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 Post subject: Crown Jewel Praise!
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2018 5:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:06 pm
Posts: 13
So - maaaaaaybe with the help of some beer, I bought a Marshall DSL40 when they dropped the prices by something like 60% as part of a closeout. Despite playing guitar for 30+ years, I have never owned (or played through!) a Marshall before (I dunno how I did it either...), so I was anxiously anticipating it.

The "Classic clean/crunch" channel is amazing. It's like everything I have ever wanted out of an amp, where the picking dynamics define whether I get chimey cleans or broken up chunky rhythm. The gain channels.... not so much.

(Also, if you're looking for more business, a mod/footswitch that lets you switch between the clean/crunch and drive1/drive2 channels is something DSL owners are clamoring for...)

I was super bummed - I thought about returning the amp, but as it turns out the EQ controls on the Crown Jewel are infinitely more responsive than the controls on the amp itself. I can hang out on the "classic gain" channel on the amp, and between the mid controls and boost on the pedal, I can get more Marshall-y sounds than the amp can make itself, and can save the overdrive on the CJ (and the super fizzy "modern" distortion channel of the amp) for solos and when I need to cut through.

So - thanks! I already liked the pedal immensely, but as it turns out, the pedal you designed makes my less-than-perfect amp sing!

 Post subject: Re: Crown Jewel Praise!
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2018 10:37 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:54 pm
Posts: 303
I was stubborn and did not want to build a Crown Jewel because I was thinking that it wasn’t really necessary and maybe even a bit gimmicky.

But after just building it a few days ago, I have to admit, this is the ultimate Tube Screamer pedal. It should be on headline news, CNN, NPR, BBC.., It really is that good. Possibly the best opamp OD pedal in the Tube Screamer category (maybe other categories too). The only thing is that building it is like a marathon and not really for beginners. So it may be better to just buy a prebuilt unit for those new to the soldering iron.

 Post subject: Re: Crown Jewel Praise!
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:39 pm
Posts: 4110
Location: Moses Lake, WA
Thanks for the praise!

I suppose the demo comparing it to a bunch of famous pedals was gimmicky. And calling it "The Crown Jewel" may be a bit hyperbolic. But my intentions for the Crown Jewel were really utilitarian. After years of building, modding and thoroughly dissecting just about every form of op amp-based distortion and overdrive on the planet, I've come to the conclusion that they are all really the same. They just have variations in 3 different areas: Gain, Clipping, and EQ. And I tried to make controlling these parameters as straight forward as possible.

For the gain, you see either two types of controls in op amp-based drive pedals. You'll either have a knob that controls the actual gain of the op amp. This is the most common. This is the "drive" knob on the Crown Jewel. Or you'll have a passive volume that controls the amount of pregain boost that pushes another op-amp into overdrive. This isn't as common. This is done by using the boost module in the "first" position and then using the boost level to control the gain. In a lot of "distortion" pedals, you will see a pregain boost that is hardwired to "full turn clockwise" and then the gain is controlled with the actual gain knob. There is also the presence control, which just like the presence control on a Marshall or Bassman amp, it controls the cut off frequency of the negative feedback loop. So it's like having a fine treble and gain control. Those 3 parameters along with the 9/18V mode operation should provide you with almost every possible gain configuration.

For the clipping, it's pretty straight forward....that is if you know about clipping. If you don't, I'm not going to get into it, but pretty much everything you want is there. I think the only thing that is really missing is hard LED clipping like you'd find in the Marshall Gov'nor or Turbo RAT.

And the last major area that distinguishes one op amp-based dirt pedal from the next is EQ. Even if it's a pedal like the DOD250 that doesn't even have a tone knob, it has still been hardwire "voiced". IMHO, EQ is the most important area. Most people think it's gain that separates overdrives from distortions, but I think it's EQ. Overdrives have a lot of midrange. The Klon and Tubescreamer are quintessential overdrives. But if you play with their voicing and scoop out their midrange, they make a pretty good metal distortion. So a 3-band EQ can't perfectly mimic everything, even with a parametric midrange. But for the pedals that it can't mimic perfectly, it can come very very close.

Anyhow...sorry for the long winded post. The hardest part about designing the Crown Jewel was deciding what features to leave off so that it wasn't too overwhelming, but still being able to make all the sounds it needed to make. So I guess this post is an analogy for that.

*patience is a virtue*

Please do not PM me. email is prefered.

 Post subject: Re: Crown Jewel Praise!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 10:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:35 pm
Posts: 11
I have to echo the praise here as I just finished building the Crown Jewel kit that I ordered. This build was definitely a marathon but the careful planning made it worth it in the end. Now that it's built, I'm going to be definitely spending even more time getting to know it.

One question I'm wondering is 'where' the gain is coming from when the hard and soft clipping switches are both in the middle position. I personally am partial to the soft LED clipping as it reminds me of another personal favorite DS-1 mod that has LED clipping. Is there another post that lists more info regarding some comparisons other users have found out of this build?

Again, fantastic pedal!!!

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