X3 - bipolar nutbuster.
X3 overdrive armed with our Afterburner Attenuator and three onboard Tone Plugs.
The X3 is a combination of our M7 overdrive pc board and our Afterburner Attenuator point-to-point constructed volume booster.
The X3 uses our M7 pc board. The M7 pcb was initially designed for a pedal of the same name, but we had to put the M7 pedal on the sidelines due to a Big Giant Pedal Company that sent us a request to rename our M7 pedal because they already had one named that. Los Bastardos! So we covered that but the M7 pcb remains in our inventory and has since 2009. Recently I took the beasty out of hibernation to develope the X3 pedal. Happiness was spread, a feast was had, parties were thrown, there was dancing in the streets and music filled the air, fireworks, a parade, and even a real marching band! Good times .. good times. :)
The M7 pcb used in our X3 pedal is driven by our single opamp overdrive circuits. We use the same opamp (that's the IC chip on the pcb) that high-bux modular synths use ... like the old "MOOG" and "ARP" modular-monster-synths with piles of patchcords hanging from their control panels ... in their Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA) sections as well as any of their modular audio signal mixers and control voltage mixers. The M7 also uses the same Silicon diodes as those old lab-grade synthesizers utilized in their polarity-oriented circuits (such as some of the "rectifier/clipper" modules). We also use special high-voltage light emitting diodes also found in hi-bux audio and synthesis gear as part of the scheme. I became exposed to the use and application of these types of components in my involvement with building "DIY" modular synthesizers over the years and I consider stuff like this to be top drawer componentry. Reliable and very robust, components like these are also what help us obtain the tonal qualities our devices are known for.
X3 = Bipolar thug with a bat.
The X3 is a booster, an overdrive, and a dirt pedal all in one. Kinda. It also has a feature I like to call the Afterburner Attenuator passive booster. When engaged (green LED is LIT), the circuit is an ~attenuator~ in that it allows you to hold-back the vast amounts of available gain that the X3 can offer by using the Attenuator's "A" knob to control the output of the X3. So if the green light is on, the A knob works.
However (you knew there was going to be a ~however~ .. didn't you!) when the Attenuator is bypassed (green LED is OFF) it allows the full weight of the Afterburner unleashed on the unsuspecting device that is next in your rig (another pedal? ... your amp? ..) When the Attenuator is off and the Afterburner is allowed to be full-on, it can be used to drive the next element in the chain into some other flavor of overdrive, or the same thing can be done to your amp if you are so equipped.
I use the Afterburner Attenuator to go into solos.
When I uncork the beast (green light OUT) the X3 drives my JTM into a nicer state of warmth. If I wish I can add some of the X3's own distortion by selecting one of the other MODES via the toggle switch. Or I can leave it in the CENTER position and the X3 is as clean as that circuit is gonna get. The neatest thing about the Afterburner setup is it is a completely colorless booster. It adds Z.E.R.O. in the manner of coloring my tone from the way the X3 is making it sound in any way shape or form. It simply makes my signal louder or quiter without changing the way my signal sounds at all. Unlike active boosts that add tonal changes (due to the amount of circuitry involved that your guitar's signal is forced to travel through).
The Afterburner Attenuator can also be set up to be simply a volume-only boost that makes whatever sound you have coming out of the X3 LOUDER. It does not change the amount of grind, or drive to the tone, it simply applies the same sound you have dialed up .. just MORE of it.
You get two footswitches. The RIGHT one will engages/True Bypass the X3 as well as the Afterburner Attenuator, the LEFT footswitch works the Afterburner only. It's important to note that the Afterburner Attenuator's green LED is independent of the X3's bypass status. That means if you bypass the X3 (using the RIGHT footswitch ... red LED is OFF) the Afterburner's green LED is unaffected by that. So if you have the green light on, and you bypass the X3 the green light stays on. This is great for letting you know the status of the Afterburner before you engage the X3. If that green light is lit, you know it's "safe" to kick-on the X3. If the grren light is OFF when you engage the X3 you're going to get whatever the G knob provides with no attenuation .. uncorked and ready to go bals-out. The knob above the Bypass footswitch is your master gain setting. Set this to whatever primary gain level you want. Depending on where you have the minitog set, this knob also increases the amount of grind as you go up.
The Afterburner Attenuator
I love the paradoxial nature of that phrase. The entire bipolar Jekyl/Hyde nature of this thing is what inspired it's name "Afterburner Attenuator". It's like saying "Plus Minus" or more like "Boost/Cut". But the name absolutely encapsulates the Afterburner Attenuator's behavior and it's personality. A lot ot say about a silly volume boost, right? Haa! In far fewer words ... The Afterburner is essentially a footswitched volume control. The idea being that you can use it like a totally colorless booster.
- First, turn the Afterburner OFF (green LED not glowing).
- Next, set the loudest volume/gain level that you need using the "G" knob (the one on the right). Use this as the loudest .. or .. highest gain setting that you'll need from the X3.
- Now engage the Afterburner with the left footswitch (left/green LED in glowing).
- Use the "A" knob (the one on the left with the graphic that looks like an upside down "V") to set the lowest volume .. or gain .. setting that you'll need from the X3.
- Jam ...
Now, you can play as needed ... then at will you can bring in more (a LOT MORE if you want it) volume by stepping on the left footswitch and turning off the Attenuator (green LED is not glowing) and allwong the Afterburner to kick in. The amount of available boost here can be barely noticeable ... or absolutely gargantuan .... Godzilla all running away screaming like a little girly man and such. All depends on how you set up the X3.
Plain old distortion pedal:
Have a need for that? X3 has it covered, more of it's duality coming into play here. Flip the MODE toggle to whatever depth of distortion you wish to add, then engage the Attenuator (left/green LED lit) and then use the X3 like any dirt rig. Set the G knob to the desired amount of grind and the "A" knob set to the needed amount of output volume. Done.
The center mounted Minitog gives you a choice of THREE overdrive modes (just like the Model 9 does). However, we offer the Phase 1 Tone Plug port option for the X3. It replaces the center mounted minitoggle and gives you nearly unlimited numbers of compression and distortion settings this way.
The X3 is a departure from our normal format. We've finally mastered the *medium* enclosures.
This is probably laughable to most other pedalbuilders out there. It took me nearly four years of on-and-off development to get a procedure right to produce consistant and predictable results using these popular medium sized enclosures. They have much thinner walls than the enclosures I'm used to using, the aluminum casting is of a different alloy as well (not nearly as workable .. which is the biggest issue when we use these things). So I had to devise an entirely different process to make sure the medium enclosure would survive our metalworking, lettering, and finishing processes. Success. As far as comparative size is concerned, here's a combo shot of the new X3 next to our smaller enclosure (a brand spankin' new Carma2) and our full size enclosure (Model 9).
Some gut shots:
The X3 pedal uses our M7 circuit board which is a sortof variation of the XOD pcb. The M7 uses a different distortion and clipping method than any other Farndurk overdrive to date. An all new Tone Plug was developed to deal with the M7's overdrive tone. Per usual with most of the circuits I design there are as few parts and components in it as possible. I do this to keep the amount of ~junk~ your guitar's sound has to travel through. This makes sure that as much of your guitar's natural sound is retained as possible, which is sortof the main idea behind all of our circuit designs.
A few other internal shots ...
So there you have it folks! The X3.
Questions on How To Order? Here's your answers!.
FINISH OPTIONS and PRICING: Click here for info on finishes and knobs.
List price: $220.00.