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Old 01-15-2022, 10:49 PM
HogsNRoses HogsNRoses is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2021
Location: United States
Posts: 174
Default NPD - how I spent my lockdown

I am an American posted to Kazakhstan. Weíve had some protests here recently, and those protests delayed my Christmas NPD:

On the right is an Effectrode PC-2A, an optical compressor that uses a sub-miniature vacuum tube. It has an optical unit like the LA-2A studio compressor used by the Byrds and many other artists in the late 60ís through now. Iíve been interested in compression for a long time, but had a lot of trouble finding a compressor that doesnít act like a Dementor to my tone - sucking all the happiness out. I think the Effectrode is the one. Besides sounding great, it doesnít mess with the EQ or pump.

One big caveat - I think it inverts the phase or messes with it. So when you engage the compressor, an acoustic guitar sounds off.

Enter the pedal on the left: the Fritts Box EQ. Itís a pedal that Iíve been developing for over 10 years, and itís finally coming together. It has a phase switch, and if I invert the phase the PC-2A sounds just right.

The Fritts Box came from when I was posted in Germany. Working on it over a holiday weekend, I had to substitute a part. Lo and behold, it sounded fantastic. I was testing a bass through a 6.5 inch acoustic amp, and the bass came through meaty and clear just like I was using a bass amp. I tried my acoustics, and they sounded full and clear with no piezo quack. Electric guitars had the warmth and sparkle of a tube amp on a good day.

I started to crank out Fritts Boxes, and got my friends to try them. Their feedback, and watching them use it, helped improve the design.

The Fritts Box is not a commercial product yet and I have no way to distribute it from Kazakhstan. Someday I hope to get it in more peopleís hands. Maybe Iíll increase my membership here and sell a few at near cost in the classifieds if there is interest and I can figure out how to mail them.

The Fritts Box is a direct box at heart like the Fire Eye Red Eye. It has a preamp and a transformer. The preamp makes the guitar sound good, and the transformer ensures compatibility with a soundboard and eliminates most hum. Iíve used a lot of preamps and direct boxes on stage, and am usually frustrated by some aspect of their controls - they need to be plugged in, or the inputs and outputs are inconvenient, or they are too loud for a soundboard. Instead, the Fritts Box is laid out like any guitar pedal - inputs on right and outputs on left. It uses phantom power, a battery, or a wall-wart. Itís small. It has a five band EQ, phase, and a boost. Iím ready to make a 10 band EQ with an effects loop, but the parts may have been looted at the Almaty airport in the protests.

Now for the last of the trio - the direct box in the middle. It has the same Fritts Box circuit but no EQ. Itís made to be tucked away on stage somewhere. Itís almost my favorite because it gives the good sound with nothing to mess up.

Thanks for looking. Here in Kazakhstan, things are quieting down and we had a day of mourning for the people and all that was lost.

Gibson J45 12 string
Furch D24 SR 12 string
Furch D24 AR 6 string
Rickenbacker 330w 6 string
Gibson J45 Studio Walnut
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