Powersound Overdrive (Colorsound Overdriver)

MattG

Well-known member
I've built several versions of the Colorsound Power Boost/Overdriver circuit now: first was the Aion Nucleus, then the Madbean Meatqlaw, and a PB clone on my own PCB. Why stop at three?!

Well, the first two have been sold. Interesting side-comment, the guy on Reverb who bought my Meatqlaw says he's in a Pink Floyd tribute band, and said the pedal works perfectly for his needs!

Second, I've never actually built the Overdriver (9v) version of this circuit. (There is a slight difference between the 18v Power Boost and 9v Overdriver circuits. The topology is essentially the same, but there are a few component value differences.)

Third, I'm revisiting most of my favorite circuits to rebuilt with my own relay bypass implementation.

A lot has been written about this circuit. I think its best application is per it's namesake: boost or overdriver - that is, not a standalone overdrive, but as a way to get a bigger signal into your amp (or next device in the chain) and cause that to overdrive - with EQ capability. But it can be a standalone overdrive, and at extreme settings, even turns into a fuzz. It's a fairly simple circuit based around three NPN BJTs. I've built and played with all kinds of drives and boosts, and I keep coming back to this circuit because nothing sounds quite like it.

Anyway, here is my build of the PedalPCB Powersound Overdrive. Actual build was pretty unremarkable. I used metal can BC109C transistors, and of course my own relay bypass board. The enclosure is a B-stock from StompBoxParts, I think it's called "Neutron Star", but I can't find it on the website now. It's a neat sparkly color that shifts from purple, to blue, to black depending on lighting and viewing angle.
 

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I love the Colorsound Powerboost. Say what you want about the 3-knob Tonebender, but the power boost/overdriver is peak Colorsound. If only it had a mids control…
 
I love the Colorsound Powerboost. Say what you want about the 3-knob Tonebender, but the power boost/overdriver is peak Colorsound.

I really like it as a clean boost. In fact, im going to be building one for myself soon (and maybe as a prototype for a new thing) that eliminates the Fuzz sound and heavy overdrive and makes the maximum gain about medium overdrive level.

Then I’m going to…

If only it had a mids control…

…Rework the last stage, remove the Baxandall and put the Hiwatt TMB in there.
 
You're like the guy who invented decaf-coffee...

I just feel strongly that the Powerboost is the great unsung clean boost.

People go Gaga for the Fuzz sound but I’m not a fan.

EDIT: With that said, you have not lived until you’ve put a cranked Powerboost through a cooking amp.
 
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I've built several versions of the Colorsound Power Boost/Overdriver circuit now: first was the Aion Nucleus, then the Madbean Meatqlaw, and a PB clone on my own PCB. Why stop at three?!

Well, the first two have been sold. Interesting side-comment, the guy on Reverb who bought my Meatqlaw says he's in a Pink Floyd tribute band, and said the pedal works perfectly for his needs!

Second, I've never actually built the Overdriver (9v) version of this circuit. (There is a slight difference between the 18v Power Boost and 9v Overdriver circuits. The topology is essentially the same, but there are a few component value differences.)

Third, I'm revisiting most of my favorite circuits to rebuilt with my own relay bypass implementation.

A lot has been written about this circuit. I think its best application is per it's namesake: boost or overdriver - that is, not a standalone overdrive, but as a way to get a bigger signal into your amp (or next device in the chain) and cause that to overdrive - with EQ capability. But it can be a standalone overdrive, and at extreme settings, even turns into a fuzz. It's a fairly simple circuit based around three NPN BJTs. I've built and played with all kinds of drives and boosts, and I keep coming back to this circuit because nothing sounds quite like it.

Anyway, here is my build of the PedalPCB Powersound Overdrive. Actual build was pretty unremarkable. I used metal can BC109C transistors, and of course my own relay bypass board. The enclosure is a B-stock from StompBoxParts, I think it's called "Neutron Star", but I can't find it on the website now. It's a neat sparkly color that shifts from purple, to blue, to black depending on lighting and viewing angle.
What are those 2 - 3'' x 2'' K blocks doing?
 
