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Thread: Tube Driver & BK Butler ?

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    Tube Driver & BK Butler ?

    I have two of these in and one is bad and was wondering if anyone may have a schematic for it. The two or a little different inside and the older reportedly sounds the best. I did some simple checks and found the filaments of the tubes run on 12VAC not DC and the op-amps were +/-16.5.
    The new ones I'm told are being built by Butlers son Jason and has added a mod called bias to the back and signed on the bottom BK Butler. What do you guys think of these as they are getting harder to find ?

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    Member bulldogguitars's Avatar
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    free information society

    Theirs a schematic of the Tube Driver On the Free Information Society. Try this link. http://www.freeinfosociety.com/elect...w.php?id=1128r

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    Thanks Bulldog I didn't find them at first but after searching somemore I found the motherload Love those Migs they rock,

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    I went through a few versions years ago but none were the more desirable early 'non-wall-wart' version. The only one I kept was the only one I really liked...a rackmount Chandler Tube Driver. These have a Bias control and a Contour control and mine sounds much better with both controls full clockwise...if I couldn't adjust those two controls (especially the bias) I don't think I would have kept it. One of these days I'm gonna trace it because through the right amp it sounds fantastic. Very EJ-like even though I'm apparently not running it the way he does.

    Try a 12AU7 in there (heck, try all sorts of tubes). In mine, with the Bias control full-up, a 12AU7 doesn't really seem to reduce the gain that much but there is less 'fuzz' to the tone and the clarity is much better...it's like I can actually hear the 'string' better. And the attack is better...it has that 'cello' quality to it that I like.

    Oh yea...surprisingly quiet too.

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    Man everything you just put in that thread is exactly what I'm dealing with and the customer has done and said. He has two, one old and one new. The new one has the bias mod and the old one he says sounds better. The new one has a 12AU7 in it and he explained the pick attack just as you did I mean to the T. This guy is a touring guitar tech and a damn good one at that so I respect you guys opinions as they are spot on. After going over that schemo with the starved tube I wonder why they didn't use a Cathode follower to pull the signal as it isn't really amplifying anything. The heater are AC and can easily be DC'ed but as you say is pretty quiet. I still have some more tinkering to do and I appreciate the reply. I'll post back soon.,

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    I have an old BK Butler Blue tube, and that also sounds great with an 12AU7 in it. It came with an AX7, but it doesn't have enough output without totally fuzzing out. Also the output impedance seems too high, and it gets loaded down by certain inputs easily.

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    Where did you get the schematic? From that link above? I checked around there a bit but it gave me a headache trying to navigate through it so I gave up.

    PS - I heard/read that EJ has had the bias mod on his for a long time but...who knows.

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt T. View Post
    Where did you get the schematic? From that link above? I checked around there a bit but it gave me a headache trying to navigate through it so I gave up.

    PS - I heard/read that EJ has had the bias mod on his for a long time but...who knows.
    Yeah I got it at that link and yes had to go thru hell to get to it but theres thousands of schemo's and I'm finding several differences with this schematic but some things are a go. I read on Butlers sight that he modded or built boxes for EJ,Satch & Gilmore and the bias mod was $125 extra. I haven't scoped it out yet but will today.
    Dave I also agree that the output impedance of that 12ax7 which is about 91k would wreak havok with that tone stack and the lower impedance of the AU would work better which also leads me to believe that a Cathode follower would drive that tone stack better with it's low impedance but we'll see.

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    I hadn't even thought about the difference in output impedance in the AU tube... I had one laying around and thought I'd give it a try, and liked it better because it had less gain. I have an AX in there now and lost the AU... I'll have to get a new one. I was trying out different tubes I had around... I have an old Sylvania 12AX7 that sounds nice.

    I'm probably going to build an op amp buffer for the output. My tube knowledge is pretty basic.

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    http://www.freeinfosociety.com/elect...ew.php?id=1128

    Heres that link guys and this dude has everything : BTW the problem on the Tube driver is there two 100 ohm resistors instead of a fuse and a ten ohm. Still some differences in the two but very slight.

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    Senior Member Slobrain's Avatar
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    Look at the BK butler TD on Ebay

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Original...QQcmdZViewItem

    Man, I had a used one of these that I paid $50.00 for in 1995, it was an 80's unit. Darn, I shoulda kept it and sold it on Ebay

    Hey AmpKat, Can you reverse engineer the bias and post as I would like to see what the bias does. Maybe even build one of these.

