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Transient tamer
#3034892 03/24/20 08:44 PM
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Hello! I don't know how many hours during the years I searched on the net trying to find the reason why amp sims generally don't respond correctly to guitar touch (to me it's more evident when performing solos on the style of Van Halen, Steve Vai etc.). Since I hadn't the chance to try a high budget interface or high budget DI's at some point I thought it was a problem only related to old consumer audio interfaces like mine. Recently I bought a SSL 2 and I was pretty much in front of the same old problem then I searched again info on the topics and fortunately I found Craig's article on Guitar Player Magazine smile So, what's the reason why hi-z input are built this way (I'm assuming it's not budget related since you can implement Craig's trick with 2 dollars)? Is it possible that many people got the same transient taming maybe like a side effect when using a dedicated DI like Motu zbox? I mean amp sims appeared more than 10 years ago, how is it possible that during this long period, software improvements, feedback from the users, we are still in the same bizzarre situation where those inputs are advertised for connecting guitars and play with amp sims but in reality they don't work as they should? cry

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034896 03/24/20 09:15 PM
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Here is a thread I started in Dr. Mike's recording forum.

It is a different way to solve the problem. I haven't used it on electric guitar yet but my experiments with a bass run DI provided nice results.
http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3034559/physion-plugin-by-eventide#Post3034559

Two things in guitar amps smooth transients.
Speakers - I'll be the first to point out that not all speakers do this to the same degree.
Output transformers (tube amps) - same disclaimer as speakers, a Fender Twin with JBL speakers will still slice your head off.

You can also use a dynamic mic on the guitar amp's speaker and soften the transients a bit there.

For recording, a hardware compressor going in or a software compressor inside the box can help. A fast attack and release and low ratio - 3:1 or so can smooth things out. That is sort of how a de-esser works and that could do the trick as well. In the box, I would try a multi-band compressor and focus on the upper bands.

Experiment with the compressor in front of the amp or behind it. Hope any of this is helpful! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034911 03/24/20 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jacotzen
So, what's the reason why hi-z input are built this way (I'm assuming it's not budget related since you can implement Craig's trick with 2 dollars)?
Hi-Z inputs are built that way to be as neutral as possible, and accept a variety of pickup types. When Gibson built the Transient Tamer into the high-end Les Paul Standards as a switchable option, you had a known environment with known pickup levels. Jim DeCola at Gibson took the info I gave him regarding red LEDs, and chased down ones that were a perfect match. If the breakdown voltage is too low, you could possibly have audible distortion; if it's too high, you won't have the correct effect. The reason for specifying red LEDs is that they fall right in that sweet spot. Most work just fine, but Jim fine-tuned his selection for the best possible match with Gibson's pickups.

At one point TASCAM looked into making a guitar interface that incorporated this, but switchable so you could have the "pure" direct input, or one with transient control. However, it never got off the drawing board. Planet Waves was also interested, but their manufacturing is not set up to put components inside jacks. (Although the guy there who evaluated the prototype said "Unfortunately we can't do it, but...can I please keep the prototype?" smile He found it as useful as I did.)

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034914 03/24/20 10:18 PM
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Thank you Kuru for your quick reply and suggestions! wink

That plugin looks nice, I tried yesterday after reading Craig's article to reply the transient tamer trick by using Logic X Envelope filter. It works in way but I guess it's not perfect (say it's also me because you have to dial in with different parameters that are not easy to manage at first sight).

I tried a gentle compressor pedal and a mild overdrive pedal in front of the audio interface, they work in a way obviously but, still, I don't feel the same 'smoothness' when playing legatos, fast palm muting scales comparing to a real amp and now I'm pretty sure it's related to the way the input signal is managed.

I don't know if it's technically possible to replicate a real amp input on a audio interface because of the digital converter. I cannot explain to myself why this fundamental topic is not covered that much. Maybe people found a workaround by using DI's like motu zbox even though audio interface brands claim you don't need a DI when you have a dedicated Hi-z input?

Recently Ik multimedia introduced an audio interface with a dedicated control of the input impedance, maybe it's something in that direction?

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3034918 03/24/20 10:39 PM
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Hello Craig! the first thing I'll do after the triple quarantine (I'm in Italy...) I'll try your trick wink

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034938 03/25/20 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jacotzen
Hello Craig! the first thing I'll do after the triple quarantine (I'm in Italy...) I'll try your trick wink

Italy is providing a preview of what to expect here. Please, take care of yourself!

Quote
I tried yesterday after reading Craig's article to reply the transient tamer trick by using Logic X Envelope filter. It works in way but I guess it's not perfect

No electronic circuit can do exactly what the Transient Tamer does. The circuit is just two LEDs, but what happens is complex. It's basically a mechanical limiter, with zero pumping/breathing and an instant response time. But LEDs also have a phenomenon called junction capacitance. This capacitance is at maximum with lower levels, then goes away at the levels get higher. So, during the initial transient, there's a very slight rounding off of the transient.

The closest you're going to come is with a hardware limiter between the guitar and audio interface input, but that will cost you a lot more than a couple $, and the limiter is not as "perfect" a clipper as the diodes. And do remember, the LEDs are actually clipping. The reason why you don't hear it as distortion is because when you choose the right LED breakdown voltage, it gets rid of high, but very short, transients. Your ear can't really resolve something that short, but digital gear can..

My favorite review of the transient tamer functionality happened when someone was reviewing the Les Paul Standard, I think maybe it was for Premier Guitar. He said he tried switching the transient tamer in, but didn't hear any difference. Exactly! You're not supposed to hear any difference, but you are supposed to be able to turn your interface gain up for a higher average level going into amp sims or other digital processors.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034940 03/25/20 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jacotzen
Thank you Kuru for your quick reply and suggestions! wink

That plugin looks nice, I tried yesterday after reading Craig's article to reply the transient tamer trick by using Logic X Envelope filter. It works in way but I guess it's not perfect (say it's also me because you have to dial in with different parameters that are not easy to manage at first sight).

I tried a gentle compressor pedal and a mild overdrive pedal in front of the audio interface, they work in a way obviously but, still, I don't feel the same 'smoothness' when playing legatos, fast palm muting scales comparing to a real amp and now I'm pretty sure it's related to the way the input signal is managed.

I don't know if it's technically possible to replicate a real amp input on a audio interface because of the digital converter. I cannot explain to myself why this fundamental topic is not covered that much. Maybe people found a workaround by using DI's like motu zbox even though audio interface brands claim you don't need a DI when you have a dedicated Hi-z input?

Recently Ik multimedia introduced an audio interface with a dedicated control of the input impedance, maybe it's something in that direction?

You're welcome jacotzen, so many people have been helpful when I ask questions! I cannot repay them so I try to pass it along.

