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MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Farndurk!!!
Several years ago I became aware that one of our fellow wigglers also had a pedal company - very boutique, all custom made stuff. At first I thought it looked great, but it seemed kind of expensive. But I kept looking at the website (which no longer exists, sadly), and became intrigued with a specific pedal combination, so I ordered it. Well, it's finally arrived, and it's amazing - even better than it looks!

What it is: a Mega 9 - Modula 1 combination. The Mega 9 is a 3 in 1 pedal - it's got a compressor, a clean boost, and tube screamer-overdrive type section. The Modula 1 is a breakout section for the overdrive part of the Mega 9 - it adds a variety of different diodes that you can mix and match as you see fit.

This guy is an artist as far as wiring these things goes - here's the interiors wiring of these boxes -

Anyway, this sounds as great as it looks - the compressor is a work of art, I'm very particular about my compressor sound, as I use one a lot, and this one is even a slight improvement over the MXR Custom Comp I've been using for years (after auditioning dozens of other ones). The clean boost is fantastic for bumping the volume a bit for a solo or whatever, or just driving the front end of the amp a bit harder. The overdrive section is fantastic for adding just the amount of drive you want - it can go from a subtle breakup, either real clean sounding or extra gnarly depending on which diodes you choose in the modula 1, to a full fledged high gain overdrive sound, especially if you push it a bit (or a lot) with the drive and compressor section.

So many thanks go to Rex Coil 7, who built this for me! Supposedly he's quitting the pedal building business, he's said that this is the last one he'll make, but get in touch with him if you're interested in such a thing, maybe you can talk him into it.
woah love Beautiful, congrats! I've always loved the look of his designs and his attention to detail seems second to none! thumbs up
Long awaited, I know! Sometimes the anticipation can add to the fun, and the description seems like a win. The diode expander looks fun, and the careful wiring is quite purty. love
Rex Coil 7
Thanks for the high praise, everyone. And Steve (Member *sduck) I very much appreciate the write up. I've often thought that "coming out" (as it were) would be a horrifying thing, but I believe that someday .... some day ... I may begin production again. I'll just need to play by new rules that will better benefit everyone involved. Add to that ... a part of my troubles were due to my reluctance to actually realize my own situation .... saying "I can't" is probably the single least digestible thing I can imagine myself saying. But ... I had to get past that and accept the fact that sometimes .... I just can't. So I have to learn how to tell potential customers "I'm sorry, I'm all booked up, can I ask that you check back later?". (or everwhat). Rather than taking on more work and more work and more work ... until my head pops and I've upset half the planet with lousy lead times. Yea ... see ... that don't work.

Ugh ...

Anyhow .... thanks again Steve, for all you put up with, and for being on the "preferred customer list" ....

thumbs up lol

A bit more on the MEGA9 - MODULA1 ensemble:

The MEGA9 is a proprietary circuit that began life as a 3 stage preamp. After I made the prototype and presented it to some of the masses, it quickly became apparent that dividing the 3 stages up with foot switches was what the masses asked for most. So the compressor, single stage transistor based boost stage (Gain Stage I), and a Single Opamp/Diode Clipped highly modified overdrive circuit were cut up into individual stages, each one having ~roughly~ 1megOhm input impedance. This means that you may use any of the stages as the 1st stage that your guitar plugs into, and it will still see a nice high impedance input (just like your high end guitar amps have). All 3 foot switches are wired in the "True Bypass" fashion, with the adjacent LED indicating the circuit being engaged when lit.

One correction on the description Steve provided ... the overdrive stage is not based on the Tube Screamer model, which is a dual opamp circuit that also uses transistor based buffers on both the input and output stages, The Tube Screamer also uses clipping diodes in the feedback loop of IC1, and a tone control in the feedback loop of IC2. The drive circuit used in the Early Days Of Fire PCB is a single opamp design that incorporates no transistor based buffers. It's a very clean sounding overdive (when set up as such) with nearly no discernible tonal coloring at all. Push the input gain ("G2") and flip the "TP" toggle upward to engage the MODULA1 and everything changes. By changing the diode combinations using the toggle switches, you can decide which diodes will be introduced into the clipping circuit (aka "rectification circuit"). Clever selections will produce asymmetric clipping (odd numbers of diodes relative to positive and negative signal polarities), or odd-type clipping ... meaning you're only using 2 diodes arranged against one another, but they are 2 very different diodes ... such as a Germanium and perhaps an LED.

You may use all 3 stages at once, as a sortof multi-stage preamp, or you may use it as a 3 part FX unit with fixed order and true bypass between each of the 3 stages.

