Ethos - TLE Overdrive

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Ethos - TLE Overdrive

Postby truthseeker57 » 18 Nov 2010, 18:24

Hi all....I wondered whether the Ethos Overdrive has piqued anyone's interest sufficiently for anyone to pull one apart and see what makes it tick? If not, why not? Is it that much more complicated a project than a Tim, for example? I don't really know where to go for this information - a search on Google comes up with very little other than the Custom Sounds own website and the already mentioned e-Bay adverts...
The reason I find this overdrive so interesting as a player is the fact that it has two discrete channels, and the claim that the clean channel has a quality to it that makes it usable for recording without needing any other PC interface. I don't really see much else which could compete with the range of features this pedal offers.
Thanks in advance for any info... :)

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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby tomtom » 18 Nov 2010, 18:39

Well, some friends buy it and were disapointed. The clean is flat and liveless and the drive too buzzy/fuzzy.

You could find one and try but I would consider the Menatone Howie, far better sounding IMO.

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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby culturejam » 18 Nov 2010, 18:59

truthseeker57 wrote:If not, why not?

It's expensive and there is a 1-year wait list.

There are still a handful of pedals possessed by the Tracers' Fund that need to be sold. Once that happens, maybe we can buy an Ethos and rip it apart. :)

Attached is a pic so that this thread is no longer just a request and can stay in this forum. Please note the rules about posting requests in this forum. Thanks.

///
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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby truthseeker57 » 18 Nov 2010, 21:58

tomtom wrote:Well, some friends buy it and were disapointed. The clean is flat and liveless and the drive too buzzy/fuzzy.

You could find one and try but I would consider the Menatone Howie, far better sounding IMO.

Tom


Thank you Tom, I've been judging the sound quality from several Youtube clips, some of which are excellent. It is the Dumble sound I am after though.....I've never tried a Howie, does it also have two discrete switchable channels? Although I've read good things about it, the problem is that living in Spain it isn't easy to access these kind of pedals, and once custom duties have been paid it winds up being far too expensive - I have an Exotic BB+ and various other stuff that just doesn't do it for me, so I started looking around for the type of pedal that would provide that sort of sound. The problem is that the Tim and pretty much all the other demos on Youtube all sound the same. I recently bought a Lovepedal Eternity Burst which I paid a lot for on eBay, and although it sounded great combined with other pedals it really doesn't produce enough overdrive on its own - it sounds great combined with my Xotic RC Booster, but I mostly play Jazz and Fusion, so I don't need OTT distortion. What I need is an excellent warm articulate clean sound and a Carltonesque overdriven sound.
The fact that the Ethos is not a stomp box per se, but rather a preamp with two discrete channels and a separate boost plus a speaker simulator is what makes it so interesting for me, because for example I am presenly traveling in South America, with the Ethos I could pretty much plug into any amp or PA system and be sure of getting a half decent sound at least. It would be a question of one pedal, not several to do the same job. The Ethos is relatively portable and lightweight and runs on 9v batteries - I have little doubt having read quite a lot of posts on this forum that the Ethos is probably based upon other pre-existent designs such as the YATS etc. But this particular configuration seems to me to have been really well thought out and any tonal weakness could probably be ironed out on one of these forums :mrgreen:

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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby truthseeker57 » 18 Nov 2010, 22:02

culturejam wrote:
truthseeker57 wrote:If not, why not?

It's expensive and there is a 1-year wait list.

There are still a handful of pedals possessed by the Tracers' Fund that need to be sold. Once that happens, maybe we can buy an Ethos and rip it apart. :)

Attached is a pic so that this thread is no longer just a request and can stay in this forum. Please note the rules about posting requests in this forum. Thanks.

