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Prescription Electronics Depth Charge - Initial Impressions

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by grygrx, Mar 29, 2006.


  1. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    I've got a spending problem. That said...

    I got my Prescription Electronics Depth Charge from UPS last night and I figured I would post my initial impressions.

    When I took it out of the box the first thing I noticed is that it didn't LOOK much like any of the photos I had seen of it previously.

    I was expecting an orange box like this:
    [​IMG]

    Instead I got a "stone" box:
    [​IMG]


    It had a green on/off LED which I wasn't expecting either which is a nice addition, not that you would forget your fuzz box is on, it just makes the world easier.

    The box is solid, and a little smaller than I was expecting. I undid the four screws on the back to get a look at the internal construction/layout. Despite the sharp exterior the internal bits are definitely walking down a more homemade looking path. The board itself wasn't mounted to the bottom on risers or anything but was actually glued to the edges of the input jacks/pots and switch to hold it in place. While this seems to work pretty well at creating a stable platform I worry about what it means if the pedal needs service (or god forbid a mod) and creates a pretty haphazard look. The picture below gives a good sense of the impression I got when I first looked in... notice the big glue splotches. A strand of glue was actually attached between the switch and the back cover which freaked me out as it stretched like bubblegum when I first took the cover off. Even some of the soldiering looks a little sketchy to me (not an expert though). I guess I expected more from a $200+ boutique box. The only other pedal in it's price range I've looked inside is an Analogman mini-bicomp and it's construction is absolutely top notch.

    [​IMG]


    On to the meat of the matter; what it sounds like. The feel of "new" isn't off it yet so take my positives with a grain of salt.

    The knobs are volume, blend, gain, and tone.

    Gain and Tone have the biggest impact on the Fuzz produced by the box. Gain seems to effect the intensity of the most, and tone is well... tone. Turned all the way to the left it provides a more unified thick sound, and to the right you get a more middy cutting edge.

    The blend knob isn't a straight 100% clean to 100% Fuzz. It feels more like the left setting is 75% clean, 25% fuzz with the dimed setting the opposite. I love this knob.

    The volume knob is nice to have allowing you peak out the gain (more fuzz) and still control the overall output.

    The sound itself is rich and thick in almost every setting which is clearly the work of the blend knob. There is a little bit of a octave up in the sound that you can hear more clearly as you add fuzz to the blend, and turn the tone knob to the right but it is never overwhelming the sound, just adding a little depth. I felt dirty and a little guilty while playing it, which is just what I was hoping for from a fuzz box. The keyboard player kept looking at me funny :)

    Link to all the pictures I took

    I really like the sound, but am a little torn about if is worth the money based on my build quality concerns. Probably would have been much happier if I never looked inside, but I've been reading electronics books and learning schematics in preparation for some building of my own and wanted to know.
     
  2. If that freaked you out: Never look inside of an expensive box like the Roger Meyer Axis Fuzz! It is about $2 worth of parts on the cheapest possible circuit board. Nice space-age chassis.
     
    Driven Crane likes this.
  3. tommy.genes

    tommy.genes

    Feb 16, 2006
    Yo! Philly
    Clips? :eyebrow:

    -- T. G. --
     
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Eeasch...

    That doesn't look too good at all!

    I'm also wondering about all those electrolytic caps - I hope none of those are actually in the signal path. ..And the resisitors: I hope those are metal film; not the noisier carbon-comps.

    I dunno... that just doesn't look very good in-there.

    Joe
     
  5. sloppysubs

    sloppysubs

    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    When I bought mine, the same thing happned. However, I rather like the slate gray and green LED combo. That orange just hurts me.

    Also, I LOVE this pedal. My main (and thus far) only fuzz as it takes care of all my fuzz needs.
     
  6. Willem

    Willem

    Dec 26, 2005
    Belgium
    I like the looks of it, much better than the orange!!
    Can you record some clips of various settings? 'Cause I'm eager to hear what it sounds like as I am very interested in a Fuzz to add to my pedal collection.

    congrats
     
  7. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO

  8. Me too! :)

    Thanks for the clips! This recorded straight into the computer, yes? I bet it sounds better through a good microphone. Anyways its good thing this pedal retains so much low-end; thick bottom. The top-end is too bee-sounding for me.
     
  9. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I heard that at that Prescription Electronics factory they have a special stage in the process where the daub glue everywhere and bend a few components to make it look home made - fascinating!
     
  10. I wanted one of these so bad. But its nearly impossible to get one here, so i went with the chunk systems brown dog.
     
  11. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Recording:
    Geddy Lee Jazz w/Flats both pickups full, tone 1/2 -> Depth Charge -> Roland DB500 (set solid state) -> CRAPPY CRAPPY CABLE via headphone jack -> Apple 1/8inch standard aux in :)

    oh and since it's mp3, tac on some compression :)
     
  12. wow, just listend to those clips. Sounds awsome!
     
  13. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Thanks for the info! ;)
     
  14. tommy.genes

    tommy.genes

    Feb 16, 2006
    Yo! Philly
    Thanks for the clips. It is a nice-sounding bass fuzz. Definitely a fuzz.

    -- T. G. --
     
  15. Willem

    Willem

    Dec 26, 2005
    Belgium
    yeah sounds goood! what position was blend in? And tone? I figure you only moved the gain for those clips?
     
  16. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    Sorry (clock values):
    Low: Volume:9, Blend 12, Gain 12, Tone 11
    Med: Volume:9, Blend 3, Gain, 3, Tone 1
    High: Volume:9, Blend 5, Gain 5, Tone 5
     
  17. Willem

    Willem

    Dec 26, 2005
    Belgium
    no prob man. Thanx!
     
  18. DMX

    DMX

    Mar 10, 2006
    Oxford, UK
    On my DC, the tone knob introduces a lot of the clean sound into the signal as you move in towards 12 o'clock, so much so that I have to keep the tone at about 9 o'clock and the blend all the way over to fuzz to get the sound I want. Just curious if anyone else has this problem? I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to work like this, but I e-mailed the shop I got it from when it first arrived and they assured me it was perfectly normal. PE didn't respond.
    In the end I kept it because I love the one or two sounds I can get out of it, and the idea of sending it all the way back to the US after waiting so long for it didn't appeal! I just which it was more versatile.

    Mine is orange with a green led, and the knobs are different from both of those pics btw. And the glue in mine is black.
     
  19. grygrx

    grygrx Lookout! Here comes the Fuzz! Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2003
    Columbia, MO
    1) I think mine functions basically the same, I guess I just wouldn't call it "clean signal" introduction. The tone knob to the left 7 (o'clock - noon) brings out an effect sound that is more blurr'd and thick, the tone knob to the right (noon-5:00 o'clock) the signal is more seperated as each note is more distinct, I guess it does seem MORE "clean" when in this range (because there is less bleed) and you can't get that kind of rolling fuzz sound.

    2) The fact that they didn't e-mail you back is pretty lame. You would think a small business like that would want to work the customer service angle.
     
  20. DMX

    DMX

    Mar 10, 2006
    Oxford, UK
    It doesn't really sound like our pedals are doing the same thing - on mine with the tone at noon you basically get the clean sound of your bass with what sounds like a very angry bee a mile away in the distance behind it. Very little fuzz sound at all, hence why I don't think mine is working properly. I still love the sounds I CAN get out of it though.

    I was surprised PE didn't respond to me. On the other hand Elderly Instruments, who I ordered the pedal through, replied within about 30 mins offering a refund (minus postage) if I wasn't satisfied .
     

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