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20/01/2015 Guitar/BassGraphicEQ

HighCurrentDCFilters
50A400A,1kHz1GHz,60dBLoss
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ElliottSoundProducts Project149

Guitar/BassGraphicEqualiser,MkII
RodElliott(ESP)

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Introduction

ThisequaliserisbasedononethatwasbuiltbyJohnBurnett(Lenard)andmemany(many)
yearsago.ItalsousessimilarinputandoutputstagesshowninProject64.Unlikethatproject,
thisismuchsimplertobuild,anditusesoctavebands.Whileitistheoreticallypossibletohave
more,theQofthefiltersisn'thighenoughasshown.Qcanbeincreased,butattheexpenseof
moresignallossandthereforehighernoise.

Itisspecificallydesignedasapreampor'toneshaper'suitableformusicalinstrumentsguitar,
bass(electricoracoustic)andkeyboardsinparticular.Unlikemostconventionalgraphic
equalisers,eachsliderrangesfromfullyofftofullyon,andnotthemoreconventional+/12dBor
sothatisnormallyavailable.Iftheoptionaltonecontrolsareincludedintheoutputsection,this
circuitiscapableofextremelywidetonalvariations.

Asaresult,thereisnoflatsetting(otherthanalloff!).Thisgraphicisdesignedtobeusedto
createasound,andisnotsuitableforhifiorotherEQapplications.Itmaybeusedasanaddon
unittoexistinginstrumentamppreamps,tonecontrols,etc.Theflexibilityisextraordinary,
allowingahollow'singlefrequency'typesound,rightthroughtoalmostanytonalvariant
imaginable.Withallslidersatmaximum,theresponseispassablyflat,andit'sunlikelythatyou'll
beabletoheartheslightripple(lessthan2dB)intheresponse.

Inuse,atleastonesliderwillbeatmaximum,withtheothersadjustedtoaddthetone'colour'
desired.Whileitcanbeusedwithnoslidersatmaximum,thisreducesthesignallevelthroughthe
equaliserandincreasesnoiselevels.Onlyexperiencewiththeunitwillletyouknowwhatit's
capableof,asit'sunlikealmostanyothertonecontrolsystem.

Description

Theinputcircuitiscompletelyconventional,anduses1/2ofadualopampastheinitialgain
stage.Thereisnoprovisionforhighandlowgaininputs,butitishighlyunlikelythatanyguitarwill
beabletooverdrivetheinputopamp.Thefirstgainstageisfollowedbythevolumecontrol,
secondgainstage/buffer.Theoutputofthebufferisfedtotheinputsofthefilterstages,eachof
whichhasanoutputsliderforitsspecificfrequency.Theoutputsoftheslidersaresummedusing
anotheropamp,andadistortioneffectisincludedinthefinaloutputstage.Thiscanbeleftout
altogetherifdistortionisnotdesired.

Ifusedforguitar,thefrequenciesneededonlyhavetorangefrom80Hztoabout7kHz,butto
maketheunitmoreversatileIsuggestthatthelowestfrequencyshouldbe42Hz,andthehighest
around1213kHz.Thiscanbeextendedifyouwant.Eachfiltercircuithasaninsertionlossof
about2.5dB,butit'simpossibletoquoteanoverallgainbecauseitisentirelydependentonthe
positionsofthesliders.

Decisions?
UnliketheProject64equaliser,therereallyaren'tanymajordecisionstobemade.Thecircuitas
describedismoreorless1octaveforeachslider,andasshownthefrequenciesareasfollows...
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42 87 195 420 870 1.95k 4.2k 8.7k 15.6k

Asanoption,thefinalfiltercanbesetalittlelower,and13kHzissuggested.Youcanchangeitif
youwant,andindeedyoucanchangeallthefrequencies,simplybyusingdifferentcapacitor
values.Thisisdescribedindetailbelow,inthe'FrequencyResponse'section.AlthoughIclaimed
thattherearen'tanydecisionstobemade,inrealitytherearestillmanypossibilities.However,
thesuggestedfrequenciesmakeagoodmixforguitarandbass(electricoracoustic)andwillalso
suitmanykeyboardrequirementsaswell.