///


Thank you....which pedals are on sale by the way, and how much are they? Apologies if there was an infraction of the forum rules - to be honest I only skimmed them :oops:
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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby culturejam » 19 Nov 2010, 00:13

truthseeker57 wrote:Apologies if there was an infraction of the forum rules - to be honest I only skimmed them :oops:

No biggie. Nobody reads the rules. :lol:

Check out the sticky post in this forum titled "DO NOT post requests in this forum. Pretty please." :thumbsup
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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby ambusch » 29 Nov 2010, 21:23

I'm also interested in this. I posted in the request section about this quite a few months ago. I guess there wasn't enough interest and it was removed a few weeks later. But just thought I'd let you know you aren't alone in wanting to figure out how this one works. If I had to guess it probably uses discrete components and is not too far off a Howie or the ROG project. I wonder what type of speaker simulator it uses though.

Is there anyway to start a tracers fund for this project? I would like to donate but don't really know how :oops:
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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby truthseeker57 » 29 Nov 2010, 21:36

ambusch wrote:I'm also interested in this. I posted in the request section about this quite a few months ago. I guess there wasn't enough interest and it was removed a few weeks later. But just thought I'd let you know you aren't alone in wanting to figure out how this one works. If I had to guess it probably uses discrete components and is not too far off a Howie or the ROG project. I wonder what type of speaker simulator it uses though.

Is there anyway to start a tracers fund for this project? I would like to donate but don't really know how :oops:


Hi, I just decided to purchase a used Menatone Howie after reading up on the limited information available. What I gleaned however is that it seems to be the only other pedal aside from the Ethos which emulates both channels of the Dumble amplifier, and it does so using MosFET gain staging. Once it arrives and I have a chance to evaluate it I will probably post here because there seems to be so little information available about this pedal. The amp simulation is an interesting subject, and there are many more bells and whistles on the Ethos, but I am banking on being able to achieve much the same with the Howie, because it is apparently a solid state duplication of the entire Dumble circuitry. I don't know how good the Howie clones are, but I found it difficult to find any at short notice, which is why I jumped on this used one.....let's keep in touch and see where this takes us :hug:
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Re: ETHOS TLE OVERDRIVE CLONE ANYONE?

Postby RnFR » 29 Nov 2010, 23:45

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Ethos - TLE Overdrive thread - resurrected

Postby truthseeker57 » 09 Nov 2011, 05:15

I thought I would dig up this post again and try and revive it. Basically the Howie experiment turned out to be a massive failure, as the one I purchased obviously was never working properly. It sounded really horrible, and I had to use it as my only effect during a 7 month stay in Bolivia. Hence the length of time that has passed before returning to this thread.
I pulled the pedal apart and started to try tweaking some of the pots inside the unit, but found myself totally out of my depth, as they all interact with one another, and although I managed to increase the gain considerably, a great deal of unwanted noise also resulted. When tweaked so as to produce the least amount of noise there was insufficient gain on either channel. Tweaking the tone made me aware of the downside of this pedal's design, as I could really not find anything agreeable to my ears.

I might add that since then I decided finally to spring for a used Ethos TLE, but have not been able to get at the innards to photograph them and put the shots up here.
What I can say however is that the sound is absolutely stunning, although there is probably insufficient gain on either channel to make it as versatile as I would expect after having shelled out that much money on such a unit.
What others have said about the clean channel is true, it has a very pure crystalline and warm tone and really makes my RC Booster obsolete. I used to leave it on all the time, but now I find it actually lessens the tonal range of the Ethos, as I always used it for additional bass.
However there is something else that I find with the Ethos...
Because I tend to only use the clean channel set up for a very clean jazz or bluesy tone, I am finding myself lacking what the clean channel should be producing - a very mild overdrive. Even with the gain up full there is still insufficient gain, which might also be down to my Telecaster pickups, but even with the front humbucker (Fat Tele) there is still not enough drive.
The dirty channel also has less gain than I expected, although it cleans up perfectly well with the guitar's volume control, I actually find myself needing a little more gain.
So I am looking for a pedal that can produce the same sort of gain as a Zendrive to goose the Ethos, and the B channel of my Exotic BB+ does that pretty well, but I would like to find another pedal so I could sell the BB+ along with my Lovepedal Burst, in order to recoup some of the outlay I had to spend on the Ethos TLE.
So I am currently looking into the possibility of buying a Joyo Ultimate Drive, and having someone mod it for the right tonal quality. I was also searching here in order to see what the Joyo has in common with pedals such as the Wampler Ecstacy and the Paisley Drive and the Tim, as I really love the sound they produce. I was thinking that at the price the Joyos sell at, I could use the pedal as the basis for a project for a pedal with the best qualities of various designs.
The Ethos seems to combine very well with other pedals, and my feeling is that it would work well with a Zendrive clone or something similar.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Ethos - TLE Overdrive thread - resurrected

