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Fuzzes in MU world
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules  
Author Fuzzes in MU world
johny_gtr
Is there any fuzz modules in MU world, maybe DIY works?

I'm interesting in adding one to my system, maybe something crazy like Zvex Fuzz Factory or RML Electron Fuzz.
unrecordings
Oakley Overdrive II ?
http://www.oakleysound.com/overdrv.htm

Or in DIY land there's a million & one ways to make a passive fuzz circuit with diodes

http://www.muzique.com/lab/sat.htm
TRUE DEEP
Trouby modular made a led fuzz and a tube fuzz in 5u.
johny_gtr
unrecordings wrote:
Oakley Overdrive II ?
http://www.oakleysound.com/overdrv.htm

Or in DIY land there's a million & one ways to make a passive fuzz circuit with diodes

http://www.muzique.com/lab/sat.htm

For drive duties I have FM KM60 modules and Oakley Discontinuity can help with small drive. I more need fuzz character of device, not classic BigMuff or FuzzFace style but some self osc fuzzes. About DYI - thank you, I will look. I'm just afraid that these schemes are for guitar level signal and will sound cheesy with modular signal levels.

some examples


Flareless
I'm actually building a Hexinverter Battery Acid CV right now. Last night I designed the panel. It's 2 spaces wide as there are just too many toys to fit in a single width panel.

The module is based on the MXR Distortion+

It's not finished yet although the board is now fully populated full of the whacky parts on the BOM.

I'm hoping to prototype it this week. It's supposed to be a pretty cool module with a number of features available through cvs.

The Overdrive II is an excellent module but I don't think of it as a straight "distortion" unit. It's more, as its name suggests, an overdrive.... but with some twists. I like sending it a signal out of a VCA as the module is far more flexible (I find) when you can control your input levels.

Still it doesn't give me what I think of a s a distortion pedal effect. I'm hoping the Battery Acid CV does.

The only problem with the Battery Acid CV is that Hexinverter has discontinued their DIY boards so the only ones available are the ones out there now. And it's DIY (which isn't a problem for many).
Dr Gris
I've just ordered a 4x instrument interface from Analog Craftsman.
Looks like a perfect module to use with effect pedals.

I restored a really old Binson Echorec some years ago that I want to use with my modular among other effects nanners

//M
Synthbuilder
Flareless wrote:
The module is based on the MXR Distortion+.


I've not looked at the schematic for the MXR Distortion+ before but bizarrely it is almost the same circuit topology as the Overdrive II in its 'distortion' mode. Of course, the devil is in the details and, amongst other things, the Overdrive II features quite a bit more high frequency cut compared to the MXR.

I have a suspicion that a lot of the real difference between fuzz circuits is not the gain stage or the clipping circuits, but the tone controls and EQ used before and after them.

Tony
Flareless
^ It's funny but I re-read the documentation on the Overdrive II the other day and started using it more effectively following a VCA in the chain. The ODII is an wickedly flexible module whose capabilities I didn't quite realize. Definitely an asset to the modular.

The Battery Acid CV has some living-up to do!

Thanks Tony for the ODII and your other great modules!
Rex Coil 7
Having designed a number of my own *distorting* circuits, and having catered to the guitar players' world for many years, I'd have to say that there is a very distinct difference between "fuzz" circuits and "distortion" (clipping) circuits.

The main difference from a user's point of view is that distortion circuits are a lot like a guitar amp, in that they respond quite nicely to changes in input gain, and typical distortion circuits (clipping the opamp and/or diodes placed across the feedback loop of the opamp ... or simply placing a diodes in either symmetric or asymmetric configuration from the output signal to ground .. just before the output volume pot). These types of circuits (eg; MXR Distortion +) sortof slew in to and out of clipping. Meaning, play lightly and they produce a nice, light clipping to the sound ... play more aggressively and the clipping increases, but in a nicely controllable manner. This is the same (nearly exact) type of circuit that the Oakley Overdrive II offers. It is essentially a standard opamp + clipping diode circuit that is used in literally piles of overdrive pedals. The opamp raises the gain levels, and the diodes take a kick in the nuts from the increased gain. That's not to say the Oakley isn't a bad ass module ... it most certainly is, so much so that I'm building two of them to create a two channel overdrive.

On the other hand, "fuzz" circuits have a well deserved reputation for being darned near "gated" distortion. Play lightly, there is no breakup, at all. Play harder, the "fuzz" kicks in. Hard! But there is little (if any) nicely ramped up (slewed?) gain response .... it's either fully blown or not at all doing fuzz.