All I've done with the Eventide Physion plugin so far is try all the presets with a bass plugged into the DI in my preamp. When I tried the Snare Fattener preset it really smoothed out the transients. The two screens showing the Transient waveforms and the Tonal waveforms showed how it was attenuating the attack but not eliminating it. The bass still had punch and clarity but a notably "nicer" version of those aspects.

I am sure it will be useful on all sorts of things, not just guitars.

A compressor pedal will not generally have the adjustable Attack, Release and Threshold adjustments, you really need those to tweak for transients. As Craig said above, it becomes a Limiter - quickly responding to the intial brief burst of energy that causes a transient to be unpleasant sounding. Since we all play differently, use different picks, etc., these adjustments are essential. The ratio adjustment plays a part as well, I've found with vocals that a ration around 3:1 does the job nicely without sounding "fake" or compressed. I was using an FMR RNC by the way, an affordable little box that is useful for all sorts of things in a studio.

Since everybody is different it is hard to explain some things in general terms. What works for you may not provide me with the results I am hoping to have and the same is true in reverse.
I haven't tried Craig's red LED Transient Tamer but I may have to give that a go.

Here is another easy and free thing you can try. Adlust your pickups lower, away from the strings. That definately smooths out transients. I've been doing that for a long time and it really helps tame those spiky tones.
In fact, that single adjustment may be all you need to get the sound you seek. Good luck!!! Kuru


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Re: Transient tamer
KuruPrionz #3034962 03/25/20 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Here is another easy and free thing you can try. Adlust your pickups lower, away from the strings. That definately smooths out transients. I've been doing that for a long time and it really helps tame those spiky tones.
In fact, that single adjustment may be all you need to get the sound you seek. Good luck!!! Kuru

You'll get more sustain out of the strings, and a higher average level as well. I'm also a fan of backing pickups away from the strings somewhat, here's a
fairly detailed article about what happens when you change pickup height.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3034965 03/25/20 09:11 AM
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I checked the specs on the Apollo interface by UA (since it's a professional standard to track guitars in the box) and to my big surprise I discovered the Hi-z input is 2.2 megaohms (every other brand now is using 1 megaohm to my knowledge)!!!!! this topic is driving me crazy...

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035003 03/25/20 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jacotzen
I checked the specs on the Apollo interface by UA (since it's a professional standard to track guitars in the box) and to my big surprise I discovered the Hi-z input is 2.2 megaohms (every other brand now is using 1 megaohm to my knowledge)!!!!! this topic is driving me crazy...

As above, first my post and then quoted by Anderton, have you tried lowering your guitar pickups?

It is a simple, effective way of controlling transients at the source.

You can always raise them back up if it doesn't work. Cost is a few short minutes of your time and all you need is a small screwdriver, usually Phillips.

If your pickups are mounted solid to the body of the guitar then it may be a bit trickier, perhaps try a different guitar with easily adjustable pickups to see if it helps.

It has made a big difference for me. As Anderton points out, it does increase sustain. If the pickups have strong magnets it can also improve intonation in my experience.

This may not be an impedence issue or other electronics-based problem at all. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035015 03/25/20 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jacotzen
I checked the specs on the Apollo interface by UA (since it's a professional standard to track guitars in the box) and to my big surprise I discovered the Hi-z input is 2.2 megaohms (every other brand now is using 1 megaohm to my knowledge)!!!!! this topic is driving me crazy...

Okay, let's talk about this some more. Here's your homework - an article about how cords, pickup output impedance, and amp input impedance interact.

Impedance has nothing to do with the transient tamer. Impedance will load down passive guitar pickups, but there's a point of diminishing returns. With an input impedance of 10k, you'll hear a definite, obvious dulling of the treble, and less overall level. With 100k, you still hear an obvious change, but it's less drastic. Once you hit 220k, the amount of loading is very subtle and you may or may not even notice it. At 1Meg and above, you really won't hear the effects of loading at all. The difference between 2.2M and 1M is more or less inconsequential.

However, it you get crazy with the input impedance and do something like 10 Meg or 20 Meg, then you'll have no audible advantage at all, and the input may actually become more sensitive to picking up noise and EMI.

As a rule of thumb, I consider 100k a bare minimum, 220k as totally acceptable, and 1Meg as desirable.

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035022 03/25/20 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by jacotzen
I checked the specs on the Apollo interface by UA (since it's a professional standard to track guitars in the box) and to my big surprise I discovered the Hi-z input is 2.2 megaohms (every other brand now is using 1 megaohm to my knowledge)!!!!! this topic is driving me crazy...

Okay, let's talk about this some more. Here's your homework - an article about how cords, pickup output impedance, and amp input impedance interact.

Impedance has nothing to do with the transient tamer. Impedance will load down passive guitar pickups, but there's a point of diminishing returns. With an input impedance of 10k, you'll hear a definite, obvious dulling of the treble, and less overall level. With 100k, you still hear an obvious change, but it's less drastic. Once you hit 220k, the amount of loading is very subtle and you may or may not even notice it. At 1Meg and above, you really won't hear the effects of loading at all. The difference between 2.2M and 1M is more or less inconsequential.

However, it you get crazy with the input impedance and do something like 10 Meg or 20 Meg, then you'll have no audible advantage at all, and the input may actually become more sensitive to picking up noise and EMI.

As a rule of thumb, I consider 100k a bare minimum, 220k as totally acceptable, and 1Meg as desirable.

Curiosity question - do these numbers apply for active pickup systems?

Back in the 80's, clubs in Fresno had "questionable AC power." Guitar players using passive pickups with a string ground were getting shocked - sometimes minor and once in a while somebody would get their face blown off and the audience probably saw their skeleton - myself included.

Since I was a guitar tech and somebody brought me a guitar and a set of EMG pickups to install, I read the installation instructions and realized the removal of the string ground meant that it would become much more complicated to be shocked on stage. I installed them, they sounded fine to me and I switched. ALL of my gigging guitars have had EMG pickups ever since and I've never been shocked again. Which is good, it's spared the remaining half a dozen brain cells! :-D

Since they are very quiet in terms of generating noise, I learned to keep them lowered down a bit. I can plug in direct - multiple interfaces - and I don't have problems with an abundance of transient response. It's there, part of the sound of an electric guitar is transients. It's just not an issue.

But, the question is - does the input impedence of the interface make as much of a difference? It is noted that you mention passive pickups specifically in the quoted post. Thanks! Kuru


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Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035041 03/25/20 07:50 PM
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Indeed, active pickups solve a lot of problems, and are basically immune to impedance and cable issues. I'm going to be checking out Fishman's Fluence pickups soon. I don't like having batteries inside guitars, but I came up with a breakout box concept that I wrote up in a Guitar Player column.

I think maybe the solution to the string grounding issue would be to insert something like a high-capacitance mylar cap in the line between the strings and ground...it would filter out the hum, but now allow a direct electrical connection. Hmmm....