    Thanks SLO

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    Member Andrew M's Avatar
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    I didn't realize they sold for that much. I have one that needs a power adaptor (the original is long gone) Anyone know the specs of the original, I think its just 12vac and 1 amp?

    Thanks,
    Andrew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slobrain View Post
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Original...QQcmdZViewItem

    Man, I had a used one of these that I paid $50.00 for in 1995, it was an 80's unit. Darn, I shoulda kept it and sold it on Ebay

    Hey AmpKat, Can you reverse engineer the bias and post as I would like to see what the bias does. Maybe even build one of these.

    Thanks SLO
    In the process as we speak just need some time to trace it out. I do know one thing from what I can see so far the mod uses pin 9(half of the 12 VAC) with two 470uf e-cap and a 470k in parallel going to it and a bias pot to vary the signal but the Cathode trace Dremeled and going nowhere which doesn't make sense so I'm wondering if maybe this is wired wrong. I'll let you know.

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    Old Timer Amp Kat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew M View Post
    I didn't realize they sold for that much. I have one that needs a power adaptor (the original is long gone) Anyone know the specs of the original, I think its just 12vac and 1 amp?

    Thanks,
    Andrew.
    It's direct AC (no wall wart) and a step-down transformer mounted to the steel chassis. The two AC voltage wires run the whole unit after the Full wave bridge. Pretty swift circuit.

    Ooops OK (EDIT) Your talking about the original Chandler which did use a wall wart. I'm thinking 12 VAC but not sure how many ma's you would need. I'll do some checking.

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    Last edited by Amp Kat; 03-30-2007 at 03:37 PM.
    KB

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    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    Augh, guys! Some of you would know tell me the voltage measured or + (pin 8) and - (pin 4) on the 4558?
    In the schematic that I downloaded are indicated +12.5 and -13 Volts ...
    Has anyone tried what happens with the 12AT7/ECC81 (like the original '80s) or 12AY7/6072A?
    You hear a difference by replacing the 4558 with the TL072?

    Thanks, Alex

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    Augh, guys! Some of you would know tell me the voltage measured or + (pin 8) and - (pin 4) on the 4558?
    In the schematic that I downloaded are indicated +12.5 and -13 Volts ...
    Has anyone tried what happens with the 12AT7/ECC81 (like the original '80s) or 12AY7/6072A?
    You hear a difference by replacing the 4558 with the TL072?

    Thanks, Alex
    I have a BlueTube, I can measure it for you. It should be similar to the TubeDriver. I still have the 4558 in it, so I can't answer that.

    I use a 12AU7 in my BlueTube. That gives me less fuzz and more of a clean tube amp tone. I use it for bass. I can still get a lot of overdrive when I want.

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    Senior Member mozwell's Avatar
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    There are a lot of threads on freestompboxes about butler tube drivers.
    One of the people there did his own design, based on the work of Butler & others
    freestompboxes.org • Login

    I have built one, as have many other people, & i must say i really like it. It is now my "go to" overdrive of choice....

    Some butler schematics for those who are interested
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozwell View Post
    There are a lot of threads on freestompboxes about butler tube drivers.
    One of the people there did his own design, based on the work of Butler & others
    freestompboxes.org • Login

    I have built one, as have many other people, & i must say i really like it. It is now my "go to" overdrive of choice....

    Some butler schematics for those who are interested
    Great, the Blue Tube schematic! Many thanks!

    I love the sound of mine, but there's an annoying hum when it's not bypassed. I don't know if it's because the transformer is so close to the tube, or from AC to the heaters... but I've been wanting to build a new version and try to make it quieter. It also needs an output buffer.

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    Last edited by David Schwab; 03-15-2012 at 04:17 AM.
    It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure. Albert Einstein


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    Senior Member mozwell's Avatar
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    When i first built the one from freestompboxes, it had a loud hum. I didnt follow the layout, so my fault. Playing around with the position of the heater wiring improved it greatly. I rebuilt it a few months ago, using the layout provided, & its as quiet as a mouse.
    its all about keeping the heater wiring away from everything else. If the PT is close to the tube, that wont help. I used a 16VAC 1A plug pack (wall wart) to power mine

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Well there's only so much you can do with a factory built Blue Tube or Tube Driver because everything is on a circuit board. The power transformer is in the box, and the box is pretty small.

