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The Square

Overview

The square is a perfect combination of weirdness, musicalness and simplicity. It is called the square because it actually multiplies the input signal by itself, it squares the signal. It uses an old fashioned diode/transformer ring modulator to do this. The sound while being a very evil and extreme distortion, never sounds fuzzy or hissy. Instead, it's power comes from it's weird bell like sound and fat compression effect. It also has a gating effect on the signal, which is useful for emphasizing rhythm.

Operation

Ring Modulator Distortion

The Square is very simple. The input volume controls the drive to the preamp with is designed to give soft tube like distortion, the input volume also sets the amount of drive in the ring mod circuit. The output volume controls the output level.

The Circuit

The circuit is discrete transistor because I believe it produces the richest possible analogue sound, and because many of the timeless legendary effects and synthesizers are discrete transistor, e.g Minimoog, Univibe, Big Muff, Cry baby/Vox Wah. There is an intangible quality to their sound which is not present in modern Op-Amp equivalents.

Construction

Maybe I'm crazy for spending so much time constructing these cases, when I could have opted for the typical pressed steel jobby, but I think they look pretty cool, in a kind of retro industrial way.

Where to buy

The Square costs 85 and is available direct. Please email me to place your order:
nicksworldofsynthesizers@gmail.com


Some sounds

loudspeaker Guitar 1
loudspeaker Guitar 2
loudspeaker Guitar 3
loudspeaker Guitar 4

The next 2 sounds are the guitar recorded straight into the computer (no amp)

loudspeaker Guitar riff
loudspeaker Guitar harmonics

Contact me

nicksworldofsynthesizers@gmail.com
 
Like me on Facebook 'Nick's World of Synthesizers' to keep up to date with my products and projects.
 

Ring Modulator Distortion

Instructions

The polarity is center negative for the power supply connection. The circuit is protected if you get it wrong, so don't be afraid to try it if the polarity of your supply is unclear. I have chosen the most common type of power socket, Some power supply tips have a hole down the center that is too big even though they appear to fit correctly, this is worth checking of you don't get any sound.
 
Don't use a stereo jack plug, this is because plugging in the jack switches on the power, and a stereo jack won't make the right connections.