Systech - Harmonic Energizer  [schematic]

Discussion regarding early stompbox technology: 1960-1975 Please keep discussion focused and contribute what info you have...

Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby fuzzca » 24 Jan 2009, 06:44

• EH Frequency Analyzer (killer ring mod, way better than that godawful Jen thing)
• Lovetone Doppelganger, Ring Stinger, Big Cheese, and Flange With No Name
• Very early Z. Vex pedals
• Early Prescription pedals (incl. vomit-tone Experience, Facial Fuzz, COB and a prototype Out Box, which, believe it or not, I think I named)
• Best BBD delay EVAR (WH Aqua-Puss, naturally), plus a bunch of other analog delays
• A complete but fried Klon (thank you, Eastern European voltage!)
• A real unsung beauty: the Ibanez AF210, a compact auto-filter with switchable sweep direction and bandwidth.
• Maestro Rhythm N' Sound (if you don't know, you probably don't WANT to know!)


I'd be interested in the ZVex Octane if you had one! Ibanez AF201, EF Frequency analyzer(Vintage I assume) too.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby Ripdivot » 24 Jan 2009, 07:17

+1 for the Ibanez AF201
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby lolbou » 24 Jan 2009, 13:17



Just have been through it... Damn! You did played with a big quantity of musicians I love (Tom Waits, PJ, Eels and Aimee Mann...)! :D

So we aren't just geeks here!! 8) :lol:
- Are you a mod or a rocker?
- Uh, no, I'm a mocker.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby lohstah » 24 Jan 2009, 13:30

concerning question 3, i´m VERY curious about the doppelganger and (especially) the flanger with no name. to my knowledge, both are not completely unveiled yet, although there are half (or 3/4) finished projects.

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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby moltenmetalburn » 24 Jan 2009, 17:14

• Best BBD delay EVAR (WH Aqua-Puss, naturally), plus a bunch of other analog delays


Hey Joe, thanks for the contributions thus far!

Id love to see a completed project for the aquapuss delay. So much hype surrounding this circuit that I have always longed to hear one, though not at the ridiculous current aftermarket prices.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby Ripdivot » 24 Jan 2009, 17:36

Hi Joe, great to have you here. I don't seem to be able to listen to the audio clips you have posted at http://idisk.mac.com/joegore-Public?view=web. When I click on the link a little window pops up for about 1 second that says "LOADING" but then nothing happens. I would really love to here these audio clips. I am running windows vista. Any ideas?
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 17:50

I'll try to accommodate everyone on the other pedals. Might take a few days — I'm under a monster deadline this week.

A few comments on the devices in question:

1. The Z. Vex Octane has been described to me as a Univox Superfuzz copy. I've never owned a USV, but I just built the seemingly faithful BYOC kit. It's cool, but very, very different from the Octane. (Note — this is the original Octane, not the Octane 2, which has a toggle switch, as does the USV.) Basically, the Octane delivers intense full-wave-rectified fuzz, with the option of all sorts of frying noises if you starve the input. It's a fave. I thought it had been dissected already, but no?

The BYOC kit is really nice, though I'd heard so many people rave about the USV (which someone told me was used on a lot of those old Blur records) that I was a bit disappointed. It has two very distinct fuzz characters. One is super-scooped — so much so, that it's probably the kind of tone that sounds big in the bedroom, but which vanishes in a band context. The other toggle position is the opposite — a super-toothy midrange bite that'll probably cut through anything. It's definitely the star feature.

2. The Ibanez AF201 is super cool. Just your basic auto-filter, but I'm not aware of another small-format filter pedal that includes so many sweep options. (It goes WAY beyond, say, the equivalent Boss and DOD pedals.) Since there were TWO requests, this one will probably go up first.

3. The Aqua-Puss really has a nice quality — it just seems to compress and distort a little more sweetly than other analog delays (and I have a LOT of them). Is Jeorge on this group? I don't know him (even though he's local), but he seems pretty forthcoming about his creations (and sources). BTW, the new BYOC analog delay is killer, though it's an incredibly complex build for a kit. (If you all knew how much I clogged up the BYOC forum trying to get it going, you probably wouldn't let me post here.) I love the Aqua-Puss — but if I didn't have one, I would TOTALLY build this $150 kit rather than pay stupid prices. Like I said, I have a lot of BBD delays, and this kit is extremely competitive!