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035042 03/25/20 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
As a rule of thumb, I consider 100k a bare minimum, 220k as totally acceptable, and 1Meg as desirable.

For guitar pickups.

Rhodes pianos sound best if you tap right off the harp RCA jack into a DI, which is right off the pickups. But Rhodes pickups are extremely sensitive to input impedance. I settled on a Countryman Type 10 with a 10Mohm input impedance and got a great tone. Anything below 1Mohm sucks major tone and high end. Not even the Radial J48 could match the Type 10.

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035044 03/25/20 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Indeed, active pickups solve a lot of problems, and are basically immune to impedance and cable issues. I'm going to be checking out Fishman's Fluence pickups soon. I don't like having batteries inside guitars, but I came up with a breakout box concept that I wrote up in a Guitar Player column.

I think maybe the solution to the string grounding issue would be to insert something like a high-capacitance mylar cap in the line between the strings and ground...it would filter out the hum, but now allow a direct electrical connection. Hmmm....

Thanks Craig!
I've been interested in the Fluence pickups as well but have not had a chance to try them out. I put battery doors in every guitar/bass except my 86 Gibson 335 Studio, which has a back access plate with 4 screws.
I find the battery thing to be a bit overblown since I don't need to change batteries often. Even my main gigger, which stays plugged in at gigs is good for over a year and the battery I take out still has some juice left in it.
I do like the Fishman rechargeable battery idea but wonder about the weight, Not a fan of heavy guitars, even though they can sound really good sometimes.


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Re: Transient tamer
The Real MC #3035045 03/25/20 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Anderton
As a rule of thumb, I consider 100k a bare minimum, 220k as totally acceptable, and 1Meg as desirable.

For guitar pickups.

Yes, that was the topic. Dynamic mics are also a whole other issue, as are piezo pickups.

Re: Transient tamer
KuruPrionz #3035047 03/25/20 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I find the battery thing to be a bit overblown since I don't need to change batteries often. Even my main gigger, which stays plugged in at gigs is good for over a year and the battery I take out still has some juice left in it.

I'm more concerned about leakage if a guitar doesn't get played for a while. But, I also have a prejudice (I admit it!) against active electronics inside a guitar, especially because I tend to use bipolar power supplies, so that means two batteries, which means finding space for two batteries...

Quote
I do like the Fishman rechargeable battery idea but wonder about the weight, Not a fan of heavy guitars, even though they can sound really good sometimes.
The pickups don't draw much current. Compared to a Les Paul Traditional, the weight doesn't even register smile

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035052 03/25/20 08:51 PM
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I have yet to have a problem with leakage/corrosion.

All batteries are wrapped in foam and most are in their own little box.
Not a big deal to remove the corrodied clip-wiring and replace it but in the 30+ years I've been using active pickups everything's been fine.

EMGs have the preamp built into the pickup, very tidy. They will run on 18 volts if one wants to add a battery. I tried it and it wasn't amazing so I went back to a single battery.

Low impedence and very low current draw.
Currently getting over a year with 2 pickups and a mid-boost circuit (SPC) on two gigging guitars and zero problems with the exception of one scratchy volume pot I need to replace.

I've owned a few Les Pauls and set up/ repaired many. A friend's 82 Custom comes to mind as something I would not want hanging on my shoulder for 3 sets!!!
My 335 is a bit heavier than it looks but not insane. I love the access to the higher frets. That one has an HB (Steinberger bass pickup) in the neck position - secret weapon pickup.


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Re: Transient tamer
KuruPrionz #3035061 03/25/20 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I have yet to have a problem with leakage/corrosion.

All batteries are wrapped in foam and most are in their own little box.
Not a big deal to remove the corrodied clip-wiring and replace it but in the 30+ years I've been using active pickups everything's been fine.

That's good to know. I guess with a guitar or pickup set that's designed with batteries in mind, they've probably thought of all that stuff. For me, it would be retrofitting an existing guitar, which makes me nervous smile

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035063 03/25/20 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I have yet to have a problem with leakage/corrosion.

All batteries are wrapped in foam and most are in their own little box.
Not a big deal to remove the corrodied clip-wiring and replace it but in the 30+ years I've been using active pickups everything's been fine.

That's good to know. I guess with a guitar or pickup set that's designed with batteries in mind, they've probably thought of all that stuff. For me, it would be retrofitting an existing guitar, which makes me nervous smile

I've retrofitted all sorts of guitars with all sorts of pickups and most of the time it is completely straightforward and goes smoothly. I undoubtedly compromised the value of some guitars that would now be worth a fair chunk, my own 86 335 Studio included. It was stock when I got it, not anymore. I don't care, it's made me money and gotten praise for appearance - Ferrari Red with all gold colored hardware and custom pickguard.

Last year a friend brought over a high end limited edition Martin guitar - brand new. She wanted the K&K Mini system installed. That was scary, it was all shiny, perfect and expensive!!!

I created some new ways to work, it was a small body and I have large hands so reaching back to position things become unwieldy until I came up with good solutions.
I documented all of it with photographs and sent a file to K&K with full written description and photos. Dieter, the owner of the company, emailed me back and was very pleased with what I shared.
I suspect they may change their installation kit and instructions based on some of my improvements.

Not quite enough to get a free Mini of my own but stil worthwhile for me. Now I can do those installs pretty easily too.
I bet if I visited them in Coos Bay they would at least buy me a beer!!


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Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035064 03/25/20 11:04 PM
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I've mentioned this here before. While I'm primarily a keyboard player, I can say from experience that volume changes the feel of the strings under your fingers and their response. Moving air vibrates the strings. It changes sustain, harmonics, sensitivity, articulation....a guitar plays different at high volume. Being that I'm usually playing keys, I would love for guitar players to keep their stage volume down, but I understand why they like it where it is.


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Re: Transient tamer
J. Dan #3035109 03/26/20 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
I've mentioned this here before. While I'm primarily a keyboard player, I can say from experience that volume changes the feel of the strings under your fingers and their response. Moving air vibrates the strings. It changes sustain, harmonics, sensitivity, articulation....a guitar plays different at high volume. Being that I'm usually playing keys, I would love for guitar players to keep their stage volume down, but I understand why they like it where it is.

Agreed, which is why I often recommend splitting off into an amp and a direct input. What the amp does to the strings, specifically sustain, becomes part of the sound that goes into the direct input. It also gives you that "amp feel" when you play. Unfortunately, people often have to go only direct and forego using an amp, because they're in a home studio situation where they can't crank things up.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035123 03/26/20 06:27 AM
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J. Dead is spot on and Craig's advice is also very good.

I am in that home studio situation where I can't crank things but this sparked a possible solution.

I have amps with stupid high gain and compressors built in. Set oneup higher so the speaker is aiming at the guitar and with a carefully tweaked wah pedal I bet I can get feedback at pretty low overall volumes.

