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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Best Faux Reverb Tank

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LHR wrote:

I have been toying with the idea of getting one of those FET boards and wiring it into a project box that I can screw into the side of my Twin Reverb. I can use the existing reverb pan. I was thinking that this might be cool for practices or if my tube reverb takes a crap on me at a gig (which has happened a few times, actually.) This def sounds better than a pedal.

I was thinking something similar. For touring musicians, put one of these FET boards in a pedal enclosure, with a stompswitch. If your tube tank craps out on the road, just connect this stompbox to its pan with RCA cables -- instant emergency reverb driver.

Björn (the creator of the FET board) is a member here.

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

JObeast wrote:

I dunno... 'real deal' – a 'reissue'? Does the Fender name plate make it more authentic than a comparably priced, hand-wired Texotic? I bet there is a lot less profit made by the latter... and it is actually the real deal, fully comparable to an original Fender Reverb in build and sound. Not that I'm partial to any one brand, but if we are going to be elitist about it, I would say build (P2P) is more relevant than logo.

Did I say anything about the brand? We're talking 6G15, not brand. And yes, a reissue unit can sound better than a vintage one. Take a RI unit, swap the pan, put in a 6K6 and change C10 and you're off to surf heaven. And no, I haven't heard a pedal that sounds better than a good 6G15.

JObeast wrote:

I agree with Max – work with what you got, and don't worry if it's correct. I get a 'signature' sound from a Greco LP Std. copy & Gibson Reverb III and Gibson Ranger– not for surf but for other music that I don't know what to call – exotica (but not tiki)?

I think K1121 is looking for a surf sound, as this place is called 'surfguitar101' and not 'signaturesound101' or 'closebutnobanana101'.
Sorry, Jo. But simply assuming that I would break it down to Fender units by pointing him to a FS thread where he could lay his hands on a 'real deal' that's not much more expensive than a pedal is really not okay. Please ask before posting...don't put words in my mouth.

Oh and to get back on track: Flint, FRV-1 and the Topanga are all equally good sounding units, IMO. The audience won't notice a difference anyway.

The Hicadoolas

Last edited: May 07, 2014 01:23:04

Wow, sorry Sancho, didn't mean to put words in your mouth. Just wanted to share link to other aspect of discussion – the two threads might really be one discussion.
I agree that a spring unit probably outperforms digital ones. I think the preamp and circuit are arguable, and eventually something along the lnes of that MOSFET board will be able to 'pass'. I like the savings it presents, and portability. Tube Screamers, etc. have been in use for what, 40 years now? And they are designed to emulate the sound of overdriven tubes... seems a hybrid unit with FETs and a spring pan would be the affordable solution.
The purist in me would seek a Texotic, et.al before the Fender 'Reissue' as the latter is pcb pretending to be 'authentic reproduction' sort of. That rankles. A tank that is proud to be FET would be preferable, esp. if it cost $300 less.
Again, I apologize for appearing to put words in your mouth. Not my intention.

SanchoPansen wrote:

JObeast wrote:

I dunno... 'real deal' – a 'reissue'? Does the Fender name plate make it more authentic than a comparably priced, hand-wired Texotic? I bet there is a lot less profit made by the latter... and it is actually the real deal, fully comparable to an original Fender Reverb in build and sound. Not that I'm partial to any one brand, but if we are going to be elitist about it, I would say build (P2P) is more relevant than logo.

Did I say anything about the brand? We're talking 6G15, not brand. And yes, a reissue unit can sound better than a vintage one. Take a RI unit, swap the pan, put in a 6K6 and change C10 and you're off to surf heaven. And no, I haven't heard a pedal that sounds better than a good 6G15.

JObeast wrote:

I agree with Max – work with what you got, and don't worry if it's correct. I get a 'signature' sound from a Greco LP Std. copy & Gibson Reverb III and Gibson Ranger– not for surf but for other music that I don't know what to call – exotica (but not tiki)?

I think K1121 is looking for a surf sound, as this place is called 'surfguitar101' and not 'signaturesound101' or 'closebutnobanana101'.
Sorry, Jo. But simply assuming that I would break it down to Fender units by pointing him to a FS thread where he could lay his hands on a 'real deal' that's not much more expensive than a pedal is really not okay. Please ask before posting...don't put words in my mouth.

