Your favorite blues overdrive pedal?

Discussion in 'Pedal Pushers Forum' started by ErickT94, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    I’ve used one to explore some Dumble-like sounds. There’s a sweet spot for that sound, but it’s elusive.
     
  2. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    37
    983
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Hm ... as far as I know, clipping was used in signals that aren't meant to satisfy any aesthetic demands, mostly to protect downstream devices from being damaged - and done by diodes just as in every other overdrive pedal.

    Making it asymmetric may have been present before, but as there are like a hundred ways to combine different diodes, or a diode + something else, ... can one just say "all unequal diodes used to clip a signal are my intellectual property!"? I mean ... isn't that a little ... weird? I always thought that anything specified in a patent needs to serve a known and plausible purpose? Just aimlessly using different diodes for asymmetry seems a bit too far of a take to me - not to try, but to apply for a patent.
     
  3. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tucson
    Admin Post
    Devices will clip if you try to increase the amplitude of the signal beyond the saturation point. Solid State diodes are great for clipping. The Boss circuit uses diodes in an NFB loop for the Op-Amp. It uses two diodes in series for one half of the waveform and only one diode in the other. It's nothing to all that exciting, but assuming that they actually have protection on this, then it must have been proven to be unique. IMO, it's a clever solution and I don't see how it could be considered aimless. The values of the diodes isn't what is unique, but the arrangement is.

    Think of it like this; when the Pentode was invented, Philips held the patent on that arrangement. Grids had been around for over 20 years at that time, but the Suppressor Grid was new, so it was patentable. A few years later, someone came up with a way to build a tetrode which accomplished something quite similar, and the beam tetrode changed the game yet again, this time by changing the shape of a few elements.

    Without patents, it would be hard for any company to justify R&D for new products.
     
  4. GlenP

    GlenP Country Gent

    Jul 23, 2019
    WA
    My 1980's solid-state Peavey Studio Pro 50 has a SATURATIONTM dial, "US Patent 4,439,742 - a transistor simulation of tube distortion (soft-clipping)" - essentially like having a distortion pedal built into the solid state amp.

    By itself, it does not really sound all that great, but you can stage it with an overdrive pedal, like a Tube Screamer or even a Fuzz, and the combination of the staged gains is perhaps not all that bad, for the time period. A decent enough amp for a kid on a student budget at the time. Modern digital modeling amps really blow it away. Mostly, I use that amp for clean acoustic stuff, and just a TS for a clean boost, just more predictable and easy to work with on that amp.

    Anyway, I was curious about the history of that patent, and it led me to this post on the Peavey web site about the man who was their chief engineer and inventor for many years, Jack Sondermeyer who wrote that patent.

    https://peavey.com/content--name-Article-ID-798
    "Sondermeyer was Peaveys Chief Engineer for 29 years, and had more than 30 patents to his credit. He was a brilliant and gifted analog design engineer who was well-respected in the engineering community."

    the name Sondermeyer kind of makes me think of what ancient words the name might have been derived from... sound, meister, maker, or Sound Master, i.e the Master of Sound, kind of an appropriate name for the man who invented some new technologies for electronic amplification. Just a digression, nothing to do with this blues thread, but an interesting sidebar.
     
  5. DennisC

    DennisC Synchromatic

    Age:
    37
    983
    May 11, 2017
    Germany
    Wait a second ... of course, the circuit is not aimless.

    But ... patenting each, every and any way of asymmetric clipping circuitry would be aimless - and would not only protect the idea, but also prevent any idea from being developed ... that wouldn't just prevent theft of their ideas, but also lead into a monopole about asymmetric clipping, protecting ideas that no one even had in mind when applying. That certainly is not what patents are thought for.

    When I talked the patenting stuff through about something totally else, I got told I'd have to specify every part of the system that is to be patented, no matter how generic or boring they are, for example ... there would be a few on/of valves involved ... think of a discretely variable intake manifold, operated by flaps, that isn't exactly what it was, but similar - they only habe to be able to open or close, no more than that. One could also use a rotary/barrel valve that operates everything in one motion, but patenting either would leave the other uncovered, unless I'd apply for both to be patented ... while those valves themselves are, kinda, not that interesting. The basic idea and the basic advantage isn't affected by either kind of valves used, or actually any kind.

    Translated to electric circuits, this reads like "if you change the capacitor type from foil to ceramic, you lose your protection", while the caps themselves are, kinda, not that interesting but generic parts you can buy at a thousand places, and the basic idea and function of the circuit isn't affected by either kind of cap, or actually any kind.

    Or diodes, resistors, .......

    Of course, the circuit is not aimless, but neither can the patent be an aimless cover of any and every asymmetry.

    ... and in case it can, it may be in question if or why symmetric is the baseline to begin with ... one diode alone could also be considered the most basic circuit employing this method of clipping every other one is based on.
     
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