X6 - overdrive and compressor
This unit started life as a MODEL6 for a prepaid customer. The MODEL6 was designed to be a simple 2-knob overdrive combined with a simple 2-knob compressor, two footswitches ... easy peasy. Time passed, I had some medical issues that got in the way of building orders on-and-off throughout the entirety of 2011. During the (admittedly overly long) extended lead time, the customer wrote in and continued to add and upgrade things on the original MODEL6 he intially ordered unitl at last it became something of it's own. Far and away more complex than the MODEL6 was ever intended to be, I decided to create an entirely new basic design by with which to do pretty much the same thing to as this one particular customer had done.
That said, it removed the unit from the MODEL series of preamps and placed it into our X-series of "experimental" pedals that we use just for the purposes of modding and deep frying into whatever it is you need.
Here's a few pictures of a fully tricked out X6. It is loaded up with a Dyna-Q EQ system, a footswitchable FX Loop, and a Phase 2 Tone Plug port. This is what I mean when I say the X6 is it's basic form is a jump-off point to use for someone that wishes to add mods and options to the basic format. Obviously this creation was more costly than the basic X6 price ... it's all based off of what kind of options you want loaded into the X6, just like any of my modules. This custom X6 is also outfitted with optional Black lettering as well.
The Base Design of the X6:
I start with two of our most basic circuits, first in line is the basic LittleJoe compression circuit that we use in our entire CARMA line of compressors. Next up is the basic core AMP-1 overdrive circuit board. This is the very same basic overdrive circuit used in the entire X-Series, as well as the MODEL9 and MEGA9 preamps. Both the LittleJoe and AMP-1 circuits begin life as simple 2-knob circuits .... and then the fun begins!
The X6 Standard starts life pretty much just like the MODEL6:
- Basic LittleJoe compression circuit
- Single Hardware Bypass footswitch (aka "True Bypass").
- Compression depth knob (aka "squish amount").
- Compressor output volume control knob.
- 2-way minitoggle that instantly puts the compression stage to minimal compression levels and makes it into a very punchy clean booster with a LOT of gain.
- Basic AMP-1 overdrive circuit like that which is used in the basic "X" modal overdrive.
- Single Hardware Bypass footswitch (aka "True Bypass").
- Gain Knob.
- Volume Control knob.
- 3-way minitoggle that allows selection of three separate operational modes of the overdrive stage. One distortional mode, a second distortional mode that is less distorted, and the third mode makes this stage much more of a booster than anything else.
Together with ...
After this standard setup, we can add several modifications and options that add increased functionality to either/both stages of the X6.
For the Compression Stage, we can add ...
- INPUT LEVEL control knob. This allows you to reduce the amount of gain coming in to the compressor. Very helpful if you plan on using the X6 with hotter pickups, it allows you to reduce the input signal level in the event the compressor begins to clip. It also works interactively with the COMPRESSION knob and the ATTACK knob.
- ATTACK TIME control knob. This allows you to tailor the amount of time it takes for the compression stage to begin compressing. Set it to shorter times for strumming/rhythm guitar chords, set it to longer times for "pickin'" type playing or for getting more bite and edge when creating distorted lead sounds. I highly recommend adding the "INPUT LEVEL control knob" option with this option, as it allows full tailoring of your compressed sounds by using the two control along with the "squish" knob. All three work interactively together to allow you to really shape the dynamic responsiveness of your guitar's sound. When all three controls are used in an interactive manner you can really setup your sound to fit your playing style to a gnat's butt!
For the Overdrive/Gain Stage, we can add ...
- Pre-Tone Control knob. This is a low pass filter that allows you to adjust the tone of the signal BEFORE the AMP-1 overdrive circuit board distorts the sounds. This is a wonderful addition, especially for players that "fingerpick" like Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) or Jeff Beck. By rolling the incoming tone off quite hard the harmonic control you have at the fretboard is quite impressive! This filter is voiced *just so* to be used in this particular fashion. It can really *fatten up* the distorted sound by reducing complex high frequencies before they hit the distortion circuitry and turn them into moosh. Use of this control makes each string more discernable when high gain settings are used. This way you can still hear each string when you play arpeggiated chords with high amounts of distortion, the individual voices don't get lost in a sea of distorted harmonics.
