Madbean MeatQlaw (Colorsound Power Boost)

MattG

Well-known member
This isn't my first Power Boost clone. I built the Aion Plasma quite a while ago, and per my comments in this thread, I've gone back and forth about how I felt about it. My tastes in dirt are neurotic, ephemeral, obsessive... Can't ever seem to make up my mind. When I first got into "dirt pedal rolling", I was always looking for the smoothest possible over drive. Now I've done a full 180 and really liking the raspy, spiky overdrives. So here I've come back to the Colorsound Power Boost. There was nothing wrong with my Aion Plasma build, but I've got a bunch of Madbean Softie 2 relay bypass boards already built up, and also started using these no film waterslide decals, so I thought I'd build another one that looks a little nicer.

The PCB is designed for a 1590B enclosure. I didn't notice that initially, and now I've got an orange 125B enclosure with the same graphic on it. :) Some day I might get motivated enough to design my own PCB for this circuit, using the MeatQlaw pot positions, so that enclosure doesn't go to waste. This worked on the first power-on... with the back plate not yet attached. When I screwed on the back plate, it would only work when engaged, and bypass would not work. It turns out, the Softie2 board was too tall, and shorting out against the enclosure back plate. So I maneuvered things a bit: re-soldered that resistor on the left so that it would lie flat, clipped all the tiny wires poking up, and removed the double-stick foam tape holding the PCB to the switch (not really needed anyway, it's all packed in there so tightly). I also put a strip of self-amalgamating tape over the PCB, taking inspiration from Boss pedals that have that sheet of semi-rigid plastic that insulates the circuit board from the enclosure.

This is only my second (well, technically third, if you count the accidental 125B) go at the waterslide decals. It's better than my first attempt. You can see some Sharpie manual correction in the lower right part of the border - that's where the decal folded up on itself while I was trying to separate it from the backing. I also put a fresh toner cartridge in my printer, that definitely gave me noticeably stronger blacks. After the hair dryer treatment, and removing the clear film, I applied another two coats of the glue before baking. I think that made it look a lot better, and hopefully also makes the finish more rugged.

Anyway - it sounds more or less just like the previous Aion Plasma I built. I used a C5k gain pot. The original Power Booster used a C10k, which is way too big - creates the famous effect of the control doing basically nothing for 2/3 of the rotation. The Aion Plasma drops that down to C1k, which is probably just right. But I wanted a hint of the "charm" of the originals, so went with C5k. I used BC184L transistors. Plenty of obvious splattiness/note decay artifacts that comes with this circuit - also part of the "charm".

I can see how these quirks might turn some people off, and indeed I had mixed feelings initially. But I decided the quirks are what makes it unique, and if you're willing to spend a little time playing with it, it is quite versatile, and can produce some interesting tones. I liken it conceptually to the Timmy - the circuits are of course completely different, and they really don't sound similar at all. But there's no shortage of forum posts of people talking about using the Timmy for everything from clean boost, to EQ, to mild or even medium overdrive. And the Power Boost fulfills a very similar role (though it goes all the way up to fuzz), but has a very different final result.
 

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Nice build.

I have a Vick Audio OverDriver and I use it when I want to get my Gilmour on, push a Big Muff or want a clean boost with EQ.

I run mine at 18 vDC always.
 
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