Monthly Archives: September 2009

Boss PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer

PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer (Boss)

This unit has been produced from 1991 to 1997, and it’s not really easy to find an used one. In my opinion the PQ4 is much better than its graphic counterparts (like the GE6 and GE7 from Boss, and other graphic equalizers) because of its flexibility. However, the PQ4 is something that requires a fine tuning to get your sound, and it isn’t a pedal suited to quick-and-dirty settings change: more like a sniper rifle than a shotgun. Concentric knobs don’t help, either.

Specifications:

Residual Noise Level: < -98dBm (IHF-A)

Input Impedance: 1 Mohm

Output Impedance: 1 kohm

Current Draw: 23mA

Recommended Load Impedance: > 10kOhm

Resources

Parametric EQ on wikipedia

Boss PH-1R Phaser

PH-1R Phaser (Boss)

This one, and its predecessor PH-1, may be considered classic phasers (the same can be said for old MXR units, too). It has been sold from 1980 to 1985: by the end of 1984 Boss started selling the PH2.

The PH-1R has a 3rd control labeled “RES” for “resonance” in addition to “Rate” and “Depth”, featured on the PH1 too.

As you may nave noticed, the unit in this photo is a little bit battered but still works like new :)

Resources

A sample video from youtube

A nice description and samples with synth on Slowburn site

PH1r’s page on DiscoFreq FX site

AXL DP-1 Distortion Pedal

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Top

This is a nice little pedal with an aggressive look, three control knobs, one switch and a led. The controls are named Tone, Distortion, and Level, and there is a switch to select between “Warm” and “Heat” positions. The shipping box is really funny with its “Slash!”, “Rock!”, “Twisted!” headlines as you can see in the next photo:’

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Box Top

The effect box is all-metal (erm…) apart from the plastic battery container on the right side, which you can see on the next photo. However I’m not sure this pedal would survive the treatment some of my other pedals had. The anti-skid rubber under the box is a nice touch.

DP-1 Distortion Pedal (AXL) - Battery compartment

I don’t think this unit is still in production, since on the official site www.axlguitars.com there’s only an analog multieffect board available, no stompboxes.

Specifications:

- Input impedance: 470 kOhm

- Output impedance: 1 kOhm

- Current draw: 6 mA

Vesta Fire CG-1 Comp / Gate

CG-1 Comp / Gate (Vesta Fire)

This is definitely an odd one… it has a noise gate and a compressor in a relatively compact single package, which is not a bad thing, but can’t work with a battery, which means that an AC adapter is mandatory. I don’t have a shipping box or manual, so I can’t tell if an adapter was sold with the unit: however any standard 9V adapter should work. The box uses electronic, not mechanical switching, and the physical feedback is simply awful: you can’t tell if you have actually pressed the buttons unless you look at the two LEDs. On a more positive note, there is a couple of send/return jacks on the top. While my unit has a light blue color, I’m sure I’ve seen the very same model in black. There were different units who shared the same box and physical structure, i.e. the R-1X Digital Reverb and the D-1X Digital Delay. The company is now called Vestax, and has an impressive catalog of DJ-oriented products, but no stompboxes as far as I know.

Boss CE-2 Chorus

CE-2 Chorus (Boss)

This is the first Boss “compact” chorus pedal, because its predecessor (the CE-1) used a much larger gray box. Settings are straightforward: “Rate” for speed and “Depth” for effect level.

Sound is somewhat a classic, and lots of people prefers this to later models from the same manifacturer like the CE-3, CH-1 or CH-5, and even to any other chorus around.

There are different versions of the circuit, all of them using the MN3007 BBD chip. Moreover, there are both Japan-made and Taiwan-made effects: while some people says that the Japanese one sounds better, I must say that I’ve tried them both and couldn’t find any relevant difference in listening.

The unit has been sold from 1979 to the eighties: in the photo, you can see my slightly used old japanese one :)

Specifications:

- S/N Ratio: 90dB or better

- Input Impedance: 470 kOhm

- Recommended Load Impedance: 10 kOhm or higher

- Current Draw: 9 mA

Resources:

CE-2 Page on Boss USA site

CE-2 Schematic (and lots more) on Schematic Heaven website

CE-2 Schematic on Free Info Society site

CE-2 On Michele Cricco’s Blog with photos and samples (in Italian language)

CE-2 : a couple of great photos on Mode Zero site

Want to build a CE-2 style chorus? Check Tonepad site

Artists using the CE-2 on Guitar Geek site

Samples on Tonefrenzy

A nice test on YouTube

An interesting comparison between the Japanese and Taiwanese versions

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (mono)

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (left side)

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (right side)

This is not really an effect, but is still a pedal. It’s a passive volume control with a single potentiometer, as you can see in the photos. Very simple, but pretty good: construction is impressive, and physical feedback is perfect. At 1,6 Kg, this pedal is no lightweight either, but this is an advantage. There’s no indication of a model number on the unit, and the models on the official site www.ernieball.com are different from this one, which I suppose is an older model: you can see that this one has both in/out jacks on the right side instead of the front side. Recent models are fitted with an additional tuner output and there are both mono and stereo models. One good thing: you can actually buy original spare parts (pots, springs and cords) for this family of pedals. Prices are on a par with build quality :(

Ernie Ball Volume Pedal (front side, open)