Author Topic: A Simple Volume Booster  (Read 6380 times)

Tamir

A Simple Volume Booster
« on: September 08, 2006, 08:14:29 AM »
Hi, I am new here and I want to know things about building effects. I had Already built a booster that sounded pretty crappy.

I Couldn't understand if the NPN BOOSTER is a volume booster or drive or maybe them both.
I am looking for a simple volume booster (only volume) so I can put in front of a fuzz face clone.

I prefer a picture of how I wire everything to everything because I always make mistakes with that and especially with the ground.
If someone has such a schem, and it is not too hard I would like to know :D

sorry about my english, I am from Israel.
Great forum/site BTW.

thanks!

GibsonGM

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Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2006, 08:28:28 AM »
Hi Tamir, welcome to the forum.   I'm no pro, but for what it's worth - any volume booster is going to 'change things'...it is a combination of drive and volume amplification.  The simplest way to boost volume I know of is a basic NPN transistor boost (sounds like you found one); I believe there is a schematic of one on here and there is much information available by searching for "boost" on the forum.   Another one is available at AMZ too, I believe (the Muff Boost - I like that one)...check the links.
 
To boost a signal requires amplification.  This can be done with transistor or op amp.  Since they have a bandwidth/operating range, if you will, certain frequencies will be amplified more or less than others.  This changes the tone of the sound, unfortunately.   So, filtering is required to 'bring back' something close to the original sound.   The simplest method of doing this involves tweaking the input and output capacitors.  How much gain you design into the circuit will set the 'drive'....increasing the resistance to ground at the transistor emitter will lower the gain, cleaning up the sound but still boosting volume (as long as it's a common emitter circuit, such as the famed NPN boost).  Some people use a pot here to make the drive/gain variable.  This would be called "gain recovery" when a circuit lowers the volume, and you need to bring it back up.

Adding a volume boost circuit to the input of a fuzz face may well result in crappy operation of the fuzz...it wants to have just your pickups at its input (this is an impedance issue and is normal for fuzz face).   To boost the overall volume, you may want to try a transistor boost on its OUTPUT.  I think it would sound better.  Just play with that emitter resistor until you get a range that doesn't distort too much!
Good luck  ;)
MXR Dist +, TS9/808, Easyvibe, Big Muff Pi, Blues Breaker, Guv'nor.  MOSFace, MOS Boost,  BJT boosts - LPB-2, buffers, Phuncgnosis, FF, Orange Sunshine & others, Bazz Fuss, Tonemender, Little Gem, Orange Squeezer, Ruby Tuby, filters, octaves, trems...

Tamir

Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2006, 08:54:14 AM »
Well see,
I just bought a Fuzz Face replica (Arielfx.com, he is great BYW) and tried it out, and it sounds cool but still - not enough.
It has not enough gain/sustain and since I don't have a Tube Amp and can't play on high volumes - what this guy suggested me is to register this site and look for a volume boost (I don't remeber the name) so I can put it in front of the Fuzz, this way the fuzz gets bigger signal to fuzz and it may have more sustain.

Isn't that true? and isn't there a transparent volume booster? because that's the only thing I need to control.

ildar

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Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2006, 12:55:20 PM »
Well see,
I just bought a Fuzz Face replica (Arielfx.com, he is great BYW) and tried it out, and it sounds cool but still - not enough.
It has not enough gain/sustain and since I don't have a Tube Amp and can't play on high volumes - what this guy suggested me is to register this site and look for a volume boost (I don't remeber the name) so I can put it in front of the Fuzz, this way the fuzz gets bigger signal to fuzz and it may have more sustain.

Isn't that true? and isn't there a transparent volume booster? because that's the only thing I need to control.

The idea of a transparent booster, overdrive, or other pedal is a subjective one. Any time you put your signal into any booster, it becomes precessed, if only by a few caps, resistors and a transistor.
That being said, a simple one-transistor booster with few components will fit the bill perfectly, and will be easy to adjust if it isn't to your initial needs and/or liking.
For a 1st project, try Aron's booster, then go from there. WARNING: Once you build one pedal successfully, it probably won't be your last.
Just think, you can build your own fuzz pedal to your exact needs, and fuzzes are simple to build.

GibsonGM

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Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2006, 01:34:47 PM »
You could build the simple NPN volume boost on a breadboard, and feed it to the fuzz to try it out.  It's the simplest that they come.  Dicker with the caps to 'customize' the sound.  This will in essence be a buffer before your fuzz pedal.  If you have a Boss pedal, try that before it too to see what you can expect since it is already buffered.   A great idea in theory, but I've always absolutely hated the sound of a fuzz face that's buffered.  By definition the circuit loads pickups to get its characteristic sound.  A buffer prevents this and turns the fuzz to mud.   

Adjusting the bias inside the fuzz pedal is another thing to investigate, also.  You can modify the gain of both transistors to balance them into their proper operating ranges, increasing sustain & fuzz as well as clarity.  Search for 'bias fuzz' etc. on the forum to learn more! There is a TON of info on it.  I suspect biasing because the basic circuit should have lots of sustain & fuzz...more so with single coil pickups.  It probably just needs adjusting.   It worked with mine. Then again, maybe I'm wrong  :icon_rolleyes:
MXR Dist +, TS9/808, Easyvibe, Big Muff Pi, Blues Breaker, Guv'nor.  MOSFace, MOS Boost,  BJT boosts - LPB-2, buffers, Phuncgnosis, FF, Orange Sunshine & others, Bazz Fuss, Tonemender, Little Gem, Orange Squeezer, Ruby Tuby, filters, octaves, trems...

Tamir

Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2006, 02:32:38 PM »
My Fuzz Face has 2n1305 and 2n404 transistors, with bias trimmers and I already played with 'em and got a better result, but if I adjust it to many sustain positon, it gets less fuzz and more like a regular distortion. so currently it is not enough.

I tried a half year before to build a FF but with no success. But I realy like building it and I want to build many things next, but it is quiet hard on perfboard but it will get better.
I have a Boss SD-1 pedal and as a drive booster it does not sound so good... But I know it has line driver, but i don't understand - what do you suggest to do with that?

And please tell me about easy to build booster that will do the trick. what kind of booster is the NPN BOOSTER on this forum?
thank you all!

Gus

Re: A Simple Volume Booster
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2006, 02:48:46 PM »
The NPN is a boost at  low gain settings.

With the gain control a 0 the boost is about  times 2.

now with 9 volt effects you can run out of clean headroom at a gain of X3

This circuit has its highest input Z and max headroom at min settings.  At about  10 O clock it starts to distort.

It goes from clean at min setings to  distorted at higher gain settings.

With a Fet or BJT or opamp or other boost circuit any gain much more than X3 tends not to be clean with a 9 volt supply.