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Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:05 am

Good. So it could be down to something like a ground loop, which you’ll need at least some isolated outputs on your PSU to cure, especially if you are using some digital pedals as well. If you have all analogue pedals, then it’s rarely an issue, but digital pedals always raise the risk of ground loop noise.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:20 am

Wonks wrote:You obviously can't read, CS70. If you did, you might learn something.

I could point out at your lack of logic - if I could not read, I could not reply here.
But life's too short. I don't know why you choose to be so overbearingly pompous and arrogant in your dialogue, but it's your choice.

I hope you are fine and I wish you all the best.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Wonks » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:16 pm

CS70 wrote: I don't know why you choose to be so overbearingly pompous and arrogant in your dialogue, but it's your choice.

You are just describing yourself here. You ascribe statements to me that I didn't say and then act as if I did.

Act like a grown-up and admit you're basically wrong this time, not like a 6-year old who hasn't got their own way.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Watchmaker » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:02 pm

meh. Both of you.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby SecretSam » Wed Apr 21, 2021 1:27 pm

Ooo, good. An internet handbag fight. Hang on while I open a beer and get some crisps.




OK carry on.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 21, 2021 3:25 pm

Rather than give SecretSam the drama he so obviously desires, ;) why doesn't everyone just step away from the keyboard for a bit.
Or better still, drop each other a PM and sort it out between you. We're all the good guys here.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby BobTheDog » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:17 pm

Wonks wrote:CS70 is wrong here, a distortion pedal does add gain. :headbang:

Surely for the final output output it is “can” not “does”?
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Wonks » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:43 pm

Are you talking about the output volume control? That is normally independent of the distortion generation, and because the distortion stage of most circuit designs typically adds so much gain to the original signal level, that it Is actually almost always just an attenuator. Like the volume or master volume control on a guitar amplifier.

You might get a low gain overdrive pedal, like a Klon Centaur, that can provide unity gain and a fully clean signal, but it is an overdrive, and they typically have a single adjustable gain stage, from OdB gain upwards to the limits of its amplification device, and often limited to keep things in overdrive territory.

Distortions normally have two or more gain stages in order to get closer to a square wave approximation. The Boss DS-1 has two distortion gain stages. The first is a fixed theoretical 35dB of boost. The peak signal level here exceeds the battery voltage, so the top of the waveform is already being clipped. The second stage, which is the adjustable gain/distortion section, is adjustable for between 0dB and 26.5dB of further gain. This stage then feeds into a diode hard clipping circuit. There's then a tone control, the volume control (simply a potential divider like a guitar volume control) that attenuates the signal output. Either side of all this are unity gain input and output buffer circuits.

But the circuit is always applying gain to get the distortion. You may well attenuate the signal back to the level it entered the pedal at, but the gain has been applied to achieve the very different output waveform.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby CS70 » Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:51 am

BobTheDog wrote:
Wonks wrote:CS70 is wrong here, a distortion pedal does add gain. :headbang:

Surely for the final output output it is “can” not “does”?

Indeed. Beyond the unpleasant digression, I cannot but repeat what I wrote

Yeah it would: a boost adds only a moderate amount of gain, and possibly only in certain frequency bands; a distortion pedal doesn't add gain at all per se: it changes the signal shape by other means, but the peak level can just as well be the same.

"Gain" as "output level" - or signal amplitude at the pedal output. Simply meaning that with a boost the output level will be necessarily higher than the input (it's why it's called "boost"), but with a distortion it doesn't need to be, and it often won't. It's fairly common ime to use "gain" as a loose synonym for "amplitude at the output" when talking about pedals among guitarist friends, and this is the guitar section, not the electronics DYI one.

The Big Muff is like lining up a clean boost, a distortion, an EQ and another boost - so while not being a particularly noisy pedal by itself, the two boost sections alone will gain up any noise in the signal quite a bit.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Wonks » Fri Apr 23, 2021 9:55 am

The Pro Co Rat uses a different circuit design, with a single gain stage. However the way the circuit is arranged, the the op-amp gain is theoretically 0dB -67dB (which is a lot). But at the 67dB setting, the signal peaks will be clipped due to the power supply rail limitations, but low level signals will be amplified by that amount. The op-amp used also has a limited bandwidth at 67dB, so at the maximum gain setting, only frequencies below 500Hz will get fully boosted, and frequencies above that falling off in gain as the frequency rises.

The boosted, peak levelled signal then gets passed to the familiar diode clipping pair for further signal peak flattening. The higher the gain applied, the more the signal gets clipped.

Again an EQ section and a passive, voltage divider volume (attenuator) control.

