Category Archives: non-mojo components

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..
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.

BUT: it sports original 536 transistors, that give it a very impressive TB303 character! 

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..

But ouch! This has 945 transistors (Roland mass production’s transistor of choice in those days)- it doesnt sound as wild as the Mode Machines!! 

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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! 🐣

Messin with the Klon

Yesterday i was busy making two Klon Centaur clones.

Months ago i bought the last two Chimaera pcbs from the cat over at Grind Customs Fx.
Very well made boards i must say.
I got me some 50 x D9E germanium diodes, the latest darlings of klon builders the world over and plunged into this build, keeping in mind and on the bom the latest (2014) discoveries by the byoc guys on the silver klon (the golden enclosure came first, the silver came later, improving on tone and volume control).
Elna electros, philips, greenies, etc caps.
Metal and carbon film resistors, 1590BB build #1:

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I had to lower the value of a 20k log pot down to 10k for the volume knob using a resistor across pins 1-3.
This was made for my friend Luca.
Next, it’s mine:

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Same caps n resistors chan pon here.
This time to make the volume pot a log, i used a 10k lin, a 2k resistor from pin 2 to ground.
Same blue minotaur lsd blotter art employed..

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On the first build, the gain pot would run funny: regular until 3/4 its taper, then volume would drop.
Heres what i found out about the klon:
YOU MUST audition/measure LOADS of TL072 to get the right balance of clean/gain/volume in general. I have some Texas Instruments and some ST, all of the TI sounded way too “weak”, alas noise would slip through, not enough power, etc. ST’s are better but still, you have to choose the right ones. I did this by ear.
Good TL072s are the secret to this pedal: i tried a bunch of germanium diodes: lots of the aforementioned russian ones, both matched and unmatched, but also Valvo OA81, OA91, RL32S11, AAY22.. guess what? They didnt impart any specific tonal character to the pedal.

As it is, the Klon is a good, clean, very musical buffer/overdrive.
Without a strung out, breaking amp though, i have my doubts it would save the day.

I prefer the good old dirty Rangemaster to the Klon i suppose.

bea!
yours truly

Two pedals for my bro

My brother took up playing electric guitar again. He asked me for some boxes..

2n1307 texas instruments fuzz face
Q1 hfe 200
Q2 hfe 198
(leakage, wartsnall measurements)

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This Fuzzface sounds GREAT. The best i built so far, possibly. Very subtleties responsive, can be hard, soft, gainy, bluesy. Amazing basses.

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The other box is a repeat percussion-using BC547 instead of mpsa18.. very quiet sounding, no ticking.
Very happy about these two.

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Golden: fuzzface; toy car green: repeat/percussion.

bea!
yours truly