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OT: boss ds1 mod


TWANG

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I did the Keeley DS1 mods to my kid's DS1. It turned it from a door stop into a marginal useable pedal for rehearsal, but it's still far from what I consider to be a good dirt box. YMMV. Make sure you order the 50v Panasonic E caps from digikey or elsewhere, because larger stuff is very hard to work with in there.

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No I saw the keely mod on the web.

 

I also got some perf board and pc board in case the reports on the ds1 mod weren't so hot..

I figured it might be a better box than anything and I could stuff an RF drive in there..

 

 

I'll practice on the DS 1 then and expect more out of the RF!

 

thanks!

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The Keeley mods work fine, and do make marked improvements to that circuit. It's just that the circuit isn't very good to begin with, so it's kinda like polishing a pasture pie. Again, ymmv. Some people actually like the darn thing in stock form, and people definitely rave to no end about the Keeley mods, so obviously, as always, tone is subjective!

 

What, pray tell, is an "RF drive?"

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I could not more highly recommend the RF Drive. It's what Burchtone layed on us when Stargeezer mentioned wishing for a pedal to get him closer to Robbin Ford's tone. The original OT thread on SEwatt took off and looked like it might become a monster, so we moved it to the community center on Wattkins.com where sand box discussions (and lots of other OT non-tube stuff) aren't considered so far off topic. The official RF Drive monster thread is continued there.

 

http://www.wattkins.com/node/15621

 

It turned out to be a most exceptionally awesome clean to distortion pedal. You can set it as a transparent clean buffer at unity gain or roll the gain up into some pretty heavy distortion with the asymmetrical (soft clipping) diodes. It's your guitar tone, only better, and totally dynamic. Also, the controls are highly interactive so there are quite a few tones you can squeeze out of this thing; and yet it's simple, so it's super easy and quick to find 'em. I've found spot that where the tone was an almost (but quieter) dead ringer for my Keely Java Boost treble booster! Unlike the treble booster, I can slam the bejeebers out of the RFD's input with the Java or even my Fuzz Factory, and it just keeps getting sweeter and dirtier no matter how hard I push it. Crazy good!

 

I built a prototype RF Drive which was actually a little muddy cuz of all the wire I wasted for the sake of flexibility for chip swaps. So I went all out on the next one with silver wire, a Blue Sozo for the bass cap, and an Orange Drop for the treble cap. My new one's totally articulate and has become a "guarded by S&W" kind of keeper. The prototype RFD's out on loan. I'll be lucky if I see it again. [biggrin]

 

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u103/cgil155/RFD-Guts-1.jpg

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u103/cgil155/PedalBoard-09.jpg

 

Gil...

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I have to say I found a couple of sounds or effects, really, that I liked in the pedal.

I had to use My VJ head and tweak everything over and over..this pedal is odd to my ears.. a small fractional movement in

certain places seems to be quite effective sometimes in salvaging what just a movement ago plain stunk.

But only if you run a sort of counter intuitive adjustment of the vj.

 

or maybe it's just me. :-)(-:

But I did get a nice strong sustain..

and I did find a fairly nice overdrive.. call it hot blues..toward warm.

 

But there's just gobs of dial space that tend to push you away pretty strongly.

 

I found several more mod methods, and it seems rationales as well, so I'm definatey going to try to

get the DS1 better.

 

But yep. the RFD is making me drool.

 

TWANG

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The Tubescreamer's simple opamp circuit with clipping feedback loop seems to be the basis for a lot of pedals these days, and that heritage is blatantly obvious in the RF Drive.

 

Check it out Musikron. If you're looking for ideas for optional clipping diode circuits to switch to, the RFD's clippers are worth trying. Full up, it sounds kinda like a Box of Rock.

 

Gil...

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Good reference for that is Voodoo Labs cables. http://www.voodoolab.com/cables.htm

 

Boss uses 9v, and the (almost) standard 5.5mm x 2.1mm wart plugs with Center Negative, same as a lot of other pedals out there. Probably won't need but a few measly 30ma at the very worst thanks to the LED, so pretty much any 9v wart will supply the juice. Just be sure to get the wall wart's plug polarity right if it's a universal thing like Rat Shack sells. When I'm not sure, I just give 'em a quick preflight check with a volt meter before plugging 'em in to the pedal.