- High Pass/Low Pass revoicing array. This option adds two more minitoggles to the overdrive stage. These are useful for cleaner, more "clean boosted" type sounds that the AMP-1 circuit is quite adept at providing when the 3-way MODE minitoggle is placed in OD mode rather than one of the two DISTORTION modes. Both the "HI" and "LO" minitoggles provide changes to the tone AFTER the suound has already been processed through the main IC of the overdrvie stage. Neither one are very effective if you increase the gain levels to produce heavier distortion. There is ~some~ affect but it's minimal. However, when the AMP-1 stage is used in the "BOOSTER" mode these two switches offer just the right amount of revoicing to tweak your guitar's sound just a bit. The AMP-1 circuit is essentially a full-range amplifier. Some folks need less voice range and would rather the circuit have a little less top, and a little less bottom. That said, the "HI" toggle revoices the signal just a bit to roll the highs off AFTER the signal has gone through the AMP-1 circuit. Great to tame the toppity-top end a bit. The "LO" toggle revoices the signal to reduce the amount of low-end response, taking some of the bottom end off of the sound.
- Easy-Q low pass filter (aka tone rolloff knob, like what your guitar has). This is placed AFTER the overdrive stage and is only *on line* when the overdrive stage is engaged. The Easy-Q is not the same as the Pre-Tone Control, the Easy-Q is a simple top-end rolloff control that removes the top end from the overdrive's output. Depending on how much available space there is on the control panel of the X6, there may be enough room to install it along with the Pre-Tone control. Both the Easy-Q and the Pre-Tone control do different things to the sound. Depending on how you wish to use the X6 both may be useful (individually) in various setups. The Easy-Q may be useful to you when the overdrive stage is used for lighter distortion sounds, or "early breakup" tones to just shave off a bit of the top end. It doesn't add the fatness that the Pre-Tone control does, but the Pre-Tone control doesn't work as well for just removing a bit of the uppity ups when light distortion is used.
- Tone Plug Port. Of course we can add a Tone Plug port to the X6. The port is normalized to the "BOOST MODE" position on the 3-way mode toggle of the overdrive stage. If nothing is in the port, that switch position defaults with the same sound as a non-ported X6. So with the port option you still have everything a non-ported X6 has, except you have the ability to use any of our Tone Plugs now! Insert a Tone Plug into the port, and when you switch the 3-way mode switch to the "BOOST MODE" the port is activated and you have access to the Tone Plug inserted into the port. You still have the other two distortion modes fully available by simply switching to them, even if a Tone Plug is inserted into the port.
Other optional mods:
Depending on how much room is left on the X6's control panel after you've selected some of the sbove described options, we can also add the following...
- Master Bypass footswitch. This is a third footswitch mounted in between the Comp's bypass footswitch and the overdrive's bypass footswitch. The Master Bypass footswitch offers Hard Bypass (aka "True Bypass") of the entire pedal. So when you hit this footswitch the entire pedal is bypassed. It does not affect the two circuits in the X6, meaning that if you have (let's say) the compressor bypassed and the overdrive engaged, when you bypass the entire pedal with the Master Bypass footswitch it simply turns them both off. Whatever stage you had engaged will still be on when you re-engage the whole pedal with the Master footswitch. There is a third LED included with this option to indicate the pedal's status.
- FX Loop. This is a set of SEND and RETURN I/O jacks placed on the rear of the X6. They are controlled by the Master Bypass footswitch. The loop is placed in-between the compressor and the overdrive. This feature may also be used to reverse the order of the compressor and the overdrive, placing the compressor AFTER the overdrive by using a simple patchcord. This is handy when using the X6 for heavy distortion if you want a LOT of bite and edge.
- The FX Loop may be installed without the Master Bypass footswitch option, however some functionality will be reduced (you may wish to add the FX Loop without the Master Bypass footswitch to provide you with order-swapping ability without using the send/return jacks for bypassing an outboard FX Loop). The "masterless FX Loop" basically makes the X6 into two separate pedals, a dicrete compressor and a discrete overdrive. They are normalized so that that are automatically connected in the COMP/OD order, but if you want to reverse their order just use a patchcord.
Options being developed:
- FX Loop "mix" control knob. Does just what it sounds like it does.
- DYNA-Q dynamic EQ. We used to offer this option a couple of years ago, but it never really took off, so I stopped further development of it. The DYNA-Q is essentially two EQ knobs that are completely interactive with one another. As far as I had taken it, the DYNA-Q was pretty much a tonal factory that created many many different sounds, especially when fed a distorted sound. This option may be coming back. Depends on the kind of time I have to develope it further.
- FX Loop bypass footswtich. Offers true bypass to JUST the FX Loop.
- And more! I'm constantly cooking up something around here, hard telling what may end up on this list of options!
So you can see why we've placed this unit in the X-Series of designs, it allows so many different types of optional setups.
050712: I'll be posting prices for these options soon.
X6 ... git sum!!
List price: $275.00.