Category Archives: mojo

x0xb0xes: made in China, Germany and USA

Ages ago i bought my first Mode Machines x0xb0x from Touched by Sound in Germany. They were the first fully assembled x0xb0xes on sale here in Europe and hence they have been reviewed a few months later on Sound on Sound. They came with those horrible looking MC303 knobs, but the idea of having a fully operational, Bassline clone with onboard sequencer was embarassingly exciting. In 2017 all this has changed, since the advent of the RE303!

From the description given to me by TBS and the sticker on mine, they indicated that they were Made in Germany.

One year later Mode Machines came up with the x0xb0x mk2, this time “guaranteed” to have been made in Germany. 

Would this second statement imply, mine was actually made somewhere else other than Germany, EU?!

Today i decided to pop my Mode Machines x0xb0x open and have a look inside.

The machine itself, sounds good but it loses more of the lower frequencies than it should as you turn the cutoff and resonance up, but it sits nicely in a mix because of this and it is quite squelchy.

Now on with the gutshots:

Dirt on the pcb, almost like corrosive traces of handling, etc

Components scattered on the board and soldered, clearly assembled as quickly as possible.

Grey looking solder joints. I dont know if rohs approved solder is supposed to look like this but it’s not shiny, they look almost like cold solder joints.

Rubycon electrolytic caps.. part of the standard kit i suppose..

More traces of handling.. dirt..

Made in Germany.. really?!
All in all, the only other example i can think of of a pcb that bears the same, corroding handling marks, grey solder joints and cowboy assembling like this, is my chinese made, battered components sporting, bog standard, cheap as hell, barely working, terrible looking digital oscilloscope. They even smell bad, the same way.


My personal feeling: my Mode Machines x0xb0x was really either made in China or made in Germany by hurried chinese workers in a very dark and unpleasant cabin.

Sometime later, i got my hands on a NY made, x0xb0x from x0xs0urce: a whole different story.

Rounder sound, red leds instead of purple ones, and check these gutshots..careful assembling and soldering, etc. a work of love-mind you it costed twice the price of the mode machines..

Welcoming greenie caps as per the original tb303..

Ram’s Head Battersea Power Station Big Muff ₽i

    

When i was a Londoner, id often catch the 24 bus on sunday mornings from Hampsted Heath to its final destination, Pimlico. There was a pub there, next to the bus station where we would go have brunch and shoot pool. In the afternoon we would visit the Tate, usually.

And we would enjoy the beautiful, post modern view of the Battersea Power Station from Pimlico.

Gilmour used a rams head Big Muff on Animals.

Built for a friend on a pcb by OP ELECTRONICS, IT. Transistors BC239C from ebay seller, Whazzgroover. Sprague caps, etc

First time i mess with a hot glue gun, and i guess you can tell! 🐣

Selmer Buzz Tone

Syd Barrett’s hairy boost.. VERY WARM AND THICK. Perfect counterpart to Syd’s favourite amp settings, basically treble at 10. 

Perfunctory build on eyelet board, with external vero for transistor testing, using 2N2613 as per original.

Very surprised by the final tone, i really like it.. Sounds very nice.   
I broke out the wem copicat to have a better idea if it nails syd’s tone.

Check it out clicking here

Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz Tone

  
The first fuzz box.. The Satisfaction horns sound, the star of so many fuzztonic records. I had to make myself the perfect clone! Yes i built a couple of these before, but i wanted to build it properly.. This is what i came up with:


Finding 2N270 transistors to buy was HELL. Impossible, hard to find, someone who sells them. Rca’s here in Europe, NONE. Forget it. Until…

I did find them! A small stash of them actually! And i didnt have to sell my body to get them. Not RCA’s, but NOS 2N270: leaky, gainy, nasty 2N270s!
Next, i set up this testing board with a nice ZIF socket!

First good set-listen:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/odzftcbdcp2mi1e/maestro%20fz1.m4a?dl=0

Q1 hfe 79 lkge 0.12mA

Q2 hfe 168 lkge 0.53 mA

Q3 hfe 131 lkge 0.70 mA

I tried inverting Q3 and Q2 but the distortion was oscillating..