Tag Archives: made

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!! 

Pedal building

I have been building pedals for little over a year now.. here are some of them:

Vox repeat percussion

The Vox Repeat Percussion is featured in the most unusual spots in 60es music, often used on organ too!
Here is my tagboard build.
I love this effect.
Turns your guitar into a mandolin.
If you dig the first electric prunes lp and early pink floyd, spacemen 3, this is the one and only vibrato for you!
Candysweet carbon comp resistors, philips, tropical fish caps blah blah.
Caution: the musical shredded by this pedal can cause epilepsy. Or tripping on out. Or both for max freakout! Ahahaahaha

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Fuzz Face

The germanium fuzz face is one of the key 60es pedals.
Here are a couple of builds..mojo stuff. Carbon comp resistors, tropical fish, philips, tesla caps, vintage texas instruments transistors (gold plated pins) or good old ac128s or Nkts..whatever sounds great.
That ugly blue n white trimmer there is bound to be replaced with a funky resistor as i am finalising the pedal for my mate Reverendo Mud’s 60es garage band, Seuss.As for any fuzz box i build, i put my ear on it: i like them with lots of attack i like the pick to be leading.. That is more apparent on my Tone Bender mkii builds, though.

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LISTEN to this specific one:
http://m.soundcloud.com/masutomasuto/seuss-fuzz-face

A brown paxoline 1st revision build:

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Shin-Ei Uni Vibe

Univibes.. i like building them. I have a few done now.. a couple of them can be handy.This circuit is one of those PERFECT circuits: mojo components or crappy ones wont change its soul..this heavily populated board vibes on whatever you put in it.I chose to make one that will LAST so no corners were cut..Cute Sprague electrolytics, tropical fish caps, etc all class A stuff here.
This is a classic vintage univibe build, with the best components of today.
The hard part of this build is the tuning part..that is, setting the character of the pedal..its very soul and sound.Back in the 60es the inventor of the Uni-Vibe Fumio Mieda would do this by ear, box per box, to imitate the sound of a rotating Leslie speaker.
Just like Mieda sensei, I tune each univibe by ear. I have my Leslie speaker here as a template!
Now Mieda san is the CEO of Korg…and the mighty, beloved japanese giant as part of the new craze of re releasing its legendary vintage gear is producing a new run of Univibes…they had to change the name though…cos they sold it to Jimmy Dunlop.No Hendrix scholar can go about without one of these.. forget about massively produced, digital, fake analog vibes.
This will make your head spin.

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Pcb by GGG

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This 60es univibe clone will take its place in a gigging venician musician’s rig.
Very rough, temporary artwork.. hes rushing to a gig tomorrow so…no time to make it nicer really…but what do we care for..
I also had to build an ac dc power supply outputting 18 volts for this.
Because of the no-mojo components, i must admit its bite is not as apparent and imposing as in my other builds.
Still..it sounds miles and miles better than any of those fake ass Jim Dunlop univibes…ahahaha!!!

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PCB by Redhouse (forum vibe pcb, classic build)

Maestro Filter Sample Hold

My Maestro Filter/Sample & Hold build.No artwork as yet…who cares, like.
Pure analog pleasure/madness..up sweep, down sweep, resonance, speed…any control..you name it, theres 5 knobs of it!
This is one of the hardest clones to tackle.
I made two, one for the man and one is currently being debugged to be given as a gift to my gonzo mate Jackit.
Amazing filtering and funky funky s&h…pedals like these are just not made by pedal corporates anymore.

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Pcb by Tonepad.

bea!
yours truly