The finish on the MEGA9 is a custom flat black powdercoating that I developed (and is presently out of stock), the lettering is 100% done by hand using metal stamps and a hammer ... one character at a time. I also modify the aluminum knobs to provide better visibility in regards to each knob's settings (I machine the ~dot~ on the top of the knob).

The finish on the MODULA1 is black anodized aluminum with milled lettering. This was a first time effort, I've never used a milled anodized pedal top before (for those that haven't noticed, I build every one of my units "upside down" with the cover plate located on the top). I had a local powdercoating shop attempt to do my usual flat black powder, but after 2.5 attempts (and ruining the stamped lettering) they told me my powder stock had gone bad and was unusable. I looked this up, it's actually a thing! Minimum amounts on custom colors usually comes in around 2 to 5 pounds of powder depending on the company ... a bit more money$$$ than I had available to spend at that time. So anyhow, after getting pre-approval from *sduck I went with the engraved anodized panel on the MODULA1 instead of re-fabbing another hand made panel. I may do this again, should I elect to get back into this stuff. I mean, since I have the sweat equity invested in obtaining (and testing!) the proper dimensions required to get the screw holes to align along with information obtained on the edges and overall panel size, I may as well take advantage of the effort involved! The MODULA1 also is deceptively more time consuming to construct than it, at first, appears. Danged thing has 74 solder joints!

There's much more to it. It's one of those types of devices that you tend to "leave on all the time". It begins to sound invisible, that is, until you turn it off. Then you really know it's missing!

Thanks again to members *bwhittington and *John L. Rice ... as well as *sduck. I appreciate the props and well wishes fellas!

thumbs up
Rex Coil 7
WARNING: Picture heavy posting!

Just to honor this brief and short lived minor bit of re-look at what this was all about, here's a few pics of some things.

The right angle plugs were called Tone Plugs, and were loaded with essentially what Member *sduck got in the enclosure of the MODULA1 ... different combinations of clipping diodes. I later expanded the Tone Plug concept to include a capacitor that was used to set the center frequency of a certain tone control I made up called Dyna-Q. So each Tone Plug had some clipping diode combinations along with a capacitor used to set the center frequency of a tone control knob. Some devices permitted the use of foot switches to facilitate switching between two inboard diode/cap combos, as well as switching between two separate Tone Plug jacks. And on a few units (very few) a foot switch was used in combination with a panel mounted 3PDT toggle switch to swap between a grid of 4 dual opamps. Between switching of opamps, clipping diodes, and center freq caps, some guitar players found these design elements to be an enormous help to them. All hardware is stainless steel, even the large stainless flat washers are custom made (very nice fit on foot switches). I offered a few less popular finishes .... one had engraved lettering but no black in-filling of lettering and a polished aluminum finish ... for the Save The Planet folks. And another finish called "STEALTH" that only had basic lettering, no infilled lettering, no polished or powdercoated finish, very low key and unflashy. These were for certain touring pros ... (sorry ... N.D.A.s protect anything further).

I worked in missile silos in the early 1980s during what some folks feel was the absolute peak of the Cold War between the two superpowers on the planet at the time. More than 25 years later, the look and feel of that environment most certainly was a design element and heavy influence that made it into my entire catalogue of roughly 500 or so pieces over the years of production.

So, just for posterity, here's a few pictures of another era. Just a quick look at past efforts and an emotional review of something I put so much of myself in to. Every single aspect was my own brainchild, from website design and operation, to the look and feel of everything we offered, to the end-goal range of sound support and keeping things as untouched tonally to retain as much of the guitar's original organic wooden tone as possible. I used as few components as possible in all of my circuits to keep things as pure as possible. There's some tonal enhancing going on, but it's switchable. Most of what I offered dealt with dynamic control over tonal clarity, as well as increasing dynamic control over breakup and drive, while keeping a handle on dynamics at the same time. Tricky, but I made it happen. Knowing how to deal with your gain structure (how loud going in to pedal(s), how loud coming out of pedal(s), and so on) is probably one of the paramount details one has to master. Especially for those of you that play with any kind of dynamic control over your instrument and not just a solid black line across your DAW track screen. I'm not much help you those folks that record or play that way, I'm afraid.

So here's the last parade. Maybe someday things will be different. But, for now, here's these .......

The look back was fun! Byes-Ola Folksies!

thumbs up

EDIT (March 6th, 2018): In an effort to thin out my watched thread search results, I've unsubbed from this thread. If you wish to contact me or have anything you need me to hear please feel absolutely free to send me a PM. I would have just posted this in it's own posting but that would have ~bumped~ this thread to the top and I didn't want to do that just to add a simple note. Thanks again to Member *sduck for going out of his way to post this thread to begin with.
Those are still the coolest looking pedals I've ever seen. And the wiring is immaculate. Just stunning. Congratulations!
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