Since there were some errors on the schematic, please refer to these values should you need recapping your vintage Ace Tone drum machine:
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!
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:
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.
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..
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!!
This must be a very early one, word has it that Jimi Hendrix tried one of these boxes for its big muff-like forced sustain. It is one of the earliest electro harmonix effects.
It is powered by TWO 9v batteries and so much for it “being distortion free”, it is very hissy and noisy, and colours the tone. The compression is VERY apparent and squashed.
Transistors: FS36999, the same as early 70’s Big Muffs.
The tube version Black Finger is a much different, more reliable and usable item.
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.
I also made a quick little excuse for a tune to test it further.. sorry for the hurried and far from great mix:
After a while of non-activities, i took the wah projects by the balls and finished them successfully.
Inductors: one is a Stack o Dimes, the other is called a Hasel inductor, both handmade by the nice guys at ARTeffects in Israel.
Caps: i found an ancient italian preamp with the right caps type and values at a car boot sale, they’re the surf green ones you see on the stack o dimes build. I swapped the cheap greenies you see pictured on the other build with some tropical fish ones, just for mojo sake.
The two wahs do sound different.
PCBs by email@example.com (Greece)
Nos brown Mullard like baguettes ahaha and other stuff i found at my local baker..ahah and three oc84s..