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Dual Band Distortion

MEDIA:

Sound Clips for the Dual Band Distortion are available on the Media page.

Owners manual are available here: Printable (260KB) | e-Manual (212KB)

ORDERING:

Note:  This product has been discontinued.

Upgrades Available Now!

The Dual Band Distortion has undergone some minor changes to extend its sonic capabilities. These changes will be included in all new units and the modifications will be made available to current owners as an upgrade option. Please visit the Product Upgrade Information page for more details.

ABOUT THE DESIGN:

The FEA Dual Band Distortion pedal was designed to provide an extremely flexible multi-band distortion/overdrive for bass and guitar. Basically, it is comprised of a variable crossover, two distortions, an overdrive and a final mixer incorporated into a single pedal.  This pedal has been designed from the ground up for the musician who likes to tweak their distortion tone to very specific parameters and needs a mild to moderate distortion solution with extensive control features.

A variable cross-over divides the incoming bass or guitar signal into two bands of frequencies. The frequency bands are then routed to distortion and overdrive circuits that are specifically tailored for their respective qualities.

The low frequency band is sent to an octave-up distortion circuit. Then both the octave-up distortion and the clean low band signal feed a hard clipping distortion circuit. The octave control functions as a cross-fader between the two signals. This allows the signals to be blended together in any amount desired. The drive control sets the amplification gain of the signal sent to the hard diode clippers. The hard clipping distortion circuit utilizes germanium diodes in a unique asymmetrical configuration which adds even order harmonics to the tone. The tone control operates as a passive high frequency cut filter following the hard clipping stage.  Then the level control adjusts the amount of signal from this distortion stage that it is sent to the final mixer circuit.

The high frequency band connects to an overdrive distortion circuit.  The overdrive circuit utilizes two audiophile quality discrete FET (field effect transistor) amplifiers employing a global diode feedback loop. This design approach is very different from most designs that have a single amplifier for the overdrive distortion circuit.  It is also well known that discrete high gain FET amplifiers add a very pleasant musical quality to the tone.  The drive control sets the global gain for the FET overdrive pair.  The mid and high tone controls are an active boost/cut type circuit that allows you to precisely dial in on your desired tone.  Then finally the level control from this stage adjusts the amount of signal to the output mixer circuit.

The dry level control mixes in various amounts of clean low-band signal along with the two bands of distortion.  This is helpful for bass players to restore the low frequencies that become masked or overly compressed during the distortion process.

The distortion bypass footswitch allows either the low or high band distortion to be disabled.  This lets the clean signal from the selected frequency band to pass undistorted at unity gain, while the other frequency band continues to provide distortion or overdrive.  This feature provides the player with unique tone capabilities that were previously only available to the studio engineer.

The dual rail power supply in the Dual Band Distortion is built on an isolated circuit board. The power supply is over filtered two times to assure exceptionally clean power for the signal circuitry.  This power supply generates 18 volts from a 9 volt battery or external power adapter. The 18 volt audio circuit provides plenty of headroom for the signal.

The case is a standard Hammond aluminum enclosure.  After the Hammond case is machined and sanded it is then color powder coated. Then the aluminum faceplate is applied and then the entire case is clear epoxy powder coated for protection.

FEATURES:

  • Small footprint design: 4.5” by 3.5”
  • Activation footswitch (stomp switch) with direct bypass when the pedal is not active
  • Dual band configuration with drive and level controls on each
  • Three blend-able distortion types (hard clipping, octave, & overdrive)
  • Adjustable crossover frequency control
  • Passive tone on the low distortion & active two band EQ on the high overdrive
  • Dry signal level blend on the low band
  • Distortion bypass band selection switch
  • Distortion bypass band activation footswitch (stomp switch)
  • 18 volt circuitry powered by a 9 volt battery or standard 9 volt DC adapter

BLOCK DIAGRAM:

FEA Labs Dual Band Distortion Block Diagram

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS:

  • LOW BAND Distortion:

Asymmetrical germanium

  • LOW BAND Octave:

Full-wave rectification

  • HIGH BAND Overdrive:

Discrete FET with diode feedback

  • Maximum Input:

14.5dBu

  • Maximum Output:

12.5dBu

  • Crossover:

Variable 100 Hz to 1KHz

  • Input Impedance:

1M ohm

  • Output Impedance:

22K ohm

  • Power adapter
    noise rejection:

40dBu @ 60Hz
>90dBu @ 2KHz

  • Current consumption:

approx. 30mA

  • Battery life:

approx. 15 hours of continuous use

  • Power adapter (not included):

9VDC  2.1mm  Barrel Connector with negative center pin

Usage Tip:

DBD adjustment tip for bass players:

Being a bass player, I have always adjusted my bass tone first then adjusted the midrange and highs into balance.  With the way the DBD operates, I found that adjusting the high-band side first made my adjustments much quicker.  The reason for reversing my normal order is that the low-band side of the DBD will generate harmonic distortion that falls into the high-band overdrive range.  The two distortion bands also behave more like parallel distortion pedals near the crossover frequency, creating an abundance of harmonics from both the low and high-band sides.   I frequently found myself spinning knobs until I reached the tone I was looking for.  Now, adjusting the high-band first then the low-band allows me to quickly target the tone I am looking for.  The following procedure works very well for me.  

  1. Turn the low-band level and dry level to minimum.
  2. Adjust the high-band overdrive and crossover to a tone that you like.
  3. Bring the low-band distortion up to balance with the high-band side.
  4. Drop the frequency of the crossover a little bit.  This lowers the center frequency of where both distortions are concentrated.
  5. Adjust the mid tone on the high-band side to compensate for the mids that the low-band distortion added.
  6. Then add dry level to taste.

If you have another procedure that you use and want to share it with other DBD owners, we would be happy to hear from you.  

-Frank Appleton

Product Related News:

September 25, 2010 - News:  Press release on No Treble -- Gear Watch: FEA Labs Dual Distortion Pedal

September 22, 2010 - News:  Press release on Premier Guitar -- FEA Labs Releases Dual Band Distortion

September 22, 2010 - News:  Press release on Harmony Central -- FEA Labs Presents: The Dual Band Distortion

September 1, 2010 - Announcement:  Dual Band Distortion Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Brett Keller of Philadelphia, PA for being selected in our giveaway drawing and winning the first production unit of the FEA Dual Band Distortion!

Notice:

Specifications and design are subject to change without notice.  However, we will make every attempt to keep information on the web site current to the latest product revision.