    I might try removing the transformer and moving it outside the box and see if that helps. Or maybe some shielding...

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    Senior Member mozwell's Avatar
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    Hi David
    It may be the heater track layout. If you cut the heater tracks at the tube, and then run a twisted wire pair straight from the heater to the 12VAC secondary of the transformer (or where the 12VAC enters the board), you may be able to position the wiring to reduce the noise. Run the wires from the tube heater pins 4 & 5 directly out from the pins & away from pins 2 & 7, we can reduce any interference to the valve grids.
    You could also make a small power supply for DC to supply the heater.
    The main thing is reducing any voltage drop in the 0V tracks on the board, so heater current doesnt cause small voltage drops in the 0V tracks, which you would hear as noise / hum

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    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozwell View Post
    Hi David
    It may be the heater track layout. If you cut the heater tracks at the tube, and then run a twisted wire pair straight from the heater to the 12VAC secondary of the transformer (or where the 12VAC enters the board), you may be able to position the wiring to reduce the noise. Run the wires from the tube heater pins 4 & 5 directly out from the pins & away from pins 2 & 7, we can reduce any interference to the valve grids.
    That's a good idea! I hadn't thought of that.

    You could also make a small power supply for DC to supply the heater.
    I thought about doing this.

    I've also been wanting to make an output buffer. If I plug it into certain devices, I lose all the output.

    All this makes me think of just building a clone with improvements.

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    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    David: Hi, You are very kind! In fact, I'd like to know what are the tensions on the 4558 at least as the TL072.
    Why not try it on your Blue Tube the 12AY7?
    To be sure that the hum is caused by the heaters, I'd suggest comparing the buzz with the 12AX7 and the 12AU7.
    Since the 12AX7 has an amplification factor in tension decidedly higher than the AU (is more sensitive), if the hum is due to the AC (which is applied close to the pins of the grids) should hear more strongly when it is mounted the AX.
    The shield seems to me a good idea does not do much weaving together the wires that carry the current to the heaters, you may instead use two shielded cables (coaxial).
    Try it before building a bulky AC DC ... I have done so for the heaters of 6550C in a single ended amp like the ace of "picche" of my avatar (equipped with a 300B tube).
    The 6550, as is normal in the power tube, has an amplification factor in tension rather low, so it is not very sensitive to the induced AC hum of the heater.
    However, this AC is 1.6 A RMS, and then tends to disturb the other signal tubes of the circuit, if it is not the screen.
    It seems to me an excellent idea of the output buffer. I wonder if it might fit the pattern of the Tube Screamer, without having to use another IC?

    Mozwell: Thanks for the info! It 'a very interesting pattern, but there are some ambiguities that do not understand.
    Only 12pF in the DRIVE control? Or wanted to write "120"?
    Still, there is an inscription ".01" close to the tone stack that you do not understand what it refers. Maybe they forgot to mark a capacitor?
    Also in the tone stack there are two words "220K" and "500K" in close vicinity to the same pot ... For the rest it seems to me a pattern that deserves to be studied, because if it sounds good as you say ... WOW!

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  24. #24
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    David: Hi, You are very kind! In fact, I'd like to know what are the tensions on the 4558 at least as the TL072.
    Why not try it on your Blue Tube the 12AY7?
    To be sure that the hum is caused by the heaters, I'd suggest comparing the buzz with the 12AX7 and the 12AU7.
    Since the 12AX7 has an amplification factor in tension decidedly higher than the AU (is more sensitive), if the hum is due to the AC (which is applied close to the pins of the grids) should hear more strongly when it is mounted the AX.
    The reason I'm using a 12AU7 is that when the pedal was set to sound clean, the output level was too low. So when I turned the gain up to get the pedal to unity gain, it would be too distorted. With the 12AU7, I can crank the gain up and get a nice clean warm tone. And I can still get plenty of overdrive and distortion. With the 12AX7 is was too fuzzy. I mostly use this pedal with bass.

    I still have the original tube. I'll give it a try and see if the hum is any different. It's not a very loud hum, but it's enough to be annoying.