Fuzz circuits are also primarily made up of jfets/transistors ... opposed to distortion units (clipping) are made up of opamps and diodes. Fuzz circuits are also so reliant on the jfets/transistors used that many fuzz enthusiasts pay serious money for "mojo" injected NOS 'fets in pursuit of Teh Mojo. Fuzz circuits are also highly sensitive to input power, and even input power polarity (many are positive grounded, while others are negative grounded). Starving the fuzz circuits (running on low voltage) has a huge effect on how it sounds and responds. Even changing from wall power to battery power has a large influence on how the fuzz circuit behaves and responds. To the point that even using different battery types (alkaline, NiCad, and so on) have large influences on sound. So much so, that many fuzz pedals actually have power starvation circuits added (typically a pot that decreases the input voltage as far down as 3 or 4 volts). Some fuzz pedals have toggle switches that permit swapping between battery power and wall power, because the sound is that much different. Fuzz circuits are damned near alchemy.

The main issue is .... they sound and behave VERY differently. Most of your fuzz circuits are very "rude" and way all up in your face. Distortion circuits, on the other hand, tend to wear a suit and tie to work. They are more manageable and their distorting effect is very controllable simply by changing gain dynamics (playing softer or harder). One is a kiss on the cheek, the other is being spit in the face! Both can distort the signal heavily, but their "breakup" and "granularity" are very different.

Listen to a Fuzz Face .... then listen to a Distortion +. Very different sounds, very different dynamic response. In fact, the two circuits are so different, that when using one with a wah pedal it must be placed before the wah .... when using the other circuit it needs to go after the wah. This is "blues guitar wah pedal 101" stuff. And it may apply to using either within the signal chain of a modular synth, so it's relevant (replace "wah" with "VCF").

Note that the venerable Big Muff Pi is a different critter altogether. It's sortof a combo circuit that can sound like clipping distortion and fuzz. In fact it's well known for that property.

What on Earth is Rex rambling on about this time? Does the man ever shut up already?

Why I'm carrying on here is that the OP specifically asked for fuzz circuits, and even linked a video that clearly demonstrate the type of circuit wanted (fuzz!). Rude ass, nasty, misbehaving FUZZ!

thumbs up .... ~ahem~ .... so to speak. I would analogize distortion with the CP3 (warm and "orderly"), and fuzz with Arturia's Brute Factor (spitting, raspy, pissed off).

That said .... does anyone have any suggestions? I've never attempted to reconfigure a fuzz circuit to handle modular synth level signals, so I'm of no help on this one. It's also why I'm interested to learn, since there are so many different fuzz sounds and flavors, and so many different fuzz topographies to choose from. Many are even 100% point-to-point construction because they are so simple.

Thanks for putting up with another of my War And Peace postings.

Brian of Earth.
kgd
I've had a lot of luck with the Analog Craftsman 4x Instrument Interface. Highly recommended if there's already a fuzz pedal you own that you know you like and want to use. It's a great module.
unrecordings
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
What on Earth is Rex rambling on about this time? Does the man ever shut up already?


Nope, don't ever stop - that was a good one. I kind of use 'distortion' and 'fuzz' akin to the way the inuit have 50 words for 'snow'. So getting down to the nitty gritty of the difference, as a non guitar player, was quite informative
defutura
Some Inuit even distinguish between 'fuzz,' 'overdrive,' and 'distortion.'
drob842
kgd wrote:
I've had a lot of luck with the Analog Craftsman 4x Instrument Interface. Highly recommended if there's already a fuzz pedal you own that you know you like and want to use. It's a great module.


Can you talk a little bit about how you use the 4x Instrument Interface? Where do you typically put it in the chain, if you want to send your synth through a fuzz or distortion, how do you typically set your levels, etc. I understand the point of the module, but I’ve never really had someone give specific examples of how they use it to interface with guitar pedals like fuzz and distortion. Thanks!
kgd
drob842: Typically, I use it at the end of my chain. The last output of my patch goes to the 4x input and I use the SEND output to my pedals. There is a pot above the SEND input that allows you to attenuate your signal going to the pedal. You can get pretty micro with it if you choose and, obviously, the amount you send can make a huge impact on your final sound.
The module also allows you to take that pedal effected signal and send it back into your synth for filtering or sending through a VCA or through a filter bank or whatever you want to do. There is an additional pot to boost or attenuate your pedal effected signal for that purpose.
Generally, I just use it at the end of my patch, out to the pedals, and off to the amp or mixing board. In my experience, it has been really flexible and endlessly useful as I have many pedals (fuzz, delay, loop, pitch shifter, phaser, et. al.) that I love and can't live without. It was one of the first modules in my rack outside the essentials and I have always used it everytime I sit down with the synth which is nearly everyday of my boring life....
The short version is that it works just like an effects SEND/RECEIVE on a console. And, for me, it's worked flawlessly.
drob842
kgd wrote:
drob842: Typically, I use it at the end of my chain. The last output of my patch goes to the 4x input and I use the SEND output to my pedals. There is a pot above the SEND input that allows you to attenuate your signal going to the pedal. You can get pretty micro with it if you choose and, obviously, the amount you send can make a huge impact on your final sound.
The module also allows you to take that pedal effected signal and send it back into your synth for filtering or sending through a VCA or through a filter bank or whatever you want to do. There is an additional pot to boost or attenuate your pedal effected signal for that purpose.
Generally, I just use it at the end of my patch, out to the pedals, and off to the amp or mixing board. In my experience, it has been really flexible and endlessly useful as I have many pedals (fuzz, delay, loop, pitch shifter, phaser, et. al.) that I love and can't live without. It was one of the first modules in my rack outside the essentials and I have always used it everytime I sit down with the synth which is nearly everyday of my boring life....
The short version is that it works just like an effects SEND/RECEIVE on a console. And, for me, it's worked flawlessly.


