Posts Tagged ‘Filter’

Boss SYB-3 Bass Synthesizer

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Boss-SYB3

What is it?
Boss SYB-3 Bass Synthesizer. Made in taiwan, september 1999.

This is one of the pedals that have stayed with me for a long time. Got it somewhere around 2002 and i’ve used it mostly with a guitar with occasional bass hook when recording. Due to its very complex digital design, i won’t be able to break the design down. So i’m forced to leave you with an overview of the features and aesthetics. Opening the bottom plate reveals a two sided PCB that is pretty crammed. On the board design, there’s not much to mention. It’s your standard SMD-board with focus on functionality, rather than aesthetics. Like most Boss boards. I’d say it’s dull.

Boss-SYB3-guts1

Bottom layer is for caps and resistors. The upper sider has all the semiconductors. As you can see, the number is quite high. The reason for the complexity? Well. It has eleven modes, ranging from “internal”, made up digital synth-like sweeps to standard, clean autowah sweeps. As the controls go, there are individual level settings for clean and synth signals, which gives you the option of blending the signals the way you want – all wet being rather wild. Next up is a very synth like filter with frequency and resonance controls. If there was one thing i’d like to see added to this one, it would be a expression pedal input for either of these controls. After these, there is sensitivity and decay controls that control how the trigger performs.

Boss-SYB3-guts2

Last control is 11 position switch that sets the effect type. Types are “internal” from settings 1-7. These are the programmed synt-like sweepers that are more or less unique to the pedal design. Settings 8-9 are “W-shape” modes, which are closer to standard autowah sounds than the internals, but still something rather odd. Last two settings are for “T-Wah”. So its safe to assume the last modes are digital recreations of ye oldee boss T-Wah autowah/envelope filter. Haven’t been able to play with original T-Wah, but something tells me these modes are a bit wilder or tighter than the ones found on the old analog pedal.

Either way. There is a ton of versatility. I’d label this as one of the top ten Compact serie pedals. When Boss engineers take a design over the top, the results are still usable.

How does it sound?
Wicked. Extreme envelope filter on steroids. Wild filter sweeps with great, completely unnatural synth-style modes. Of course, there are milder autowah settings available, but it’s the wild ones that will roll your socks. The blend controls give the possibility of nice, subtle effects too. Very versatile and fun effect. Maybe the tones offered aren’t the greatest thing for your base sound, but for those hidden hooks and shock effects.. This is the right stuff.

Ibanez LF7 Lo-Fi

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

LF7

What is it?
Ibanez LF7 Lo Fi from Tonelok/7-series. Apparently made in the year  2000, as the enclosure has the date 1/2000 stamped on the inside.

The board itself has a lot of components left out, so it seems that the same board may be utilized in other designs of the series too. I think i may need to do some reading on this. As the circuit is what it is – a distortion with active filters, i think i’ll focus on the enclosure and how the 7-series are made, rather than trying to analyze the circuit on this particular design.

LF7-guts1

The base design for 7-series boxes is made of 5 (!) boards. One for input jack, one for the switching, LED and slide switches (picture below), the main board (above), the control board (aka VR Board) and one for the output jack. It is crowded in there, but this type of design leaves a lot of room for the main board. Which is huge when compared to compact size of the pedal itself. There is a downside to this. Over engineering. You need to use all the space available, right?

LF7-guts2

Meaning that the same results in sound could have been achieved for a lot smaller board and lower parts count. The factory schematics can be found online, but study them with caution. These are the worst schems i’ve seen with depicting of all the 5 PCBs, showing some parts of the layout and having massive, unnecessarily long lines. These also notes how all 5 boards connect together. Good information,  but difficult and/or frustrating to read.

Back to the good things. These also seem to built for war. Couple of the units i have were mailed to me wrapped in just two pages of newspaper and a thick paper bag. Knowing how the postal service treats the parcels, i was quite surprised how none of these had any issues after such treatment. The Tonelok-idea is not a bad idea at all. I’ve run into issues accidentally kicking the pot knobs on some pedals (think ZVex’s Fuzz Factory) that have the stomp switch way too close to the knobs. Add trigger happy controls to that equation, and you’ll find out why locking knobs is a very good idea.

LF7-guts3

Other downside to this series is the use of the same tact switch that’s found on Soundtank/5-series. Swapping the switch takes about double the time compared to Soundtanks, due to complexity of the 5 boards that need to be disassembled. So, disregarding the switch – These are built to last and can take a hit, plus locking controls work great. Overall, i think these are the most underrated pedals ever made. Can’t wait to see if the switches outlast the Soundtank switches or not. And more importantly, how the value of these develop in next 20 years…

How does it sound?
Back to the LF7. This design was just perfect specimen to talk about the series in general. The reason being that this may be one of the worst sounding  Ibanez designs ever. It is truly Lo Fi as advertised. Really bad, ugly misbiased distortion with active, bad tone controls for highs and lows. Doesn’t work for guitar at all, but i can see this being used with a blender circuit for vocals and drum buses. Nice studio tool, but i can’t see any use for this on any pedal board.