Not a Vacuum Tube Amplifier
SoundLad Liverpool original design, this is not a clone - Designed, hand wired, and assembled in Liverpool, UK
Natural Guitar EQ.
Discrete class A transformer and inductor loaded 2 band gain stage.
Best thought of for guitarists as a wide open and dynamic zero to low gain colour and texture boost. Does a great impression of a high headroom uncompressed TS with far superior dynamic response and plenty of flexibility around that sound, from treble boost for downtuners to blown out fuzz at the extremes.
For the engineers in the room it's a moderately high headroom (9v) low Z in 2 band channel strip with pre-gain bass control (BASE - cut to 2.6KHz), circuit gain control (BUFF), post gain parallel inductive top end blend control (SHEEN - cut to 740Hz), and a low-Z transformer coupled output with a volume trim and impedence matching noise filter (CUT).
Has a distinct vintage character that is punchy and "mix ready".
Fattens up a strat like nothing else.
Low Z normally suggests first in chain but this is just a preference thing. The Low Z input provides a more vintage sound and dynamic response. Running a buffer before it will negate the Low-Z characteristics and as such add treble, stiffen the reponse, and this may be preferable for some. We like both. A buffer on the output will not affect the rest of the circuit.
Not a "Vox-In-A-Box", despite the reference.
Discreet Class A Gain Blocks
Custom made inductors for reactive top end response
UK designed transformers
High Quality SMD and through hole components
Genuine Hammond enclosure
Enclosure painted, drilled, and printed by HammondMFG UK
Off board Input and Output Jacks & DC Jack
Off board True Bypass Switching
Fully ISO9001 and RoHS compliant
Runs on 9v Center Negative (Boss style) power supply - Current Draw: 6mA
BASE is a bass control. BUFF is a gain control. These two controls are very interactive and largely determine the overall sound of the pedal. BASE goes from a bass heavy fuzz type sound at one extreme to a fairly extreme treble booster at the other. We generally like to use BASE to remove the lows a little so when we apply gain using BUFF we are sending mid frequencies to be saturated rather than bass frequencies, which results in a clearer tone. But of course it entirely up to you how you use our pedals, so here is a rough guide as to how the two interact.
From left to right;
7-9 o clock - Downtuners/Treble Booster-ers- tighten up that low end by removing the flub here. Most of the gain (BUFF) is available on tap in these regions while still retaining a clean boost for extra harmonic complexity. Pushing BASE past this with down tuned guitars may cause a squishy low end saturation.. Dial SHEEN back to reduce the fizz when stacking. Use the master volume (CUT) for gain staging.
9 - 3 o’clock - Your standard Hi Mid Lo or "Range" selector booster section lives here for those familiar with the Cesar Diaz Texas Ranger and it’s clones, but rather than three values to select from, or 6 like in the Orange FAC, you can fine tune between them all using this part of the dial. For a clean boost ensure that the closer you are to 3 o’clock the less gain (BUFF) you use. For a clipping boost push the gain as hard as you want and use CUT for gain staging.
3-5 o’clock - Texturizer - starts to ramp up really fast here to the point where at full tilt it is in fuzz territory. Here be lead boosts, mild distortion/fuzz, great for driving the front end of an overdrive sound to give it a different texture.
SHEEN blends in an inductive treble filter with a knee at 740Hz (around Tube Screamer territory) with a clean path. These two paths are slightly out of phase from each other so as you blend in the inductive filter by turning the dial left, you also introduce some pleasant phase distortion, or “sheen” as we call it.
Turn SHEEN down to blend in the filter and reduce treble content, very useful for achieving the “Texas” sound.
CUT is a hybrid volume/treble cut control. It is best to think about CUT as working hand in hand with BUFF, the balance between the two will determine the overall output and working hand in hand with SHEEN to determine how much treble is on the output.
Each dial affects the other. In a way, Clean Machine is something of a hybrid between an old mixing desk, a Fulltone Fat Boost, a Cesar Diaz Texas Ranger, and a Tube Screamer, while being none of these things. You can achieve the “direct in” trashy, unrefined distortions that come from pushing a mixer channel, a colourful clean sound, and a wonderfully refined boost, but you can also quite easily achieve a squishy mess.
Clean Machine is quite simply a tool box that functions as various things depending where in the signal chain it is placed. It's discrete, inductor and transformer loaded signal path, adds a distinct vintage character to the tone with valve-like dynamics and breakup. Here are a few examples of how to use it;
First in the chain, Clean Machine can act as an "always on" tone shaper, adjusting the treble/bass and harmonic content of the guitar and also providing a boost or cut in output. This is where most people decide to use Clean Machine and some of our best feedback comes from using it like this.
"EDGE OF BREAKUP" BOX
Deployed after drive pedals, Clean Machine can act as a soft clipping limiter that behaves in a very similar fashion to the input of a guitar amplifier (this is where all the inductors and transformers come into it). Most drive pedals sound at their best into an amp on the edge of breakup but you may still want to run the amp clean. Clean Machine can be used as an "edge of breakup box" for driving fuzz pedals and drive pedals into. Doing this yields the harmonics and compression that would normally come from driving the input of an amp while allowing users to set the character of the breakup using the BASE and BUFF controls. SHEEN and CUT can then be used to remove any unwanted fizz from the resulting stacked tone and setting the proper level for the next thing in the chain.
LOW GAIN DRIVE PEDAL
As a standalone drive pedal, Clean machine can be tailored for use on neck or bridge pickups. For bridge pickups, BASE on about 3/4 using BUFF as the gain control results in a raw low gain sound that can be softened a little in the top end with SHEEN. For neck pickups you can set the BASE control before 12 o'clock and use the BUFF control as the gain, retaining the rounded sound of the neck pickup while removing the wool from the bottom.
And finally as a boost, Clean Machine can be thought of like a treble boost circuit. BASE acts to control the low end of the boost, right up is not advisable in this context but from 7-3 o clock brings it's own flavour. BUFF will then reduce the headroom of the input with SHEEN then acting to reproduce the top end roll off experienced through parasitic capacitance of various transistors. CUT can then be deployed as the overall output of the boost.
Wherever you think you can find the following signal chain useful, Clean Machine will excel;
Bass -> Gain -> Treble -> Volume (with treble roll off)
Demos and sound samples to come.