Catalinbread Dreamcoat Overdrive
What began as an exploration of a specific '60s and '70s classic rock tone, evolved into a multidimensional gain machine capable of anything between unruly sputtery fuzz and classic rock chime. This is not meant to make you sound like a classic rock god, it is meant to inspire you from using some of the same tools they used that would otherwise be inaccessible in pedal form. The heart and soul of the Dreamcoat is a near-exact recreation of the preamp circuit from the Aiwa TP-1011 reel-to-reel deck that can be found in '60s and '70s classic rock recordings. All of the functionality of that unit is present, from sparkling cleans to powerful crunch and glassy leads, but the “Sat” control gives you an extra layer of grunt, allowing the Dreamcoat to range between near-dry tonal indifference to complete “melting-amp” Neil Young-esque tweed sounds.
A certain classic rock sound wasn’t just a tape deck, though. Some players installed a passive inductor-based frequency “booster” into their guitars that cut both sides of the spectrum around the resonant frequency of their guitar, giving the appearance of frequency boost. To that end, we’ve added a frequency booster circuit that doesn’t cut anything, giving you a richer tone with a little oomph where it counts. To top it all off, we’ve included a clean blend circuit that begins after the frequency boost and ends after the tape preamp, so you can EQ the sum of your clean tone and dirt, all while preserving your pick attack and presence. The whole shebang runs at 20V, just a hair higher than the original Aiwa, expanding its capabilities and delivering tons of headroom.
The TP-1011 was originally designed to accept a microphone input. Microphones operate at as low as -60dBu, and guitars 20dBu higher, so a guitar signal naturally overloaded the front end, creating its signature distortion. Unlike the original Aiwa unit that runs at 18V, the circuit didn’t really do the amp-melting thing until I increased the operating voltage to 20V, and so that’s where we stand. The 20V operating voltage is supplied via a shunt-regulated charge pump, so plugging a standard 9V power supply into it does the trick.
When you adjust the Blend control, keep in mind that the “clean” sound is actually whatever you feed into the Dreamcoat, so running another pedal up front will allow you to blend the signals in parallel. This is a boon for you gain stackers out there, or you can get creative with it---try plugging in a ADT pedal or a subtle chorus up front and backing off the Blend control to let your cleans really jump out.
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