Angle of approach is critical, if you are using a DI too and you've got your pickups humming that is going to carry through the DI as well.

I will set that up and try it this week, I've always loved feedback but have been avoiding doing it live because my ears have taken enough insane high volume pummeling already!
With closed back headphones on it shouldn't be too bad.


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Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035137 03/26/20 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
I'm more concerned about leakage if a guitar doesn't get played for a while. But, I also have a prejudice (I admit it!) against active electronics inside a guitar, especially because I tend to use bipolar power supplies, so that means two batteries, which means finding space for two batteries...

Back in the early 1970s, I was in a band with a hammered dulcimer player. Nobody ever miked that right so I got him a couple of Barcus-Berry pickups, we found good places to put them on the instrument, and I built a little preamp/mixer with an XLR output. I used two 15v batteries for its bipolar power supply. The #504 batteries are square and are close enough in size to fit fine in a AA battery holder.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3035147 03/26/20 12:50 PM
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After further researches on the subject I incidentally found other interesting Craig's articles on the subject smile

https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-is-a-digital-to-analog-converter-and-how-does-it-work/

"Converters can also have gain errors, where the output voltage is higher or lower than what it should be in theory. There aren’t workarounds you can do for these issues, but higher-end converters take greater efforts to minimize voltage offset and gain errors."

Also, https://www.edn.com/measure-an-adcs-offset-and-gain-error/

Maybe is this the technical reason why the input signal is not easy manageable by amp sims?

I also chatted a bit with an Italian developer (Ignite Amps) and actually I tried the Emissary 2 plugin, it's intended for hi-gain sounds, it's free, and I must say it reacts very well with the transients.
To me it's almost (90%) identical to the way a real hi-gain amp responds, the clean channel is also very good. Give it a try when you have time, you will notice that it uses a different method to deal with the input stage since it's not the typical input volume.
He stated that basically is a software developing thing.

Re: Transient tamer
KuruPrionz #3035182 03/26/20 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I have amps with stupid high gain and compressors built in. Set oneup higher so the speaker is aiming at the guitar and with a carefully tweaked wah pedal I bet I can get feedback at pretty low overall volumes.
If you touch the headstock to the speaker cabinet, you can get feedback at relatively low volumes. It's even a little bit controllable. The hard part is keeping the guitar headstock in contact with the speaker cabinet - it sounds easy, but it's hard not to move the guitar a bit and lose contact.

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3035190 03/26/20 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
I have amps with stupid high gain and compressors built in. Set oneup higher so the speaker is aiming at the guitar and with a carefully tweaked wah pedal I bet I can get feedback at pretty low overall volumes.
If you touch the headstock to the speaker cabinet, you can get feedback at relatively low volumes. It's even a little bit controllable. The hard part is keeping the guitar headstock in contact with the speaker cabinet - it sounds easy, but it's hard not to move the guitar a bit and lose contact.

Yeah, I've used that trick live. Back before I came to my senses!!!

Among my long since gone live rigs - a Mesa Mk III Simul-Class head on top of a Vox 4-12" cabinet with 2 EVM 12L and 2 JBL D120. When I "downsized" I went to a Peavey LA 400 (210 watts with a Black Widow speaker) and on top of that I put a Peavey Reknown 1-12 - 160 watts with a Scorpion Plus speaker. Just used a RAT pedal. I still miss the pedal!!!!

Now I gig with my Boss Katana set at 1/2 of one watt and medium gain, MUCH quieter. Played a ton of gigs with a Peavey Transtube 258 EFX, I put a Scorpion 10" in it for fatter low end and don't turn it up very loud.
Should have done it centuries ago.

Jacotzen, thanks for the tip on the Ignite Emissary 2, I'll give it a spin!


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3036336 04/02/20 06:36 PM
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Anybody knows how 'selected module volume' works inside amplitube? the one in the cab section is the same as the master fader of the section but what about the others? I was trying some high gain amps and actually increasing the selected module volume inside the pedal section the amp reacts way better, like having a transient tamer somehow, you can easy play fast solos without using any compression or tube screamer in front of the amp, it's like it should be actually...

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3044158 05/16/20 08:42 PM
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Hi Craig, I was hoping you could answer a couple of questions for me (I just heard about your Transient Tamer circuit and would like to build one, but bear in mind I'm new to this kind of stuff).

1) With a transient tamer pedal, into a DI box, into my audio interface, let's say I wanted to plug into a fuzz box before going into the DI. Would I put the fuzz box between the transient tamer and the DI box, or put the fuzz box first? Same basic question about any other pedal FX I might want to record into the DI box.

2) How can I be sure I'm selecting the right kind of red LEDs? For instance, I found some on a website called Guitar Pedal Parts, which offers two kinds of red LEDs, a 3mm and a 5mm. Does the size matter in this case? It also refers to them as having a red diffused lens, not a clear lens. As someone who has never purchased LEDs before, it makes me wonder: are these actually emitting red light (I assume that's the kind I need), or do they emit a white light and then it appears red to the eye because it's coming through a red lens? This is probably a silly question, but wanted to know if I need to seek out a different kind of LED or if these will do the trick (I'm planning on putting in an order with this website for an aluminum enclosure and the input/output jacks, and it would be convenient if I can buy the LEDs from them too).

3) Probably a very silly question, but is there a difference between an input & an output jack (1/4" TS), or is it the exact same physical piece of equipment, just different in how the poles are wired up or something? I couldn't tell if I needed to buy two different kinds of jacks, or just one kind that can be used for both input & output.

4) Would you say it's worth it to wire in a bypass switch, or kind of pointless? I figure when I want to use the transient tamer, I will always want it on most likely, right? So why bother (although I may do it anyway as practice, because if I enjoy building this pedal, then I already have ideas for building other kinds of DIY pedals for myself!)

5) Every LED I can find online says to use a resistor in front of it or it will burn out. Question I have is: that's not necessary for your circuit, right? It doesn't use a resistor as far as I can tell (still need to study up on reading schematics before I build this, though). This circuit doesn't actually use a power source, either, and I was wondering, do the LEDs light up when you play (like as you're strumming the strings, the LEDs light up, and as the sustain dies out, the LEDs dim out)? Or are they dim all the time? Or somehow, are they lit all the time as long as the guitar is plugged into the circuit? I could see it being any of those ways, and was just curious what will happen.

Thanks for any answers and help you can provide!

Re: Transient tamer
callahan09 #3044195 05/16/20 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by callahan09
Hi Craig, I was hoping you could answer a couple of questions for me (I just heard about your Transient Tamer circuit and would like to build one, but bear in mind I'm new to this kind of stuff).

These are great questions!

1. The Transient Tamer is intended to go immediately after the guitar. In fact, the version Gibson uses is wired inside the guitar, with a DIP switch if you want to disable it. Mine is in a cable that connects between the guitar and whatever comes next.

