Is the Blackmarket FX BMOD a true clone of the CJOD?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Deaj, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    I usually try to steer clear of topics like this one here because the ensuing discussions usually turn ugly fast. I hope this one doesn't.

    I bought #B19 CJOD directly from Clay and kept it on my pedal board for several years. It was a great sounding, fairly dynamic overdrive that I bonded with easily. There came a time, however, when its resale value way outweighed its usefulness for me and I sold mine. There are so many great sounding OD pedals available these days and I can make most any decent sounding dirt pedal work for me so I've never regretted selling the CJOD. With that said my curiosity regarding the circuit has never waned. It wasn't just the sound of the pedal that kept me curious (though this certainly was a contributing factor). It was that big glob of shiny black goop hiding, well, something. The sign reads 'WET PAINT - DO NOT TOUCH'. I'm the guy who touches the paint to see if it's still wet - cant help myself. :D

    The only attempt to degoop a CJOD that I am aware of ended in disaster and at a TGP members expense. Clay fixed it even though he was under no obligation to do so - very cool of him. This doesn't mean that it hasn't been done. I'm simply stating that I've no knowledge of anyone successfully doing so.

    Recently a CJOD clone has made its way to market - the BMOD made by Blackmarket FX (sp?). Though I personally had no interest in buying another overdrive pedal I found the subject and related discussions interesting. I hope I am not misrepresenting Blackmarket FX in stating that the BMOD is claimed to be a circuit clone of the CJOD. Several CJOD owners have recently done side-by-side comparisons and the posts I've read would seem to indicate that the CJOD owners found the BMOD to be an accurate sonic and tactile representation of the CJOD. Three possibilities here: 1) someone was able to successfully degoop a CJOD making it possible to build part-for-part clones; 2) someone with a great set of ears and experience building effects pedals was able to build an indistinguishable sonic match using only their ears as a guide; or 3) Clay provided the circuit details to someone. I don't think it matters how. I think it's cool enough that someone interested in trying this nearly unobtainable OD pedal has a viable alternative.

    While, as I said before, I'm not aware of any successful attempt to degoop a CJOD there has been a successful degooping of the BMOD. I didn't do it - I don't have one. I don't think I could bring myself to put $300 on the chopping block besides. Given my curiosity, though, and my growing interest in building dirt pedals I couldn't wait to have a look at this thing. I found the details most surprising. There have been rumors floating around that the CJOD was a Landgraff DO clone with LED clippers and no clipping switch. While the degooped pedal is not an actual CJOD it is being represented as a CJOD clone. So what was inside the black goop?

    The BMOD is a Landgraff DO clone with two minor changes - the clipping switch and associated diodes and LED's have been replaced by a pair of red LED's and the JRC4558D dual op-amp has been replaced with a Burr Brown OPA2134PA dual op-amp. Otherwise the circuit is a part-for-part clone of a Landgraff DO. I was skeptical so I opened up the L'DO clone that I built for myself, swapped the 3mm red LED's for a pair of 5mm red LED's, and swapped the JRC4558 IC for a BB OPA2134. To my surprise it sounds and responds exactly like the CJOD that I owned (assuming my memory serves right). It certainly sounds just like the recordings I made with the CJOD. My L'DO clone is now a CJOD clone when the clipping switch is in the Marshall (LED) mode. Several possibilities here: 1) Clay built and sold 50 or so very slightly modified Landgraff DO clones dressed in shiny black goop; or 2) In the process of modifying a production pedal Clay inadvertently arrived at a circuit that sounds just like a Landgraff DO with the aforementioned mods applied; or 3) Clay designed a completely unique circuit that sound just like a Landgraff DO with the aforementioned mods applied. At this point common sense points to scenario 1.

    The Landgraff DO is a TS808 with a few components swapped and a couple of clipping options built using high quality parts. Nothing wrong with that - it's a great sounding circuit and John enjoys a fantastic reputation for quality and customer service. On top of that John is confident enough in the quality of his product and service that he leaves the circuits in his pedals fully exposed - nothing to hide. After some prodding Clay reluctantly agreed to build 50 pedals and sell them first come, first serve to a small online community. While it seems clear to me at this point that this pedal was a L'DO clone with a couple of changes those changes did result in a a pedal with its own sound and feel. Like the many other modded TS circuits in the boutique pedal market these changes were Clays contribution and he chose to keep the circuit hidden. Blackmarket FX is attempting to make a once inaccessible pedal accessible in the BMOD. This pedal is reportedly a clone of the CJOD meaning that there's nothing new to protect, just someone else's secret. Unless Blackmarket FX is producing the BMOD with Clays blessing or IS Clay himself there's no reason to keep the CJOD circuit a secret.