Oh and to get back on track: Flint, FRV-1 and the Topanga are all equally good sounding units, IMO. The audience won't notice a difference anyway.

Squink Out!

I'm more of an echo junkie than reverb aficionado, but I bought the assembled Surfy Bear FET reverb PCB last year to see how it worked and how much different it sounded than my Fender RI reverb.

image

I've used it with three different pans. A 1960s vintage pan from a Fender tank, TAD and a MOD pan. All three bring their own slight variations to the sound.

Reverb wise, it does sound very much like my RI tank, but a little more sterile and driven. None the less, it's got truer reverb than any pedal I own Digitech RV7, VerbZilla, and EHX Cathedral. As the Mix and Dwell increase you get the minor volume drop that I get in my RI reverb.

On the odd side, the controls work very strange. Turning the tone control down to 0 effectively removes almost, if not all, of reverb in the output. It does work as a tone control, but the reverb is history. Turning the Mix control lower than "1" causes a nasty hum to magically appear at the output. The dwell feels like it has a narrow working range (5-7 work best).

Running it at the tradional 6/6/6 gives the best sound output.

If you get the assembled board as I did, it will probably take longer to drill out an aluminum chassis and label it than it will to solder in the wiring to the PCB.

The FET reverb is a good value if you want a spring reverb sound and DIY appeals to you. Me, I had no intention of replacing the Fender tank, I just wanted to hear what it sounded like and I like DIY stuff.

Mel

Mel, thanks for your description of the Surfy Bear reverb. It's rather odd that the controls work they way they do. I've built several clones and variations of the 6G15 circuit and none of them had problems like this. Even my solid-state version worked like the 'real thing'. The hum is a big clue since there should be none whatsoever thanks to the DC power supply. Maybe something got miswired or there's a bad ground somewhere?

If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

BJB wrote:

Mel, thanks for your description of the Surfy Bear reverb. It's rather odd that the controls work they way they do. I've built several clones and variations of the 6G15 circuit and none of them had problems like this. Even my solid-state version worked like the 'real thing'. The hum is a big clue since there should be none whatsoever thanks to the DC power supply. Maybe something got miswired or there's a bad ground somewhere?

A mistake in the wiring was my initial thought too. But if there is one, darned if I can find it. I've spent a lot of years fixing pedals so a simple wiring mistake should be easy to find. This seems more like a design flaw.

The most critical part in the FET reverb is to match the two FET's for the tank. Surfy does that himself, so I got him to assemble the PCB with the parts on it (I was working on Arduino MIDI controllers and didn't have the time to do it myself).

But I can see why lowering the Tone pot drops the reverb down. It's adding more reistance to the signal coming from the tank FET's. And depending on where the MIX pot is, that looks like it will affect it as well because it's a balance between reverb and dry signal.

If there's a bad ground, which may even be inside the Mix POT then yep, that'd explain it. It's not a gradual hum either. At a special point, the hum (and this sounds more like low frequency pink noise than a hum) starts, tweak the MIX pot up, it stops. Almost like sending a transistor into avalanche.

I did see that Surfy has updated his circuitry though. So I may get back to it one of these days...

Mel

Mel. It's a long shot but it might be worth checking the PSU.

A few of my experiences lately include.

First run of Yamaha THR10 amp faulty PSU introducing buzz into system - recalled.

My friend's Roland HD-1 drum kit faulty PSU causing minor shock through microphones when hooked up to PA - recalled

My ISP recalled my modem PSU for fear of fire risk.

crumble wrote:

Mel. It's a long shot but it might be worth checking the PSU.

A few of my experiences lately include.

First run of Yamaha THR10 amp faulty PSU introducing buzz into system - recalled.

My friend's Roland HD-1 drum kit faulty PSU causing minor shock through microphones when hooked up to PA - recalled

My ISP recalled my modem PSU for fear of fire risk.

It does the same thing with any of the 12VDC wall warts I have and my Tektronix bench power supply. What I haven't done is checked the TP's for the voltages to see if they match the schematic. That's on the list when I get round to it...

Mel

Oh yeah, a bad pot could be causing the problem. Your DMM should pick it up. It's also possible that mistakes were made when the board was assembled, such as the wrong resistor or capacitor being used. I would get a friend check my work and sometimes he'd quickly find errors that my eyeballs couldn't pick up. We are only human.

