The Deltron 3030 West Coast tour has begun and the first city up was Denver. Every time I play Denver, I hook up with my good friend and pedal designer, William Mathewson, owner of WMD. You may have heard of some of William’s pedals, like the Geiger Counter or Super Fatman Envelope Filter. One of the most unique and over-the-top bit crusher pedals made, the Geiger Counter has brought a lot of attention. It is very over the top and, whether you use it on bass, keys, drums or guitar, this pedal will crush your signal into sounds you could have never imagined.
Before we went on at Boom Fest, I caught up with William to discuss what is in store for WMD, which he shared exclusively with me to report here on PedalsAndEffects. He is working hard on his other passion: Eurorack modular synthesizers. The line is progressing well; if you are into modular synthesis, I highly recommend you check out William’s creations.
I asked him to update us on what was in the pipeline in terms of pedals. After taking apart a DOD FX32 Meat Box I had loaned him for research, he reviewed the design and said he is working on something (coming soon!) that could offer us low end freaks something to obsess about.
I love my Meat Boxes, but they do go down and the chips inside are no longer produced; so there is no saving a pedal that goes down. This is the reason I own several of these pedals. The problem is, over the last few years, Meat Boxes have jumped in price and I can’t afford to pay $300.00 for something so unstable. I believe William will remedy this issue by reproducing the Meat Box sound and by building something reliable for the sub low end.
For those of you wondering what a Meat Box is, here is an email I sent to William a while back, explaining what I think this pedal is:
I just found this site and thought it was interesting.
the part that is intriguing is this (reminds me of your new parametric) :
Myth 1: The Meat Box is a subharmonic synthesizer or octaver. Wrong. It doesn’t generate subharmonics
Myth 2: Meat is the mix of wet and dry signals. Wrong. Meat sets the level of the effected signal, but even when turned to 5 o’clock (which ironically removes the effected signal), a small part of the original signal can be added using the LBS knob. On the other hand, turning the LBS knob down (to 7 o’clock) removes all of the signal. Maybe LBS is the “real” output knob, who knows.
Myth 3: The Meat Box can only boost frequencies. Wrong. Both Rump and Flank are neutral when set to 12 o’clock. When turned to the left, lower parts of the signal are cut.
Myth 4: Rump is a 30 Hz EQ, Flank is a 60 Hz EQ. Wrong. Rump affects signals up to ~200 Hz, Flank affects signals up to 400-500 Hz.
Myth 5: The Meat Box is a distortion. Wrong. Only when you turn Rump and/or Flank past the 3 o’clock position, the unit will distort – depending on the signal levels. Flank distorts at lower levels than Rump.
So, after all, as it is only a highly interactive EQ.
Cool stuff man, I still haven’t delved into the Meat Box project yet. Still working on the eurorack module stuff. Mind if I hang on to the pedal for a while longer? Maybe I’ll go ahead with the octave down then and add a few more dBs of low end to my bass pedal. I’ll let you know when I have something ready and I’ll send it to ya.
—AND THIS JUST IN FROM SHAWN AT LOUD BUTTON ELECTRONICS
How are you? I noticed your post regarding the Meatbox. There’s a lot of incorrect analysis of the Meatbox so I thought I’d provide the following:
The circuit is actually quite simple and the IC’s are obsolete but available for $5 to $10 each in the aftermarket. The meatbox is a classic octave divider that uses low-pass filtering to isolate bass content and once it’s detected, the IC generates its suboctave (fundamental divided by 2). The IC type is M51134P Subharmonic Synthesizer and was widely used in walkman and boombox models with the “Megabass” feature. Of course, the speakers on those things couldn’t handle it so it was more like “megadistortion”! I’ve attached the IC data sheet in case you’d like to learn more.
If there’s really a large demand for this type of effect, it would be simple to design a solid, modern version using non-obsolete IC’s.
I’m just an email away if you have technical questions and I enjoy answering them!
Have you had a chance to check out the Balls Deep or the Bassmaker pedal?
Shawn Schoenberger, Sr Electronics Eng/Operations Mgr
Loud Button Electronics
Forest Lake, Minnesota, USA
And here is what the guys at Mantic Conceptual had to add to the MEATBOX conversation:
Saw your recent blog post-
Sorry it wasn’t communicated well, but before we released the Hulk we had the Meatbox completely dissected, analyzed, parts sourced, and cloned proper (like 2 years ago).
We didn’t want to launch our brand on an exact clone, ya know, and felt the Hulk was a rad take on it. It’s very similiar in design and components: we use all the original meatbox IC’s and transistors. That means we can fix all your broken meatbox’s.
That being said, we’ve done up countless straightup meatbox clones for other people who’ve asked us to. Could’ve even brought one to you in person at that Deltron show last week in Denver but whatevs… EL-P took it off our hands the next night anyways.
No microcontroller BS, no lazy ass SMD wank, and no “modern IC equivalent substitution” cheap-skating.
We’ll be shipping you an exact Meatbox clone, the MANTIC “Meatblock”. No joke, it’s the closest thing anybody else will get. You be the judge.
Also, going to ship you our “Vitriol” distortion pedal that we’re about to release public, which was made with bass in mind and am pretty sure you’ll dig.
Maybe early next year we can get one of these out to you:
Same mailing address?
L Ray & C Fredi