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Prototyping Pedals - Would You Use Em?


FlashBandit
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I'm trying to figure out if these things are worth building, Occasionally you see prototyping pedals where all the dials and switches are built into a pedal, and you get to arrange all the electronic guts (ICs, resistors, caps etc.) to make any pedal you want, and fully customizable. So basically it's a shell of a pedal, where without soldering you get to make/modify any pedal you want, and you can even build/tweak exact replicas of almost any pedal. If it was easy and cheap enough to do:

Would you ever use one to sculpt your unique tone?

To learn electronics for fun?

Or if you're electronics savvy already, would they seem useful to streamline pedal projects?

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The type of thing you are describing is really only useful to change components to change the tone of an effect that the board was designed for. Example, you have designed and built a treble booster, you can see if you can get it sounding a little better by changing a few components. You wouldn't be able to simply put components on there to make it into a phaser, wah pedal, tremolo etc. So, you would need a different board for each different type of sound effect.

I suppose you could have one board that covered everything, but the board would be huge because it would need to have dozens of different circuits on it for the dozens of different effects that are available. That is why multi effects units generally use digital signal processors, such as the offerings from Zoom, Boss, Digitech etc.

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There are a few pedals out there that are designed to be played with - such as the Zvex Invent-O-Box - although I am not sure if that is what you meant. Do you mean items that are the basis for a pedal (case, stomp switch, pot and jack locations, battery compartment, made-to-fit blank PCB)? I would say that they are pretty damn useful if that's what you mean. I haven't made any pedals in a long time however having say, a DOD-style case with a choice of control locations and a left-right pair of jacks with a PCB that I can etch myself would certainly streamline a pedal project, yes.

I take it from the angle of your questions you are considering offering such a product....?

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Ya, I'm kind of thinking about making a pedal with a breadboard, and all the pots and stompswitch etc. are built in for an easy-to-wire-up solution to my long pedal building processes. Kind of like the Beavis board but I'm not a huge fan of those.

So for something like this, would you prefer ease of use, and simple options? or would you prefer it to be way customizeable, and tons of options?

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I breadboarded everything myself using a similar method to the Beavis board however since I do all my PCB work in Eagle (whether sending them out to fab or etching at home) I change everything around back from schematics anyway. If there was a kit out there consisting of a DOD-style housing and a blank PCB that can be etched (or an EAGLE template for fabbing) then cool.

The Beavis board approach does me fine.

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I'm not as versed in this as I'm sure most people here are, so I appreciate feedback. Mender, I'm thinking about building something like the Beavis board, but without the voltage sag and instead to have some pre-wired pots and a rotary switch in there. The idea would then be that the pots my have slightly higher values than I commonly need, and so I can effectively lower the R of the pots by adding a couple resistors on the breadboard, so I'm not always soldering up new pots, or having to move hardware around. This would then be applicable to 90% of the possible pedals I might want to make, and then I could make up the difference by using trims/other switches where needed.

Does this seem like it'd work ok for some of you seasoned pros?

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  • 1 month later...

its actually easy and really helpful to use. i utilize one in the mid stages of my design you know the point between where what works in theory and all the freq calculations have been done but sometimes there is something that the math just doesn't get right. i built one like geofex for a few bucks. this one is a tube amp one but still you get the idea. http://geofex.com/FX_images/tubev1.jpg. i built mine from a 3 dollar amazon board with positive ground and negative terminals quite a big board for the price plus free shipping. also i scavenge surplus stainless steel from my joe jobs that and the vise make a nice bending brake. i took apart an old fender mixing board and salvaged all the pots. i made special connecters that had speaker wire terminals on them to slide onto any pot i need. and lastly for seven bucks i got a 250 pc jumper set with prefabbed connectors. the only real thing it took was a little time to put it all together. and a godlyke power supply originally powered my effect wrapper till i built a power supply from a slavaged micro pc power supply

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