4. The nice thing about the Lovetone pedals is, their lids pop up! I bought all that stuff direct from Vlad right when it came out, even though it was quite expensive even then. The Big Cheese was a lifesaver — I'd been using a literally broken fuzz pedal in PJ Harvey (you can hear it on the trashed-out second guitar in "Meet Ze Monsta"), but the airline lost it. The Cheese was the first pedal I knew of that got that mis-biased, broken tone — though nowadays it's easy to find on various mad-scientist fuzzes. I have all his stuff EXCEPT the Meatball and Brown Source.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 17:56

RIpdivot: I'm a Mac guy. But the first thing I'd try is another browser (Firefox if you're on Explorer, and vice-versa).

If that fails, both tunes are on Amazon and iTunes, though I'm not sure whether the sounds in question appear in the little 15-second free clip. Or just torrent them — I won't tell! ;)
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby moltenmetalburn » 24 Jan 2009, 17:57

3. The Aqua-Puss really has a nice quality — it just seems to compress and distort a little more sweetly than other analog delays (and I have a LOT of them). Is Jeorge on this group? I don't know him (even though he's local), but he seems pretty forthcoming about his creations (and sources). BTW, the new BYOC analog delay is killer, though it's an incredibly complex build for a kit. (If you all knew how much I clogged up the BYOC forum trying to get it going, you probably wouldn't let me post here.) I love the Aqua-Puss — but if I didn't have one, I would TOTALLY build this $150 kit rather than pay stupid prices. Like I said, I have a lot of BBD delays, and this kit is extremely competitive!


I have actually been wondering for a while how close that new byoc would be as compared to the aquapuss...
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 18:02

It's different from the Aqua-Puss — but really lovely. It's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed. They did a great job.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby moltenmetalburn » 24 Jan 2009, 18:04

Seems like im still on my aquapuss quest then! lol!
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby PurplePeopleEater » 24 Jan 2009, 18:15

joegore wrote:It's different from the Aqua-Puss — but really lovely. It's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed. They did a great job.



Not according to some naysayers at the other forum

http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/i ... ic=72773.0

Gripes include resistors that stand up, too many trimpots, mysterious (but un-named) "fatal flaws", etc..

Lots of people dissing the Analog delay with no real rational reason.

1) Lot of effects have standing resistors
2) Maxons AD-900 (IIRC) uses at least 7 trimpots. I guess Maxons engineers were clueless too ?
3) Fatal flaws that supposedly exist but nobody can actually find

I'm sure Keith will continue to refine the BYOC Analog Delay, but it does seem to be a well designed, more than functional, excellent sounding delay.

I never understood the "DIY Stomp vs BYOC" mentality. Then again, I never understood why DIY Stomp blocks any Freestomp links. It seems less about "learning" and more about "politics".

:hmmm:
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 19:04

I think Keith does a fantastic job. He has the best DIY stompbox PCBs I've seen, and most of his clones include multiple options, trendy mods, and clever switching features.

The Analog Delay components are really packed in tight — the only way NOT to have standing resistors would be to make it a lot bigger. As it is, there's not even a battery compartment. Yes, there are a ton of trimpots, but his instructions on tuning them are excellent — you probably need an audio probe, but it's really not that hard. Even for noobs like me.

His 5-knob compressor is particularly fine — kind of like Barber-meets-Ross, but with more control. I used it when I played the Tonight Show with Tracy Chapman in November — on acoustic guitar, a real acid test! It's the best stompbox compressor I've ever met.

Don't know what the gripe is — he makes cool designs, sells them cheap, and I can state from personal experience that he invests a LOT of time in helping out clueless builders. It's hard to imagine why anyone would want to trash his work. Seriously — I have a lot of stompboxes, and just about everything I've tried from BYOC leaps right to the A list.

His Analog Delay is on the trashy/dirty side — which is kind of the point. The Aqua-Puss is cleaner and brighter, but with a very distinctive note decay — the regenerations seem to "crumble" in a very appealing way. The Aqua-Puss may be a better all-around BBD delay, but believe it or not, the BYOC is "vibier."

