This is another attempt at a high-gain distortion effect. The “Lighthaus” I did previously sounds great, but can get a bit noisy, so that was a design goal for this next one.

mutant_1_0.pngThe “Mutant” (I don’t know why it ended up with that name, suggestions for a better one?) is another high-gain, “amp-like” if you will, distortion effect with a very flexible EQ section and a cool sound.

Mutant 1.0I used the Marshall Shredmaster circuit as a starting point, and the initial gain stages remain quite similar. But this is mostly where the similarities end.

  • The Bass and Treble controls were taken pretty much straight from the “Lighthaus”, which is to say it’s an active baxandall setup.
  • The Mid control is something I borrowed from Douglas Self’s excellent book “Small Signal Audio Design”. It’s something called a Wien sweep filter; it’s an active Mid control with plenty of boost/cut, that can be placed at a wide range of frequencies.
  • The Sweep control moves the Mid boost/cut either down towards the bass or up towards the treble side; what we would call “mid voicing” in the guitar world. At noon/centered it lines up with the baxandall control’s center frequency.
  • I really, really like how the old ShredMaster circuit cuts a lot of the top end using large feedback capacitors, but it doesn’t work for every scenario, so I placed this on a “Top” switch, allowing for a more flexible choice. Activate to help get some of those liquid high-gain sounds, or deactivate to retain all of the brightness 🙂
  • The circuit end with an active volume control. I could have kept the original passive one, but there’s a bit of an active theme going on here, and it’s more fun doing things a bit different.

Adobe_PDF_file_icon_32x32Mutant buildBrought this box with me to some friends without telling them what it was. Their first comment was that this sounds a lot like a big Marshall amp, so that was pretty spot on. We also got some fairly cool baritone-like sounds out of it with the gain at minimum (see settings in picture to the left). I thought the “Lighthaus” was fairly cool, but I’m absolutely loving this one! And it’s much more quiet, both on min gain/max volume and max gain/low volume, so design goal accomplished 🙂

Let me know what you think if you give it a try.

Mutant gut shotMutant board

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