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Easy DIY real tube overdrive?

10/7/1999 11:09 AM
Jim Radmer
Easy DIY real tube overdrive?
I was looking at Justin Philpotts site  
He has a Matchless Hotbox 2 tube overdrive that looks simple enough to build.  
My experience in stomp box building comes from building the Fet Muff, UniVibe clone (Neo-Vibe) and a Fuzz Face clone (the '69 Burgundy). I am a little worried by the 260 V inside it. Most of my building is carried out on the livingroom table (with 3 kids running around me!  
I have not been able to find a Blues box that sound as good as my Tube Works 19" Real tube overdrive, but I would like something more compact for my floor pedal board.  
10/8/1999 6:48 PM
Mike Burgundy

The hotbox is fa-bu-lous, but being scared of high DC voltage is a good thing.  
Read RG´s articles, and everything else you can find on the how-to bits of tube electronics. Read ´em again. If you do not feel at ease going in, don´t, build other stuff to gain experience. If you do feel confident, never go in with the unit plugged in, always drain the powercaps, ALWAYS use an alligator clamp for one DMMlead (ground), stick one hand in your back pocket, measure with the other.  
Remember, DC is a lot worse on the human body than AC, and 260V is potentially very absolutely lethal.  
But, as long as you keep your wits, take care, and stick to the rules, those high voltages might also be very rewarding tonewise...  
Other tube projects include the McTube (Aron Nelson has the original article up, I have a redrawn schem that´s somewhat easier to read), though I have no idea what that sounds like (anyone?) and for low-voltages the Tube Driver, but that´s more of a one-good-sound heavy distortion thing.  
I´m sure the Ampagers could talk you through....  
PS; anyone got the schem on a Dirtbox? I KNOW it´s the same as the hotbox´ gain channel, but it has an unconventional 3-band eq instead of 2, and that´s the bit I want to know.
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10/9/1999 5:54 PM
Jim Radmer

Funny thing is, My Tube Driver is not high gain at all.  
Right now I have an ECC82 in it (i think) and even with the original 12AX7 it was very sweet, open and dynamic.  
I can't live without it for The Blues and it is becoming "my sound" more and more.  
I would like another "my sound" though, maybe the Shaka Brada III ??  
And thank you for the '69 FF variation, I have it up and running. I love the sound of the '69 on the Fulltone page.  
My version doesn't sound like that though...
10/10/1999 12:20 AM
Don Symes

Would it be a reasonable thing to re-package (or copy) your tube driver into a pedalboard-compatible size?
10/10/1999 1:22 PM
Jim Radmer

The PCB is quite large and I am not that good at tracing the circuit.  
Funny thing is the PCB is a onesided PCB with the components mounted ON THE SOLDER SIDE !!!  
10/11/1999 1:56 PM
Don Symes

Well, at least with the components on teh copper side, tracing couldn't get easier.  
You could even xerox the board and note the component values in red or something. From there to a schematic is mere persistence.  
HEY! - SKB and probably some other people make pedal boards that accommodate a couple of rack-spaces worth of gear. Would that do it for you?  
10/11/1999 4:59 PM
Mike Burgundy
Re:Tube Driver - Jim, plz read?
The Tube driver I referred to was the schematic Jack Orman has redrawn from the original patent (number US5022305, find it here at the IBM Intellectual Property Network.  
The Tube Driver you have is a different beast, though it works on the same priciple.  
I would dearly like to see a schem on that one; I fear you live in the US? I´ll do anything I can to trace this thing, but not actually having it in my hands does not make things easy.  
Xeroxing the PCB would help, as would a digital photo, I´m sure a LOT of people here would love to see it!!  
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