Designing New Effects Pedals

Stuff that alters the sound going in or out of the amp, JVM Loops, XLR Out, Line Out, Stereo setup with 2 amps, Midi

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Greg_L
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Greg_L » Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:39 pm

May I humbly suggest you not get too cute with your designs.

I'm not a pedal guy. I generally don't like pedals. But you know what really turns me off? When I can't just look at a pedal and know what it is. Too many, way too many, pedals have gone with fully stupid gimmicks with their names and designs. I saw a JHS pedal recently that was just a pair of underwear drawn on the enclosure. No name, no lettering, no nothing. What the fuck is that? How am I supposed to know what that is? It didn't spark my curiosity beyond wondering why the fuck would I even consider that pedal if they don't even want to tell me what it is? And there was another with a piece of cheese on it. Stupid. I suppose that JHS nerd knows his audience, but he's clearly not interested in converting this guy to his pedals.

Kudos to BOSS for giving their pedals names that makes sense.
My gear list? Do a search.

Casey_Butt
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:18 pm

A man after my own heart. I can't stand weak gimmicks and labeling that's more impressive than the product itself. There's something that strikes me as dishonest, even cowardly, about it - like they're trying to distract people from the actual lackluster quality of the product. It's like an insecure person going around boasting. If a product is really that good it will stand on its own and doesn't need to cheapen itself with gimmicks. I've deliberately made those pedal names and graphics as direct and no-nonsense as I could for that reason.

However, I'm just one person and my opinion is not everybody's. Ultimately, I'd have to conform to what the customers prefer but, personally, I'd like the pedals to be pretty to look at in a slightly understated sort of way. I don't want them to be like those fancy craft beer labels with all the digital graphics and the beer in the bottle tastes like piss.
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

Greg_L
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Greg_L » Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:50 pm

Casey_Butt wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:18 pm
A man after my own heart. I can't stand weak gimmicks and labeling that's more impressive than the product itself. There's something that strikes me as dishonest, even cowardly, about it - like they're trying to distract people from the actual lackluster quality of the product. It's like an insecure person going around boasting. If a product is really that good it will stand on its own and doesn't need to cheapen itself with gimmicks. I've deliberately made those pedal names and graphics as direct and no-nonsense as I could for that reason.

However, I'm just one person and my opinion is not everybody's. Ultimately, I'd have to conform to what the customers prefer but, personally, I'd like the pedals to be pretty to look at in a slightly understated sort of way. I don't want them to be like those fancy craft beer labels with all the digital graphics and the beer in the bottle tastes like piss.
Yes! Exactly. A pedal enclosure can be attractive and unique while still being functional and understandable.
My gear list? Do a search.

okgb
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by okgb » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:26 am

Yeah , it seems good taste is not the lowest common denominator , I often find things I like being discontinued
thus " target " markets & demographics, hopefully you can find an audience large enough to keep it going !
Amps JVM 410H [too many mods to mention ] '73 50w lead, 70's vibrochamp , mesa mkIII U.S. Vox pacemaker
Rock , pop rock & Blues style's mainly played
Gtr's Musicanman " Luke " wolfgang [ carved top w pearly gates ] Hondo lazer , Warmoth strat
Fx t.c. 2290 , Lexicon tc verb
Pedals tbone plexi , t.c. chorus , various handmade & usual suspects t.s. , zen , CB wah ..........

Casey_Butt
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:57 pm

Marketing and trends at the time seem to be the biggest factors sometimes. Look at the ART Power Plant, which we've discussed on this forum - it went essentially nowhere, yet was way ahead of it's time in terms of a solid-state recreation of a tube amp (probably the first successful "amp in a box" type effect). I still think it was as good as anything of its type, even today. With the right marketing, the right people behind it and the right consumer "mood" it could have made a huge impact. Instead, most people don't even remember that it existed. Perhaps people simply weren't ready for an "amp in a box" back then, perhaps the competition was too stiff (ADA MP-1, Marshall JMP-1, etc), or perhaps the price was too steep for the target market?
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

okgb
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Location: The Great White North-Winnipeg

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by okgb » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:48 pm

Hmmm how about a companion tube power amp [ / speaker ] sim pedal, there's allot speaker sims out there,
but in chasing the loud sound few pwr amp sims
Amps JVM 410H [too many mods to mention ] '73 50w lead, 70's vibrochamp , mesa mkIII U.S. Vox pacemaker
Rock , pop rock & Blues style's mainly played
Gtr's Musicanman " Luke " wolfgang [ carved top w pearly gates ] Hondo lazer , Warmoth strat
Fx t.c. 2290 , Lexicon tc verb
Pedals tbone plexi , t.c. chorus , various handmade & usual suspects t.s. , zen , CB wah ..........