Postby culturejam » 09 Nov 2011, 13:34

truthseeker57 wrote:I might add that since then I decided finally to spring for a used Ethos TLE, but have not been able to get at the innards to photograph them and put the shots up here.

Is there something preventing you access to the guts, or have you just not had the time?
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Re: Ethos - TLE Overdrive thread - resurrected

Postby truthseeker57 » 09 Nov 2011, 16:49

culturejam wrote:Is there something preventing you access to the guts, or have you just not had the time?


What is preventing me is the fact that I have already seen gut shots of the Ethos opened up, but the person who did so gave up, as what we need to see is on the other side of the pcb, and having spent this much on a pedal I am not about to risk screwing it up, because it would mean total disassembly to get at the other side of the pcbs, and I am simply not in any way qualified for the job or to take such risks. Additionally I bought the Ethos in order to use it, and really need it. Not only that, but the person who actually got as far as opening up the Ethos to get at the pcb said that the components were covered in goop, thus preventing access to the circuit board design. This is nothing new in the world of boutique pedals as I am sure everyone here is aware.
This also explains why no-one seems to have got any further in the goal of cloning the pedal.

That said, I am in touch with a local electronics tech who I am sure is more than capable of the task. But until I get to know him and know whether he is to be trusted or not there is no way I will even mention that I have the Ethos.
Actually my intention is to get him to mod a Joyo Ultimate drive which I am going to buy cheaply on eBay. That way I can see what the quality of his work is like, and although it sounds ridiculous, also compare it with the Ethos, as the Alpha Drive has been compared with it on several occasions, and we now now that the Alpha is just a repainted and gooped Joyo, so perhaps it is not quite as ridiculous a comparison as one might think.
If the mod fails to convince me, then we could just use the pedal as the basis for another clone, such as a Zendrive, Wampler Ecstacy, Tim etc.

Sorry I cannot commit myself further at this point, I am sure that you will understand if you can imagine having waited as long as I had to to finally get my hands on an Ethos, and having had to pay more than the factory selling price for it used. I also had the first one I purchased stolen before it even reached me, so there is a significant investment for me in this pedal that I am not about to put in jeopardy without having a great deal of faith in the tech who is going to do pull it apart.

I'll keep you posted though....
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Re: Ethos - TLE Overdrive

Postby candletears7 » 14 Nov 2011, 12:57

Someone nicked your first Ethos? That sucks, man.
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Re: Ethos - TLE Overdrive

Postby truthseeker57 » 16 Nov 2011, 19:54

candletears7 wrote:Someone nicked your first Ethos? That sucks, man.


