January 21, 2019 at 1:47 pm #3924MattParticipant
This thing. I have never been so relieved and happy to be done with a project, mixed with frustration and maybe a hint of disgust while also filled with awe and abject wonder at the final result.
The Plexi-Plus was one of the earliest projects I purchased from Barry way back when I started building pedals a few years ago. It is also one of the first to get shelved out of frustration in my early days because I didn’t understand how to bias correctly. I had a grand vision of putting this circuit and the Dr. Phybes into a combo for the 2016 or 2017 combo contest (I can’t remember which now) but I just couldn’t get this Plexi to work. I had the enclosure all done up like Eddie’s FrankenStrat including an order switcher and I was so proud. When it didn’t work in time I pilfered the Phase and made it a stand alone pedal (which rocks) and eventually made this Plexi work on its own, but never gave it a home. In the meantime I made another plexi-style circuit for a friend who liked it, but wanted more gain. Unfortunately in that particular enclosure I just didn’t have any room for any more mods. So I came home and looked hard at this project one more time. It was perfect for him, it just needed to be tweaked.
I considered the Afterblaster, but I really wanted it to be a switchable boost (I’m aware the AB CAN be, but I was in a bit of a time crunch- I’m leaving for a tour with my friend in a week) so it was between a Stage 3 and a Mosfet Boost. So I built up the S3 and put it all together, drilled out the enclosure, wired up the parts and put it together. But when I listened to it, I wasn’t thrilled. The Plexi side sounds like thundering death from above coming to conquer your lands, but the S3 was NOT doing it for me. Ugh. So I began whipping up my second to last hoarded boost. I supremely did not want to take this apart again (you can see this has been worked on considerably…) but before I did, I checked it with another boost I already had- a kind of A/B demo. I’m familiar with all of these circuits on their own, but not together. Luckily I have them all for reference! Anyhow, the real trick here is volume. I do most if not all of my work after midnight when my family is asleep and need to play really quietly. I did this test Saturday afternoon while everyone was out of the house. I was able to open the Plexi up a bit and hit it with the S3 with a good punch and all of a sudden, there it was. The sound I was after.
The way this is wired up, the S3 is run after the Plexi to be an additional boost, but can be run as a standalone boost. I’ve found it needs to be at around 2:00 to be about unity, and 3 is boost. Over that and the windows start to rattle.
As for the graphics, I only ever had one vision- to emulate the vintage Plexi amps. I abandoned the Van Halen look with the phaser since that will eventually get used. In my graphics program I actually went and sampled vintage tolex and a gold Plexi faceplate. But when I tried to print them, they looked like garbage. The gold looked green. So I grabbed some modern tolex and some gold from the graphics paint and matched it to the knobs, matched the 11 to the Marshall typeface as best as I could be bothered and called it a night. He’ll get the picture. For entertainment value, the font size for the 11s, the logo and the word BOOST is size 11 as well. And I took a page out of Jim Marshall’s book for naming it. I just gave it my initials and a number, in this case MLP11 (ML Plexi 11 with the obvious nod to Spinal Tap.)
Its ugly as all hell inside but this thing absolutely screams like a wild beast. Its two years in the making. I can’t wait to be rid of it, I super hope he likes it and SOMEDAY I’ll grab another one and make my Van Halen pedal. Promise. I still have the enclosure all drilled out.January 21, 2019 at 2:22 pm #3926wilkie1Moderator
Fantastic work on the graphics! A great combo!January 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm #3930BarryKeymaster
Thank you for sharing that excellent combo. I use the exact same combo (albeit my Stage 3 Booster is separate) and it totally takes the Plexi Plus to a new level. That looks great and I know it sounds great.January 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm #3933CybercowModerator
Pretty cool! Nice looking pedal.
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