Frantone Hi-Ball [Lame Alert]  [traced]

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soulsonic
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Post by soulsonic »

So...nearly 10 years ago, I received a Frantone Hi-Ball, tested it out, and traced it. It is one of the worst overdrive pedals I have ever tried in my entire life. I absolutely hated the dull, lifeless sound of it. Can't remember now, but for whatever reason, I never got around to posting my trace here. So, here it is...
Frantone Hi-Ball
Frantone Hi-Ball
DSC02350.JPG
DSC02348.JPG
Not sure what Fran was thinking with giving this an input impedance of <10K... guess she hates high frequencies and dynamics. Maybe all her guitars had EMGs in them?

I will say, there is one clever thing in this design, the gain of the second stage changes to compensate for the different output levels of the different clipping diodes. Haven't seen that in any other pedals. And it tracks accurately as far as I remember hearing. Worth stealing.

DIY suggestion: instead of using U2b as a precision virtual ground, use it as an input buffer so your input signal doesn't get trashed by the obscenely low impedance!

Another DIY suggestion: forget that relay bypass, unless you never use batteries.
"Analog electronics in music is dead. Analog effects pedal design is a dead art." - Fran

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nhalda
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Post by nhalda »

Thanks. I've been curious as to what's happening under the hood here as it's one of the Frantone pedals I've never played.

The impedance is definitely interesting.

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soulsonic
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Post by soulsonic »

I mean, I understand the idea of using maybe an "abnormal" input impedance to get a certain tone. I can accept that kind of thing if the end result sounds good. But this pedal didn't sound good to me at all, so it really made me wonder why this choice was made.
I welcome people to please try this out on breadboard and see how it sounds to you. It may just be my taste, or maybe I used it with a completely "wrong" guitar/amp? Who knows...
"Analog electronics in music is dead. Analog effects pedal design is a dead art." - Fran

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Whoismarykelly
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Post by Whoismarykelly »

The diode compensation is legit. I've thought of ways to manage that and avoid LEDs always sounding best just because they're louder but this is a very elegant situation.

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soulsonic
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Post by soulsonic »

Whoismarykelly wrote: 09 Jul 2020, 16:44 The diode compensation is legit. I've thought of ways to manage that and avoid LEDs always sounding best just because they're louder but this is a very elegant situation.
It sounded totally right-on to me. Best thing about this design, IMO, and what prompted me to post it after forgetting about it for years.
"Analog electronics in music is dead. Analog effects pedal design is a dead art." - Fran

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