 

Gil...

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It's got a lot of tones, so it's versatile and sounds good doing it. It's dynamic, so it's fun to "play" the distortion with pick attack and cleans up nicely as you roll down the volume. And it's cheep, cuz you gotta build it yourself to get one.

 

But use good parts and short wires, cuz it matters. My second one stood it's own ground in a shootout with an Xotic RC Booster (but they both won due to the old apples and pineapples thing). Both were excellent clean, but the RC Booster had more control of the tone (with more meat available) due to extra gain stages for driving its TMB tone stack. The RF Drive is a simpler design with a more faithful adherence to the original guitar tone (till you add gain, which adds brightness and requires a trim of the tone pots). The RF Drive had more 2nd order harmonics (possibly cuz I used a germanium diode as the odd one). And slightly more distortion. Still, it's asymmetrical clipping, so it's a sweet amp-like distortion. Not at all unpleasant like a dirty old MXR Distortion + pedal with symmetrical hard clipping full of 3rd order harmonics.

 

Gil...

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this may be a silly question but what is a RF drive? what makes it better or diff than a regular dist pedal?

[blink]

 

(no such thing as a "regular dist pedal." There are a number of different ways to produce distorted signal in a pedal) This one is another tube screamer variant, this time VERY much like Paul Cochrane's Timmy.

 

Two problems with typical tube screamer-type circuits is that the clipping can cause low end mushiness and high end harshness. The "cure" is to include a bass cut BEFORE clipping and a treble cut AFTER clipping, so that you can dial out some bass before it becomes mushified, and dial out some of the high end harshness after clipping.

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Then I'd say you should try the RF Drive, cuz it's definitely not your typical TS circuit! It's nowhere even close to being mushy (with good parts and wire), and not at all harsh thanks to the tone pots. I'd also recommend a DIP socket for the opamp so you can swap 'em and find one you like. The JRC4458 was good, but a bit gritty, and nastier as you push it. I settled on a NE5532 opamp chip cuz it's heavenly all the way up on 11 and doesn't seem to care how much gain you hit the input with. Good stuff.

 

Still, it does get hissy as you crank the Drive pot up above 1pm, but cascading moderately set gain pedals can push the RFD far beyond the crazy good zone without all the hissy fits (think Rev. Billy with 6 Expandora's in a row).

 

Gil...

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Woah! The database over there is really screwed up from the new forum-ware upgrade. Can't get at anything stored on SEwatt right now cuz that's totally down with serious bugs, and a lot of links on Wattkins are pulling up totally unrelated pics! Still, the original schematic is still up, so there's that. I'll check with Particle and see what's up. Maybe re-post the more important files directly to Wattkins.com, just so we can get to 'em. [biggrin]

 

Gil...

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Then I'd say you should try the RF Drive, cuz it's definitely not your typical TS circuit

I was pointing out the problems with the typical TS circuit as a way to illustrate that this circuit, very much like Paul Cochrane's "Timmy," has placed a bass control before clipping and a treble control after clipping, to address both the mushy low end and harsh high end.

 

FWIW, I still think the 4558/4559 and TL072/082 are the best chips for these circuits. They sound fairly "open," rather than compressed, although there definitely seems to be a camp who prefers the compressed thing. I don't like the Burr brown chips because of that, but some people swear by them. Regardless, you get a LOT more mileage out of changing a clipping diode here and there than with chip swapping. Try replacing one of those Shottkys with a red LED and see what I mean.

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No sweat. Yep. Chip swaps are a subtle thing, but every little thing counts toward the final tone. The RF Drive has a "bass" control, but to me it's more of just another tweed tone without the bright cap. The "treble" pot is a little different, too, and really very subtle yet effective for just a trim.

 

Oh yeah, the good news. Particle has stomped out a few more bugs and new file links are fixed. Some old ones are still broke; but the 6 or 7 file links in the Wattkins thread link posted above are now visible in the thread again and working. Hooray!

 

Gil...

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