Yes.....believe it or not, I was in South America. I won a bid from the USA, and had someone ship it over from Miami together with other processing gear I had ordered. According to him it was stolen from the van in transit. He ended up repaying me a proportion of what went missing, but I had already had to pay out twice for everything that went missing, and I am still out of pocket. I count myself lucky that he even paid me what he did, under significant duress, I might add....
This is why I am so reticent about doing anything to the Ethos that might deprive me of it yet again. What I don't believe I mentioned though is the time involved - this has taken almost a year (aside from the time I waited to be able to just about afford the inflated prices they go for on eBay) ! And I only got to actually use the Ethos this month, as when we returned from South America (to Spain) we had let our house out to tenants during the 7 months we were away, only to find ourselves homeless upon our return, as the tenants refused to move out - that really sucks!!!! That is why we are currently in Barcelona for the next few months at least.
So I am absolutely not prepared to ship the Ethos anywhere. If I can find someone locally who can be trusted, where it would be possible to meet the person face to face, I would be prepared to allow them to strip the Ethos down and photograph the guts and draw the circuits. So if anyone has any contacts in Barcelona Spain, please pm me. I have found a couple of guys who produce mods as I mentioned, from local Spanish guitar forums. But not knowing them from Adam, I am not about to let them pull the Ethos apart any time soon.
I found out also that it makes an awesome combination with the Roland VG-99 - that was a very pleasant surprise. This means that I have the best of both worlds, analogue and digital modeling. Sadly though, I cannot say the same for my Lexican MPX-G2 processor. It should have worked in much the same way, but not for me - it sounded horrible, and I find the VG-99 way more simple to program successfully and quickly for the sounds I hear in my head. I'd like to see someone clone a VG-99 ;D - lol!!!!!! Saying that though, the way things are going, it probably won't be long before we start to see Chinese fakes even of such advanced technology showing up. And when it does, wait and see how they price it!!!!
Later.....
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Custom Tones - Ethos Overdrive (with hi-res gutshots)

Postby phasorman » 17 Feb 2013, 07:37

There are a couple of threads on the Ethos Overdrive on FSB already, but most of them consist largely of people talking about how they wished that there were more details about the internals of the Ethos Overdrive available. I purchased one for the express purpose of trying to figure out what makes it tick; hence I thought it would be clearest and cleanest to start a new thread on the guts of the Ethos Overdrive.

First, I'd like to note that if you have dreams of easily building one of these yourself, you will quickly find yourself in a world of disappointment, even if someone eventually figures out the full schematic. There are a lot of parts in this unit and a lot of switches and knobs. The board consist mostly of surface mount parts; I suspect you'd have a difficult time doing a version with through-hole parts that would fit into an enclosure the side of the Hammond 1590DL used by Custom Tones.

Second, I'd like to note that the skill displayed in the design and manufacture of the Ethos Overdrive is top-notch. This is one of the few "boutique" pedals I've seen where the cost feels justified (especially compared with similarly-priced pedals like the Klon Centaur). The PCB -- and, for that matter, the overall unit -- was clearly designed by someone with substantial electronic manufacturing experience.

Let's begin with photos of the front (i.e. the "parts") side and the back of the PCB.
ethos_od_mainpcb_front1_smaller.JPG

ethos_od_mainpcb_back1_smaller.JPG
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Partial parts list for Ethos Overdrive

Postby phasorman » 17 Feb 2013, 07:46

Written on the board: ASSY 80000-0101-01 REV C
Written elsewhere on the board: 9-0, 94V-0, 18-12

Main board, front:

ICs:
U2 (by LED1), U? (by E2 & E3) AD8672A low-noise dual op amp
U? (by C25), U6, U? (by LED4), U? (by E4) C072C -- TL072 type dual op amp

Resistors:
(resistor value comes first, then marking on resistor, then the equivalent actual resistance)

R?? (not sure -- just next to VR2) 000 "0 ohm jumper"
R?? (not sure -- under errant goop splatter, between VR6 and R52) 102 1K

R1 1004 1M
R2 1004 1M
R3 102 1K
R4 471 470R
R4A 332 3.3K
R5 472 4.7K
R6 103 10K
R7 103 10K
R8 302 3K
R9 202 2K

R10 201 200R
R11 103 10K
R12 471 470R
R13 102 1K
R14 202 2K
R15 201 200R
R16 103 10K
R17 471 470R

R39 332 3.3K
R39A 102 1K
R39B 471 470R
R39C 473 47K

R40 is marked on the board but doesn't seem to exist...
R41 221 220R
R42 332 3.3K
R43 221 220R
R44 222 2.2K
R45 103 10K
R46 1004 1M
R47 102 1K
R48 221 220R
R49 393 39K

