MI Audio Blue Boy IC

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by michael_ibrahim, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Hi guys,

    I've been mucking around with a bunch of different ICs in the Blue Boy, and I think I found a favourite,...

    I tried:
    - JRC4558D (stock)
    - RC4558P
    - LM833N
    - TL072
    - LM358
    - LM1458

    My favourite was the LM1458! Even I was surprised. VERY VERY VERY smooth. The ones I had were marked 'TESLA',... very strange,...
     
  2. Ryan

    Ryan Member

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    Awesome! When are you going to be able to start making more of them? Are you going to put the new IC in?
     
  3. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I'm really digging mine with the LM833 in it. How does it compare with the LM1458..?
     
  4. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    I will be making more of them. It will probably be about 3 months before they start to roll of the production line again.

    I'm not too sure if I should put that IC in there or not. It's not a popular one, and not often used in the guitar community. The reality of the matter is that many guitarists have already made up their minds about what the best IC is, namely the JRC4558D. If I shipped the Blue Boy without the JRC4558D, I'm sure I'd receive at least a few emails per day asking for a 'custom' order with the JRC4558D IC.

    Having said that, 95% of the tone comes from the pedal design, with the IC contributing 5%. Changing ICs does make a difference, but won't cover up for a bad pedal design. It also won't change the tone of the pedal dramatically,... for example, changing the IC in the Blue Boy won't turn the pedal into a high gain monster, or anything like that. It's a lot more subtle.

    I found the LM1458 to be very similar to the LM833, but it's a bit smoother. The strange thing is that I also found it to be very very low noise, which is strange, because the LM1458 is just meant to be an ordinary IC, not a low noise deisgn or anything like that. Perhaps it's the batch that I have,...
     
  5. El Jimbo

    El Jimbo Member

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    I guess it's not practical to offer a choice of IC at the sale point.

    I'd love to try one of these IC's Michael, as smooth tone is my cup'o'tea. Can I get one off you when I get a Tube Zone a a lil' bit? (I'm assuming the BBD can take the different chip).

    BTW, any update on the TZ?
     
  6. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    Michael...I'm currently enjoying a Tube Zone, and also have a BB.

    An idea: if you could stock enough ICs, you might offer an "IC Pack" with several popular ICs...most of use would pay a reasonable price for this rather than try to track these down through electronics suppliers.
    Greg
     
  7. 58lespaulman

    58lespaulman Member

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    Michael please get the Blue Boy back soon.. And offer it with a couple different IC's, people would love that... And I cannot believe you ran out of enclosures...
     
  8. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Hey 58,... working on that,...

    Also, I've thought about the idea of an IC pack, but you guys get the ICs much cheaper in the US. It's not worth it from your perspective, and shipping is expensive (it costs the same to ship one IC as it does a whole pedal :eek: )

    on a completely different note, I've resurrected the Tube pedal idea. I'm working on a prototype at the moment. It's going by the working title of 'Gainius Maximus',... Here's a picture of the protos guts,....

    [​IMG]

    It's a 2 channel pedal, with independant Gain, low, mid, high and volume per channel. There are also 2 master volume controls, and a global presence and resonance control. You have 4 footswitches:
    1) Bypass
    2) Channel Select
    3) Boost (to go from crunch to high gain on either channel)
    4) Master Select.

    It also has 4 outputs:
    1) To guitar Amp
    2) To Power Amp
    3) To Headphones (Speaker simulator)
    4) To Mixing desk (Speaker simulator)

    This design gets all its tone 100% from the tubes. No solid state anywhere, and the tubes run at nearly 300V. Even the EQ is the classic passsive tone stack, like a tube amp. The only solid state in there is for driving each of the outputs to get a low impedance output. But it's basically pure tube.

    The idea behind this pedal was looking at the stuff available today, you either get lower gain tube pedal, or the high gain stuff is typically hybrid (mostly solid state), and often running the tubes at low voltages. They're also typically quite basic in terms of features. I want to make something which is flexible, real tube at real voltages and full-featured.

    I'll hopefully get this up and running within the next few weeks. If this ones doesn't work out (and I've built quite a few prototypes which I wasn't happy with), I'm canning the project!
     
  9. fractal

    fractal Member

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    This sounds interesting. How much do you think it would go for?