2. The size and light properties don't matter, it's the "D" part (diode) that matters of a light-emitting diode. So, the "right" LED is one whose breakdown voltage (i.e. where it starts conducting) is high enough to cut the transient peaks, but not low enough to distort signals below the peaks. LEDs that generate red light are in the ideal range for guitar pickups. Frankly, most red LEDs will work, but Gibson's Jim DeCola bought a bunch of them to choose the one that would be best. A 2.0V breakdown voltage is a good "generic" rating. If you can hear distortion, you'll want something higher. If the transients are still getting through, you want something lower.

3. 1/4" jacks can be used for input or output. The only "difference" is a lot of pedals use a stereo input jack so that plugging in your guitar cord turns on the battery. But if you're building the transient tamer in a box, any 1/4" mono jacks will work..

4. I leave it on all the time. A magazine review of a Gibson guitar that had the transient tamer said "I didn't hear any difference with the transient tamer in the circuit or not." Exactly! You're not supposed to hear a difference, but your digital gear will be able to run at a higher gain level, with a higher average signal level, before the onset of distortion.

5. A pickup doesn't generate anywhere near enough voltage to burn out an LED. You can put a 100 Ohm resistor between the guitar output and the back-to-back LED if it helps you sleep better at night, but it's not necessary. Nor is there enough voltage to give a light show smile

Have fun!

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Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3044255 05/17/20 01:56 PM
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Link to the circuit please?

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3044315 05/17/20 07:26 PM
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It's currently the first article in the Guitar | Bass | Amps page on craiganderton.org, and yes, the circuit really is that simple smile There's an audio example as well.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3044331 05/17/20 08:50 PM
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Ahh. I’ve been using that one on bass drum mics for many years. The trick is getting just the right diodes

Re: Transient tamer
dboomer #3044346 05/17/20 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dboomer
Ahh. I’ve been using that one on bass drum mics for many years. The trick is getting just the right diodes

With guitars, you have to use red diodes to get the right breakdown voltage.

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3044355 05/17/20 10:27 PM
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Thanks for answering all of my questions, Craig! Very much appreciated. I've put in an order for a 1590A enclosure, two 1/4" mono jacks (I was worried about quality here for a pedal that I will presumably never record without, so I got the Pure Tone brand, which seemed like the best of the best from my brief research), and 100-pack of 2.0 to 2.2 V rated red LED diodes for just a few dollars. Very excited to receive everything and get to work on building it and testing it out.

As far as question & answer #5 is concerned, can I expect that the LEDs will not light up at all while plugged in and strumming on my guitar? Not sure if it's relevant, but for instance I often play with a Tone Zone high-output passive humbucker bridge pickup (Output = 375 [whatever that means, it doesn't specify any kind of units] according to the DiMarzio website). If they're going to light up at all, I'm thinking I'll drill some 5mm holes in the enclosure and let them shine, but if they're not going to light up at all I won't bother and I'll just leave them to sit inside the enclosure unseen.

Last edited by callahan09; 05/17/20 10:29 PM.
Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3044372 05/18/20 12:48 AM
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Your pickups don't produce enough current to blow them out, or light them up. Sorry smile

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Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3044453 05/18/20 01:44 PM
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Thanks, and no apology necessary, you just saved me however much time it would have taken to drill two more holes in the enclosure smile

Re: Transient tamer
Anderton #3044778 05/19/20 09:10 PM
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Unfortunately I think I am in a little in over my head on this thing, as simple as the schematic appears (even to me, someone who has never looked at one until the past couple of days), it is still confusing me. I apologize for my total ignorance and lack of experience!

One thing to note is I'm not including a bypass switch. So I'm pretending that the bypass switch is actually just a straight line. Therefore, the schematic I'm looking at looks like this:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

First, I want to say that I did read some "how to read schematics" pamphlets and "beginner electronics" books this weekend in preparation for trying to build this, but I don't feel I sufficiently learned everything I need to know before getting started with the actual build.

I don't know if I'm understanding the actual LED part of the schematic. The line intersections with dots mean the components at the ends of those lines are all joined together by wires, right? So it looks to me like both the positive & negative terminals on the diode get connected to both the positive and negative of each jack, and to each other? That seems like a lot of connections, so I feel like I may not be interpreting it correctly. I also don't really grasp how I'm supposed to make all those connections if I am reading it properly after all. But here is an point-by-point write-up of every single connection between the components that it looks should exist as I'm interpreting it. That way I'll know if I've got all this right or not:

Input Jack Positive, LED 1 Positive, LED 2 Negative, and Output Jack Positive all connect to each other.
Input Jack Negative, LED 1 Negative, LED 2 Positive, Output Jack Negative, and Ground all connect to each other.

That would mean that the positive lead on the input jack has wires going to each LED (one of them, its positive terminal, the other its negative terminal) and to the output jack. 3 wires total? And the same for the output jack's positive terminal. And then an additional wire between the positive of one LED and the negative of another. And then a very similar thing happening between all the opposite polarity terminals of all of these components, plus one to the ground.

What I'm probably misunderstanding is that a shared wire can make multiple of these connections, but I don't know how it works... I don't know, the more I type trying to explain what I think I understand and what I don't the more confused I'm making and the dumber I feel like I sound! I feel like I would understand how to read the schematic if I could just see a photograph of the actual circuit in the real-world where everything can clearly be seen to be connecting to each other. How many actual solder connections have to be made for this circuit? Even knowing that might help me understand how all of this works better than I currently understand it. I feel like one wire/connection might act as a bridge or something completing the same connection for other components in the circuit, like maybe connecting jack 1 to LED 1, then LED 1 to LED 2, then LED 2 to jack 2, would accomplish some of these aspects like connecting jack 1 to LED 2 and jack 1 to jack 2. I don't know if I'm making any sense... Anyway...

I also was wondering in a general sense how to ground the circuit? Am I supposed to solder the connection to ground as an actual wire to the metal chassis of the pedal case or something, or is that not what is meant for this?

I apologize that I probably sound like a rambling fool who understands nothing, but that's essentially what I am smile I expected this to be simpler than it is for me, sadly enough.

EDIT:

I found a really nice youtube video that explained the schematic junction points concept in a way that I think I grasped more clearly this time. Basically, when point A needs to be connected to point B and point C, and all 3 are interconnected with a junction point, you don't need a wire between A and B, and B and C, and A and C, you can just have two wires, one between A & B and another between B & C (as an example), and that circuit ends up completing the connection between A & C as well (by way of their shared connection to B). I think I'm understanding it now, at least.

By virtue of this new understanding, it seems to me that this new graphic I drew up could be an example of an actual working wiring between all points in the circuit:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Am I on the right track now? Basically, I would have the following individual soldered connections:

Input jack positive -> LED 1 negative
LED 1 negative -> LED 2 positive
LED 2 positive -> Output jack positive

Input jack negative -> LED 1 positive
LED 1 positive -> LED 2 negative
LED 2 negative -> Output jack negative
Output jack negative -> Ground

(I still don't know what the method is for actually putting in that "to ground" part at the end...)

