad Professor SWAW, and one or two others that a friend had and I can't recall now, and I have two original Mutron's

there are lots of good options and which one works best might depend on your playing style and gear

i personally found the q-tron+ (small box, XO) to be the closest to the original. a lot of them have a very narrow window for controlling how the envelope opens, so you either get a muted sound with a closed envelope or a completely open envelope, with not much in between. the mutron has by far the widest window of responsiveness, and that's largely responsible for its vocal quality. that's where i think the q-tron+ comes the closest.

i've always wondered why someone can't just clone the mutron circuit exactly. does it use a part that isn't made anymore? or is it because people are trying to "improve" on it and end up changing it?
 #126310  by schmidtz
 Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:34 am
Waldo explained over on the Octave Down thread... the Mu-III used a proprietary vactrol that was made specially for them. It's the reason why nobody makes an EXACT clone. If I remember correctly, the deal with it was that it used one LED and two photoresistors in the same package... though it could be the other way around. People nowadays just use two vactrols to get a similar effect.

If you had lots of time on your hands you could probably roll your own by just buying the proper number of photoresistors and LED's and sealing it all up with electrical tape or something similar.

It is, however, possible to build your own that will far outperform anything you could buy, and it will be less than a third of the price. Some really good options are the Neutron on GGG, the Nautilus on MadBeans, and the MeatSphere on MusicPCB. It's really not that hard, everyone says that they aren't LEGO kits, but that's exactly how I think of them... big boy LEGO's.
 #126437  by cmc64
 Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:11 pm
I picked up an MXR Envelope filter for $140. It is in very good shape cosmetically and the functionality is 100%. Once you go Mu-III, there is simply no going back, but the MXR makes for a nice backup and its small size makes it ideal for a bedroom/travel rig. I dig it. Very decent sounding and it takes only moments to dial in the sound you are after. Thanks again for all of the suggestions.

The Qtron is qoing to be returned tomorrow and by the grace of the guitar gods my local tech called and announced that my backup Jerrycaster is done! It is a Fender MiM Strat with Mil-spec Type RV4N 25K volume, single 250k tone, and dual ganged 250K/250K tone pots, 0.22uf 2% Yellowjacket caps, Alembic Strat-O-Blaster, DiMarzio SDS-1 pup's in the neck and bridge and a Scott Walker Single Coil DiMarzio Super 2 for the middle. Should sound pretty good. Tomorrow will be a hell of a day and I have the day off from work. Woohoo!!!!
 #126439  by Smolder
 Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:10 am

I saw one go for about that last night on the bay and was bummed I was preoccupied and didn't bid. But then you never know how high that would take it. Keeping my eyes open.

Enjoy the day, sounds like the stars are aligning.