TheCircuit

Figure1showstheschematicoftheinputsection.Theinputstageisconfiguredforagainof
about12dB(4times),whichcanbeincreasedorreducedifdesired.Tolowerthegain,increase
thevalueofR4.Thebufferstageasshownhasagainof2,andhasaneffectiveloadofonly
about1.1kohmsadifficultloadformostopampstodrive.Ifmoregainisneeded,reducethe
valueofR6asrequired.It'sunlikelythatlessthan1kwouldbeusedforR6,asthegainwillbe
excessive.

IsuggestthatanNE5532opampisusedforU1andU2,becausetheycandrivelowimpedances
withoutdifficulty.OtheralternativesaretheOPA2134orLM4562,buttheyareconsiderablymore
expensive.Pinoutsarethesameforthethreetypes.TheNE5532iscriticalofsupplybypassing,
andtheadditionof100nFceramiccapsbetweenthesupplypinsisessential(shownas'Cb'
bypasscap).TheseshouldbeasclosetotheICpackageaspossibleandusedregardlessof
opamptype.Somebulkbypassingisalsoagoodidea,suchasacoupleof10uF100uFcaps
fromeachsupplytoearth/groundattheDCinputtotheassembly.

Figure1InstrumentEqualiserInputStage&Buffer

Thefiltersandsliderpots(withtheirmixingresistors)areshowninFigures2,3and4.Thefilters
arebasedongyrators'solidstateinductors'asitwere.Suchfiltersarenotwonderful,andthey
arenotasgoodasmultiplefeedbacktypes,buttheyareagreatdealsimpler.Thefiltersshown
useatransistor,whichlimitstheperformanceevenfurther,butthebigadvantageissimplicity,low
costandminimalPCBspaceforthefilters.

Thereisonefiltermoduleandonesliderforeachfrequency.Combinedwiththefinalmixerstage
showninFigure6whichincludestonecontrolsandatrebleboostswitchtherewillbesufficient
rangeforvirtuallyanyinstrument.

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Figure2FilterBank#1,SlidePotsandMixingResistors

Thefirst3filtersareshowninFigure2.Theinputandoutputbusesarecommontoallthefilters,
asarethepowersupplyconnections.Asyoucansee,eachfilterisessentiallyidentical,andonly
thecapacitorvaluesarechangedtoselectthefrequency.Tokeepthecircuitassimpleas
possible,thecapvaluesineachfilterarethesame.Thefiltersneedhighgaintransistors,andI
recommendBC549Cordirectequivalent.Thisisthehighestgainreadilyavailable,andtheyalso
havethebenefitofbeingcheap.Donottrytouselowgaintransistors,becausethemaximum
attenuationoffrequenciesbelowthepassbandwillbetoolow.At(say)10Hz,atransistorwitha
gain(akahFE)of150willreducethesignalby30dB,whileatransistorwithagainof500(typical
fortheBC549C)attenuatesto38dB.YoucanusesmallsignalDarlingtontransistorsfor
improvedperformance.Anexampleisthe2SD1111,withagainof5,000

Figure3FilterBank#2,SlidePotsandMixingResistors

Thesecondsetoffiltersisshownabove.ThisisacontinuationofthoseshowninFigure2.The
filtersaresimplyrepetitioneachisessentiallythesameasthenext,withonlythecapacitor
valueschangingforeachband.Unlikemostcircuitsofthistypethatyouwillsee,thetwo
capacitorsarethesamevalue.Thismakestheequaliseragreatdealeasiertowireupthan
havingdifferentvaluesforallthefilters.Thisisdonedeliberatelyandwouldnormallymakethe
filtersratherpoor,buttheunusualoutputconnectionprovidestheexpectedperformance.

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Figure4FilterBank#3,SlidePotsandMixingResistors

Thefinalsetoffiltersisshownabove.Thelastfiltercanuse1.5nFor1.8nFcaps,givingatuned
frequencyof15.5kHzor13kHzrespectively.Asanoption,thecapacitor(C2.9)canbeomitted,so
thelastfilterwillbehaveasatreblecontrolwithnodefinedtopendreduction.Thecapcanbe
switchedifdesired.Whenusedwithmostguitarorbassspeakers,thelastcoupleofsliderswon't
havemucheffectanyway,asresponseabovearound56kHzisseverelylimited.