But does that sound like I'm understanding how to build the circuit correctly now?

Last edited by callahan09; 05/19/20 10:16 PM. Reason: Added new findings
Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3044952 05/20/20 05:16 PM
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OK, I am an electronic tech for over 50 years. Simplest way to understand:
Two jacks, one for input other for output. Assume in a metal box, with the ground side of each jack being grounded to the metal box (to shield and reduce any input point for hum and trash).
One solid wire between the "tip" of one jack to the "tip" of the other. And another solid wire between the "shield" (the outer part) of one jack to the other, with a bit of space between them.
Two red LED's that are connected in parallel, but are reversed between each other. One LED goes between the two wires straight up (most small LEDs have some sort of marking as to which side is the "anode" and which side is the "cathode." The other LED also goes between the two wires, but is bottom up compared to the first.

If this was a DC circuit (with limited current so that the conducting diode wouldn't fry), then one diode would be "open" and the other would be conducting. However, analog audio is not DC, but AC, meaning that the positive and negative alternate.
In truth, the diodes don't HAVE to be LEDs, much less red LEDs. All diodes are open in both polarities until the particular diode triggers, but the trigger voltage is different in different types. A regular germanium diode (not used much now) would trigger at a voltage of about 0.2 to 0.3 volts. Silicon general purpose diodes trigger at about 0.7 volts. The only reason for the red LEDs is that their trigger voltage happens to be at a useful point with the audio output peaks on the average modern guitar pickup, and this was determined by experimentation. As far as light from the LEDs, there would be light if the peak voltages lasted long enough to generate it (and the possibility of over-current damaging this simple circuit with no current limiting).

One could put a bypass switch in this by putting the switch so as to disconnect one end of the pair of LEDs (preferably the "tip" end); but presumably this is to be left in circuit all the time, since most modern recording is done in the digital domain, where distortion sounds horrible as opposed to the "warmth" added in the old tube circuits by slight distortion.
Hope this helps.


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Re: Transient tamer
MoodyBluesKeys #3045012 05/20/20 09:22 PM
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Thanks for the explanation. I'm fairly sure I understand the circuit and how things need to be connected now, but I'm just getting incredibly frustrated trying to actually build it. I thought this was going to be simple, it looked like a good beginner's electronics project, but I'm in way over my head. I can't for the life of me figure out how to solder this stuff together. I swear I need a third hand! I have a dozen extra 1/4" jacks that I got cheap, and 100 red LEDs, so I've got tons of extra parts to practice on, but so far I'm completely failing to even get one single connection done properly. I bought some wire for this project as well. So my first attempt at soldering was to just simply solder one end of a piece of wire to one lead on an LED. This took me over an hour, and it looks like garbage, it's all burned looking and mangled and the connection doesn't look solid at all. I probably destroyed the LED by getting the lead too hot if I had to guess, but I have no idea. I just *could not* no matter how hard I tried get the LED lead, the wire, the soldering iron, and the solder all lined up and in the same space at the same time to form the connection. I even resorted to placing the LED and the wire in vice grips, lining them up next to each other so that the wire is perfectly overlapping the LED lead, then all I needed was two hands to hold the solder in my left hand and the iron in my right hand, and even doing that, it was still nearly impossible. The wire & LED lead would just come apart. So I have to ask, am I just using the wrong connection or something? Should I be using wire at all? If so, should I be using stranded wire so I can twist the strands over the connection point so that they hold together on their own until I get the solder on? What the heck am I doing wrong and why is this so difficult for me? I'm feeling like a complete idiot over here with how insanely difficult this seemingly simple stuff is for me.

And to make matters worse, I should add that this is not my first time soldering anything! I must have blanked out how difficult it was for me in the past, or completely forgotten the technique or something, because this seems nearly impossible, but in the past, I have replaced the pickups and the 1/4" jack on my guitars before (albeit many years ago), and I don't recall thinking it was impossible then. I don't know why this seems so difficult and why it seems like I need an extra hand to do it this time. Unfortunately the memories and techniques I apparently knew in the past are all gone or not working for me today and I'm just really struggling and frustrated over here frown

Edit: OK, I am taking two steps forward and one step back, maybe? Maybe the other way around, one forward and two back haha. I have now made the wire to LED solder connection a few more times for practice, and some of them are starting to looking pretty decent. Using the vice grips to position the wire and the LED and then working with the soldering iron and the solder seems to be the way to do it, no doubt about that.

I'm not sure if my soldering iron is just so old and has cold spots or if I'm still not getting my technique right with the part of the iron tip that touches the wires and where to place the solder in that junction, etc, but I still struggle to get it going, and sometimes I'll hold the soldering iron for like 10 full seconds against the junction point and NOTHING HAPPENS, so I rotate the soldering iron in my fingers a little and then suddenly it all heats up. Am I struggling so much with all of this because my soldering iron is junk and doesn't heat evenly?

But at any rate, after I got a few good solder connections successfully, I thought, yes, OK, I'm going to be able to build this with enough trial and error and spare parts blown through that I'll eventually get it right. But then, I experience more frustration about what the heck I'm supposed to do next. I know that the LEDs (now soldered together at 4 points total) need to be connected to the jacks. I figured, OK, let's start simple, and simply put another wire into the connection at one of the leads. Well, this gave me far more problems I expected (as is typical with every step of this process so far). I got the wire lined up perfectly and start to apply the heat, and BAM, everything falls apart. The previously existing solder connection got DIS-connected from the re-application of heat to the LED lead. I tried for 15 minutes to get everything back together again, the first wire, the second wire, the LED lead, and get it all to stick together with solder, and I couldn't do it. I gave up. I don't understand how I'm supposed to have 3 pieces soldered together at the same connection point? It all falls apart when I apply the heat if I pre-connect two pieces, but if I try to connect all 3 simultaneously, I can't get everything to stay together in the same spot to actually get the connection.

At this point, I'm thinking I'm just a complete failure. I have no idea how to build this, and every time I think I'm going to be able to do it after all, another hurdle pops up and this one, so far, I don't know how to handle.

I don't have anybody here who can show me what I'm doing wrong, or show me the right way to do things, and I'm trying to watch YouTube videos and consult my book, but I don't know, this has all been so far over my head and been so frustrating for me, it makes me kind of sick with myself, I am honestly in SHOCK right now that this is this difficult for me. I really was not prepared for how hard this was going to be for me. How do you guys do it? How do you make it look so easy? I just don't understand. I don't know what to do from here.