There shouldn't be a design flaw because the Mixer and Tone circuits are exactly the same as the original Fender circuit. There is one small difference, a 1M resistor (R29) added across the output. It shouldn't make much of a difference but you can remove it if you want to feel better about yourself.

If one of the pots is bad, then you haven't really heard what the circuit sounds like. My experiments showed me that the crude mixer and tone circuit that Fender used is rather terrible, but it is terrible in an interesting way. Once you fix these problems, you might find that it sounds even closer to a real Fender reverb unit. Good luck!

If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

Hi, this is Björn (bear in Swedish) aka SurfyBear Smile

Mel, I am sorry for the problems you are facing, but I don’t think the problems are typical for the FET Reverb! IMHO the circuit can emulate 6G15 in a convincing way.

This is the first time I heard about hum problems that not been solved.
Possibly you got a faulty board or pots.

Can there be a grounding problem?
Is it possible to ground at on point and isolate the in/out, RCAs and power jacks from the chassis?

The controls are wired almost exactly as in 6G15. I did another comparison today using my Fender 6G15 RI to check the controls and they work in a very similar maner.
-With TONE = 0 the treble content of the side chain is attenuated to the point that only a little reverb can be heard.
-With MIX lower than 1, I get a clean, dry signal without hum.
-DWELL is a linear pot just as in 6G15. A bit strange, but I assume the reason is that the DWELL is more of an overdrive control than volume.

Mel, please let me know if you want me to replace the board!!

BJB, the 1meg resistor (R29) is removed in the R3 version of the PCB.

Best Regards
/Björn

surfybear.weebly.com

bjoish wrote:

Hi, this is Björn (bear in Swedish) aka SurfyBear Smile

Mel, I am sorry for the problems you are facing, but I don’t think the problems are typical for the FET Reverb! IMHO the circuit can emulate 6G15 in a convincing way.
Can there be a grounding problem?
Is it possible to ground at on point and isolate the in/out, RCAs and power jacks from the chassis?

Hi Björn,

Not life threatening, been too busy getting our CD published to spend any amount of time with the reverb project.

I spent some time on the bench with the reverb today, checked out the MIX pot and it was fine. Next I checked the parts values, they were right. As a last step I re-soldered the PCB in the areas associated with the MIXER control.

End of problem. Controls all work exactly like they should.

I still notice that it's sounding slightly over driven so I'm going to see if I have a IRF510 in my parts bin to see if that will clean it up somewhat. Apart from the slight distortion, it sounds more like my tank than I thought possible. It also knows all the proper words now because there is no "hum"... Laughing

Any reason why R25 can't be replaced with trim pot? I have scads of those.

Have to get started building the wood box to hold it all next I guess... Big Grin

Mel

Intriguing thread. How do you build the chassis? Are there pre-made ones available? I am wondering how much the total cost of the FET reverb build would be. There is a guy in Fresno that sells cabs on ebay for $119, called 'sorrycharly' (bad name choice: he has 100% + fb). Then there is the cost of covering it, hardware, plus shipping for everything. Can't imagine it's cost-effective but more of a learning experience.

Squink Out!

JObeast wrote:

Intriguing thread. How do you build the chassis? Are there pre-made ones available? I am wondering how much the total cost of the FET reverb build would be. There is a guy in Fresno that sells cabs on ebay for $119, called 'sorrycharly' (bad name choice: he has 100% + fb). Then there is the cost of covering it, hardware, plus shipping for everything. Can't imagine it's cost-effective but more of a learning experience.

Cost wise, saving money is what it's always about. A lot of times, there's no way you can get something without building it yourself. Especially if you're looking for something very specific.

If what you're building is generic, say like a Fuzz pedal, you can probably build it for about a 25 to 50 percent of the cost of a commercial one. But you can't kick the tires on it before you build it. So it may or may not turn out the way you envision.

In the case of the FET reverb, you have a lot of pieces to get a fully working reverb.

Aluminum chassis, pots, jacks, knobs, DC adapter, reverb spring, solder, switch to name some. Depending on if you have a stocked parts bin or not, if you shop around on eBay I'd say once you have the PCB built up, add another $40-$60 for the rest of it.

For the cabinet, I use 3/4 pine, some contact cement and cover it with Tolex (which is the expensive part). Probably in the $30-50 area as well.

As a rough guess for the FET reverb finished, probably between $200 and $250 if you need a lot of parts to finish it. Less if you have some parts.

