This is a project I've recently finished for Santiago, a friend of mine and a member of the amazing band Winkie.
After discussing the various tribulations he had using an older big muff, I offered to build him a pedal to his specifications. We sent ideas back and forth, and settled on the quadrafuzz as a starting point. However, he wanted something that could produce synth-like textures with his bass. We went in the direction of a classic octave down circuit, and had that drive the fuzz. The resulting pedal, as you can see, has tons of flexibility within the parameters. The octave acts as a sort of pre-gain (with the additional octave down, of course), which is then shaped by the four band fuzz of the quadrafuzz. I've been calling it the quadoctave.
One of the ideas we had was for Santiago to design the artwork for his pedal. The image is a hand painted replica of a Cocteau drawing, and I think it captures the sounds within in a classy, oneiric way.
I'm happy to have built this for a friend and musician that I respect. To that end, Winkie has just released their latest album, 'Come to My Party'. Like everything they've done and continue to do, it's a brilliant piece of music/sound/noise. If you're a fan of industrial rhythms, shoegaze textures, or post punk of any stripe, you'll dig this. Check it out at their bandcamp page. While you're at it, check out the mix they did for The Brvtalist. It reminded me just how much I love Dead Can Dance!
I'll be back reporting in very soon with news of a few effects that I've been working on. Until then, be well.
I'm very excited to announce the newest addition to the Sonus Fluxa line. The Page of Wands is a free spirit, embodying exploration and transformation. He goes beyond his limitations.
This is a delay pedal with a unique random modulation. The variety of sounds that come out of this thing are pretty amazing, from subtle warbles to aggressive jumps in pitch and volume. See for yourself.
I found myself searching for a delay pedal that had modulation that didn't just go up and down, back and forth. I wanted something that leapt from here to another astral plane, and came back unannounced with gifts of esoteric knowledge. As far as I know, this pedal didn't exist in the capacity that I desired, so I sought to create it myself.
The heart of the character is the random modulation source. Normal modulated delays have a wave that tweaks the delay time as it ebbs and flows. This pedal has multiple waves vying to shape the delay, all at slightly different rates, which produces a random effect.
The delay time and modulation depth controls on this are very interactive. On one end you can have an eerie reverb that can trail off indefinitely. On the other end, you have a choppy delay that asserts itself and then recedes, only to come back again stronger.
The shape of the modulation wave form can also be switched between a sine wave for smoother textures, or a square wave for more dramatic shifts.
One last thing to point out about the circuit: the tone and feedback controls are also interactive. As you roll back the tone, the feedback increases. As you can see, from the drum segment at the end, I'm having a lot of fun live tweaking it.
These weirdos are now available from my store! As always, everything hand made. Hand drilled enclosure, hand etched PCB, put together by hand.
I'm already hard at work on the next addition to the family, which should be ready soon. In the meantime, let me know what you think!
As the year comes to a close, I'd like to take some time to share what I've been working on for the past few months. I haven't updated in a while, so this is also me proving that I'm still alive.
I've completed a handful of pedals for myself, and a few for others, as well. Here are all of the ones I've built for myself that I haven't previously posted about our mentioned:
The top row, left to right:
- Pitch Pirate Deluxe clone, delay/vibe/warble
- Really Nice Guy, modded Random Number Generator, mondo whacko fuzz
- Tremshifter clone, tremolo/autofilter
Middle Row, L to R:
- Lunar Module clone, vintagey fuzz that cleans up nicely
- Quadrafuzz, amazing sounding 4 band fuzz, my current pride and joy, demo soon
- All Star Reverb, sweet sweet reverb with a trippy dwell setting
Bottom, L 2 R:
- Sansamp Classic clone, amp/cab sim, dip switch replaced with spdt's for my sanity
- Loophole, lo-fi looper with 2 modulation modes and a safety switch
I've also built quite a few circuits that haven't been boxed up yet. Taking this picture was the first time I saw them arranged neatly, all together, and it was overwhelming but ultimately satisfying:
I'm not going to bother explaining what each one is. I know that there are a handful of fuzzes in there, a delay or two, a chorus, a couple of filters, a few overdrives, two octaves, two standalone drone synths, and a few guitar synth pedals.
In the coming months, I plan to release at least three new designs of my own, which I have been slowly working on. Progress on these to come soon, as well as demos of some of the above pedals/synths/circuits, and many more interesting tidbits, I'm sure. I hope everyone has had a great year, and a pleasant holiday season. Have a safe New Year's Eve, and enjoy the transition into 2016. See you then.