    I bought this Blue Tube new when they first came out. For a while I had a NOS Sylvania ECC83 in there. That had a different tone from the stock tube.

    This is what it looks like on the inside:




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    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    It's very interesting what you say, and in fact is also intuitive. Certainly one of the original pedal is not advisable to make changes. You could build a clone and then modify it. It's just what I intend to do because it is a fascinating distortion (the "holy grail", according to some)... One thing I will try to do now is replace the anodic charge resistors 68K (if I remember correctly) with others of lower value, eg 47, 39, 33 ... up to 22Kohm with 12AX7 and then compare the sound with what you get from 12AU7 loaded with the original resistors. Another test that I will definitely be trying a pair of N-channel JFETs in place of the tube. I will try also to replace the 1N4148. Have you ever tried to boost the signal entering the Blue Tube with a booster? I also play bass, but I never use the distortion. What kind of music do you play?
    From your picture it is seen that the transformer is actually very close to the circuit which processes the signal. I've recently built a solid state preamp for electric guitar in a container 22 x 25 x 5.5 cm which also contains the transformer, but I proceeded to shield the power of the preamplifier through cuttings of shaped copper connected to ground and the noise is KO.
    That's why the first version of the Chandler Tube Driver had an external transformer housed in a special container.Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Walking Eagle; 03-17-2012 at 10:57 PM.

  26. #26
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    Have you ever tried to boost the signal entering the Blue Tube with a booster? I also play bass, but I never use the distortion. What kind of music do you play?
    From your picture it is seen that the transformer is actually very close to the circuit which processes the signal. I've recently built a solid state preamp for electric guitar in a container 22 x 25 x 5.5 cm which also contains the transformer, but I proceeded to shield the power of the preamplifier through cuttings of shaped copper connected to ground and the noise is KO.
    That's why the first version of the Chandler Tube Driver had an external transformer housed in a special container.Click image for larger version. 

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    My signal path is an old MXR AC Limiter pedal, and then the Blue Tube, and then recently I added an MXR Phase 90. I have the Limiter set for pretty much unity gain. I have tried driving the Blue Tube, but then it gets fuzzy. Generally I don't use the Blue Tube for distortion. I have it set clean, with maybe a tiny bit of grit. I use it mostly to fatten up the tone. For some songs I might turn the drive up a little more for some over drive. If I want distortion, I have a Bass Brassmaster clone that I made.

    The Blue Tube really has a nice bottom end. I had tried one of those new Hartke LH-1000 amps, and even though they have a similar preamp as the Blue Tube, it just didn't have the same low end fatness. So I leave the Blue Tube on most of the time. What the Blue Tube needed with the 12AX7 was a gain stage after the tube. The problem was that when the gain knob was set low to get a clean sound, the output was too quiet, even with the volume all the way up. It also needs the output buffered because the impedance is too high. If I plugged it into things like a mixer, the output was too low. This even happened with certain pedals. I would have to plug it into a buffered pedal first.

    Here's a low light (i.e., crappy) cell phone photo of my rig from the last gig I played:



    I play all kinds of music. Mostly alternative and progressive rock, but I was doing this gig with a classic rock cover band.

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  27. #27
    Senior Member mozwell's Avatar
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    Hi Guys
    If you are building a clone, check out my previous link freestompboxes.org • Login
    In various places through this thread, there are schematics & pictures of builds.
    the guy that did this project, based it on the Butler, but made improvements on the original butler design

    Many people there have built it, as have i, and it is indeed a really nice OD.
    I havent used a Butler, so i cant compare, but people on FSB have commented how much they like this newer version over the Butler one.
    There are also schematics there for butler units with "bias" control etc, well worth some time reading through the (now) long thread.
    The guy sells a pcb for the project, and with his permission, i have put a vero board layout there as well.

    If you leave the butler driver on all the time, but with not enough output level, instead of modifying the butler, just put a preamp pedal after the butler & leave it on all the time.....