    -Garrett
     
  10. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    I am trying to keep the cost of the thing under US$400. US$350 would be great, but that might be a stretch. Anyone who's worked with metal knows that the big killer for small production runs is the cost of tooling. I can't use a standard 'hammond' type casing. I need to have custom work done, so that's my big problem at the moment.
     
  11. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    ohmygodohmygodohmygod,... I just fired up the Gainius Maximus,... heaven,.... I'm so excited, I'm shaking,...

    yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy
     
  12. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Go head....Rub it in! :rolleyes:

    Looks like a cool project, Best of luck with it
     
  13. Rollo Timbre

    Rollo Timbre Member

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    Your circuits look almost as great as they sound.:AOK I'll be looking forward to hearing more about this one.
     
  14. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Yeah, it's a neat little PCB.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to test the speaker sim outputs.
     
  15. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    That new ped sounds like a way cool concept...looking forward to it. :)
    Greg
     
  16. D.G.

    D.G. Member

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    That sound really great, but do you know what I'd like to see rather than 4 outputs? I like to see the speaker simulator put on a blend control that would allow you to go from no simulator to full simulator. Like the blend control on a SansAmp Bass DI or Acoustic DI. Course, I don't have any idea as to the technical difficulties of such a thing, but while we're dreaming... :D
     
  17. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    That's not too difficult at all. In fact, that was what I was originally planning, to avoid having lots of plugs.

    I decided against that for one reason: Speaker sims suck. Doesn't matter how accurate their frequency response is, or if it's simulated with the world's most powerful computer,... they never work. I believe the reason for this is that you lose the guitar/amp interaction. Part of the cool thing about the sound of a guitar is the way that the guitar pushes the amp, and the amp, in turn, pushes the guitar back. I believe that this is a big factor which gives life to guitar tone.

    So one way to get a bit of life back into your speaker sim signal is to have separate outputs. One goes to your guitar amp, and you monitor through the amp (so you have that interaction), and the second output you send to the mixing desk. This way you avoid the hassel of micing, but still get a natural recorded sound with guitar/amp interaction. This is obviously not necessary, but I wanted that option to be there. The reality of the situation of course, is that if you're using a speaker sim, you're doing it to avoid plugging into an amp, probably for noise reasons,...
     
  18. erksin

    erksin Member

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    I would love to hear some clips when you're able, Michael - I *REALLY* need a great sounding headphone amp for late night jams...

    Could it be used with other effects in line with it and still function as a headphone amp (like a Fender Reverb unit)..?
     
  19. Don Rusk

    Don Rusk Gold Supporting Member

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    Michael your right - most speaker sims suck.... and as you alluded to its becasue they dont really sim a speaker....

    Usually a speaker sim is just an EQ adjustment.....

    When often a speaker changes the EQ AND the compression and even the distortion with some speakers.......

    Michael - you should work on a real speaker simulator.

    One that would have an EQ knob, and an intergrated dynamic compressor/leveler and something to sim the light harmonic distortion some speakers add.......

    and even have different 'models' or setting for Jensen/Celestion/EV/Vox alnicoes.....

    THAT would sell :cool:
     
  20. michael_ibrahim

    michael_ibrahim Member

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    Hey DonneR,

    I think even if it were possible to simulate speaker distortion and compression, it still wouldn't sound good. It would still sound fairly 2 dimensional. You really need feedback to make the whole thing sound real. I don't mean long sustaining, singing feedback, but rather some way of the amp signal affecting the way that the guitar strings vibrate.

    Erskin, yes, when you bypass the unit, the speaker sim is still active, so you can use it purely like a headphone amp. BUT,... you've brought up an interesting point. What if you want to use reverb AFTER the preamp, and before the speaker sim? In other words, should I put an FX loop on there? Problem is, you'd need to be able to switch that loop on and off, and hence you'd need a fifth footswitch. That's a lot of switches to remember on a dark stage. Also the unit would get quite large.

    Well, if you had to limit yourself to 4 footswitches or less, which functions would you like to have at your feet:
    - Bypass (can't avoid that one)
    - channel select (ditto)
    - boost
    - Master select ('solo' control for volume boost)
    - FX loop
    - other functions,....?
     

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