October 2008

AD633 Ring Modulator

This is a Ring Modulator or similar sounding effect box based around the AD633 (Analog Devices Four Quadrant Analog Multiplier). The original design is taken from Roman Sowa. His website has further details on his design and the schematic I used as a starting point. The above photo shows the finished version albeit without knobs. This is mostly because I, despite better judgment, bought pots from Radio Shack, and didn’t want to waste them. As you can see the shafts are just a bit long. No matter; they work.

I made a few modifications. The first was to remove the option to select AC/DC coupling. I felt that I had no need for DC coupling so I hard wired it up AC coupled. Secondly I added some gain on the clean channel. The clean signal was coming through a little light which I personally didn’t like. Lastly, I added a LED meter on the output volume which you can see in this picture. Using a LB1403N I made a level meter which increases as you turn the volume up. This doesn’t actually monitor signal level but the position of the pot. There’s no real purpose other than I like blinking, flashing, pulsating and adjustable lights on all my gear. Who doesn’t? It’s wired through a dual ganged pot with a trim pot to adjust sensitivity. The detailed photos can be seen at the full Flickr photo set.

From a distance the paint job looks OK but as you can see in the first photo there’s definite room for improvement. Wet sanding, Clear Coat, and Polish would definitely help but it’s not a bad first run. The fluorescent paint however had a tendency to get ‘powerdery’ and presented some problems. Check the sound samples below to hear what it sounds like.

Many more photos and comments on the build can be found on Flickr here:
AD633 Ring Modulator

Sound Samples:
Before & After Number 1
Before & After Number 2
Before & After Number 3
Before & After Number 4

DJ Paul Digs Fuzz


This is my second design from scratch that I put together for DJ Paul Diggs. He mentioned to me he wanted to add some fuzz to his Fender Rhodes and this seemed like a great chance to take a stab at an original design. Well, almost original. The distortion circuit is a portion of a larger circuit which I found on the web but unfortunately did not document. The remainder however, the sweepable low pass filter and second tone control I added in myself. Overall this is a pretty versatile sounding fuzz box with a pretty wide range of tones. It utilizes diode clipping so it still can be a little harsh although with the filter and clean/dirty mix you it can be tweaked for a nice sound. This is hopefully only the first version, I’ll be working with Paul to refine the tone and the layout to hopefully make this a perfect compliment to his Rhodes and bring about the sounds of classic rock years gone by like those from Joe Zawinul and the likes of Weather Report… though that’s just my taste, I’d bet it will end up a bit different.

This time I actually took notes and threw together a schematic. I’m hardly an engineer and my understanding of analog circuits is elementary so I welcome suggestions and criticisms from anyone familiar with these types of things. As with the other projects you can see detailed photos on the build at Flickr.

More photos, comments, and the schematic can be found on Flickr here:

Paul’s Fuzz

Sound Samples:

Unfortunately I neglected to sample this box before popping it in the mail. Version II will definitely have samples. That will be better anyway.  Incedentally I’ve repalced this fuzz with a better one.. the Big Muff Mod.