Casey_Butt
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Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:59 pm

okgb wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:48 pm
Hmmm how about a companion tube power amp [ / speaker ] sim pedal, there's allot speaker sims out there,
but in chasing the loud sound few pwr amp sims
Now that's something I'd be very interested in. In fact, I've looked at that sort of thing pretty in-depth in the past. I'm going to be busy prototyping and working on graphics for at least the next month (probably longer) but if I get the free time this is something I'm definitely going to look into.
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

okgb
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Posts: 702
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:50 pm
Location: The Great White North-Winnipeg

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by okgb » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:25 pm

I wasn't knocked out by the you tubes of this, but it includes a phase inverter " emulated " circuit as part of the preamp
http://www.rocktron.com/valvesonic-plexi.html no schematics of this around yet.
Amps JVM 410H [too many mods to mention ] '73 50w lead, 70's vibrochamp , mesa mkIII U.S. Vox pacemaker
Rock , pop rock & Blues style's mainly played
Gtr's Musicanman " Luke " wolfgang [ carved top w pearly gates ] Hondo lazer , Warmoth strat
Fx t.c. 2290 , Lexicon tc verb
Pedals tbone plexi , t.c. chorus , various handmade & usual suspects t.s. , zen , CB wah ..........

Casey_Butt
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Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:11 pm

As I see it, there are essentially two ways of approaching this sort of thing. You can do "simulation", where you try to mimic each individual stage of whatever you're trying to copy, or you can do "emulation", where you try to reproduce the overall behaviour of the circuit without trying to copy it piece-by-piece.

Simulation is, at least conceptually, the easier thing to grasp. You just copy each individual piece of something and hope that when you put it all together you end up with something the same as whatever it is you tried to copy. In other words, if you walked to Toronto from your house and a few years later I left from your house and tried to get to Toronto by following your individual footsteps. To emulate something, you don't really care what the individual internal pieces are as long as the end result is the same. In other words, we could both leave our respective houses and walk to Toronto but we would have gotten there by completely different paths.

Emulation requires intimately knowing your end goal. You have to know exactly how the circuit behaves and reproduce that behaviour as closely as possible - even though your circuit may do that in a completely different way than the original. In other words, I need to have a map to Toronto and be able to recognize Toronto when I get there. Simulation requires copying the pieces of circuit without necessarily understanding exactly what they are doing or what the end result is. In other words, if I left from your house and followed all your steps, then when I reach the end of the line I must be in Toronto. I might not understand why you stepped a certain way or even recognize Toronto when I get there, but if I followed your steps exactly then I should be in Toronto.

The reason I say that is because I suspect that ValveSonic is using four 12AX7's to "simulate" Marshall preamps, including the phase inverter of the power amp. They're probably calling it "emulation" because they didn't copy Marshall exactly and tweaked the topology to suit what they were going after.

Having said all that, I wouldn't necessarily approach power amp emulation by trying to copy the individual components. My first step would be to analyze the output of real power amps (and how they behave at different settings) and try to reproduce that with a more direct and adjustable circuit. Very often you can "emulate" the same output waveform and behaviour by a much "cleaner" route that's better suited to your application. If not, then you go with "simulation". I've seen ridiculously complex circuits to do something a simple op amp stage can do exactly. :) Sometimes it's blatantly obvious to even a beginner, yet big name companies have done it. And I mean a complete mess of a complex circuit with multiple chips, isolated ground planes, etc, to do the job of one op amp. :))) That's an example of a designer not really understanding what he was trying to achieve but figuring if he copied each stage exactly then it would work... and it did, but it would be like walking from Mississauga to Winnipeg back to Toronto because that's how your buddy did it, rather than just walking straight from Mississauga to Toronto because you didn't realize you could. And, on the other hand, there are times when the simplest way to replicate something is to simulate it piece-by-piece (say your buddy walked directly from Mississauga to Toronto in the first place). The key difference is that emulation requires you to know exactly what it is you're trying to reproduce and exactly how to do it. Simulation is more "monkey see, monkey do."
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

okgb
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Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by okgb » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:08 pm

In this case, and in agreement with your explanation, emulation I think is because it's not a full +/- phase inverter but one stage covering the " effect "
romantically I'd like to see a phase inverter stage driving a small transformer, that could be treated as a direct out or single ended out, maybe the cost and tone realization is not worth the money & effort, but that full package loud sound!
Amps JVM 410H [too many mods to mention ] '73 50w lead, 70's vibrochamp , mesa mkIII U.S. Vox pacemaker
Rock , pop rock & Blues style's mainly played
Gtr's Musicanman " Luke " wolfgang [ carved top w pearly gates ] Hondo lazer , Warmoth strat
Fx t.c. 2290 , Lexicon tc verb
Pedals tbone plexi , t.c. chorus , various handmade & usual suspects t.s. , zen , CB wah ..........

Casey_Butt
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Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:30 pm

I think transformer distortion, unless pushed to obvious extremes, is more subtle than most people realize... but it is part of the overall sound. I think, "maybe the cost and tone realization is not worth the money & effort," comment is probably right on the nose. Unless you're a sound engineer in a recording studio, most people aren't going to think a few additional percent harmonic distortion is going to make much difference. That's getting into the realm of the audiophiles.