ThemixerandoutputstageareshowninFigure5.Themixerisaconventional'virtualearth'type,
andminimisesinteractionbetweentheslidepots.Thedistortionstageisentirelyoptional,andcan
beomittedifyoudon'tneedit(oritcanbeswitchedasshownformaximumflexibility).Use
1N4148diodesintheclippingcircuit,andinconjunctionwithVR2(MasterVolume)allowsthe
amountofdistortiontobeadjustedfromzeroto'heavymetal'or'grunge'.Itmaybenecessaryto
usemorediodesthanthe4shown.Anadditional4diodeswillraisethemaximumoutputlevelto
about1.5VRMSbeforeclippingstarts.YoucanalsouseLEDsasclippingdiodes.Theyhavethe
advantagethattheforwardvoltageisgreater,sowith(say)4greenLEDswiredinplaceofthe
1N4148diodesyou'llgetuptoaround3VRMSbeforethedistortionstartstobeaudible.Thefinal
opampisabuffer,andcontributesnogain.

Figure5MixerandDistortionCircuits

Thereisaresistor(R10)that'sswitchedinwhentheclippingdiodesareswitchedout,andthisis
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optional.Theideaistogetareasonablegainmatchwhetherdistortionisonoroff,anditmay
needtobeadjusted.Thefinalstageisshownwithgain,butthisisoptional.Youcanchangethe
gaineasilybychangingR12(highervaluegivesmoregain).Ifnogainisneeded,replaceR12
withashortandomitR13.Thegainasshownisx3.2(10dB).C5(100pF)reducesthegainathigh
frequencies.Withthevalueshown,themixerstageis3dBat48kHz,anditcanbeincreasedif
desired(it'sthesameinFigure6aswell).

Usingtheequaliserissimplicityitself.Justslidetheslidersupanddowntogetthesoundyou
want.Thereisno'correct'waytousethisequaliseritisdesignedtoenableyoutogetthe
soundsyouwant.Asdescribedabove,youcangetmoreofanygivenfrequencybyreducingthe
valueofthemixingresistor,butthereisalimittohowmuchnoiseistolerable.

Thetotalgainoftheunit(withallslidersatmaximum)isabout8.2timesfortheinputstage,and
1.25forthefiltersaftersumming.Thisgivesatotalgainofaround10(or20dB),notincludingthe
outputstagewheregainisoptional.Actualgainwillbedifferent,dependingontheslidersetting,
andcanbechangedintheoutputopampasdescribedabove,orbychangingthevalueofR9
(lowerthevalueforlessgainandviceversa)orR7(lowervaluegivesmoregain).Ifyouchange
thegainstructure,becarefulthattheinputgain(changingR7)isnotmadetoohigh,oryouwill
getdistortionwithhighlevelinputs.

Figure6AlternateMixerandToneControlCircuits

Figure6showsanalternativetothepreviousmixerandoutputstage.Thisincludestonecontrols,
anda'bright'switchforadditionaltrebleboost.Thisislikelytobemoreusefulforguitarandbass
(asopposedtokeyboardsandothersignalsources),becausemostguitarampshave(and
usuallyneed)prodigioustrebleboost.Includingabasstonecontroladdsversatilityandmakesthe
equalisermoreofageneralpurposesystem.Usingalowresistancepotattheoutput(asthe
'master'volumecontrol)meansthatitmaystillquiteeasytogetdistortionbyincreasingtheinput
volumeandreducingtheoutputlevel.Totalgainisstill20dB,butthereisnooptiontoprovide
additionalgainfromthetonecontrolstage.GaincanbeincreasedbyincreasingthevalueofR8
(thisworkswitheitheroutputsection).IfR8isincreasedabove47k(47kgivesabout8dBofgain),
C5hastobemadesmallerortherewillbeexcessiveHFrolloff.

Thetonecontrolfrequenciescanbechangedifdesired.UsingalargercapforC8(bass)will
makeitoperatefromalowerfrequency(whichwillreducetheavailableboost)andviceversa.
UseasmallercapforC7(bright)and/orC9(treble)toincreasetheturnoverfrequency(again,this
willresultinlessoverallboost).Ifyouhappentothinkyouneedmoretrebleboost(youarejoking,
aren'tyou )thenreducethevalueofR9andincreaseC7.Makingthem1kand22nFwill
increasethemaximumboosttoabout22dBat10kHz.