The only "fatal flaw" I encountered was my soldering.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 19:13

Oh -- probably should have added: I don't own a Maxon, but I've used them a lot, and I think it's an insanely great delay too. Same comment applies here: The Aqua-Puss is cool, but if you don't want to spend a fortune or deal with a complicated build, just get a Maxon. It ALWAYS sounds great. A superb pedal!
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby PurplePeopleEater » 24 Jan 2009, 21:18

Exactly what I think as well. He provides a service to people interested in building their own pedals. His products are priced competitively, use quality components, and for the most part he does a great job helping people with questions. The problems I've seen with customer care usually seem to be when the customer can't / doesn't provide good photos, doesn't have or won't get a cheap multimeter, etc. Hardly things that are Keiths fault. I've built and fixed a couple BYOC pedals at customer request and the documentation is excellent. Having built many pedals, I really don't need to look at the PDFs, but I do anyway just to double check what I've done, and find them to be consistently well laid out. I'm not sure why some people at the other forum have a problem with BYOC at all. Nearest I can tell is that they don't like GGG having any competition. Personally, I think there is plenty of room for everyone.

PS: I'll try to find time this weekend to make a smaller PCB layout for the the Harmonic Energizer, and possibly a vero layout for you as well.
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby joegore » 24 Jan 2009, 21:27

Awesome! I'll owe ya one! --Joe
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby Dirk_Hendrik » 24 Jan 2009, 22:30

I just read that DIY stomps thread and have to say I'm rather surprised by the post RG makes there about those 9 trimmers. Yes, it is possible to make an analog delay with multple BBD's and with less trimmers but expect sonic quality to degrade rapidly. Proir to any experimenting oneselves the simple study of a DMM schematic, old or the illegal new one, should tell there's a catch22 by not adding individual biasing als makeup after each BBD stage.

Were those Maxon Guys fools? My scope told me they weren't. Neither are the Maxon production guys doing the setting up of the production delay's. Nothing to improve to their optimal trimming.
Sorry. Plain out of planes.

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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby grizzlytone » 25 Jan 2009, 22:14

Hey you all,
I just finished building the essential H.E. circuit on perfboard and first of all I need to correct my own previously posted schematic -the 51k resistor should be 5k1 (haven't checked this with Joe but 51k makes for to small a change in the feedback around the first OP-amp stage to give any real change in Q and 5k1 sounds much better). Second I didn't know what to make of the "z" and "s" designations on the pots but now I know that LIN works just fine for "s" and LOG seems right for "z".
Here's the corrected pdf:
Systech_Harmonic_Energizer_CompLayout_and_Schematic_RevB.pdf


This is my perfboard build, Maybe it can serve someone. I never made a perfboard presentation before, I usually just start in the middle of the board and GO, all I can say is that this is how I made it and this is my take on it -the circuit works fine and sounds great to me -makes me wanna play all day....The perfboard is not much larger than a 9V battery and I certainly recognize the sound from Joe's mp3 files
I made som changes and decisions along the way and since I intended to present it here (as a token of appreciation to Joe Gore -the man who revealed the secret) I've made some halfhearted scribbled attempts to explain my reasoning.
Here you go:
Systech_Harmonic_Energizer_Essentials_Perfboard_Build.pdf


I don't think I'll be around much this coming week so you're on your own. Good Luck to anyone who attempts the build.
Peace out/ MB
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby fuzzca » 25 Jan 2009, 22:45

I can't see or hear jack shit on Joes link. I use XP and Firefox. I wanted to help Joe out with a vero layout for the Harmonic Energizer but with nothing to see I can't even begin!

If you want to be all "above the crowd" with your fantastic do it all Mac., it's not doing you any good!

PS. I checked out the pdf schem but when I print it you need a microscope to read it....
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Re: Systech Harmonic Energizer — any interest?

Postby moltenmetalburn » 25 Jan 2009, 23:38

hey joe, would you be willing to post aqua puss pics to reverse? im sure a tone of people here would like a go at it?
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