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Fuzz 109  

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Björn
(@bjf)
Medlem Moderator
Blev medlem: 2 veckor sedan
Inlägg: 5
2018-11-29 02:44  
Hi There
 
Right so while listening heavily to Hendrix will making fuzz pedals I got thinking I’ll make a silicon FF too. Yes an Analoghog I was contemplating also your thoughts.
For that I decided to use transistor BC109C, which is an old favourite in Europe from the BC107, 108,109 series popular in the late 60’s and 70’s and then replaced by BC237,238 and 239 series, that also later was superceded by the BC547,548,549 series.
The series start with e.g the BC107A and B that are meant for high current switching and driving, and goes on with BC108A,B,C that are the general purpose medium types and lastly the BC109B and C that are the lower voltage and lower noise types meant for audio applications.
 
As a workhorse I usually use the BC550C that is an industrial type that can take high voltage and has low noise, but for Sparkle Face it might just look good with some metal cans 😉 and so I made a unit with BC109C and for that employed a little different techniques of noise and quirks reduction, but I will say I feel the silicon version gets closer to what I am hearing with Hendrix- only something that has always amazed me is how Hendrix got a fuzz sound that was so clear and defined at points and then seemingly at will a wall of noise………but some of his rythm fuzz sounds are to my ear just amazing and something I could use for any type of music and that was my guiding start with the silicon version. Some of those will also be built and made DIY with explanations and I look forward to the feedback on all that eventually.
 
 
I’d say I’d rather like to make fuzz and bender sounds as I can hear them in my head than recreating faithfully old circuit diagrams- that much because I recall as a musician wanting to get the sounds out of head meanwhile playing gear that was almost there most of the time and sometimes that provided something magical but seemingly only so when the stars would align on an ordinary Tuesday.
 
That spurred the idea of controlling the the small things in sound that I find and found inspiring.
 
Anyway, as can be seen in the schematic it is fairly close to a FF.
Bias is set via the 25K trimmer at collector of Q1 and resting voltage at collector Q2 would then be set at 4,5V. For the Sparkling Faces that I made for this thread I have set bias with AC signal sine wave with Saturation control fully counterclockwise to allow near linear operation when signal is below clipping threshhold and so onset of distortion is gradual and gradually increasing. This setting allows for also a type of distorted sound that I have heard on many recordings with Hendrix and wondered how he got it as it somewhat sounds like a fuzz but also somewhat like distortion....
To my ear these transistors lend themselves well to this type of sounds

As I mentioned in another post I also made a a while ago a FF with BC108C transistors but with that I felt more to go with nonlinear from start as the sound and playability was more fun that way with those transistors.

 
How the Fuzz 1711 and Fuzz 109 and many more in the research differ:

Actually they do a whole lot and I was going to make a few Fuzz109’s but the bag of BC109C’s ( very low noise, high gain, low voltage audio transistor for preamps et.c) I had had disappeared so as I anyway wanted to complete what I had started I checked out some other transistors I had in drawers and thought of trying 2N1711 ( medium power,medium gain switching- and driver-transistor) and those have about as much as common that they both are NPN and in metal can…

The circuit had to be revised to let the 2N1711 bias correctly for what I wanted and also while you can do certain noise reduction things with transistors those vary from type to type and as an example one that makes 2N1711 drop a little noise makes the F109 oscillate  I am saying when you use a part there can certain things you can do.

Sound wise and on musical level things could be broken down like this

The Square Wave is a resurrection with some modifications to a fuzz I used a whole lot live and in studios in the late 1980’s- it can sound almost behaved with volume control on guitar turned down a little and then sound like a disaster when volume control is on full- I always enjoyed having that on dial 

The Fuzz 109 came about as I was building fuzzes and listening to Hendrix for hours on end and as I was making the Sparkle Faces it struck me that while close there would be something else I’d hear in the Hendrix fuzz sounds and there’s these sounds where he gets a fuzz sound that more sounds like a distorting amplifier in that more organic for lack of better word than distortion boxes and this would be a sound I have wanted to have since I first heard it. So I set about making the Fuzz 109 using silicon transistors as it struck me that the recordings I was listening to would have been made with the latest most likely of fuzz faces.
Now there are some high order distortions that occour in the BC109C that is not present in say the 2N1308’s and I recalled some techniques to reduce that and in the process total noise level and I feel the resulting sound and behavior makes something useful to me and a sound I could use any day.
This is about sounds that woke my desire to play guitar and that have lingered through the years- I could think of sounds of disaster but this is not it this time.

The Sparkle Face I wanted to make with more modern germanium transistors and for a close to linear design that would eventually overload and in that making a sound from seemingly clean to heavy fuzz and doing that gradually- there are of course some interesting ’odd' things that would then be dialed out, such that would be viewed as the sound of fuzz and that make sound gate and spit and duck- while I in later years enjoy such things too I could think of circuits to more fully explore the noises.

 
Note you can build the Fuzz1711 on the Moody Sound Fuzz109 pcb
 
Stay tuned for modifications and parts choices
 
Have fun
BJ

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