Archive for May, 2014

Danelectro DJ-4 Corned Beef Reverb

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

DJ4-CornedBeef

What is it?
Danelectro DJ-4 Corned Beef reverb from Mini series. Made in chine around mid 00s.

Mini reverb? Idea sound solid. As i was closing in at finishing off my Mini collection, there was very little i could do but acquire one. There are many digital reverb designs around and usually their circuit footprint is relatively close the one of Spinosaurus. So either Danelectro had done the impossible by squeezing a reverb design in a box of this size, or there must be some pitfall in there. Opening the bottom plate shows that bottom PCB  houses only the electronic bypass switching components. Have they managed to cram a digital reverb design to the smaller top board?

DJ4-CornedBeef-guts1

No. They have not. Checking the top board shows PT2399S. I had a gut feeling about this, mainly due to low price of these units. Usually reverbs of any kind are expensive – even the ones that are from those low end series of many big brands. This sort of explains everything. Sadly, Corned Beef is not a true reverb in anywhere else but the marketing spiel.

DJ4-CornedBeef-guts2

So the “reverb” is in fact a fixed delay that is made to mimic reverb sounds with short feedback and delay time. It may not be a true reverb, but it’s still a nicely designed PT2399-based SMD board. Controls do not control the reverb characteristics at all. There are simply mix and hi-cut knobs. Mix is obviously mixing the “reverbed” signal in with the clean and the high-cut seems to be a simple low pass filter with roll-off point controlled by a pot.

I could be a lot more disappointed. Cheap price is one factor that keeps the depression away. I think Dano wouldn’t have gotten away with charging real digital reverb prices for this one. I do think this is the closest to a reverb you can get with a single PT2399. Points for that. However, i’d rather call this one a pseudo-reverb…

How does it sound?
True. It sounds a bit reverbish, but not much. However, it’s not eve remotely close to any of the real digital reverbs around. Anyone familiar with the PT2399 sound can probably spot it being used just by hearing what it sounds like. As a short delay-like pedal, this could be useful. As a reverb? Nope. You need to cough up those bigger bucks for an unit to satisfy that need.

Danelectro DJ-11 Lemon Pitcher Tuner

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

DJ11-LemonPitcher

What is it?
Danelectro DJ-11 Lemon Pitcher Tuner from Danelectro Mini Series. Made in china around early 00’s.

Okay. I’ve been harsh on only few Mini series pedals. Most of them are not bad enough to deserve any harsh words. Then there  is this. In my experience – any brand that produces usable tuner pedal won’t ever fail on that design. So why this one failed and needed a revision (DJ-25)? Size is ok, no denying that. But in reality, what are you going to do with tuner pedal including an old school LCD display and dim lights?

DJ11-LemonPitcher-guts

Nothing. Even if we disregard all the plastic unroadworthiness, we are still left with a tuner pedal that is not sensitive enough and hard to use in anything else than daylight. Gee. I wonder why this design flopped in sales. This and DJ-2 distortion are definitely two worst designs in the series. Stay away. I do not recommend this for any purpose. If it was even a bit more accurate and sensitive.. But it isn’t. It is pedal version of those bad, plastic little tuners that some might use for tuning their acoustic guitars. And due to the fact that it is a pedal with no microphone, one can’t even use this on acoustic guitar..

How does it sound?

As it is a tuner, it doesn’t exactly sound like anything. Maybe it just slightly cuts your highs due to standard mini series bypass buffering. To sum this unit up – bad. That’s the only word to describe the unit truthfully.

Nux MF6 Digital Multi FX

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX

What is it?
Nux MF6 Digital Multi FX from the Nux First Series. Made in china in 00’s.

Whole Nux pedal line has been quite interesting line. Some of the designs are straight rip offs, but while the underlying design may be just that, the rest is well engineered and somewhat original. The “First Series”, as i’m going to be referring these units, have nice and personal enclosure design. According to interwebs, Nux is originally nothing more but a sub-brand of Cherub. Folks at Cherub may have wanted to build another brand that seems more prestigious. And they have, more or less, succeeded in that venture.

The enclosure is your standard medium strenght cast aluminium box with good rubber bottom and durable feeling plastic parts. The battery slot is accessible through the pedal lid, and its lid is the cheapest feeling part in whole unit.

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX-ctrls

Controls on the top are one rotary switch for mode and four standard pots (one dual gang) for setting the parameters of the selected effect. In short, the effects this unit offers are tremolo, rotary, flanger, chorus, multivoice (which is one repeat dual delay in reality) and modulation delay. Others seem to have nice operation range, but the modulation on the mod delay can be turned off. So that the pedal can be used as a delay unit too. All in all, the number of usable effects is nothing short of impressive. And we should not forget about the stereo output and expression pedal input. So yes. There are quite a lot of features in this cheap pedal.

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When taking a look under the hood, we see modern SMD board with relatively dull view. Flipping the board over shows what one would expect. It is, like the name suggests, a fully digital design. Once again i’m going to leave you with less analysis since my knowledge of all digital circuitry is very limited. There are couple of digital chips in addition to a few opamps. And a oscillator crystal. Feels a bit like a computer now doesn’t it…

Nux-MF6-DigitalMFX-guts2

I got the unit cheap as used one from a local dude. I didn’t have high hopes for it, but since i was, and still am, somewhat fond of the New Analog Series pedals, i wanted to try this one out too. The conclusion?

How does it sound?
Surprisingly good. There’s no negative thin digital feel to any of the modes. Most of the modulation types easily beat some of their analog counterparts. That’s what you won’t hear often from me. Most of the settings are usable. Overall sound is good. Or maybe even great. I do love it when a design offers more than i expected. Well worth a try if you spot used one for cheap.