What are those 2 - 3'' x 2'' K blocks doing?
I’m assuming you’re referring to the grey blocks in the middle of the effect PCB? Those are just capacitors - big ones in my inventory from some past project(s). I have a bunch of wacky sized components that are generally too big to use in guitar effects… but sometimes I get lucky and the PCB has room for these big components.
 
Power Boost is one of my all time favorite circuits. If I'm playing Floyd (or rather, attempting to play Floyd) - I tend to use it as a clean to slightly dirty boost either in conjunction with a Big Muff or alone.

... and I never touch decaf... :D
 
I really like it as a clean boost. In fact, im going to be building one for myself soon (and maybe as a prototype for a new thing) that eliminates the Fuzz sound and heavy overdrive and makes the maximum gain about medium overdrive level.

Then I’m going to…



…Rework the last stage, remove the Baxandall and put the Hiwatt TMB in there.
Sounds like a plan. I‘d like to hear about the outcome.
 
I've been on a bit of a Colorsound Overdriver thing lately. I have a few mild ODs I like to use with most guitars but have always struggled to get the overdriven sound I want with a Strat. The Colorsound Overdriver is helping me finally get the sound I want. I'm happy without a mids control - the whole thing about the Overdriver is that it has a slight mid boost that works perfectly with a Strat without being too overbearing.

I'm not necessarily chasing the Gilmour sound, although it is a beautiful thing. Rather, as a Gretsch player and lover of Gibsons with P90s I have always wanted a beefier, tougher Strat sound which still twangs. I don't care for the compressed, muffled sounds of Tubescreamers, etc. If I want compressed I'll go full Muff.

Unlike Big Monk I'm looking at adding some clipping diodes to an Overdriver to see if I can smooth out the overdrive a bit; to make it less splatty. It will probably end in dismal failure, but that's never stopped me before. When I use the Overdriver I do like to use a little bit of the gain in it, so it's not a perfectly clean boost. I've discovered that a nasty dirt sound can act better as a boost than a smooth dirt.
 
I've been on a bit of a Colorsound Overdriver thing lately. I have a few mild ODs I like to use with most guitars but have always struggled to get the overdriven sound I want with a Strat. The Colorsound Overdriver is helping me finally get the sound I want. I'm happy without a mids control - the whole thing about the Overdriver is that it has a slight mid boost that works perfectly with a Strat without being too overbearing.

I'm not necessarily chasing the Gilmour sound, although it is a beautiful thing. Rather, as a Gretsch player and lover of Gibsons with P90s I have always wanted a beefier, tougher Strat sound which still twangs. I don't care for the compressed, muffled sounds of Tubescreamers, etc. If I want compressed I'll go full Muff.

Unlike Big Monk I'm looking at adding some clipping diodes to an Overdriver to see if I can smooth out the overdrive a bit; to make it less splatty. It will probably end in dismal failure, but that's never stopped me before. When I use the Overdriver I do like to use a little bit of the gain in it, so it's not a perfectly clean boost. I've discovered that a nasty dirt sound can act better as a boost than a smooth dirt.

I’m still in the design phase on my modifications.

I love hearing about people that like it for reasons other than that fuzzy, useless explosion at the end of the dial.
 
Yeah I'm not so wild about that far end of the gain dial! It does get interesting playing pedals like the Colorsound Overdriver, Barbershop, Broadcast, etc into different amps. Into a Twin Reverb they would probably all sound awful but into a lower wattage amp like a tweed Deluxe they can sound amazing. The Broadcast in particular sounds glorious with a Les Paul into a fairly loud 5E3, but when I first tried one in a shop into a bigger amp I really wondered what all the fuss was about. Same with the Barbershop.

I remember working in a guitar store years ago when Colorsound pedals were reintroduced. With late '80s amps they kinda didn't make much sense and I couldn't see the attraction. It's all about context.

I was wondering about using a pair of BAT41s to ground at the output like in the Tchula or something. It shouldn't be too hard to try. Probably sound awful but who knows?

BTW you might want to try theBasic Audio version - The Futureman. It has a few tweaks which sound good to me.
 
Quick update - just tried tack soldering in a pair of BAT41s between Volume 3 and ground and while it's subtle it's pretty cool! Lowers the volume a bit, maybe adds some high end. Then I desoldered it and preferred it without the BAT41s.
 
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