Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom



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Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Ice Ape » Tue May 12, 2015 11:49 pm

Hey Tom,I saw a gut shot of an Algal Bloom today (never looked inside mine yet, lol) and noticed what looked to be silicon transistors. Is this correct? And if so have any ever been made using germanium transistors? I am a big fan of the germanium clean up with the volume knob and am curious how an Algal would sound in germanium. BTW, I will always super love my custom A-B you made me. It has special voodoo magic. Yes! :yay: :whoa: :!!!: :rock: :!!!: :yay: :D
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby goroth » Wed May 13, 2015 5:22 am

You should post more dude, because you clearly know good fuzz (and your posts about the massive custom bloom were inspiring).
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby sonidero » Wed May 13, 2015 7:01 am

Yes yes yes, Germ Algal is the Best...

I have a 5 way Algal with Sili, Double Sili, 2 different LEDs, and Germ and it stays on Germ and LED...

Tom can make anything just ask... :thumb:
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby UglyCasanova » Wed May 13, 2015 10:09 am

7-way switcher here. It's amazing. Just send Tom an email and he'll hook you up.
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby goroth » Wed May 13, 2015 10:16 am

Dudes, you are talking clipping diodes, and our frozen simian friend already has an algal with all the options. I know because it is still etched into the back of my retinas from the amount of drooling I've done.

What he was asking about was substituting the silicon transistors in the two gain stages for germanium.
D.o.S. wrote:Slow down there Hall & Nopes that's a lot of melons for a meatbox.

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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby goroth » Wed May 13, 2015 10:31 am

D.o.S. wrote:Slow down there Hall & Nopes that's a lot of melons for a meatbox.

Debut album droppedJan 5. Fuck yeah. http://open.spotify.com/album/0vXjnDeyPNfeXWNvQRYP1H
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby FuzzHugger » Wed May 13, 2015 12:27 pm

The Algal Bloom uses silicon transistors...I've used a variety of clipping diodes, silicon, germanium, LED, in various custom builds. There are people who'll disagree like their sales/resale/ego depend on it, but I think certain fuzzes with certain controls can cover the same tones as germanium, to placebo effect closeness, maybe even more consistently. That's why I haven't gotten around to a full germanium Algal Bloom. If I do, though, I imagine I'll sell twice as many as ever, thanks to the germanium hype machine, but I don't know if I'd feel good about it.
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Chankgeez » Wed May 13, 2015 12:45 pm

:snax:
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby echoraven » Wed May 13, 2015 4:11 pm

Tom Dalton wrote:...That's why I haven't gotten around to a full germanium Algal Bloom. If I do, though, I imagine I'll sell twice as many as ever, thanks to the germanium hype machine, but I don't know if I'd feel good about it.


People's ears and taste in tone are all "tuned" differently. Perhaps there are a bunch who can pickup the difference in a germanium stomp vs silicone and you shouldn't feel bad to cater to those people. I have a bit over 10 dirt pedals and really want to add a germanium stomp to my dirty board.

Some people are ok with a jfet setup; but for others only full blow 100% honest tube power section will do, even with it's reduced reliability. It's all in the ears.
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Ice Ape » Wed May 13, 2015 9:24 pm

goroth wrote:I wonder if these would work??

http://m.ebay.com/itm/2N169-Vintage-GE- ... 0298471760


Hmmm...says their condition is new but the leads are snipped short. These have been salvaged from something. Germanium transistors are tricky as they often leak and mint vintage ones are hard to find in any bulk (you need to buy in bulk due to the leakage problem so you can find a matched set). Silicon is much easier to deal with. But that doesn't mean I am not curious how an Algal would sound with germanium transistors.

And yes, I really love my super modded Algal. I think it is my favorite pedal I have ever owned. I am still finding new sounds and ways to work with its many features in tandem. Other dirts have come and gone but it has been on my pedalboard since I got it and is there to stay. A really superb pedal!
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Ice Ape » Wed May 13, 2015 10:20 pm

Tom Dalton wrote:The Algal Bloom uses silicon transistors...I've used a variety of clipping diodes, silicon, germanium, LED, in various custom builds. There are people who'll disagree like their sales/resale/ego depend on it, but I think certain fuzzes with certain controls can cover the same tones as germanium, to placebo effect closeness, maybe even more consistently. That's why I haven't gotten around to a full germanium Algal Bloom. If I do, though, I imagine I'll sell twice as many as ever, thanks to the germanium hype machine, but I don't know if I'd feel good about it.


Hey Tom, thanks for the reply! Hope I didn't open a can of worms for you by accident. I just am genuinely curious as to how it would sound. For that matter I am curious as to what transistor values (silicon) you have tried for the Algals or do you just stick to one? I know many vintage pedal clones have a range of transistor values differing from the original's and that results in a noticeable difference in the sound. I imagine the same would be true of the Algal Bloom circuit too and the idea is exciting to me.

I am not a fuzz master like you so I could have this all mixed up but from what I can tell the distortion in an algal is basically coming from diode clipping, right? Or are the diodes just modifying distortion coming from the transistors? Maybe both transistors and diodes are generating distortion? Haha, need your expert guidance here.

As far as volume knob clean-up goes and silicon vs germanium opinions vary and often are hardened into an almost religious conviction. Not trying to start that debate here (or anywhere haha) but I have personally had my best results with germanium transistor based dirt boxes. As I love my Algal I wondered if a germanium transistor model would give me the glassy germanium clean-up I enjoy. That was my motivation for asking. Certainly from a builder's point of view I know germanium poses more problems. Let me also say that my algal does clean up quite well when I dial the bias in right. Almost as well as my EQD Dreamcrusher (the only dirt pedal the Algal has not kicked off my board - a germanium fuzz face for those who are interested) Most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference I bet, a point you alluded to.

BTW, congrats on your Tidal Waveform line! Great stuff!! :thumb:
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Jero » Thu May 14, 2015 12:41 am

goroth wrote:I wonder if these would work??

http://m.ebay.com/itm/2N169-Vintage-GE- ... 0298471760

I would not buy those ;)
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby FuzzHugger » Thu May 14, 2015 1:19 am

Oh, no sweat! :idk: Germanium transistors are different. I just don't think they're always better, or that it's impossible to get into "germanium tones" with silicon transistors in some cases, with the right circuits. So it just hasn't been a priority to a Germ Bloom. (Cool name though, roiiit?) Sure, germanium's a bit tougher to deal with than silicon, but not compared to modulation. I'm sure team FH could swing it. ;) Maybe I'll make one sometime and do an A/B.

The Algal Bloom uses 2n5089s, one resistor-biased, one diode-biased, which makes it extra fun to play with diode choices. Without getting technical, there's some distortion created by the transistors, then some extra distortion created by overdriving the second transistor.

Thanks! Tidal Waveforms has been a blast.
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Re: Germanium vs Silicon transistors in the Algal Bloom

Postby Ice Ape » Fri May 15, 2015 2:48 am

Tom Dalton wrote:So it just hasn't been a priority to a Germ Bloom. (Cool name though, roiiit?) Sure, germanium's a bit tougher to deal with than silicon, but not compared to modulation. I'm sure team FH could swing it. ;) Maybe I'll make one sometime and do an A/B.


A Germ Bloom sounds super sweet (killer name too) and would be most welcome on my board! Or maybe even a Bloom that could switch between silicon and germanium transistors? And all the mods too...its ok to dream, right?? :lol:
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