Designing my own distortion for xoxbox
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Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by maclean on Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:12 am

So I have the idea that I would like to build my own distortion machine for distorting my xoxbox.

Although I did enjoy the experience of building my xoxbox, I still don't really understand what each electronic component is doing exactly.

I feel like I would like to build some kind of distortion unit on a breadboard or something of the sort.

I guess my question is - where would be the best place be to learn on how to create my own audio circuits... Recreating clones is fun, but because its following a circuit someone else has figured out, I don't learn anything.

I would like to gain the knowledge required to build a sort of distorion unit on a breadboard, and also be able to experiment with how different components effect the sound differently.

Does anyone have any recommendation on a book/guide/tutorial or whatever that will help me get started desigining my own audio circuits?

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Re: Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by antto on Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:31 pm

i also wanted to "make my own.." but i'm no electronics geek
my first attempt was a distortion, then a feedback compressor
in both cases an opamp is needed to amplify the signal

now, i can't recommend any books (since i haven't read any myself)
but two things that helped me with the experiments were:
http://falstad.com/circuit/ <- this is very cool realtime simulator where you can see voltage/current
LTspice - a more accurate simulator, which has more analysis modes, and it can also feed a .wav as an "input" voltage, and record the voltage off of somewhere to another .wav file

i looked up a bunch of schematics for distortions wondering how they sound, tryied some of them in LTspice with a dry recording (.wav) of my x0xb0x then listened to the output, that was pretty neat
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Re: Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by MMM on Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:14 pm

Have a look at http://www.geofex.com/. You'll find lots of stuff there.

I actually find following existing schematics and finding out what certain things are doing very educational. You can easily compare different devices and after a while you'll notice certain "building blocks" that are very similar or identical.

Perhaps you might want to have a look at the various "Technology of the..." subpages. As an example, the description how the Tubescreamer works is very well written. There are also other articles dealing with breadboards and prototyping.
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Re: Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by maclean on Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:19 am

Thanks for the tips guys.

Annto how did your first experiments go on the distortion and compressor, did you get it all working in the end??

That little java simulator is fantastic, its great to be able to play around with different bits and actually see the electricity to an extent, the spice program looks like a proper cad one thats probabbly going to be a bit difficult to figure out, so until I know some more will hang fire on that one!

Many thanks aswell MMM for the link, I've had a look and already found a good few articles on there that should get me going.

Cheers guys!
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Re: Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by veracohr on Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:05 pm

Do a search for guitar distortion pedals and start from there. A lot of the classic fuzz pedals have really simple designs. Just be aware that for a synth you'll want to modify it - guitar pedals are biased at a voltage above 0. With a synth it should be centered at 0.

Check some of these out, for instance the Big Muff Pi. Or for an even simpler design, the Fuzz001:

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Re: Designing my own distortion for xoxbox

by jfx09 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 3:09 pm

You'll find everything you need to know (and some you didn't...!) right here: http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/

but beware, once you start building dirt boxes, you won't stop....ever : )
"If you lick the ciruit board you will get very high."
analog heaven list, 1996
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