Has anyone made a "super" Hotcake?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jurfin, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. jurfin

    jurfin Member

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    I mean, we have fuzz faces with six knobs and muffs with eight knobs, and tube screamers with 100...

    I am just curious if it has been done? The Hotcake is super versatile as it is, but it seems like someone out there would want to expand upon that...

    Thanks!
     
  2. Trotter

    Trotter Supporting Member

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    I'd just love a true-bypass Hotcake... but one with more tweak-ability would be cool too!
     
  3. Aquinas

    Aquinas Supporting Member

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    Gonna be kinda hard to "improve" the Hot Cake - the circuit is pretty simple, and adding a tone stack would almost certainly kill a lot of the character. Actually, it would make it act more like a Box of Rock or other stacked-MOSFET design, in all likelihood. I'm guessing that's why no one has really done it - the discreet stacked-transistor-stage designs are easier to manage, and accomplish a very similar thing!

    What makes you want an "improved" one? What would you be looking for? More EQ? The "Bluesberry" version is just that - it could be done a bit differently, I suppose, but that seems a stretch (and not hard to do to an existing pedal). It doesn't use diode clipping, so that "magic dust" is out. The circuit depends on its particular chip, so that "mod" is out. He builds'm with good components, so nothing to really improve there. The bypass is easily enough modded as it is, if you want it. Oh, and the Double Hot Cake exists if you want more gain versatility. What's there to improve?

    It is very, very easy to True-Bypass a Hot Cake as it is - what stops you? Paul will build you one that way if you ask, too. What's wrong with the buffer, though? It is one of the "good" ones...
     
  4. Pazz

    Pazz Member

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    There's a Double Hotcake that has a regular HC on one side and a Blueberry on the other. Is that what you mean? More knobs......?
     
  5. jurfin

    jurfin Member

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    Interesting to hear about how the circuit does not lend itself to variation like others do. I always wanted some control over the low end when using it for higher gain. The bass is great for lower gain but gets too heavy, for me, as you bring the gain up. I have never played a bluesberry version, but maybe an external toggle for that would be cool too...

    I don't know. I have just been wondering if anyone had attempted such a thing really.
     
  6. Aquinas

    Aquinas Supporting Member

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    Newer ones (2006?) have an internal toggle - well, jumper - for selecting Standard or Bluesberry, as well as "Guitar/Bass". The Double Hot Cake (I have one, it is awesome) has one side standard, one side BB...

    The bass issue is hard to deal with, as it isn't an "EQ problem". The way the pedal works is by cascading the two halves of a dual opamp together with a bit of filtering between and after them. All the overdrive is from the IC, not clipping diodes like a TS or BB or Klon. Because it works by feeding one circuit into another with some feedback, any filtering (EQ) you do becomes inversely exponential as the drive is turned up - you'd have to cut a LOT of bass in the "pre" stage in order to have a LITTLE difference in the "post" stage, once it is clipping. In other words, if you modify the circuit to sound less bassy at high gain, you lose the transparency at lower gain levels (it gets thinner).

    Of course, you could simply add a tone stack AFTER the clipping (a'la a Marshall amp) - but then, you are basically doing what all the "AIaB" pedals are doing (multiple clipping stages with amp-like tone stack). If you try to muck with the internal filtrering, it is going to make for unpredictable results at various gain levels - not impossible, but I'd have to believe that any circuit that used inter-stage EQ like that would have very tweaky & interactive tone controls.

    Amusingly, this is the same problem that high-gain amps have - the more "brutal" ones often have some issues with getting mid-gain sounds because they are tweaked to sound better with the gain up. A JTM45 or Bassman, for instance, acts a lot like the Hotcake - they get pretty woofy when turned up loud!

    I guess what I'm saying is that it is all trade-offs. Paul Crowther found a perfect medium with the original Hotcake design, and there really isn't much reason to muck about with it - you could, but the obvious changes would tend to take it closer to existing designs, and take away a lot of what makes it so cool to begin with! Which was my original point.

    Also, the buffer is a brilliant concept - literally all it does is shunt off the drive control to minimum and bypass the 2nd stage and level knob. It is actually really similar to the Box of Rock in a way - the BoR uses multiple "clean boost" stages cascaded, and a separate 4th stage as a boost. All the HC buffer does is remove the clipping stages and reduce it to unity gain, rather than hardwiring a switch like ZVex. Think of all the people who use the "boost/SHO" side of the BoR as a buffer, and you get what the Hot Cake is doing!
     
  7. jurfin

    jurfin Member

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    Thanks again Paul! Now I know why no one has messed with it : )

    Your insight is much appreciated! You have also reminded me that I need to try a double Hotcake...
     
  8. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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    Yeah, I don't know why you'd want a true bypass Hotcake. The bypass on it is great. I get the thing about too much low end though - I can imagine an interesting mod would be to add a passive bass control. It might be useful at higher gain settings.

    Love my 'Cake.
     
  9. edgie

    edgie Member

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    Thanks for this info and for making it easy to understand for non-techy guys like me. I've had Hotcakes twice but they were pre-2006 so I don't know what the Blueberry mod sounds like.
     
    Aquinas likes this.

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