Edit 2: After doing some research, oxidization on the tip of the soldering iron is a common problem causing it not to heat evenly. I used a wet soldering sponge and some solder and tried to get the oxidization to clear out for me to use this iron more easily, but to no avail. I think maybe I will just buy a new soldering iron. Also, my research tells me that solder can expire. My solder is about a decade old, so that's probably an issue as well. With a poor quality (it was cheap a decade ago) soldering iron which has an oxidized tip and some very old solder, could that be a reason why soldering seems nearly impossible for me right now? It's making me want to invest in a new soldering iron and some new solder, but I also have spent enough money on this project and I'm not sure I will be capable of building it even with new tools, so I don't know that I want to waste my money on more frustration and a never-to-be-completed project. Hmm...

Last edited by callahan09; 05/20/20 10:34 PM.
Re: Transient tamer
callahan09 #3045043 05/20/20 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by callahan09
Thanks for the explanation. I'm fairly sure I understand the circuit and how things need to be connected now, but I'm just getting incredibly frustrated trying to actually build it.

Callahan09 -

A couple of things that you wrote suggests that you're not using the correct tools. First off, yes, sometimes you do need three hands to make a good solder joint, and unless you're working on your car, vice grips aren't appropriate when soldering electronic components. And if your soldering iron tip is constantly getting oxidized, your iron is too hot, and may be too large for what you're working on. I'm still using solder that I've had for 40 years or more and there's nothing wrong with it so it's not that your solder is getting old. Are you using rosin core tin-lead solder? If you were up to date when you bought your solder ten years ago, you may have bought lead-free solder. It's much harder to work with than solder with lead in it.

You should have a temperature controlled iron with a small tip. It doesn't have to be expensive (some "soldering stations" cost $100 or more, but a $10 unregulated soldering iron or your grandfather's Weller solder gun won't make your job easier. Here's are a couple of examples for under $35 that will get you on the right path:

[Linked Image from circuitspecialists.com]

[Linked Image from circuitspecialists.com]

These are from Circuit Specialists, a company that specializes in tools and test equipment for electronics work.

Check out this "third hand"

[Linked Image from circuitspecialists.com]

And a small roll of solder will get you through a dozen transient tamers, and a half-pound roll will last you a lifetime.

Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3045045 05/20/20 11:56 PM
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Great recommendations, Mike! Thanks!!

Re: Transient tamer
Mike Rivers #3045051 05/21/20 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
A couple of things that you wrote suggests that you're not using the correct tools...

Thank you for your response, Mike, the more I learn the more likely it is that I'll someday be able to complete this project successfully, so it's much appreciated that you took the time to read my rant and help me out smile

I have two spools of solder and both are unlabeled. I went back and found my old order slip from when I bought them years ago, and one of them was a 10g spool of 63/37 tin leaded solder, the other was a 15g spool was lead-free. I was using the smaller spool before, so I assume I was using the leaded one, but I'm not 100% sure, so perhaps I should go ahead and buy some new solder anyway. Does "flux-core" solder work even easier, or should I just stick with normal 60/40-ish leaded solder?

As far as the soldering iron goes, it was a $10 iron with a pretty fat tip, 30W, no temperature regulation. Also kind of unwieldy because it just has a plug on the end that has to go directly to mains, and that stiff cord sort of restricts motion. It also has a very unsturdy, light-weight base that is prone to tipping over or being pulled across my work area from the tension on the power cord alone. I was thinking of ordering this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZK55NYC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_4?smid=A7LMAL3UOCLC7&psc=1

It will get here fast because, is reasonably priced, has good reviews... It looks to have a pretty heavy base that should make working with it pretty easy, and it has temperature controls, as well as a pretty fine looking point on the tip. What do you think of that one, is that the right tool for this job?

I am also going to get one of those "third hands" soldering station things, that is exactly what I need!

My next question is about the actual build, I don't think it was addressed before, so I'm still not sure how to do it, but how do I connect a single lead from the LED to both the input & outpack jacks at once? Basically connecting one thing to two other different things... Am I misunderstanding how the connections in the circuit can all be made without having to do that, or if not, then is that kind of connection actually soldered, as I haven't been able to figure it out yet...

Edit: Oh yes, and I was wondering, you said my soldering iron might be getting too hot, I was wondering if you might know the ideal temperature to set a temperature-controlled one to for this job?

Last edited by callahan09; 05/21/20 12:43 AM.
Re: Transient tamer
callahan09 #3045145 05/21/20 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by callahan09
I have two spools of solder and both are unlabeled. I went back and found my old order slip from when I bought them years ago, and one of them was a 10g spool of 63/37 tin leaded solder, the other was a 15g spool was lead-free. Does "flux-core" solder work even easier, or should I just stick with normal 60/40-ish leaded solder?
Flux core and 63/37 mean two different things. The two numbers are the ratio of tin to lead in the solder. You definitely want flux core solder. It's the flux that makes the solder flow from one piece to another.

I've never heard of the brand of that iron from Amazon but there are so many. It looks like it should be OK. You'll want to use a temperature of around 350C.

Quote
how do I connect a single lead from the LED to both the input & outpack jacks at once?

Connect a wire between the terminals of the two jacks that you want to connect the LED to Then solder the LED to either end of that wire. Looks just like the schematic, sort of.

Re: Transient tamer
Mike Rivers #3045153 05/21/20 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Connect a wire between the terminals of the two jacks that you want to connect the LED to Then solder the LED to either end of that wire. Looks just like the schematic, sort of.

Thanks again for the advice.

I think I'm starting to be able to picture what it should look like and how the connections are made... Would this be a good way to do it?:

Connect a wire from input positive to output positive.
Connect a wire from input ground to output ground.
Connect one LED to the input jack, with its positive lead going to the input's ground post, and negative lead going to the input's positive post.
Connect the other LED to the output jack, but reversed, so its positive lead is going to the output's positive post, and the negative lead is going to the output's ground post.
Finally, connect a wire from the output jack's ground post to the metal chassis itself to ground the whole circuit.

I don't know why I couldn't think of it like that before, but it seems like all the necessary connections would be made that way, and I don't have to actually connect the LEDs to each other, which should be much easier to pull off, right? Or would this not work because the other of the components isn't correct? I have a hard time grasping how electricity actually flows through a circuit and how the order of the components matters (or not?), so any confirmation would be great. As far as the LEDs being reversed directions from each other goes, I'm not sure if it matters which one is "backwards", the one connected to output, or the one connected to input? The schematic kind of looks like the backwards one should connect to the input jack, but maybe it doesn't matter, as long as one of them is backwards and the other is forwards?

The other thing I wanted to know was would it be wise to buy some stranded wire, so that I can wrap the strands around the connection points so it holds together well, maybe making soldering easier? Or is the purpose of stranded wire something else and it wouldn't actually be easier or better to use stranded wire for this application?

Thanks again.

