Remaining Pedal Stock (Updated)

Top left going clockwise:
1. Boss CE-2 Chorus Clone – has an added effect level knob like the CE-2B. $120
3. Boss CS-3 Compressor- Slightly modified to fatten up the sound, rehoused, and converted to true bypass. $65
4. FXdoctor Super 8-Bit Fuzz – same sound just no graphics printed on the enclosure. $100
5. Boss Tap Tempo Pedal- great tap tempo footswitch if you prefer the wide pad of a Boss pedal over a traditional footswitch. Matches a Boss DD-5 nicely. Black rattle can paint. $65
6. Scalpel Mini – (not pictured) Cuts the volume. Has a big metal knob. $65

Email to order.

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Tubescreamer TS9 / TS808 PCB Assembly

This circuit board started out as a way for us to test some PCB design features that we wanted to bring to other products that we offer. In the first photo you can see our first shot at making tubescreamer circuit board and our revised board (lower) that was cleaned up a few years later.

This 54mm x 21mm layout can fit in a 1590B enclosure (think MXR Phase 90) or we could put two in a single 125-B enclosure. This is a great option to be installed in a Big Muff like in our Tripel Big Muff.

Overall this was a fun build. Some key upgrades include using film caps instead of 1uF electrolytic caps, a socket for the op amp that holds a vintage JRC4558DD, Nichicon high voltage caps so it can operate at 18V if needed, and TS808 resistors are labeled separately since that’s a common swap on the TS9 circuits. Another design choice was to place the diodes on the back side of the PCB. This gives easy access for installing diode-selecting switches in the future or if we wanted to try some oversized or oddball diodes. Below is a quick video of what a typical assembly process looks like. It’s a 2 minute video but covers about a 30 minute process. Please enjoy the generic, royalty-free rock music.

PCB assembly video
Finished project; white knobs are a stand-in until the black aluminum knobs arrive.
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Boss CE-1 Power Conversion

Our Boss CE-1 power conversion bypasses the internal power transformer and allows the pedal to be powered by an 18V DC power source rather than plugging into a 120V AC power source. This can be helpful for people that live in areas with different voltage standards or just for making the pedal pedalboard-friendly as it’ll be compatible with an isolated 18V DC power supply.

We’ve found that the Dunlop ECB-004 is a great option for our mods as it’s readily available and high quality. However, any quality power supply can be used if it’s:
1. 18V DC
2. Tip Negative
3. 2.1mm Barrel Jack
4. 100mA or higher
5. Isolated (no daisy chains or Y cables)

Another consideration for this project was the value of the pedal and preventing any permanent modifications to the pedal. This mod is entirely reversible with the stock transformer remaining untouched, the power switch wiring isn’t modified, the new power circuit (small, purple rectangle seen above) is mounted using pre-existing holes in the chassis, and the DC jack fits in the stock power cable hole.

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Make Your Own Cables

There are plenty of reasons to build your own cables which I’m not going to get into here. If you’ve decided to go ahead and customize your pedalboard, repair your broken cables, or build new ones from scratch these are our recommendations:

Pedalboard & Patch Cables- really anything that isn’t going to be strained, pulled, and unplugged constantly:

  • Jack- right angle, smaller barrel for tighter boards, gold contacts for corrosion resistance.
    • Amphenol ACPM-RB-AU
  • Wire- thin, flexible, easy to work with.
    • Mogami W2319

Instrument Cable – long leads that will need to take abuse:

  • Jacks- very durable, unique clamp keeps the wire from pulling out, easy to solder.
    • Right Angle: Neutrik NP2RX-B
    • Straight: Neutrik NP2X-B
  • Wire- durable, coils nicely without tangling, excellent shielding and conductivity.
    • Mogami W2524

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Ibanez TS-9 Tubescreamer PCB Repair

Copper washer (left) to repair a broken PCB (right)

The 9 Series Ibanez pedals secure the PCB to the chassis using a single screw right next to the DC jack. As these pedals age and become fragile the board can crack around the mounting hole. A copper washer is a quick way to repair the board and prevent further damage.

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Shin-ei Uni-Vibe controller (Part 3)

This is an update to a previous post writing about a hand controller to replace the rocking “wah” style foot controller for the vintage Shin-ei Uni-Vibe pedal. Unfortunately for these pedals you can’t switch them on/off and can’t adjust the rate without a controller of some sort. This is a great option for studio use or for anyone with less space on their board and don’t need to adjust the rate on the fly. This updated version has a 5-pin DIN jack rather than an attached cord for more flexibly in cable length. Currently posted for sale on the FXdoctor store.

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Shin-ei Uni-Vibe Controller (Part 2)

A few years back we created a Shin-ei Uni-Vibe Expression Pedal as a replacement for the original controller which can be hard to find. The Uni-Vibe requires a controller to adjust the rate and for bypass so if the controller goes missing or is damaged then the Uni-Vibe is useless. The one picture above offers the same functionality but in a smaller 2.5″ x 4.5″ package that’s designed to be activated by hand rather than with your foot.

Edited to add: check out Part 3 for another variation on this device.

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NE5554N Substitutes

As a company that repairs vintage electronics we often run into the problem of finding quality replacements for discontinued ICs. Third-party companies will often make reproductions for popular chips but for the less common chips we’re on our own to find a suitable replacement. The NE5554N is a dual polarity voltage regulator used in older EHX pedals like the Micro Synthesizer and Memory Man. We made a PCB replacement using surface mount voltage regulators and utilize the PCB as a heatsink. This provides better heat dissipation as the stock chip (and suitable replacements) will heat up under use. These boards are NOT for sale; we exclusively use them in our repairs.

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Tap Tempo

This tap tempo footswitch controller was designed to display the tempo that was most recently tapped. This project was a fun experiment into the Adafruit Trinket world but will not become a product that we sell. All credit for the code goes to Phillip Burgess and his project page can be found here if you’d like to build your own or get more information on how the circuit works.

Some interesting parts of this project include how to interface a tap tempo footswitch with another delay pedal. The problem being that some delay pedals will average together your inputs and other pedals will simply take the time between the last two inputs. The tempo displayed will be 100% correct to what was entered but your pedal may actually be at a different rate depending on how it interprets your inputs. Other considerations include how practical is this? At the end of the day it’s a fun toy, but I’m not sure if knowing the tempo is going to matter for most applications.

And some general tech specs: 125B enclosure, soft touch foot switch, 9V DC input at around 20-50mA of power usage, two ¼” jacks to control two delay pedals and the option to add as many outputs as needed. For any DIYers I strongly recommend going slow and hand filing the cutout for the screen as it was by far the most time consuming part of the project.

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ISP Beta Bass Preamp Pedal

A customer sent in this feature-rich ISP Beta Bass because it has a footswitchable distortion but oddly enough no volume control. The addition of a volume control allows us to boost or cut the distortion section so the user no longer needs to compromise gain and volume levels. After the mod the distortion section can also work as  a clean boost.

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