It's some of the finishing stuff that catches you sometimes. Like say the label. You can silkscreen, spray paint with stick on lettering, print on paper and glue it on or, print on transparent self adhesive media. I normally use Rayven Repro film through a colour laser for my labels. I make the labels the full size of the label area. Repro film in a box of 100 sheets though and isn't cheap.

Because I build a lot of stuff all the time, I tend to buy in quantity. I don't buy one 1/4" jack, I buy a dozen or two. Same with pots, adapters, knobs, components and so on. Thus the initial cost outlay is high, but as I make other projects my well stocked parts bins spread the cost out.

Oh and for the warranty? Well, since you built it you don't have to go very far for that... Laughing

Mel

Mel wrote:

I spent some time on the bench with the reverb today, checked out the MIX pot and it was fine. Next I checked the parts values, they were right. As a last step I re-soldered the PCB in the areas associated with the MIXER control.

End of problem. Controls all work exactly like they should.

I still notice that it's sounding slightly over driven so I'm going to see if I have a IRF510 in my parts bin to see if that will clean it up somewhat. Apart from the slight distortion, it sounds more like my tank than I thought possible. It also knows all the proper words now because there is no "hum"... Laughing

Thats really great Mel! Smile
Probably a bad soldering point then, sorry about that.

Yes, I find that using the IRF510 you will get lower distortion.
I think the distortion with max DWELL will become more like a real 6G15. I have a few sound clips for comparison on the website.
For a R2 board you should also set R9 to 2.2k and R14 to 0ohm, for keeping the same amount of gain.

Any reason why R25 can't be replaced with trim pot? I have scads of those.

Of course you can use a trim pot. I have had some bad experiences with trim pots in the past, so I tend to avoid them Smile

/Björn

surfybear.weebly.com

Last edited: May 10, 2014 02:42:34

Mel wrote:

Cost wise, saving money is what it's always about. A lot of times, there's no way you can get something without building it yourself. Especially if you're looking for something very specific.

You are right Mel. Its about saving money and you do need to spend some time building it. The cost will of course pile up with all the parts needed.

When building something yourself you got a chance to build it exactly as you want it. Like this guy for example.

Another possibility is to add a FET Reverb in the back of a Bassman Combo and a Tweed Deluxe...

/Björn

surfybear.weebly.com

Can someone indicate the correct chassis and where to buy one?

bjoish wrote:

Mel wrote:

Cost wise, saving money is what it's always about. A lot of times, there's no way you can get something without building it yourself. Especially if you're looking for something very specific.

You are right Mel. Its about saving money and you do need to spend some time building it. The cost will of course pile up with all the parts needed.

When building something yourself you got a chance to build it exactly as you want it. Like this guy for example.

Another possibility is to add a FET Reverb in the back of a Bassman Combo and a Tweed Deluxe...

/Björn

Squink Out!

Last edited: May 10, 2014 15:53:19

Mojotone has the correct chassis, it's pre-drilled (but that includes holes for tube sockets). It's not exactly cheap.

Some people use the Hammond 1444 aluminium box -- the dimensions are a bit off, but apparently they're close enough.

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

Canopy wrote:

I discounted the topanga as it's very is pricey over here in the UK for shops that have it, but it did seem like the pick of the bunch if the budget allows.

FWIW some sellers in the USA are willing to mark the value as low if you ask them, then the import fees aren't as much, or it gets through without any being added at all. I bought mine new and I saved about £50 on the UK price. Smile

crumble wrote:

Surfy Bear HAS to be the best budget 6G15 clone out there - no contest..

And now you can buy the board ready made for $68.

It's a no brainer.. I'm sure even Jon Paul would give it the thumbs up!

FET Reverb

New PCB

image

EDIT: Thought this was made in the UK. Nope. Reasonable price though...
No tubes, but still... tempted. Do you have one? How does it sound?

Last edited: May 10, 2014 17:41:06

Snufkino wrote:

image

EDIT: Thought this was made in the UK. Nope. Reasonable price though...
No tubes, but still... tempted. Do you have one? How does it sound?

This prototype was built from pine shelfs from HomeDepot. The chassis is just a 2mm aluminium plate, bent to fit the cab. The front panel artwork is downloadable from the surfybear site. The cab and panel is a little smaller than the original 6G15.

I think the tone is very close to the original. Sound clips here.

surfybear.weebly.com

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