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Designing a Meatball clone, input wanted

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Spencer!, Mar 17, 2008.


  1. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    ***Update 4-8-08: It lives! Pictures posted below, sound clips to follow.***



    Hey guys, I'm designing a Meatball clone, but I'm doing things a little differently. It will of course be much smaller and cheaper than the original, but my main goal is to make it easier to use. I've got the control layout mostly figured out, but I'd love any input that Meatball users have on what they would like to see in a clone.

    So far, here are the controls I've decided on:

    Knobs:

    Attack
    Decay
    Sensitivity
    Intensity

    Switches:

    Color (yes, I'm turning the color knob into a color switch, which should make it way easier to use)
    Up/Down
    Frequency (this will be a 3-position, leaving out the lowest position, which I found to be not very usable)

    Jacks:
    In/Out
    FX loop Send/Return
    The pedal jacks are gone; they were pretty much useless for most people anyway.



    Comments? Suggestions?
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Good luck with that. :)
    While I don't know what "most people" find useful, if I bought a Meatball clone I'd be disappointed if there was not even one expression pedal input.
     
  3. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Perhaps "clone" isn't really the word I'm looking for. It uses the same components and circuitry, but values and controls have been changed to make the pedal retain the same sound, yet be easier to use.

    The expression pedal jacks are really finicky; they only really work right with one type of pedal that is not readily available. Hell, even Mario at Robot Factory doesn't put them standard on the Meatwad. Eliminating them is necessary to fit the pedal into the box I'm using (4.5in x 3.5in x 1.25in).
     
  4. the features that mattered to me

    Decay
    Attack (kinda, but really i just kept it in the same spot)
    colour
    intensity
    up/down
    filter setting (Hi, Hi-mid, low-mid, low)

    I kept everything else dimed (Blend, Sense, and Full [the 1/2 and off settings were IMO useless])

    Good luck. I loved the sounds available with the Meatball, i just didn't like searching for them and then losing them and then constantly tweaking.
     
  5. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Thanks for the input. The half/full/off switch will be permanently on full, and the blend will be full on. I need to keep the sensitivity knob because this needs to be adjusted to the output of each guitar or bass.

    I'm tossing around some ideas for the attack knob. I was thinking about only giving it the first half of its range, which I think will suit most people's purposes well.

    I think this feeling was shared by many. This is my reason for making this pedal. :)
     
  6. Silent Fly

    Silent Fly Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 8, 2006
    London - UK
    Owner/designer [sfx]
    I agree, I don’t think you are cloning. "Redesign", "improve"...?

    Best of luck and keep us informed about your progress.
     
  7. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Umm blend is like 1/2 the magic.
     
  8. speak_onion

    speak_onion

    Jun 22, 2007
    Queens, NY
    Looks like it may not be so easy to get a consensus on what controls are useful, and which ones aren't. Maybe that's why the meatball has so many controls. . .
     
  9. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    I know this is a feature many people like, but I don't really like the way it works on the meatball. I personally think a blend knob should be its own pedal, and that's the next pedal I'm going to make.
     
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    The blend knob is super important - some settings sounded best with it all the way up, some sounded best halfway.

    That pedal sounds the way it does because all those controls work together - take away features and you don't have a Meatball anymore.
     
  11. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Prototype boards have been ordered and I'll have a few prototypes built in 2 weeks or so.

    The board is 3in x 4.25in!
     
  12. astralis

    astralis

    Dec 31, 2006
    Fort Myers, FL
    I built a Meatball clone myself, and it was nice but... I almost ALWAYS set it up to get the same tone that I got from my Mutron III clone. It was a great pedal and all and i liked having it, but I ended up giving it to my guitar player...

    Blending is soooo important! I blend just about every effect I use and have an overall blend as well. The Splitter-Blender from ROG is hours of fun. I love taking a boost with a lpf on it and a crazy distortion like a rat and blending the two together and then using that loop with another one to blend all of that into a phaser, then having a master blend for clean tone... I'm having way too much fun with this circuit, haha =].
     
  13. Maybe you could put on a toggle switch that went from 50-50 wet/dry to 100% wet. Then you could use the full range of the color knob.
     
  14. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Prototype boards arrived!

    Here are some pics next to the Meatball for a size comparison.

    DSCN1519.

    DSCN1521.
     
  15. bbe

    bbe

    Nov 6, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    when this is all done, ill buy one.
     
  16. Stu L.

    Stu L.

    Nov 27, 2001
    Corsicana, Texas
    Subscribing, as I have all the parts for a MB filter :D
     
  17. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    I got it working today, and it sounds great! There are still some bugs to work out, but hopefully I'll have some sound clips posted tonight.


    DSCN1522.

    DSCN1524.
     
  18. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Spencer, did you design that PCB yourself?
     
  19. Spencer!

    Spencer!

    Jun 25, 2006
    Seattle
    Owner, Pike Amplification & 3Leaf Audio
    Not exactly. I've got a good friend who had a degree in electrical engineering, and this stuff is cake for him. I designed the size and feature set, and he used a computer program that automatically routs the board.
     
  20. jonpopu

    jonpopu

    Nov 3, 2006
    Chicago
    Well that's pretty nifty! Looking forward to soundclips.:hyper:
     

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