Welcome to the world of tomorrow!
Needless to say this point was going to come. Been making these Sola Sound Tone Benders for a good wee while now so only a matter of time before we get acquainted with the more technologically advanced of the family.
The origins. Tone Bender MKIII, Tone Bender MKIV. Same party different frock. Aside from the obvious differences in the enclosure type of these pedals any true solid definition of which is what in regards to circuit type is and will always be a little bit of an ambiguous subject. The way I always made sense of it in my head was in regards to the biasing. The early MKIII's were choppy, heavy, clumsy, a fuzzy lump hammer. The later MKIV's were smooth, dynamic, articulate, a distorted boxing glove. In between, you have a foggy transitional period. Even with the those definitions in place it never always runs true.
This here is a Tone Bender MKIV, because it says so on the tin.
Bias strings and amplitude
These psychedelic horrors are constructed with the 680k/100k bias network. This arrangement along with the careful selection of NOS NKT OC84N's offer your auditory processors with a rather delightful fuzz tone that is yet very much a fuzz box but with a good deal of liquidity and movement in its tonal repertoire. In other words it's not static in its dynamics or overly clumpy. This effector will handle overdriven tube amplifiers spectacularly well and has a very low noise floor even a high volume levels. The theme of function that I wanted for this project can be summed up as, flexible vintage. To accomplish this I have made two teeny tiny circuit modifications. Firstly, the tone controls treble cap was slightly increased in value to give the brighter side of the tone control a hair more volume thus making the full span of the tone control useful and capable of matching unity with the bypassed tone. Secondly, and a continuation of the above theme, the limiting resistor was slightly lowered in value enabling the MKIV of boosting volume rather than struggling to match the output of slightly hot humbucking pick-up. Subtle alterations that, to me at least, make the pedal a hair more flexible in a modern scenario.
Blast proof simplicity
The layout and construction style is basically lifted right outta the past. It ain't broke, don't fix it. The replica circuit boards are courtesy of the magical mind of Mr. Castledine. Modern materials but with the old school layout. The familiar use of quality components along with the addition of UK manufactured high tolerance metal film resistors, these just add a subtle tuck and lift and make things a little easier for me in the transistor selection stage. As previously mentioned, we are using the old school New Market OC84N's in these. A superb quality British made component that seems to be made just for the job. Just the right amounts of everything to make a killer fuzz box.
Cool new project number 5 but cool new project number 2 for Miss Haynes, Same deal as with the Fuzz Box. Transistor selection and set-up is all done by myself, the whole construction process is all down to Linz. The radical colour scheme is curiosity of Anthony Macari. It is actually a turquoise paint scheme with red and yellow screen print, which is kinda hard to photograph in a true sense. A true psychedelic visual assault that matches perfectly the psychedelic tones held within. As always a huge thanks to Electric Warrior and his vintage eyeballs for the handy work with the graphics.
I am really super excited about this particular Tone Bender. The colour scheme, the tactile nature of the enclosure and the flexibility and variations of sound it can produce make it a pretty radical fuzz box. Tone Benders, gotta love that shit.
Oh, and lastly. If you ain't used a MKIV type before. The fuzz control works in reverse, full fuzz, full left. Also note the input and output sockets are again reversed also. Trippy.
Where do I get one?
If you are interested in this project please contact the fine upstanding gents at Macari's in London.
Contact Macaris here.
Please do not contact D*A*M about purchasing this product. We are purely the builders and cannot supply this product to you.
Legal Disclaimer: 'Tone Bender' is a registered trade mark and owned by the Macari's (AKA Sola Sound Ltd) of London. It is a legal infringement of this right to use the term Tone Bender in any unauthorised manner.
Beware of bootlegs and cheap imitations. Only true Tone Bender's are made by and for Sola Sound Ltd, London.