(25.01.2013) It’s been a month already since my last post. Been a rough ride this month. But i’ll keep the news short. Trixie Malicious / Fancy Chance fuzzes are ready. The “official” release date is 6.2.2013, but a few have already been sold and/or reserved. I do have so stuff on my hands, but DCD Preamps are coming along slowly too…
(20.12.2012) Can’t give out any exact dates yet, but Trixie/Fancy fuzzes are coming along nicely. Also the DCD Preamp boards are finished, i’m just waiting for the boxes at the moment.
On other fronts, i’ve breadboarded it a lot and built a prototype. First Q2 2013 release will be DCD Preamp Deluxe. Based on the original JFET boost/drive/preamp circuit, the Deluxe version adds amp-like active bass and treble controls to the original. I’ve been thinking about DCD Preamp Deluxe 2 too. That would have another amplifier stage for addition boost after the tone controlled DCD Deluxe circuit. But. That has only been a though, and i have nothing on it yet :) Also. Thought about doing last and final DCD Preamp – The DCD Preamp Platinum. That would basically the “2”, but it should run internally on 18Vs from 9V supply for extended headroom. That last one may be a thing of Q3, as i’ve been also busy with experimenting on CMOS Hex Inverters and their powerful, yet ugly hisses. That experimentation is a work in progress. Oh. So i had nothing real to tell you this time. Take care and have a happy holidays.
(08.11.2012) So i finally got Apiformis released. You could check the “creations” page for more info about it. In the time of writing, there are seven units available. I guess i should do some demos soon. With both guitar and bass. I also recalculated the costs, and i’m selling them for cheap. Anyway. That taken care of, i’ve spent lots of hours on the breadboard lately and i can now announce two upcoming circuits: First is JFET driven germanium fuzz circuit that is going to be “Trixie Malicious Fuzz” and “Fancy Chance Fuzz”. This is my first design to tribute series, for which i have no plans for whatsoever. We may have more tribute series boxes in the future, or we may not. We’ll just have to see about that. The reason why this circuit is going to be named after these two amazing ladies; well. They had a show at my hometown in september. We were hosting them and they are just unbelievably good company. We had a blast, and while i was driving them to the airport, we had a discussion about stompboxes (surprise, as if could talk about anything else anymore). I told them how i was working on Fuzzrite derivative that i was planning on naming the Ritual Tripper – because it’s really drone thing. Trixie just stated that i should call it TrixieFancy fuzz and it would be the greatest thing ever to have people stomping on the boxes with their faces on them. I thought about this conversation for a week. Then i wrote to the ladies asking if they would like me to do design for them. I got so many xs and os that you wouldn’t believe it. So i started breadboarding from the scratch, using original VOX Tonebender, Sola Tonebender mark3 and Arbiter Fuzz Face as a reference. I thought i nailed it after just three or four days. Basically it came out just as a modified mashup of those three with JFET driving the fuzz stage, but it was pretty noisy. So i did a few new rebuilds and tried on a few more things. After a week of using most of my free time on it, i can say that i truly nailed it. I build a prototype and it sounds great. I moved the fuzz control to control the level between JFET and fuzz stages, rather than just controlling the current getting to ground from second fuzz transistor’s emitter. Design is great and i’m actually pretty proud of it. It may not offer anything completely new, but hey! – There’s only so many ways you can wire a transistor up or make it a fuzz. These will be the Mojoest things ever. I’m still waiting for some special components to arrive, but i can reveal that there will be some MP38As, AC176s, huge PIO caps and superMojo EROs in there. Not to mention Kemet tantalums. Boxes will be white and once again hand painted by my spouse. Estimated time for release is somewhere around february/march 2013. These won’t come cheap due to superMojo construction with solid core wires, rean jacks, silver solder and obsolete audio (read Mojo) components. I’m still just happy that i started over and didn’t just create modded Fuzzrite.
The other one i’m calling DCD Preamp. May that abbreviation remain as a mystery, kinda like FYA. Basically it’s 2 stage JFET preamp, that offers slight fattening at unity to to tube-like overdrive with mild breakup. It doesn’t use clipping at all, so it can be used as a boost too. I created it to be one of those always-on boxes that just gives you little something extra for you base tone. Because it is fairly simple circuit, it got me wondering about doing variations of it. The first release of DCD will be just the base circuit, but after that.. I’ve already spent some time figuring it out. It will probably be DCD Preamp Deluxe. Basic two JFET clean boost/preamp with added amp-like tone stack – adding active bass and treble controls to the original circuit. Original DCD should be out around march/april. Maybe even sooner.