R50 683 68K
R51 1004 1M
R52 102 1K
R5? (? has a round top, maybe a 3?) 102 1K
R54 102 1K
R55 472 4.7K
R55B 473 47K
R56 103 10K
R57 102 1K
R58 (marking is under electrolytic cap) 1003 100K (hard to tell)

R60 392 3.9K
R61 1003 100K
R62 563 56K
R63 392 3.9K
R64 102 1K
R65 473 47K
R66 103 10K
R67 472 4.7K
R68 472 4.7K
R69 103 10K

R70 102 1K
R71 472 4.7K
R72 102 1K
R73 683 68K
R74 823 82K
R75 1003 100K
R76 102 1K
R77 472 4.7K
R78 472 4.7K
R79 472 4.7K

R100 181 180R (larger than the other resistors, presumably can handle more power)

SMD caps:
C?? (next to LED4) 2.2u 35v
C6 4.7u 35v
C9 2.2u 35v
C22 4.7u 35v
C19 2.2u 35v
...and lots of tiny SMD caps with no markings

Electrolytic through-hole caps:
C?? (next to VR7) marked YAGEO 11/10, not sure what that is, but presume 22u 35v based on other caps
C?? (next to VR10) marked YAGEO 11/10, not sure what that is, but presume 22u 35v based on other caps
C25 22u 35v

Diodes:
D1, D2 T4Y6 (1N4148 I think)
D24 1N?001 (larger diode, probably a 1N4001)

LEDs:
LED1 red (crunch channel light)
LED2 green (clean channel light)
LED3 red (boost light)
LED4 yellow (active light)

Pots:
VR1 20KD (crunch gain)
VR2 5KB (crunch treble)
VR3 5KD (crunch middle)
VR4 10KD (crunch bass)
VR5 20KB (crunch presence)
VR6 20KD (crunch volume)
VR7 20KD (clean gain)
VR8 5KB (clean treble)
VR9 5KD (clean middle)
VR10 10KD (clean bass)
VR11 20KB clean presence)

External connections:
E17 (red), E18 (black) -- 9V battery clip
E1 (tip), E2 (ground), E3 -- audio input jack
E4, E5 (wiper) -- HC potentiometer (A50K)
E6 (top 1), E7 (common 1), E8 (bottom 1), E9 (common 2), E10 (top 2) -- GAC DPDT switch (the "top" and "bottom" are just ways of locating lugs on the switch -- I lost track of which is actually "top" and "bottom" relative to the unit, i.e. I lost track of which is up and which is down)
E15 (ground), E16 (tip) -- main audio output jack
E13 (tip), E14 (ground) -- speaker sim output jack
E11, E12, E29 -- external power supply jack
E21 (connects to right lug of crunch volume pot), E23 (connects to the positive rail that powers the op amps), E25 (connects through R10 to left leg of crunch bass pot), E27 (connects to ground) -- connections from main board to gooped board

-------------------------------------------

Main board, back:
Flying 330R resistor from back of PCB to the TLE/classic switch
C2, C56 470u 35v
C26, C62, C64 22u 35v (marked YAGEO 11/10)
C?? (not sure, next to ribbon connector to double-button board) 22u 35v (marked YAGEO 11/10)

Gooped board, back:
C36, C37 22u 35v (marked YAGEO 11/10)

-------------------------------------------

Crunch channel switches:
S1 SPDT (Brite), S2 DPDT (Modern/Classic), S3 DPDT (Rock/Jazz)
Ribbon connector connects F1B (presumably) row on crunch channel switch board to F1A row on main board

Clean channel switches:
S4 SPDT (Brite), S5 DPDT (Modern/Classic), S6 DPDT (Rock/Jazz)
Ribbon connector connects F2B row on clean channel switch board to F2A row on main board