Last edited by callahan09; 05/21/20 03:13 PM.
Re: Transient tamer
jacotzen #3045182 05/21/20 05:29 PM
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Yes - your last order should work. I would personally attach the ground wire as third step, before adding either LED (they are the smallest and most heat sensitive part, so get the heavy stuff done first.
Depending on where you are in the world, lead-free solder may be unavailable today. This all got started when the EU made it law that all electronic equipment, except aviation, military, and medical had to be lead-free. (note the irony: those three categories MUST work, everything else the working is secondary to the lead free). Manufacturers not EU based didn't want to build two different versions of each product, so they went lead free.

You might be able to file the tip down to get rid of the oxide (at least on one side) then "tin" it by applying solder till it is coated again, and that should look a bit shiny; on the existing iron. If you expect to continue building projects, invest in a temperature controlled iron. I still have a decades old Weller high-power solder gun, but it is totally unsuited for modern electronics, too hot, too big, and has to be heated up each connection. My primary iron is a Weller temperature controlled variable temp that I purchased decades ago. Don't do as much soldering as I used to, and the tip is probably 25 years old now.

Solder: Make SURE that the solder is rosin flux instead of acid flux. Acid is only usable in things like plumbing copper lines, which are no longer in favor in many parts of the world.

The jacks should have terminals with a hole in them. You run the wire through the hole, and use needle-nosed pliers to bend it around. This way, it doesn't fall out before soldering, and you have a good basis connection for the older

My order of things for your project: Get the box, drill the holes for the jacks in the box with a little extra space between the jacks, run the hot wire, the ground side wire, and the ground to box. They only need to be 60 to 100 cm long for something like this, solid wire would be easiest, but not required. Even uninsulated wire on this short run inside a metal box is OK. After all that is soldered, quickly solder in one LED to the input jack using the existing solder pad where you soldered the wires, then the other LED (reversed polarity) to the output jack. Techs call that "tacking" the diode in place. Inspect the job. If OK, then put the lid on the box and use it.


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Re: Transient tamer
MoodyBluesKeys #3045189 05/21/20 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MoodyBluesKeys
Yes - your last order should work...

Thank you so much for your detailed explanation of everything, this all is starting to make a lot more sense to me now! I will be ordering a new soldering iron and some new solder today and hopefully later next week I'll have everything and be able to get this put together.

Re: Transient tamer
callahan09 #3045217 05/21/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by callahan09
I think I'm starting to be able to picture what it should look like and how the connections are made... Would this be a good way to do it?:


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Quote
Connect a wire from input positive to output positive.
Connect a wire from input ground to output ground.
Connect one LED to the input jack, with its positive lead going to the input's ground post, and negative lead going to the input's positive post.
Connect the other LED to the output jack, but reversed, so its positive lead is going to the output's positive post, and the negative lead is going to the output's ground post.
Finally, connect a wire from the output jack's ground post to the metal chassis itself to ground the whole circuit.

Yes, that will work. If you're using a metal box, the jack's ground terminal is mechanically connected to the box, so you already have ground connected to ground, and that's connected to the box. But you can put a wire between the jacks' ground terminal anyway.

Quote
I don't know why I couldn't think of it like that before, but it seems like all the necessary connections would be made that way, and I don't have to actually connect the LEDs to each other, which should be much easier to pull off, right? I'm not sure if it matters which one is "backwards", the one connected to output, or the one connected to input?

In this circuit, it doesn't matter which polarity of the diode is connected to which jack as long as the other diode is connected in the opposite polarity. In fact, it doesn't matter which jack is the input and which is the output. You can hook it up either way.

Do you understand the concept of alternating current, where the input signal is positive with respect to ground for part of the cycle, and flips over to be negative for the other part of the cycle? The current flows through a diode in only one direction, the direction of the arrow. So during half of the cycle one conducts (and hence attenuates the transient), and the other diode does exactly the same thing for the other half of the cycle.

Quote
The other thing I wanted to know was would it be wise to buy some stranded wire, so that I can wrap the strands around the connection points so it holds together well, maybe making soldering easier?

For a simple point-to-point project like this, solid wire would probably be easier to work with, because you can form it into a hook, hook it through the hole in the jack terminal, and crimp it so that it stays in place by itself. That will make your soldering much easier.

This video shows how your connection and solder job should look.


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Re: Transient tamer
Mike Rivers #3045246 05/22/20 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
If you're using a metal box, the jack's ground terminal is mechanically connected to the box, so you already have ground connected to ground, and that's connected to the box. But you can put a wire between the jacks' ground terminal anyway.

Oh wow, that's really convenient! So by screwing the jack into the hole I'm going to drill in my metal box, it will already be grounded, therefore no "wire to ground" is necessary. Thanks for informing me about that. Out of curiosity, what would happen if the circuit was NOT grounded? Would it potentially damage anything, or would it just not pass the signal along through the output jack?

Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
In fact, it doesn't matter which jack is the input and which is the output. You can hook it up either way.

So just to be clear, what you're saying is that I could plug my guitar into either jack once the pedal is finished, and whichever one I plug into, that'll be the input jack? Then the other one, going out to my audio interface, that'd be the output jack. It doesn't actually matter which jack I use when I plug in? OR, are you just saying it doesn't matter which jack I decide to make the input jack, but once the circuit is built, one of them is definitely the input jack and the other is always supposed to be the output? Sorry for my confusion...

And thank you again for all the tips and info you've provided! I get more and more confident that I understand what to do and how this all works the more you all here have responded to me, so I deeply and truly appreciate that you've been patient with me and helped me through all of this!

Re: Transient tamer
callahan09 #3045314 05/22/20 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by callahan09
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
If you're using a metal box, the jack's ground terminal is mechanically connected to the box, so you already have ground connected to ground, and that's connected to the box. But you can put a wire between the jacks' ground terminal anyway.

Oh wow, that's really convenient! So by screwing the jack into the hole I'm going to drill in my metal box, it will already be grounded, therefore no "wire to ground" is necessary. Thanks for informing me about that. Out of curiosity, what would happen if the circuit was NOT grounded? Would it potentially damage anything, or would it just not pass the signal along through the output jack?

There are phone jacks that have the ground (shield) terminal isolated from the metal mounting bushing, but if you're using the more conventional kind like the one shown in the soldering video, then you're OK in using the metal chassis for the "ground" connection. If you had isolated jacks and didn't connect their shield terminals together, then you wouldn't have a complete circuit and it wouldn't work. Nothing would be damaged, however, except maybe your pride.

Quote
So just to be clear, what you're saying is that I could plug my guitar into either jack once the pedal is finished, and whichever one I plug into, that'll be the input jack? Then the other one, going out to my audio interface, that'd be the output jack. It doesn't actually matter which jack I use when I plug in?

That's correct for this particular circuit, because it's symmetrical as far as signal flow goes. If you were to be building, say, an amplifier, that would have definite input and output connections and it won't work if they're reversed.

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