After learning how to make circuits though working on Ball-E, I wanted to put my skills to use on something fun and creative. Even though I’m no good at guitar, I love playing around with it and wanted to recreate a classic effects pedal.
The arbiter fuzz face is a classic and simple fuzz/distortion pedal and turns out to have quite a simple design. At its core, it consists of just two PNP transistors. The first is a clean amplifier and the second saturates or clips the output, creating a fuzz or distortion effect. The extent to which the output is controlled by a potentiometer.
Since this was one of the first circuits I made myself by hand, it’s not all that pretty. I’m looking forward to making some more in the future. This is a great resource.
After this success, I wanted to try my hand at something more interesting. My goal was to use an arduino to create a simple, low cost looper pedal. The pedal I built worked by first amplifying the analog signal then recording it to an sd card on an Arduino. Buttons triggered logic on the Arduino to replay sounds. I was following similar techniques to this and this.
Ultimately, my prototype was not a success. Even using arduino PortManipulation to speed things up, the arduino could not read and write fast enough at the same time quickly enough without generating unacceptable levels of noise. This could be fixed in the future by creating the circuit on a proper PCB as opposed to a breadboard and using a faster microcontroller than the arduino Uno. At the very least, it was a great way to learn why looper pedals are as expensive as they are and an excellent way to procrastinate studying for exams.
p.s. forever nuts tea from David's Tea is delicious.