Single-button board:
S8 (presumably) 3PDT (Channel Select)
Ribbon connector connects F3B row on single-button board to F3A row on main board

Double-button board:
S9 3PDT (Boost), S10 3PDT (Active)
Ribbon connector connects F4B row on single-button board to F4A row on main board
Double-button board has a floating electrolytic cap on the back; not sure of value

-------------------------------------------

Additional note: 0.022u (marked as 223K C?05 (not sure) 50V ABAK 1101) yellow box through hole cap connects E19 on main board with E20 on gooped board

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Gooped section of the Ethos Overdrive

Postby phasorman » 17 Feb 2013, 08:02

Since the board uses surface mount parts, you cannot guess the parts count on the gooped section by looking at the back alone; there may be traces on the front hooking to various parts on the front without showing any evidence on the back.

I don't have a feel for whether there's some extra-clever circuit under this goop section, or if the designer just picked a random part of the circuit to goop up.

There's five connections to the gooped section from the main PCB:

* Through a yellow box 0.022u cap.
* E21: Right lug of crunch volume pot
* E23: The same positive rail voltage used to power the op amps on the main board.
* E25: Through R10 (a 200 ohm resistor) to the left leg of the crunch bass pot.
* E27: Ground.

Here's close-ups of the front and back of the gooped board. Not that the front shot is of much use...

ethos_od_gooped_back_smaller.JPG

ethos_od_gooped_front_smaller.JPG
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Additional front and back PCB shots

Postby phasorman » 17 Feb 2013, 08:30

I moved the light around and took some additional shots -- hopefully something in shadow or in glare in one shot isn't in shadow or glare in another shot.
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Button switch boards & TLE switch

Postby phasorman » 17 Feb 2013, 09:05

Here are front and back shots of the little boards that hold the channel select button (which I'm calling the single-button board) and the boost and active buttons (which I'm calling the double-button board), along with a shot showing the TLE switch.
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Ethos Overdrive SMD cap measurements

Postby phasorman » 04 Mar 2013, 05:52

These were taken *in circuit* with a DMM, and hence should be taken with a grain of salt.

The tone stacks have several places where two caps are in parallel; hence I give just one number for each parallel combination.

Once I get some schematics up, maybe someone more knowledgable than me can make some educated guesses about the actual capacitor values.

C1 21.6 nFC3 || C4 = 0.02 uF
C5 || C6 = 5.4 uF
C6 marked 4.7 uF
C7 || C8 = 0.472 uF
C9 || C10 = 2.45 uF
C9 marked 2.2 uF

C11 0.1 uF
C12 0.210 uF
C13 12.31 uF
C15 || C16 = 2.75 uF
C17 || C18 = 0.484 uF
C19 4.3 uF (marked 2.2 uF)
C19 || C20 = 6.98 uF

C19 marked 2.2 u
C21 || C22 = 7.64 uF
C22 marked 4.7 uF
C23 -- can't get a solid measurement
C24 0.206 uF
C25 12.21 nF

C38 0.7 to 0.8 nF
C39 4.5 nF

C40 0.22 uF
C41 0.02 uF
C42 0.01 uF
C44 0.22 uF
C45 0.006 uF
C46 0.02 uF
C47 0.328 uF
C48 0.347 uF
C49 0.293 uF

C50 0.02 uF
C51 1.79 uF
C52 -- can't get a solid measurement
C54 -- can't get a solid measurement
C5? smudge by VR11 and R5, in feedback loop of initial buffer op amp -- can't get a solid measurement
C57 0.514 miniF
C58 0.520 miniF

C57 and C58 are local power supply bypass capacitors for U2 (not of the other chips have a local bypass like this), and hence are in parallel with the giant 470 uF bypass caps on the back of the PCB. I suspect C57 and C58 are hence around 0.05 uF.

yellow box cap going from main board to gooped board 0.08 uF

For this message the author phasorman has received thanks:
modman (12 Nov 2016, 16:38)
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