possibly unpopular opinion of clone builders

Digital Larry

Member
Messages
497
I am not particularly worried about people cloning old designs or someone else's clone. As far as I know the only copyrightable aspects of a circuit are the schematic and a board layout. But the circuit topology itself, no. I think a pedal maker's success has less to do with pure tonal or circuit innovation and more to do with all the other aspects of running a consumer business. Marketing, production, support, etc.

Now the guy who simply repackages other commercial designs and sells them for 4x is an extreme case of this, and I don't want to necessarily encourage that sort of thing, but it would seem that people who bought those things instead of the actual original devices were using something other than their ears to decide.

True innovation in guitar sound modification devices seems like it's pretty rare any more. Even modeling, neural capture, etc are not striving to create NEW sounds so much. Yeah Devi Ever put some transistors in backwards but I never really figured out what that was all about.

I tried to clone a guy's custom pedal that someone had built, although I didn't have an LM308 so I used something newer. All other circuit values were the same (modulo tolerance). They sounded close but not exact. Was one superior to the other? At this point it's hard to be totally objective. The original IMO had a RAT topology but only really sounded good turned all the way up.
 

amz-fx

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,672
I tried to clone a guy's custom pedal that someone had built, although I didn't have an LM308 so I used something newer.
If you hear the LM308 as having a nice sound, it is due to clipping or some other factor.

The early LM308 was made by National Semiconductor. There were subsequently versions also made by Motorola, Raytheon and Fairchild. Later on came versions from PMI and Linear. The schematics of all of those versions are in their datasheets and they do not match each other. In fact, the original LM308 had 30 transistors but the Fairchild version had 48. To complicate matters even further, the later National Semi LM308 chips were made with dies that match the Motorola schematic, and have additional parts that allow the die to be used as an LM11. Not at all like the early NS parts.

Also, there is no difference between the LM108, LM208 and LM308. If you cut open a genuine LM308 and look at it with a microscope, the silicon die will be marked LM108. The manufacturer just does testing on the batch of dies and selects which ones to use for each part number.

Which one of these is the mythical golden sound LM308? How can you tell them apart?

Counterfeit LM308 chips are very common on Ebay.

regards, Jack
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,622
Doesn't the 308 have a particularly poor slew rate, and there's some thought that that limits high frequency harmonics?
 
Messages
3,503
Personally I’m thankful for the clone pedals. They can be had for very good prices and for a father of 6 on a fixed budget it’s a real nice thing to be able to not have to spend an arm and a leg for good sounding pedals.
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,790
isn't damn near everything a clone, tweak, modification or reinterpretation of something else?
Many pedals are because the person building them lacks the desire/ability to do something original. But of course there are companies that do original designs, Origin Effects, Strymon, Chase Bliss, Kingsley, etc. I can see why some folks prefer clones and I can see why some prefer original designs.
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,289
If you hear the LM308 as having a nice sound, it is due to clipping or some other factor.

The early LM308 was made by National Semiconductor. There were subsequently versions also made by Motorola, Raytheon and Fairchild. Later on came versions from PMI and Linear. The schematics of all of those versions are in their datasheets and they do not match each other. In fact, the original LM308 had 30 transistors but the Fairchild version had 48. To complicate matters even further, the later National Semi LM308 chips were made with dies that match the Motorola schematic, and have additional parts that allow the die to be used as an LM11. Not at all like the early NS parts.

Also, there is no difference between the LM108, LM208 and LM308. If you cut open a genuine LM308 and look at it with a microscope, the silicon die will be marked LM108. The manufacturer just does testing on the batch of dies and selects which ones to use for each part number.

Which one of these is the mythical golden sound LM308? How can you tell them apart?

Counterfeit LM308 chips are very common on Ebay.

regards, Jack
I know for a fact that many manufacturers were doing similar stuff :
- multiple chips on one die (which Number was on the package was determined by the bond-out)
- transistors, current mirros, input protection, output drive sections, etc were all parts of manufacturer-standardized Cell Libraries. The 'parts' wee well characterized and were pretty much guaranteed to do their thing as long as certain ins/outs parameters were maintained.

This was the first big leap forward in speeding up analog and Full Custom IC design. My second product group at Mentor was busy playing catchup, trying to edge in on that market of software design tools. And if there was room on the die for another product, then use it... the time spent in making them separate vs together definitely favored making them together, and just bonding-out which ever one was in biggest demand.
 




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