Sep172009

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

Sep162009

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)

Sep152009

Boss CS-1 Compressor

CS-1 Compression Sustainer (Boss)

This is the first compressor from BOSS: it has 3 controls, two knobs for level and sustain and a normal/treble switch, which is somewhat unusual from this manifacturer. I think that the only other Boss compact pedal which has a switch like this is the TW1 (T-Wah or Touch Wah).

This unit has been sold from 1978 to 1982, later Boss has made the CS-2 and CS-3. There’s a considerable difference in sound between the CS-1 and its siblings from the same company: this is due to the use of a photocoupler, which has been replaced by a more conventional VCA circuitry in later models. The CS-1 is supposed to have a tighter compression than CS-2 and 3. The pedal in the photo has some wear but still works like a champ.

Samples coming real soon

Schematics from Kurt Godiksen great site.

Sep122009

Boss OD-1 Overdrive

OD-1 Over Drive (Boss)

This is one of the hundreds of pedals built around the JRC4558 operational amp chip and its variants. It has been built from 1977 to 1985. There are 2 controls: “Level” and “Over Drive”. Moreover, there are at least 5 versions of the circuit board: the first versions probably didn’t even use the JRC4558. This pedal isn’t particularly rare, even considering that has been out of production for more than 20 years, however it has a lot of fans. It has a pretty good sound when used to crank up a Marshall tube head, however may not sound so good with other amps. Building quality is standard Boss, which means they are built like a small tank. This was one of the first pedals to use FET switching instead of “True Bypass” switching: however I’m not sure if this can be considered as an improvement :) . The fact that 30 years later some pedals are still made in this kind of box means that the overall design was really good (compact size, easy battery access, anti-skid panels on top and bottom).

Specifications:

- Input Impedance: 220 kOhm

- Output Impedance: Over 600 Ohm

- Signal/Noise Ratio: 80 dB

- Current Draw: 3.5 mA

Samples coming real soon

Resources:

OD-1 schematics and nice images – on fffworks site (text is in Japanese language)

OD-1 Schematics at Schematic Heaven: OD-1 schematics

Short description on Boss USA site

OD-1 on Boss USA site

And some videos from YouTube:

Video 1 (in japanese)

Video 2 (in japanese, too)

OD-1 mods from Analog Man