Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone

Self-made overdrive pedal VEMURAM Jan Ray clone

Gorgeous overdrive Jan Ray

Jan Ray imageJan Ray is an overdrive made by Japanese stomp maker VEMURAM. It features clean boost to low gain distortion which sounds the core of guitar strings nicely.

The real Jan Ray is housed in a gorgeous brass enclosure and shows the presence that should be called "the highest peak" effect pedal. Probably because of that, the price is higher than US $ 350. Wow!

Therefore, I tried to make my own by using the circuit diagram and board layout obtained on the Internet. This page is a report from the start to the completion of my own work.

About circuit

It seems that the real Jan Ray's circuit boards and parts are painted black or glued together so that I do not know what kind of circuit and parts are used. Still, an engineer disassembles the purchased Jan Ray, removes the pattern mask, removes the parts, measures the resistance value and the capacitance of the capacitor, and writes it on the circuit diagram. Awesome work!

As an outline of the circuit, a double diode (1N4148, a normal switching diode) is put in the feedback of an operational amplifier to make distortion. It has the same circuit as the existing effect pedal "Timmy", but the resistance value, diode wiring and capacitor capacity are slightly different. It's a Timmy clone. If you don't make your own DIY stuff and don't care about the subtle differences in sound, you should be better to buy Timmy.

However, Jan Ray's enclosure is made of brass, and the grades of the parts used are probably selected. There is no doubt that something will be different compared to Timmy, as all the professionals have highly evaluated it. If you want the real one, you should buy a Jan Ray. There are many comparison videos of the two on YouTube, so please listen and compare.

Self-made Jan Ray PCB

PCB supplier

When I made my own Centaur last time, I made it by wiring point-to-point on a universal board based on the circuit diagram on the Internet. I like this method and it was one of the pleasures, but recently my aged eyes makes me harder detailed works, so this time I tried to make it using the printed circuit board sold on the Internet. As a result, it was very easy and it worked well on the first attempt.

As for the parts, I bought all the parts (parts, switches, jacks, solder, potentiometers, knobs, painted enclosure, etc.) from the mail order effect pedal parts shop in Japan "Garrett Audio". Excluding the PCB, it costs about US$45.

About parts and enclosure

I bought price-orientedgeneral-purpose electronic components. The resistances are carbon 5%, 1/4W, and the capacitors are the cheapest ones regardless of the type. The operational amplifier is JRC4558DD (low noise type). Since the sound changes depending on the operational amplifier, a socket is attached so that it can be changed to another thing.

Self-made Jan Ray partsI have a opinion: Especially distortion effect pedals are not HiFi audio, so it is meaningless to use high-end audio parts. If you change the type of parts, the sound will change, but using higher parts does not always produce a better sound.

Even though I thought it was sounding good that day, I sometimes didn't feel it because my mood would change the next day. I remember that when I was cloning the Centaur. It may be true that after listening for 5 or 10 minutes, your ears get used to it and you cannot judge whether the sound is good or bad.

There is no such thing as "absolute" or "best" in sound. It depends on our mood of the day. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to pay attention to the type of parts, so I'm just using economy ones.


Enclosure processing

I chose a HAMMOND 1590BS enclosure with a rough black paint. It costed US $ 15. Since the effect pedal needs to house a battery, pods, a footswitch and phone jacks in a small box, the hole positions must be determined so that they do not interfere with each other. I arranged the actual parts in the enclosure and decided the rough position.

Self-made Jan Ray case layout

Write down the position on a piece of paper, tape it, and then mark the center of the hole with a sharp screwdriver (ideally a center punch). Based on the mark, make a small hole with a 3mm drill, and then widen the hole with a 6mm drill in order to insert a reamer.

Self-made Jan Ray marking hole position

The holes for potentiometers, jacks, and switches are different in size, so decide by looking through the actual parts while widening the holes with a reamer little by little.

Self-made Jan Ray hole processing

Self-made Jan Ray parts implementation

Wiring

After attaching the potentiometers, jacks and foot switch to the enclosure, wire the inside of the enclosure. For the wiring material, I used the 24 AWG frexible wire. There are two types of electric wires: the "frexible wire" type, which is a bundle of thin wires that I use, and the "solid wire" type, which is made up of one solid wire. The solid wire can keep the shape, so it results in a beautiful finish. However, if bending the solid wire several times, it will break easily, so I think it is not for beginners. Beginners should buy a "frexible wire" type.

The LED fits just into a 3mm drill hole. With the head of the red LED inserted, fixed with instant adhesive from the back side. The wiring between the pod and the PCB should be as short as possible, but it is convenient to make it long enough to turn the board over for a trouble shooting. Be careful that noise will be added to the wire if it is too long.

Self-made Jan Ray wiring

Output sound check

I used PCB this time and there must be no miss wiring, so I checked the sound output after attaching everything to the enclosure. There was a problem that the GAIN potentiometers No. 1 and No. 3 were wired in reverse resulting the GAIN knob worked in reverse, but the others worked without any problems. When I made my own Centaur on a universal board, it didn't work well in one shot, so this time it was super easy!

Self-made Jan Ray work table

As many YouTube reviews, the chord backing with stratocaster's single coil pickup sounds good. For rhythm guitars, it's better to use a low gain overdrive like Jan Ray to slightly distort the peaks and compress it, rather than a clean tone or a compression sound like DynaComp.

When using a Les Paul humbucker, when I raise the GAIN and set the Les Paul volume at about 6, it will be close to the original distortion of a Fender amp. When setting the volume to MAX, it comfortably overdrives. I feel the responsiveness to the volume knob of the guitar is pretty good.

Sound samples

The same phrase will be played twice. The first half is OFF (buffered bypass) and the second half is ON.
Recording environment: Fender Stratocaster -> Self-made Centaur -> Mooer Preamp 060 (Fender Clean, Cabinet ON) -> UR22mkII -> DAW (Studio One)

Chord backing(MP3)

Rhythm guitar(MP3)

Finished!

I closed the enclosure and completed it. The real Jan Ray doesn't have the labels of the knob printed on it, but I put stickers on the knob with knob initial. My own black Jan Ray has been completed. I'm so satisfied!

Self-made Jan Ray completed!
My own black Jan Ray clone completed!

I've created a page about the tools you need to make your own effects pedals and the basics of how to make them. Please refer to it.

Self-made Jan Ray effect pedal board implementation
Built into my effect pedal board