But, when it's over the top (like, say, the JHS Colour Box) then it becomes viable to the general guitar playing public. What I'd be interested in doing is emulating the response of the phase-inverter, power tubes, OT and perhaps speaker cab in one box - with control over the critical parameters (tube clipping, crossover distortion, OT distortion, etc). That way the overall effect would be dramatic enough to be worthy of its own pedal, and filling a legitimate need. Something that could be used after one of my "Preamp" pedals to give a complete amp sound. Then, any pedals plugged in between the preamp pedals and the power amp pedal (like modulation effects, etc) would be like pedals in the effects loop of an amp. The pedal board would be like a modular amp on the floor.

I think I can do this actually... and it would be quite fun. ;)
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

Casey_Butt
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Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:34 pm

Damn this. I have parts lists to do and now all I can think about is modeling power amps and OTs. :)
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

okgb
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Posts: 702
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:50 pm
Location: The Great White North-Winnipeg

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by okgb » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:14 pm

You know it needs time to germinate [ and for extra inspiration ] so the parts list are a good distraction, get them going first for the Ultimate
power amp unit!
Amps JVM 410H [too many mods to mention ] '73 50w lead, 70's vibrochamp , mesa mkIII U.S. Vox pacemaker
Rock , pop rock & Blues style's mainly played
Gtr's Musicanman " Luke " wolfgang [ carved top w pearly gates ] Hondo lazer , Warmoth strat
Fx t.c. 2290 , Lexicon tc verb
Pedals tbone plexi , t.c. chorus , various handmade & usual suspects t.s. , zen , CB wah ..........

Casey_Butt
World Tour
Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:22 am

Obviously it's not ready to go online to the public yet, but the website is in progress and will be ready to go when the first batch of production pedals are done. You can sign up for updates on how things are coming along:

https://axiomeffects.com/
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

Casey_Butt
World Tour
Posts: 1511
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:09 pm
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Designing New Effects Pedals

Post by Casey_Butt » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:45 am

I couldn't resist working on the power amp emulator pedal. After punching a straight week of near 16 hour days (which isn't work if you enjoy it... and I couldn't resist it anyway) I'm fairly confident I have a design for a completely analog pedal that can realistically mimic a variety of tube power amps. The biggest challenge has been mimicking rectifier sag and the compression that tube power amps have when pushed hard that then stabilizes as the note fades out (increased compression and distortion on pick attacks and at very high volumes) and getting that to interact with the negative feedback level after the transformer. Those dynamics are absolutely critical and are what separates the interactive feel of a tube amp from a solid-state amp... otherwise it would be just a glorified overdrive pedal.

Of course, this thing is just being breadboarded now, so it will need a sufficient period of tweaking in comparison to the real thing, but I'm fairly enthusiastic at this point. These are the tentative graphics...

AXiom Power Amp Emulator PAE-1 - Copy.jpg
AXiom Power Amp Emulator PAE-1 - Copy.jpg (87.04 KiB) Viewed 70 times

"MASTER" is the gain level into the phase-inverter emulation. "DAMPING" is the negative feedback level (which is authentic negative feedback in the pedal). "PRESENCE" is off the negative feedback line just like a Marshall or old Fender power amp. "POWER" adjusts the compression and headroom from a small amp to big amp. "SAG" mimics rectifier sag as you'd get from a tight diode rectifier (SS) to saggy tube rectifier (TUBE). "CONFIG" adjusts the phase-inverter/transformer configuration from single-ended (S-E) to push-pull (P-P). And "CLASS" adjusts the tube bias from Class A to Class AB.

My vision for this is that it can be used after overdrive or preamp pedals to create the full sound of a tube amp. Say you have a good overdrive/preamp that sounds good on it's own but doesn't have the dynamics of a real tube amp (as pedals generally don't). This pedal would go after your overdrive/preamp pedal and finish off the picture. With my pedals you'd use, say, the Overdrive Preamp into the Power Amp Emulator for a full amp emulation (minus the speakers) - Preamp + Power Amp Emulator. That way you can mix and match preamp type pedals into this pedal and have a variety of full "amps".

I think this thing might need a sexier name, though. I thought "Ampulator" was pretty cool, but A/DA used that on a piece of rack gear back in the early 1990s (that was a tube-based power amp and cabinet emulator). I could be wrong though... "Power Amp Emulator" is pretty direct and to the point.

Opinions?
_ JVM410H: "Blackface" Clean channel, "Plexi" Crunch channel, "Dual Rec" OD2 channel, 3rd stage bias pot with switchable 100nF bypass cap, switchable 470k/470pF "treble peaker", OD1/2 Orange and Red extra gain pot, signal boost into power amp, PI voltage set to 2203 levels, 5H choke w/ 50uF on screens, -ve feedback pot.
_ Marshall 2203/1959 clone - switchable (with FX loop, resonance control and -ve fb pot) built from a Peavey Windsor 'donor' head
_ Fender Deluxe Reverb clone head
_ ADA MP-1, ART Power Plant, Tech 21 PSA-1
_ 1960A cab w/ Celestion G12-65s and G12-75Ts in X-pattern, Peavey JSX cab with Celestion G12M's (UK 6402 cones)
_ Fender Pro 185 (rebuilt) - open back 2x12" with Jensen C12Ks

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