VALVEN Guitar Pedals (Discontinued)
The Valven guitar pedals .. alpha to omega.
This circuit started out as something I was experimenting with to make one of my Hammonds distort in a convincing manner. It got adapted for guitar useage, and today it's been reassigned back to it's origins and is now making vintage tonehweel Hammonds sound like the screaming beasts they are and making their owners quite happy.
The guitar adaptation:
In 1978 I bought my first Hammond, a 1967 M100. I was 17 then, I did what I could to get "that sound" out of it and tried a lot of different and unusual ideas to get there. Tick tock .. life goes on, time goes by and here we are in the 21st century. Back around Y2K I started goofing around with some more/other ideas about making an overdrive device for Hammond organs. At that time there were still no real dirt boxes specifically designed for the Hammond and it's uber-pure tone combined with a very thick harmonic content. Hammond players had to make-do with guitar type dirt boxes. This effort usually resulted in something smelly and distasteful ... it usually sounded pretty much like ass. So I set about to try to make something that suited me better. Along the way the Valven Organ Drive idea made it's way into Farndurk. I hadn't put enough R&D into it as a Hammond effect and I wasn't quite happy with it, so it got back burnered for that application. I called the abomination the Valven Organ Driver.
In 2008 when I created Farndurk Custom I did some adaptations to the Valven Organ Driver circuit to make it more suitable for a guitar player, put it all on a PC Board and offered it up. These guitar pedals were named the same as the original Hammond device was and we began presenting the Valven as guitar pedals.
Circular Universe showing it's face again .. the Valven comes home.
In the manner which the Universe balances itself out .. the Valven circuit is right back where it started. We've pretty much discontinued the Valven GT series (guitar pedals made with that circuit) and put the Valven VOD pcb in it's righteous home.
The designs shown here are just about every incarnation of the Valven guitar pedals we ever did. I tried about a gazillion new ideas with it to make it more like something I would use with my guitar .. alas it's been discontinued for that application. But in the last four years of producing the Valven circuit as a guitar pedal I have learned HEAPS of stuff about the Valven and what I can do with it. I have developed so many different tonal and distortion schemes for this circuit (as you will see below) that I was able to use that data to really fine tune the circuit to give it the Knife Edge sharpened refinement for what I needed to know for Hammond usage. Four years of R&D and production allowed me to gather so much info that I have finally got it right for the organ.
As a guitar circuit it sounds a bit like most other guitar pedals that use the same type of block circuitry. No shining star in that arena I suppose. But the R&D time also lead to the invention and development of the Tone Plug systems (both Phase1 and Phase2), the Quadic system, the Easy-Q, and the Dyna-Q. All of those circuits were designed in an effort to make the Valven work out better for guitars. But in the end those inventions served to develope many many other pedals and circuit designs. It also allowed me to continue to develope the Valven for organ use.
The Farndurk Valven Guitar Pedal: A Chronology.
This is the very first Valven pedal I ever built. Constructed in 2006 before we even had a website. It is the very first adaptation attempt to make the VOD circuit that I had put together for my organs work with guitars. It sits on the shelf here in the Farndurk studio.
This is the very first Farndurk pedal outfitted with a Tone Plug port. This is also the second Valven ever produced.
Here is the Valven guitar pedal that is probably the most famous of the series. The first Valven with two Tone Plug ports setup to A/B with a footswitch. Essentially a Valven stuck together with a Modula4.
The V2. This Valven had some tone capacitor toggles and some other Tone Plug options. I also delved into the area of "primary distortion and secondary distortion" ideas on this one.
The V32C. Believe it or not this thing has 32 separate combinations of tone caps and Tone Plugs built in it. It uses a switch matrix to provide you with these ~presets~. It also houses a complete compressor section true bypassable with it's own footswitch. Freaky, right?
Here's the Valven VX. A VOD circuit combined with an XOD overdriver. Internal Tone Plugs, switched tone caps. Funness.
The Gemini. Essentially two Valvens outfitted with Tone Plug ports (with a footswitchable FX loop between them) all wedged into a single enclosure. Two different basic layouts (side by side and over/under) and a variation or two as well. Here's all three variations of the Gemini:
The mighty Vmax. A Valven combined with a four-chipped subcircuit on a daughterboard called the Quadic. You can switch tone caps and also you can switch between four ic chips, as well as being outfitted with a Tone Plug port. This thing was a monster pain in the ass to build. I built two of these things ... the first one was stolen by a gashole named "Ike" and is still out there somewhere.
And lastly, here's one of the newer versions of the "Micro V" .. the smallest Valven I made for consumer use.
Audio Demos (MP3s):
These are Valven demos. Any pedal we build for you that uses our VOD circuit will be capable of the tones you hear on those mp3s. I did what I could to provide a wide spread of what the Valven "GTs" are capable of. It even does a pretty good general "Tube Screamer" TS9-type sound when setup to do so.
|Demo 1||Strat||Bassman||0:52||2,047 KB|
|Demo 2||Strat||Bassman||1:15||2,957 KB|
|Demo 3||Strat||Marshall||1:26||3,336 KB|
|Demo 4||Strat||Marshall||1:17||3,044 KB|
|Demo 5||Strat||Marshall w/ Echo||1:29||2,092 KB|
|Demo 6||Normandy Chrome||-||4:28||7,227 KB|
These next 2 are an audio tutorial of the Gemini done by Solon Smith.
He covers many aspects of the Gemini, including several of the Tone Plugs, clean tones, maxxed out near-fuzzness, and the series capability of the unit. The entire demo is close to 15 minutes total time. So get comfortable. Keep in mind that the Gemini was essentially two Valven circuits wedged into one enclosure with independent switching/bypass. So many of the sounds you hear in this tutorial can be made with a single VOD circuit.
MP3 - Gemini Audio Demo Part 1 (7.2mb - 7:38)
MP3 - Gemini Audio Demo Part 2 (7.8mb - 8:18)
Oh hell no. The Valven is knowing renewed life right back where it began ... overdriving Hammonds. I don't see us building any more Valven GT pedals, as far as I can tell the last nail has been driven on that one. We'll still build one for someone if they want one, but it won't be named "Valven". The Valven series devices is rebirthed in it's old/new home .. the Electromechanical Series. After four years, countless versions and variations and upgrades (I mean just LOOK at all of the variations!) I've finally got it to where it is working out very well ... in it's original role! Haahaa! The way the world turns .. ain't it something?