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ItisunusualtouseBaxandallfeedbacktonecircuitsinaguitarpreamp,buttheyaremoreuseful
herethanamoretraditional'tonestack'asusedintheProject27Bguitarpreamp.Maximum
trebleboostisabout14dBwithoutthebrightcircuit,andjustunder22dBwith(bothat10kHz).The
maximumbassboostandcutis12dBand14dBat40Hz(about+13dBand15dBat20Hz).

Awordofwarning.Don'texpectthispreamptobeespeciallyquiet,becauseitwon'tbe.Useofa
lownoiseopampfortheinputstageandmixerhelps,butaswithallguitarpreamps,somenoiseis
inevitable.Thisismadeworsebyallthefiltercircuits,buteachonlyaddsnoiseinitsownband,
sothecumulativenoiseisnotasgreatasitotherwisemightbe.Usingthedistortioncontrolor
trebleboostwillincreasenoise,andthiscanbedramaticatfullgain.Inreality,thisisnotmuch
differentfromaconventionalguitarpreampthatisturnedupLOUDtogetthesamedistortion.The
moregainyouhave,thegreaterthenoise.

Frequencyresponse

Figure7showstheresponseofeachfilter,andthevoltageobtainedwhenallslidersareat
maximum.Thereissomerippleintheresponseasyouwouldexpect,butit'sgenerallybelow
1dB.Thegraphincludesthefinalfiltersetto15kHzwith1.5nFcapsitwillbealittledifferentwith
1.8nFcaps(13kHz).ThetonecontrolresponseisshowninFigure8,butwithouttheHFboost
setting.

Figure7FrequencyResponse

Thetonecontrolresponsesweretakenwiththetwopotsat0%(maximumcut),25%,50%(flat),
75%and100%(maximumboost).Whencombinedwiththeextraordinaryflexibilityofthegraphic
equaliser,therangeistrulyvast.Nographsorchartscanevertellyouwhatsomethingwillsound
like,butitshouldbeobviousthattherearefewlimitationswiththecombinedcircuits.

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Figure8ToneControlFrequencyResponse

Thetablebelowshowsthefilterfrequenciesyoucanexpectwitheverycapacitorvaluebetween
1uFand1.2nF.1nFcapsaren'tincluded,butwillgiveafrequencyof22.6kHztoohightobe
useful.Theprogressionprovidesfrequenciesthatareinverselyproportionaltothecapacitor
value,andbecausethestandardvaluesaremoreorlesslogarithmic,sotooarethefrequency
intervals.Althoughintheoryyoucoulduseeveryvalueshown,Idoubtthatmanypeoplewould
thinkthata36or37bandequaliserwasagoodidea.Besideswhich,avastnumberoffrequency
bandsisnotneededforatoneshapingcircuit,becauseit'sintendedtocreateasound,nottotry
tocompensatefordeficiencies.

Capacitance Frequency Capacitance Frequency Capacitance Frequency


1uF 22.7Hz 100nF 226Hz 10nF 2,260Hz
820nF 27.6Hz 82nF 276Hz 8.2nF 2,760Hz
680nF 33.3Hz 68nF 333Hz 6.8nF 3,330Hz
560nF 40.4Hz 56nF 404Hz 5.6nF 4,040Hz
470nF 48.1Hz 47nF 481Hz 4.7nF 4,810Hz
390nF 58.1Hz 39nF 581Hz 3.9nF 5,810Hz
330nF 68.6Hz 33nF 686Hz 3.3nF 6,860Hz
270nF 83.6Hz 27nF 836Hz 2.7nF 8,360Hz
220nF 102.8Hz 22nF 1,028Hz 2.2nF 10,280Hz
180nF 125.6Hz 18nF 1,256Hz 1.8nF 12,560Hz
150nF 151.3Hz 15nF 1,513Hz 1.5nF 15,130Hz
120nF 189.9Hz 12nF 1,899Hz 1.2nF 18,990Hz
CapacitanceVs.Frequency

Intheabovetable,thevaluesusedinthe9filtersareshowninbold.Ifyouwish,youcanuseany
otherseriesofcapsthatwillprovidehigherorlowerfrequencies.Forexample,youmightwantto
makethefirstfilterrunat33Hz,soyou'duse680nF,330nFand150nFforthefirst3filters,then
usethevaluesdividedby10(68nF,33nF,etc.)forthenext3filters,thendividedby10again
(6.8nFetc.)forthelastthreefilters.