    I'm not trying to cast a negative light on Blackmarket FX. I'm simply passing along information that will no doubt have made its way here within the week; information that I have been able to verify to my own satisfaction. Honestly folks - if you're interested in finding out what the CJOD is all about the Blackmarket FX BMOD will definitely do the trick. From what I could deduce from the photos build quality is nice and quality parts were used throughout. Building these things is much more expensive than parts cost - several hours go into each pedal when their being hand assembled and wired. Whether or not the price is fair is a subjective thing but Blackmarket FX's price for the BMOD is within the range of other highly regarded dirt pedals in the boutique market. Either by reputation or simply because of their rarity the CJOD fits into this category. I'm OK with the asking price though I would have preferred they left the goop out of the equation.

    For the DIY'ers the CJOD circuit is a little more accessible. Either way I thought most folks would be interested in knowing what a CJOD is.

    Thoughts? Discuss. :)
     
  2. Guyburn

    Guyburn Member

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  3. mfgobbi

    mfgobbi Member

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    If I had one I'd sell my clay jones before everyone else finds out.
     
  4. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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    Great review Deaj! I have been very curious about the BMOD and its claims to sound like the CJOD.

    For 99.9% of us guitarists we will never even have the opportunity to play or hear a CJOD in person so the concept of the BMOD is very exciting.
     
  5. screamingduck

    screamingduck Member

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  6. TimH

    TimH Member

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    yeah this will be fun!
     
  7. ford

    ford Supporting Member

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    That was some fun reading.

    Thanks

    bford
     
  8. Glowing Tubes

    Glowing Tubes Gold Supporting Member

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    How do I find a link to BMOD? Great review, thanks.
     
  9. nibus

    nibus Supporting Member

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  10. dmbandtimmy

    dmbandtimmy Member

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    Hey Deaj, do you know if this mod can be done with the BYOC screamer kit? I've always wanted to build a pedal and have wanted to try a CJOD so that would be the perfect combo.
     
  11. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    I haven't actually built the BYOC kit but, from schematics and information detailed in the BYOC Screamer instructions, I adapted the GGG TS808 kit full L'DO mods discussed in this TGP thread to the BYOC Screamer and posted those instructions at the BYOC forum in this thread. (both threads contain full Mouser parts lists with links - this information is listed late in the discussion on page 5 of the TGP thread linked above). According to the information detailed in the originating post of this thread all you would need to do is build an L'DO clone using one of the aforementioned kits (or adapt these mods to any TS808 or TS808 clone) and then swap the JRC4558D chip out for a Burr Brown OPA2134PA chip (may be purchased here). When the resulting pedal is switched to LED clipping mode you have a sonic clone of the CJOD.
     
  12. soulsonic

    soulsonic Member

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  13. dmbandtimmy

    dmbandtimmy Member

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    Thanks for the info Deaj! :AOK Its much appreciated.
     
  14. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    Thanks Soulsonic! I missed it at Mouser - must've fat-fingered the part number. :D
     
  15. Uma Floresta

    Uma Floresta Senior Member

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    Yes- and use 5mm LEDs rather than 3mm. Apparently it makes a small difference.
     
  16. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    Agreed.
     
  17. Uma Floresta

    Uma Floresta Senior Member

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    Yes, Opamps can make enough of a difference to cause all kinds of cork-sniffery obsession.

    Looks like there ARE some actual CJOD pics available, not just the Black Market clone:

    http://solgrind.wordpress.com/2008/03/07/clay-jones-overdrive/
     
  18. bestegw

    bestegw Member

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    Yeah, those were on the free stomp boxes site before... The first clue that the CJOD wasn't based on the FX54.
     
  19. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    I've heard a lot of good things about the Burr OpAmp supposed to make pretty much any pedal a lot better that uses that type of OpAmp.

    Man if I had the time, I'd build it myself but instead, I just bought a BMOD and no regrets!
     
  20. Deaj

    Deaj Member

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    Some op-amps will make more difference than others. The OPA2134PA imparts less compression and a bit more headroom than the JRC4558D and other similar IC's. I hadn't really thought that an IC could make that much difference but testing a large selection of IC's in a couple of my recent builds showed me that they do indeed impart their own characteristics - some more than others. If you still have access to the L'DO spend a couple of bucks and pick up a Burr Brown OPA2134 from Mouser (link provided by Soulsonic - bottom of the first page of this thread), swap it into the L'DO and try the comparison again. I think you'll find the results interesting.
     

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