Finally, a bit of color! This is the Ugly Face fuzz noise snarl stutter box, designed by Tim Escobedo, designer of all sorts of interesting and insane effects. I've added the popular LFO mod to add the tremelo/auto-filter type sounds you hear in the demo below.
Knobs (clockwise from the top left) control noise, gate, volume, frequency, and LFO speed. The switch changes the LFO shape.
What can I say...this thing is insane. If you need to simulate a jet taking off then use this. Every scream and squelch and buzz is exactly what I wanted from this pedal, and more. Very happy with this build. Also happy with the way the enclosure came out. The ugly face on the front is Hedorah, the villain of probably the best Godzilla movie, and the only one I remember watching with a psychedelic freak-out mid movie.
Here's a demo video for a pedal I built a while ago, the legendary Bazz Fuss. Designed by the nebulous and mystical Hemmo, this pedal does one thing, and does it extremely well and with startling efficiency: thick, rich, gargantuan fuzz. If you can't already tell, I have a special relationship to this circuit. This was the first pedal I ever built for myself, after first breadboarding it and being nervous as to whether or not I could actually build a functioning stomp box. This isn't my first bazz fuss (that box has been repurposed), but a more elegant, 1590A encased specimen. Put on a denim vest, grow your hair out long, and listen to the demo below.
Here's a build I did a while ago, the analog bit crusher, designed on the Experimentalists Anonymous message board. I'm mostly happy with this effect, although it isn't perfect for all applications, due to the persistent audible frequency, especially apparent at lower settings. If I were to build this again, I would change the amount of total bit crush available, since everything basically becomes noise past the half way mark on the pot. Definitely a fun build, and awesome to see an analog take on a normally digital effect.
I'm very excited to announce two designs that I've recently completed. I say designs, but what I mean is a synthesis of various segments of circuitry and ideas that I've culled together to make something new and exciting.
Designs is probably a faster way to say this.
The first effect I've been working on is called the Queen of Cups Delay. This circuit has two switches. When the first is engaged, the audio signal is immersed in a watery delay, with a control knob for delay time, as well as one for feedback level and wet/dry mix. I've allowed for a decently long delay time. With longer delay times, the chip I've used begins to break up the signal, adding a grainy (sandy?) quality to the delay.
When the second switch is engaged, the delay acts normally, until you stop playing. The signal then drops rapidly in pitch, and delay time is increased immensely. There is control over the depth of the pitch drop via the leftmost knob. You can get long drops in pitch, or strange flutters if you play with short stops in between notes.
Check out a demo of the effect below.
I've called the second effect I've made the Rosewater Fuzz.
The first switch on this effect engages a dense fuzz, which can then be shaped with the tone knob, accentuating either the treble or bass. There is also a voltage starve knob that alters the character of the fuzz. The rightmost knob controls volume.
The second switch engages a feedback loop, creating anything from splattering fuzz to rhythmic oscillations, depending on where the other knobs are set. There are plenty of sounds and noises that come out of this thing, and I'm sure the following video only touches on a fraction.
Both are available from my Etsy store. Each pedal is hand made to order, built off of a hand etched PCB. Check the link HERE.
More to come soon, including a few builds I've done as personal projects and my experiences with them, as well as some synths I've been toying around with.
Hello, my name is Ren, and I make things that make noise. Thank you for joining me on this journey. As I learn and discover more about the ways to shape sound and noise, I hope to produce a few things that others might find intriguing. I'm interested in circuitry that breaks down sound, or plays with it in an interesting way. My favorite type of effect is delay, so you may be seeing a lot of those soon. Keep an eye here for videos of builds and demos of things that I build. If you like what you see, you can always purchase a pedal or synth, and support me in my obsession. If you don't like what you see, you can always purchase a pedal or synth and set it on fire and take a video of the fire and send it to me and I'll post it here.
To start off, here are a few videos of some effects that I've built from others' schematics. I've also started an Etsy store, check that out at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SonusFluxa.
The first is the Tropicália Fuzz, my take on the fuzz circuit built for Os Mutantes by the brother of the band members.
The second, and one of my favorite builds so far, is the Echo Bender delay/distortion/noise machine. This circuit was designed by Casper Electronics who has done a lot with circuit bending, circuit design, and has also done murals in DIY spaces in NYC (among other things, I'm sure!).