Thesimulatedinductanceofagyratoriscalculatedbasedontheresistanceandcapacitorvalues
selected.Intheabovefilters,theresistorsareR2andR3(.1,.2,.3etc.),andthecapacitorisC1.
Theformulaisbasedonusinganopamp,butit'snotfarofffortransistorsasshown...

L=R2*R3*C1Soforexample...
L=100k*560*100nF=31.36H

Nowitispossibletocalculatetheresonantfrequency...

f=1/(2**(L*C))

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f=1/(2**(31.36*560nF)=38Hz(closeenough)

Thisisalittlelowerthantheabovetableclaims,andthat'sbecausethetransistorhasfinitegain
andisabit'imperfect'.Nomatter,becauseeverythingisshiftedbyasimilaramount,andtheend
resultwillbeasdescribed.Atresonance,thegyratorinductorandcapacitorhavethesame
impedance,whichfortheexampleaboveis7.49kforboth(again,closeenough).Combined
withthe10kfeedresistorforeachfilter,thisgivesatheoreticalQofaround1.33,howeverit'sa
littlelessbecausethe560ohmresistorsappearinserieswiththegyrators,andthatreducesthe
Q.

Naturally,youmaychangethefrequenciesaroundtosuityourself.Ifyouwantedtouseoctave
intervals,youcouldusethesequenceof560nF,390nF,270nF,180nF,120nFetc.Youwillneed
toincreasetheQofeachfilter,soR1.1,.2(etc.)wouldhavetobeincreasedtoaround15k.
Naturally,thatmeanstwiceasmanyfiltersasshownabove,unlessyouonlywanttotailorapart
ofthefrequencyrange.Thiswouldcomplicatethedesign,andwon'tbecoveredunlessthereis
interestexpressedbyreaders.

PowerSupply

Topowerthecircuit,anypowersupplycapableof15V(12Vwillusuallyworkfine)willdo,
providedthatitiscapableofatleast50mA,andpreferably75mAorso.Withthesuggested15V
supplies,themaximumvoltageintothefiltersisaround7VRMS.Highervoltageswillcause
distortionasthefiltertransistorsstarttoclip.Ifthesupplyvoltageislower,sotooisthemaximum
voltage.

Eachgyratordrawsabout3.2mA,butthiscanbereducedbyusingahighervalueforR4(R4.1,
.2,.3...).However,ahigherresistancewilllimitthedynamicrangeandincreasedistortion.The
recommended5532opampscandrawupto5mAeachaswell.Naturally,ifyoudecideto
increasethenumberoffiltersthecurrentwillincreasefurther.

Becausethefiltersarebasedonemitterfollowers,alownoisesupplyisessential.Anysupply
noise(especiallythenegativesupply)willbecomepartofthesignal.Thenegativesupplyrejection
isonlyabout15dB,andthepositivesupplyrejectionis~25dB.Noiseonthesupplieswillbe
audibleintheoutput.Bothsuppliesshouldberegulated,andIsuggestthatProject05beusedto
ensurethesuppliesareascleanaspossible.

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CopyrightNotice.Thisarticle,includingbutnotlimitedtoalltextanddiagrams,istheintellectualpropertyofRod
Elliott,andisCopyright(c)2014.Reproductionorrepublicationbyanymeanswhatsoever,whetherelectronic,
mechanicalorelectromechanical,isstrictlyprohibitedunderInternationalCopyrightlaws.Theauthor(RodElliott)
grantsthereadertherighttousethisinformationforpersonaluseonly,andfurtherallowsthatone(1)copymaybe
madeforreferencewhileconstructingtheproject.Commercialuseisprohibitedwithoutexpresswrittenauthorisation
fromRodElliott.
PageCreatedandCopyright(c)RodElliottMay2014

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