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  28. #28
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mozwell View Post
    Hi Guys
    If you are building a clone, check out my previous link freestompboxes.org • Login
    In various places through this thread, there are schematics & pictures of builds.
    the guy that did this project, based it on the Butler, but made improvements on the original butler design

    Many people there have built it, as have i, and it is indeed a really nice OD.
    I havent used a Butler, so i cant compare, but people on FSB have commented how much they like this newer version over the Butler one.
    There are also schematics there for butler units with "bias" control etc, well worth some time reading through the (now) long thread.
    The guy sells a pcb for the project, and with his permission, i have put a vero board layout there as well.
    Yes, thanks for the link.

    I started going through the thread. The old posts are missing a lot of the images, like the schematics and stuff, but I have found them online, so I'm guessing they show up later. I haven't gotten that far into it yet.

    If you leave the butler driver on all the time, but with not enough output level, instead of modifying the butler, just put a preamp pedal after the butler & leave it on all the time.....
    My original plan was to build an output buffer with some gain to make up for the problem. But the pedal still sounds better for bass with the 12AU7 in it. I tried it out with the 12AX7 and a preamp after it to make up the gain. This way I can get some more signal into the tube, which gives a fatter tone but doesn't go fuzzy on me. The BlueTube was supposed to be a "tube enhancer" and not really an over drive per se.

    But I think I'll build a clone and keep that on all the time, and then use the pedal for over drive.

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  29. #29
    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    Hi David. The pedal in the picture is equipped with 4558 or TL072?
    I'm experiencing my own version of the Tube Driver and I have developed some new features, with which we have found that the benefits, including flexibility, improved compared to the traditional version.
    The power supply takes particular care, so that my guitarist friend says it's quiet.
    Right now, however, we performed all tests using the TL072. In the coming days we will receive the JRC4558 and are eager to repeat the tests.
    Perhaps they will sound even better?

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  30. #30
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    Hi David. The pedal in the picture is equipped with 4558 or TL072?
    I'm experiencing my own version of the Tube Driver and I have developed some new features, with which we have found that the benefits, including flexibility, improved compared to the traditional version.
    The power supply takes particular care, so that my guitarist friend says it's quiet.
    Right now, however, we performed all tests using the TL072. In the coming days we will receive the JRC4558 and are eager to repeat the tests.
    Perhaps they will sound even better?
    It has a TL072. The TL072 is a J–FET input op amp. The JRC4558 has a bipolar front end. I find the TL0s tend to sound brighter.

    Interestingly, I've been comparing the Tube Driver to the Blue Tube and the only difference is a 100K resistor after the second op amp to reduce the level to the tube on the Blue Tube.

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  31. #31
    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    In the schematic that I have of the blue tube, as in the driver tube, between the second Op-Amp and the first triode there are, in series: a 10nF capacitor and two resistors to 10K. The signal that goes on the grid is taken at the connection point between the two resistors. From your pedal you can understand how the resistor is placed from 100K?

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  32. #32
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    In the schematic that I have of the blue tube, as in the driver tube, between the second Op-Amp and the first triode there are, in series: a 10nF capacitor and two resistors to 10K. The signal that goes on the grid is taken at the connection point between the two resistors. From your pedal you can understand how the resistor is placed from 100K?
    From the schematic of both pedals that I have, this is about the only difference I see:

    Here's the TubeWorks "Real Tube" RT-901:



    Here's the Blue Tube RT-903:



    That 100K resistor is reducing the level into the tube, which is why the Blue Tube has less distortion than the Tube Driver. It was still too much for me, so I replaced the tube with a 12AU7, since that has less gain than a 12AX7.

    I know they had different models, so maybe you are looking at a different schematic.

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    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    “It has a TL072. The TL072 is a J–FET input op amp. The JRC4558 has a bipolar front end. I find the TL0s tend to sound brighter.”….
    therefore you prefer the sound of the TL072, I understand you correctly?
    On the'RT-903 the divider 100K + 10K makes sure that on the grid triode arrivals the first one-tenth of the swing voltage delivered from Op-Amp (the second resistor 10K acts as a grid-stopper).
    On the'RT-901, as usual, the voltage divider consists of two 10K resistors, then the swing that pilot the first grid has half the amplitude of the dispensed from Op-Amp.
    It seems an excessive difference however (1/10 VS Vpp), between the two situations, even if on the RT-903 is used 12AX7.
    In my prototype, 10K + 10K combination makes the 12AU7 voicing as a deep and hot, but light (smooth) overdrive… than I do not think so interesting to experience what would happen with 100K + 10K!
    It seems to me that there are numerous errors in these two schematics that you have shown: in both, between the pins 6 and 7 oh the Op-Amp, in parallel with the 500K pot is indicated a 12pF capacitor alone (in my opinion it is 120pF...); on the RT-901 one of the two 10K resistors seem badly positioned (the “horizontal” resistor should not be connected as a grid stopper, between grid and node, but between the node and capacitor 47nF).
    In the schematics that I have and in the prototype that we are experiencing, this 47nF is substitute by 10nF and seems to go really well.
    I will try to replace it with others, for example 22nF.

