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Does the "chip" matter?

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,427
Does the "IC chip" used in a given pedal or circuit matter/influence the tone, or perceived tonal characteristics of the actual effect?

E.g.s:
"the JRC4558D is necessary and vital for authentic vintage overdrive tones"
or
"the ON Semiconductor *insert semiconductor of choice* sounds better than the TI branded equivalent part"
or
"I prefer the way AD's SHARC family of processors sound/perform vs the Blackfin family of processors vs Motorola's DSP56x series"
or
"Metal can 308 opamps sound warmer than plastic packages"
or
"1N4148s exhibit a softer clipping characteristic when compared to 1N914s"
or
"The JFET front end on the TL0xx series sounds brighter than YYY"

Etc.

As they say: a penny for your thoughts...
 
Messages
5,726
Analogue or logical circuits used for analogue clipping do matter to some extent asto their recovery rate and the overtone content this ceeates. But then the myth tends to hold stronger than the truth.

DSPs are a different matter being digital from beginning to end.
 

andrekp

Member
Messages
5,635
Opamps can be different, but all the circuitry around them is way more important in the sense that it can have a greater affect. Yes, they sound different, but swapping out a cap for a different value changes the sound much more. And consider that caps have a 20 percent variance. Two different circuits can have the same opamp and sound very different.

diodes are all about forward voltage. If you match the forward voltage, they are largely interchangeable. Especially as a shunt to ground. Magic diodes are a myth used to sell pedals. If a manufacturer says they have special diodes it’s because they found the last remaining motherload of some particular type and they need to convince the uninformed to pay $300 and be on a waiting list for 48 months to get a pedal with the special diodes inside.
 

Dusty Offski

Member
Messages
101
Not usually a humongous difference. CMOS chips definitely behave differently from FET op-amps, for example. But usually a comparison between a JRC4558 and a TL071 or something is just audiophile cork sniffing that isn't worth your time at all, imo.
 

WWW

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,551
I messed around a little bit, purely unscientific, and usually under some liquid influence. I never heard much of a difference even in controlled environments.

Gotta say thanks to the builders that offer socketed chip/transistor options though.
 

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,427
Not usually a humongous difference. CMOS chips definitely behave differently from FET op-amps, for example. But usually a comparison between a JRC4558 and a TL071 or something is just audiophile cork sniffing that isn't worth your time at all, imo.
So on "cork sniffing..."

A 4558, from any manufacturer, is a dual opamp in an 8 pin package and a TL071 is a single opamp in an 8 pin package, with offset adjustment...

BS/snobbery aside, what I hear is:
It's about the same, and not worth the time? I.E. the "JFET front end" on the TL0xx family contributes nominally to performance/sonic characteristics when compared to the "BJT front end" on the 4558?
Is that correctly interpreted?
 

MAGICboy

Member
Messages
3,827
So on "cork sniffing..."

A 4558, from any manufacturer, is a dual opamp in an 8 pin package and a TL071 is a single opamp in an 8 pin package, with offset adjustment...

BS/snobbery aside, what I hear is:
It's about the same, and not worth the time? I.e. the "JFET front end" on the TL0xx family contributes nominally to performance/sonic characteristics when compared to the "BJT front end" on the 4558?
Is that correctly interpreted?
I like turtles
 

mjl577655

Member
Messages
303
I remember I would always see TL022s and MC1458s in the signal path of old DOD pedals and think to myself “this will sound so much better and have a lower noise level when I switch out that nasty op amp!”

But for some reason, they never did.
 

tonewoody

Member
Messages
1,658
Seriously... Jack, lecture bait...? Why stoop?

I appreciate your insights and cranky manner. Spit it out already!

do tubes matter?

do solid state turtles taste as good as vintage?

Answers? Pithy observations? Golden inspiration?

****
Spoiler: Ya $hit matters if you have a clue and good ears... ( so not to most people)
 
Last edited:

mildew

Member
Messages
240
Special case is dirt boxes where the behavior of the opamp when driven outside of spec is what makes the distortion - Rat and Hotcake, possibly others. When used in a correctly designed circuit opamps are very linear - changing opamp type might be changing the tone because the replacement no longer matches the circuit it is running in.
 




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