With both the DS-1 and the Rat (and many other distortion pedals), the signal that's output from the diode pair section is almost always much much lower than the op-amp boosted signal that's fed into it, but still louder than the original guitar input signal (unless you have enormously powerful pickups).

It's the EQ sections that really create and differentiate the sound signatures of the distortion pedals. One op-amp boosts the signal very much like another. Different diode pairs may clip at different input voltage levels, but basically work in the same way. So it's the EQ sections, the low and high pass filtering before and after the gain and clipping stages that really define the tone/sound of the distortion.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby S.Crow » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:34 pm

Wonks wrote:Good. So it could be down to something like a ground loop, which you’ll need at least some isolated outputs on your PSU to cure, especially if you are using some digital pedals as well. If you have all analogue pedals, then it’s rarely an issue, but digital pedals always raise the risk of ground loop noise.

Both my PSUs are isolated.
It was a temporary set-up so it may just be that the Muff was troublesome in that context.
It seems fine in another context so next time I’ll use a DI box with it and hopefully that will be enough.

I played with the 3 pedals during the comparison and if I recall correctly, the only one that got much louder when I only increased the effect level was the Overdrive. The Muff and distortion didn’t get much louder, just more effect and a lot more noise.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby Wonks » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:32 pm

Distortions using diode clipping of the whole signal tend to not get much louder as you turn up the gain/distortion/drive (whatever it's been labelled) because once the diodes are fed an input signal that's big enough to cause them to clip, then the diodes will keep the signal peak amplitude at pretty much at the same peak level. What will happen is that the 'squashed' waveform fills out and becomes squarer, so the overall energy of the waveform increases a bit and doesn't get noticeably louder, just more distorted.

Overdrives don't distort or clip as much. The classic Tube Screamer has diode clipping, but it is in the feedback loop of the op-amp amplifying circuit, not the main output from it. So the op-amp then amplifies a mix of straight guitar signal and clipped signal. As a result, the output waveform is less clipped with rounder edges than with a distortion pedal. Because only the feedback loop is diode-clipped, not the whole output signal, the output amplitude will go up as you increase the drive level as there is nothing to limit the signal amplitude.

The edges between guitar 'overdrive' and 'distortion' are blurred and a personal matter of opinion as to what constitutes 'overdrive' and what constitutes 'distortion'. The extremes of light overdrive and heavy distortion are easy enough to categorise, but the point where overdrive becomes distortion is very subjective. I've certainly got a couple of 'distortion' pedals that I'd really put in the overdrive class.

From a technical point of view, once you deviate at all from an exact copy of the original waveform then it is already being distorted. What a guitarist would call 'light overdrive' would be called 'very heavily distorted' if you were playing back a CD through it.

I know you mentioned a Voodoo Labs PSU, and I know that has proper isolated outputs. Are your PSUs both the same? Because there are a lot of cheaper PSUs that claim to have 'isolated' output, but all they have is a bit of diode or resistor protection to stop one shorted or overloaded output from taking down the whole PSU. The 0v rail of the output connections are all linked, allowing ground loops to occur.

A truly isolated output PSU should allow you to use two 9v outputs to create an 18v supply, by connecting the +9v of one output to the 0V of the second output, with 18v between the 0v of the first output and the +ve output of the second output. Do that with a non-isolated PSU and the first output will be in a short-circuit condition.
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby CS70 » Sat Apr 24, 2021 5:53 pm

S.Crow wrote:Both my PSUs are isolated.
It was a temporary set-up so it may just be that the Muff was troublesome in that context.
It seems fine in another context so next time I’ll use a DI box with it and hopefully that will be enough.

I played with the 3 pedals during the comparison and if I recall correctly, the only one that got much louder when I only increased the effect level was the Overdrive. The Muff and distortion didn’t get much louder, just more effect and a lot more noise.

By the way, have you checked the cabling and/or tried different ones? I once was getting crazy when my Satchurator suddenly started being extremely noisy, and after dismantling half pedalboard I realized the guitar cable I was using was the culprit!
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Re: Is the Big Muff a noisy pedal and is there a quieter fuzz that does a similar job?

Postby S.Crow » Sun Apr 25, 2021 8:02 am

CS70 wrote:By the way, have you checked the cabling and/or tried different ones? I once was getting crazy when my Satchurator suddenly started being extremely noisy, and after dismantling half pedalboard I realized the guitar cable I was using was the culprit!

The setup was fine with the other 2 pedals.
It was an interim configuration only used to check out the Muff to see if I wanted to keep it or return it.
I'll dig deeper when I have planned and assembled the rig.
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