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  34. #34
    Pickup Maker David Schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Eagle View Post
    therefore you prefer the sound of the TL072, I understand you correctly?
    I haven't tried any other op ams in there, but I also see no reason to do so. Also the TL072 has a nice high impedance input. I'm looking for a warm clean tone, not over drive. Why would I want a darker sounding op amp?

    On the'RT-903 the divider 100K + 10K makes sure that on the grid triode arrivals the first one-tenth of the swing voltage delivered from Op-Amp (the second resistor 10K acts as a grid-stopper).
    On the'RT-901, as usual, the voltage divider consists of two 10K resistors, then the swing that pilot the first grid has half the amplitude of the dispensed from Op-Amp.
    It seems an excessive difference however (1/10 VS Vpp), between the two situations, even if on the RT-903 is used 12AX7.
    In my prototype, 10K + 10K combination makes the 12AU7 voicing as a deep and hot, but light (smooth) overdrive… than I do not think so interesting to experience what would happen with 100K + 10K!
    It seems to me that there are numerous errors in these two schematics that you have shown: in both, between the pins 6 and 7 oh the Op-Amp, in parallel with the 500K pot is indicated a 12pF capacitor alone (in my opinion it is 120pF...); on the RT-901 one of the two 10K resistors seem badly positioned (the “horizontal” resistor should not be connected as a grid stopper, between grid and node, but between the node and capacitor 47nF).
    In the schematics that I have and in the prototype that we are experiencing, this 47nF is substitute by 10nF and seems to go really well.
    I will try to replace it with others, for example 22nF.
    You probably have the later revision schematics. Also, the schematics by JD Sleep are said to have errors, or are different. The ones I posted are from TubeWorks. I haven't checked mine against the schematics, but my pedal is a one of the early ones when they first came on the market in '89.

    If you Google it, a lot of people have hum problems with these pedals.

    The BlueTube was marketed as a "tube enhancer", not an overdrive. The 100k series resistance reduces the level of the signal going to the tube, so the tube is not driven as hard. The idea was to keep it clean. This pedal was meant for bass and keyboards, or for guitar players looking for cleaner tube tones.



    I use it with bass. I'm not using it for distortion, and usually have it set crystal clear. Sometimes I use it for a little grit. But mostly it's used to fatten up the tone, which is what it was designed for.

    The problem with the pedal is the output is not buffered. So in most situations the pedal has lower output than is needed if you don't want to over drive the 12AX7. To get the pedal up to unity gain required the drive control to be cranked up, which made the pedal distort more than I wanted. So using a 12AU7 is a common way to clean up the tone of amps. I own a Mesa 400+, and this is also a common mod for that amp. The 12AX7 has gain factor of 100, while the 12AU7 is 19.

    So one of the things I was originally going to do was build a JFET based buffer with gain for the output, and then I could turn down the drive control to get cleaner sounds. When I tired this out with bread boarded circuits, the 12AX7 was still too hot. The 12AU7 works perfectly in this context, and I can still get the tone VERY fuzzy if I need it. I can cop the perfect Jack Bruce tone with ease.

    So at some point I'm going to add an output buffer, and also see if I can get rid of the hum.

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    Last edited by David Schwab; 04-06-2012 at 10:33 PM.
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  35. #35
    Junior Member Walking Eagle's Avatar
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    To obtain a larger signal output by the Blue Tube you could match it with a good booster. As for the hum, I fear that in a small container so it is virtually impossible to eliminate it, wanting to keep us inside the transformer.
    As for the output buffer would indicate you a JFET circuit I have already successfully tested in different contexts, and also tends to warm the sound. Just enough time to scan the schematic ...

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