Tag Archives | noise

Batteries = Yuck

9v-batteryYou’ve heard this before.  If you want the cleanest power possible, batteries are the way to go.  They are isolated, clean DC power, but they’re also bad for the environment.  Anything that is thrown away is just a bad idea.  For all effects pedals, I recommend using some sort of multi-power DC supply.  Recently, Mr. Black Pedals has taken a stance on different types of DC supplies, and I think its a great argument.

All I want to say here is that batteries are just a bad idea for more than one reason, and that’s why I don’t bother putting room for them in our pedals.  Batteries are,

  • Bad for the Environment
  • More Expensive in the long run
  • Less Reliable & Easily Drained if Left Connected
  • Always in a state of Partially Drained
  • Gig-Nightmares
  • So, so uncool.

And so, instead of leaving room for a dying power source (get it? dying…battery!) in our products, we’ve left that space open for adding features in the future as the part of the Soft-Touch Bypass board that is in every effect we make.  Future products will have effects loops, expression controls and remote I/O.


Noisy Compressors & Downward Expansion

Compressors have been around a long time and they can do some wonderful things.  You can gently limit spikey peaks, or even out your overall dynamics, or you can squash the hell out of your signal for some really funky, punchy stabs and single lines.  Compression is a great tool.  But its also a noisy bitch.

All that squashing and pumping gets applied to the noise as well.  Compressors work by lowering the volume on loud passages and raising it on quiet ones.  When you stop playing, all the background noise of your guitar and previous pedals is amplified way more than it should be.

So what’s the solution?

A compressor with in-built noise gate.  The as-of-yet unnamed compressor from Coldcraft Effects actually has two thresholds for dynamics control.  One for Compression and one for Downward Expansion.

Downward Dog-errr WHat?

Downward Expansion is a process where all signals below a set threshold are reduced in gain.  This means there is a minimum level at which the guitar signal is let through with full force, and below that, all signals and noise are made progressively quieter and quieter.  Genius?  No.  Really f*ckin’ Awesome?  Yes.  Yes indeed.

Compression Preamp


4-Way ‘bucker Tele Wiring with Sweet Switch

I came up with an interesting mod to the 4-way Tele wiring I posted previously.  I’m really a big fan of the 4-way switch option.  Maybe 4 is my magic number and 5 is just to complicated for me, I don’t know.

Anyway, what I’ve done here is take the Custom 4-Way wiring and add a Master Bass Roll Off, similar to what I put in the 4-way Strat wiring.  This type of bass control comes from the G&L Legacy.  I would recommend using dual stacked pots.  Unfortunately, I don’t think you’re going to find a 250k/1MC pot, but you can definitely find dual 250k as well as 250k/500k.  I haven’t evaluated how awkward or inconvenient it might be to stack the tone with the volume, leaving the bass by itself, but it’s here for your information.  You can always drop the bass control by shorting out its connections.

As shown, the wiring is humbucking in all positions,

  • Full Bridge Humbucker
  • Half Bridge/Half Neck in Parallel
  • Full Neck Humbucker with extra bass roll off (C3)
  • Half Bridge/Half Neck in Series

The 2nd thing I’ve done is to replace the bridge-activated tone control with a fixed “sweet spot” tone roll off that is paired with a traditional tone control.  What this does is allow for some extra roll off when using the bridge position, but also let the master tone do its thang.  C4 is the fixed “sweet” cap and will usually be a smaller value than C1.   You’ll have to experiment for find the right setting for you.  R2 should be 1M Ω.


I’ve also left on the 500kA Volume pot.  This will brighten the guitar in all positions, giving the tone switch and control more signal on which to work the magic.  Last but not least, I’ve added 2 coils to the setup, representing the additional options when using humbucking pickups in the neck and bridge.  Shorting L2 and L4 will return the diagram to the 4-way single coil wiring.


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