VFE Merman

zgrav

Active member
There are clipping diodes in the circuit that let you mix some distortion into the signal. Here is a link to the build document with the schematic:

I like VFE pedals, but the builds can be challenging because there is a lot packed into the enclosure, including side jacks with different mounting options, an interesting placement for small pots sort of in between the larger pots on the main boards, and soft relay switching. Every build includes a main PCB and a PCB switching board that holds the relay bypass and a charge pump for some of the VFE pedals. You also need to pay attention to the instructions to order low profile caps for the switching boards and, in some builds, caps with 2.5mm spacing for the leads instead of the 5mm spacing normally used. I tried to ingore those details for my first VFE build and use existing parts in my inventory and ended up with a mess that would not fit in the enclosue.

Until about a year ago, the switching board also had the in/out/dc power jacks all mounted to it. Drilling the enclosure to get everything to line up with the board-mounted jacks could be tricky. That is still an option, but the newer versions of the mounting boards also let you use wired jacks mounted to the enclosure if you prefer.

The boards can also be pretty full of components and sometimes tricky to solder. For all those reasons they are also satisfying to complete.
 

dlazzarini

Active member
What zgrav said. I’ve completed 2 VFE builds, the Focus and the Choral Reef. Both were successful. Be sure and read the docs for the switching board as well as for the Merman thoroughly. Lots of little nuggets of info scattered throughout. I studied them things for a good week before I attempted the Focus. The second time around with the Choral Reef it was much easier. I have all the parts needed for the Standout but it’s gonna have to wait till Salmon season is over.
 

Devoureddeth

Active member
I have never gotten the White Horse to work but every other VFE build has worked including my own Klein Bottle with DIY pots. Now that I have a 1176 knock off the White Horse doesn't seem worth the hassle.
 

Gordo

Member
Seriously cool pedal although to be honest the VFE Dragon has been the foundation of my pedalboard for ages. I wouldn't complain with either one. The Dragon adds a lot of EQ possibilities and as such isn't really a Klon. The VFE builds are an acquired taste. They typically go for cramming a ton of possibilities into a small amount of space but anybody that can build any of the boards on this site can build a VFE. Slow and steady and read the docs because half the time the board silk is different. Devoureddeth throw the WH photos and numbers out there cuz mine worked the first time so it might be an easy fix. My PedalPCB clone of the Demeter is my current go-to (it's almost impossibly quiet) but the WH is pretty cool in it's own right.

We get spoiled around here because the boards are so clean and so well laid out. That's by design and to fit in a 125B. Don't discount the challenge of putting an already difficult build into a 1590B WITH relay bypass.
 

zgrav

Active member
It was also interesting to see that VFE shifted to top-jacks and 125B pedals after Peter started teaching board assembly for his high school students.
 
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