Number 51

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Otherwise known as the MossWave. Otherwise known as the smash hit of 2016. Or at least the most replicated thing that came out of the workshop as the studio transitioned to a second bedroom and the living room got a lot smaller. Hate to say it, but anyone who’s ever been about the whole micro house thing probably doesn’t have hobbies that involve building things, or children.

So this is what it does and why I did it:

After 5 years of making fuzzes that are largely based on the same core circuit I wanted to expand my repertoire a little bit. I goofed around with delays, I cloned a couple overdrives that were popular in the ’80’s and were sold in green boxes and made famous by a certain Texan, I decided to explore the 4049 chip, which is  CMOS chip that generally shouldn’t be used for audio, but it is – first by way of a DIY PAIA project in the ’70’s. Then by way of EH, and they Way Huge and… well, just about every single builder who ever tried putting the words “tube sound” on a box without actually putting a tube in the box. As a heads up, it’s also been used by some of the more experimental builders out there to make some fancy buzz buses in 5 components or less and sold for an amazing markup. As the saying goes, gotta nuke something. I however, not being one to make a quick buck, especially when someone else is already doing it, decided to cobble a couple together out of curiosity, and then turn it into a workshop to allow the class to explore how one can tune this circuit from the mild to the wild and all that in-between.

Here’s the blurb from the workshop itself:

So what is is? It’s a small, yet versatile effect pedal, constructed entirely of common components and designed to accommodate anything from your standard guitar to amplified whale bones to the occasional transmission of Peruvian shortwave radio art. I’d say possibly even acid house, but that just might be pushing it.

The pedal itself is a CMOS-based distortion box capable of just about anything from a small amount of dirt to full-on alien space battle/gear-grinding/octave-tripping doom-tones. I realize that’s a tall order, but I’m personally surprised at the number of sounds that can be coaxed from this compact metal box. For frame of reference and inspiration think of something that borrows equally from the schematics of Craig Anderton and Nicholas Collins, but with just a dash of Way Huge and Dwarfcraft thrown in for good measure. Not to mention that it has a CV input on the side of it that allows it to talk to other VauxFlores CV boxes, or really anything that produces approximately 2-8 volts, give or take.

In all, about 25 were made between workshops, presents, special orders and other incarnations. Will I ever return to the design? Maybe. But in the meantime, I’m happy to consider this project wrapped up and sealed with a ribbon. Here’s a gallery of the series’ greatest hits. Will expand on the technical side whenever I can.

Gallery