(12.10.2012) And not the effect one. I don’t think i’m in any hurry of releasing Apiformis. It should be out soon though. I should have already started to record demos and do other stuff, but as some sort of diy enthusiast, i have always enough projects unfinished. I just introduced myself to a world of AC by building myself Madamp G2 2W amplifier. It sounds amazingly good, as one can drive the tubes really hard in a soft way without bleeding ears and shattered glass. I still need to box it up, but i’m guessing that will become my main quick testing amplifier. I had the parts lying around for a few months, and i just never had extra free time to finish it. My main amp died a couple of weeks ago and i had to send it to the shop for service. What crap you Englishmen build! Only 24 years and already my amp needs service! So i had to use my Laney VC15-110 (with Marshall 4×12 cab) for rehearsals for two weeks. I’ve always been under the impression that 15W of raw tube power is enough for band setting and/or pub gigs. No it is not. At least it’s not if you’re playing punkrock with another band and ’82-style hardcore with the other. And to be honest, while VC15 sounds really good on higher bedroom volumes, it is quite ugly and brittle when you have to drive it to the edge. I’m getting my JCM800 head back in a few days, and i can’t believe how much i want to get back. Yeah. The first success with building G2 got me thinking.. I should probably set out to build my “dream amp” myself. Mainly because there are no “perfect” products available. I never understood the idea of having lots of EQ-controls on the amplifier. That’s basically like saying “hey, i think my design sounds so bad that you need to tweak for reasonable sound.” Plus, more features equals more things that can break. This is my personal and biased opinion, but the way i see it (and use my own amps) is that the amp is there to provide output power with the sound of tubes. If there’s a need for coloration, well, then we have stompboxes for that. Features i don’t want in my dream amp would be a) effect loop, b) EQ, c) Anything over one (1) channels. So it needs to be just preamp stage with 0dB and -6dB inputs and one “gain” contol. After that, there could be optional tube powered spring reverb section, and the last one, the main amplifier stage with two EL34s and one control – The Master Volume. Maybe if i wanted to do one as “deluxe model”, i could add one cap and pot to create simple tone control, but that only for “Deluxe”.That should pretty much be my dream amp. F versatility. As a guitarist, why would i want my amp to do hoops and sing the blues? No i don’t want that. I want one perfect , super fat sound, that fits all guitars no matter what pickup configuration. Of course there are a few good, suitable products available as boutique amps. I’ve been thinking about those a lot, but i still think i should go for my own. If it turns out good enough, who knows.. I might even do more of those in the future too.
Back to the original issues. The Apiformis seems to be somewhat achilles heel to me. The boxes have been ready and signed for a month now, but still i don’t have any photos or sound clips. I’ll try to grab the horn by the bulls next week and get something done. Screw the packaging. I’m also contemplating about the final price of the boxes. I want to get rid of them, but i don’t want to suffer great losses, so i’m currently thinking ’bout 110€ for one. That shouldn’t be too much. Other thing i want to share about it.. Well. I’m still in a doubt weather it is any good. I can spend a week without touching one and the doubt creeps back up. Then i take one of the boxes and run it. After that i’ve always lost all feelings of doubt. It isn’t very versatile with about three good settings, but those do rock. It just feels solid. I’ve just added the work “dark” to the description and i guess i should add that it is pretty good with bass too as it doesn’t really cut the lower frequencies off. So in that perspective it is quite versatile.. I’ll just do the demos someday soon and let you decide.
For the future, i have two breadboards filled with soviet made germanium transistors in modded classic circuits. I can see that there is something white that is slowly fuzzing you to the death..
(7.9.2012) It’s been somewhat busy month. I never could have realized in advance that the biggest problem in building stompboxes would be suitable packaging. Of course i could have 10000 printed cardboard boxes or 1000 at the best. That would take some of the soul away from my chosen unbusinessy model. I currently have no interest in creating stuff that reminds me of mass produced, faceless industrial stuff. My builds need to have soul. And lots of it. Rest assured, i found a way to keep my small scale mentality and still deliver the boxes in cool fashion. You’ll see it when it is the time.
Last night i tested all the boards from Apiformis batch and they sound exactly like they should and all of them worked without any faults. Now we’re at the point where we only have switches and jacks to solder. I think the launch will be in couple of weeks. Oh boy. I’ll need to make demo videos and all that “marketing” crap i really don’t like..
Anyway. Initial release of the FYA Electronics Apiformis Fuzztortion is near. I’m quite happy, even though i can’t see that this effect would be for everyone due to it’s powerful but unique, vintage characteristics. Currently the price is setting at 155€, or $195 plus mailing expenses. Hope i don’t get any more surprise expenses, because that’s pretty much as high as i am willing to go. It’s already a bit high for my taste..
I do have couple of ideas for the next design that i’m figuring out at the moment. In the next 6-8 months i’m probably releasing a germanium fuzz and one mean overdrive. But i won’t promise anything yet. That’s it for now. I’ll be giving updates as i go along.
(23.8.2012) First post on our new site. Pretty cool. I’ve been working around the first FYA design for some time now, and we’re getting closer to the initial release of “Apiformis Fuzztortion”. It’s going to be the first FYA design, that isn’t a clone. Actually. It’s so loosely based on it’s idol, an existing design, that my mentor didn’t recognize it from the schem i had drawn.
I did doubt myself a lot during the development and testing of the circuit. I took a few weeks of from it at a time and came back to it later. My sonic memories of what could possibly be done better was defined with all those times off the design. After playing with it for the last time before starting the work on the boards, i came to a conclusion. It’s just what i wanted. It doesn’t sound good when you’re running low on your 9V battery. It becomes muddy when the voltage drops under ~8,2V. I know what you’re thinking.. A simple regulator would fix that. I know. But i also wanted to keep the part count and complexity as down as possible. If you’re getting one, i strongly suggest that you use regulated wall wart. I’ve seen many boxes that have “always use a fresh battery” warning in the manuals. This one has that too. I’m pretty proud about it. If running it with lower voltages than advised is the only problem i see on the design.. I can’t be completely wrong.
Enough chitchat for now. I still have hours and hours of work before the first nine Apiformis boxes are out.
P.S. There will only be nine of them. Once those are gone, i’m not building more of these.