That’s great to hear. I have some fuzz pedals that I’m really anxious to use with my modular. I’ve tried a few options, but I never really found anything that gave me the sound I’m looking for. I’ll definitely give the 4x a shot and spend some time testing.
boothnavy
I'll just leave this here cool



You can actually use the make up gain circuits individually or in series to create some wave folding/distortion as each channel is 100x gain...
Jsharpphoto
What about STG's Wave Folder?
Rex Coil 7
unrecordings wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
What on Earth is Rex rambling on about this time? Does the man ever shut up already?


Nope, don't ever stop - that was a good one. I kind of use 'distortion' and 'fuzz' akin to the way the inuit have 50 words for 'snow'. So getting down to the nitty gritty of the difference, as a non guitar player, was quite informative
Thank you for the uplifting and encouraging remarks. I tend to think that I create a lot of rolling eyeballs anytime I post. Hearing that I've actually helped out someone makes my day.

applause w00t

kgd wrote:
drob842: Typically, I use it at the end of my chain. The last output of my patch goes to the 4x input and I use the SEND output to my pedals. ......

....... Generally, I just use it at the end of my patch, out to the pedals, and off to the amp or mixing board.
How is that any different than using the output VCA of a given patch? I mean, why mess with purchasing a 4x Send/Return module if you're only using it as a send? A typical VCA offers the same signal attenuation, and also provides voltage control over the output gain, so I'm having trouble working out why one would spend money (and case space) for something less versatile than the VCA at the end of the signal chain. Using a modulation source, such as an LFO, to modulate the VCA will also allow the signal to swell and decay before it hits the fuzz/OD/distortion ... which creates a wonderfully useful ~phasing~ or wavefolding type of sound. Or, using Velocity to modulate that outbound VCA signal would also control the amount of distortion ... which is a very intuitive and expressive manner to use these distorting circuits.

If you use 2 VCAs, placing the distortion/fuzz between them, then you have mondo control over what's going on. The first one that controls the gain levels hitting the distortion/fuzz circuit controls the amount of distortion created (see previous paragraph), while the second one controls the amount of VOLUME that the whole works is sending to your mixer/amp. To me this seems like a more wise way of spending my money and cabinet space. Versatility exudes from the VCA/Distortion/VCA setup.
kgd
Rex, you are definitely right about your VCA/Distortion/VCA setup allowing for more expressive control over and more play with distortions. Distortion circuits definitely don't react poorly with signals pushing them in to overload. That's not something I've tried, but look forward to giving it a go.
That said, the 4x I/F actually saves me space for how I am using it. It allows me four separate outs to my pedals in one panel. Typically when I am using it, it goes out to delays and phase shifters rather than distortions. In my experience (and I could be doing it wrong in my gain staging) the 4x helps me NOT overload those signals to circuits that aren't distortion or overdrive. It helps me keep those signals clean to my delays and shifters, etc. I've actually cooked a few inputs on my pedals using VCA outs directly. Never have with the 4x. Like I said, that could be user error.
As mentioned above, it gives me four sends in one panel as opposed to four sends in four panels (one VCA per send). So, it does save me space in that regard. Granted, those sends are not as versatile as a true VCA.
On top of all that, the 4x also allows me to send 4 separate external signals through the synth at the same time. Loops, field recordings, etc. All of that in one panel.
I travel a lot and that module really saves me a lot of space in my rack.
But, when it comes to Fuzzes in MU world, which is what this thread is really about, your example makes more than plenty of sense and I can see where that configuration would allow for a lot great expressiveness and versatility.
Rex Coil 7
The beauty of modular is on full display here ... each person can configure their system to suit individual needs and wants!

I'm glad to learn you've discovered ways to make it all work for you.

cool
kgd
Yeah, it really is a special thing. An endless road and bottomless tunnel of fun. I can't see myself ever getting tired or bored of it.
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