Rub-a-Dub Reverb (1776 Effects)

Here is my latest build, a Rub A Dub reverb! It is a really simple yet useful "always on" reverb that can go from a minimal amount of reverb to long ambient delay washes, I love it! One knob, simplicity at its finest.

Rub a Dub reverb tweed pedal
Inspired by Fender amps, I decided to cover an old messed enclosure (bad painting job) with tweed. Oldamp from was nice enough to give me a bit of tweed he had left from the amps he makes.

To apply the tweed, I used a pattern. Corners are especially difficult, because you need to bend the tweed (that is a rather stiff material finally) in a proper way. It was rather a long process because the glue takes quite sometimes to be perfectly dry.

The bottom plate was covered as well. I had to use longer screws in order to be able to close the enclosure! I used a plate that I found on the banzai music website, I thought it was really appropriated for the vintage fender style. There was 3 letters possible: "T", "B" or "V". "V" was the best for me, like "Verb".

Rub a Dub Reverb tweed

It was quite a tight build finally. The enclosure I used was already drilled so I - stupidly - used the same layout. Unfortunately, positioning the power supply at the top of the pedal was not a good idea, I could not directly solder the pot to the PCB. I managed to fit everything. I used gold plated jack input, so gold plated connector could - maybe - finally be useful. I am quite happy with it, because in the end, there is even enough space for a 9V battery!

Rub a Dub Reverb tweed inside

I got the PCB from 1776 effects, a builder based in the USA (1776 is the year of the independence of the USA). He sells a lot of different PCBs for different projects, from overdrives to delays (the multiplex echo machine for instance). This one is a simple, yet good sounding one knob reverb. There is also a "Deluxe" version of it with more tweakability, but for now I wanted a simple build! 

Rub a Dub reverb PCB

The PCB is really of good quality, double sided and have a nice layout. Components are spaced enough so it is not too hard to assemble, but it is compact enough to be relatively small and fit a 1590B enclosure.

Populating the board was really fun and easy, I begin to like these circuits with not too many components! For this Rub A Dub reverb, I used a Long Belton brick, Panasonic FC and SMF (except one that is a MKT standard because the value did not exist in SMF... )

How does it sound?

The "mix" potentiometer is really making a mix between the dry signal and the treated signal. So, the reverb is more or less present. It is really a nice feature, you can vary from a slight reverb in the background or a huge swampy reverb signal. I really like it at high settings. 

My only concern was that I used a Long brick, and as it is not possible to set the decay, the reverb is always very long, even when the mix potentiometer is low. If I remake one, I will use a medium or short brick. Or I will go for the "deluxe" version of the rub a dub reverb that has a potentiometer for decay using the 3rd new version of the belton brick.

I will compare with my Chasm reverb when it will be finished!

Circuit analysis

A stompbox reverb is most of the time a digital effect, simply because an analogue reverb requires a spring or plate system that is way too big for a standard 125B enclosure format. Fortunately for us, a manufacturer called Belton provides Digital Reverb modules that can be used for such projects. They are declined in 3 types corresponding to the possible duration of the reverb: short, medium and long.

Belton brick BTDR2

This brick contains a rather complicated circuit with 3 PT2399 (numeric delay chip) that follow each other with really short delay time to act as a reverb.
Belton brick schematic
Bam! I told you it was kinda complex...

They managed to make it smaller as possible with surface mounted components so we, small DIYers can use it at home to make our reverbs!
It has 6 pins:
  • Pin 1 should receive  a regulated +5V voltage
  • Pin 2 should be connected to power ground
  • Pin 3 is the input of the circuit
  • Pin 4 is the signal ground
  • Pin 5 is the output 1
  • Pin 6 is the output 2 (for stereo applications)
So it is like having another circuit in your circuit (circuitception!)
The Rub a Dub reverb is a circuit surrounding this belton brick in order to get the most of it with a simple layout. Here is the schematic:

Rub A Dub Reverb schematic 
Let's divide it in three sections:
Rub A Dub Reverb schematic
The input buffer is a simple OP amp boosting the signal before it is split between dry (analogue signal) and wet (numeric conversion and treatment by the Belton brick). First, there is a 1M pulldown resistor that prevents "pop" noises when a charge accumulates at the entry of the circuit. The excess of current is going to the ground when the effect is activated. Then, there is a coupling capacitor (22nF), preventing any parasitic direct current to go in the circuit. The signal then goes through a resistor and the first OP-amp of the TL072. The TL072 is an IC containing 2 OP amps, which is a low noise JFET amplifier.  It is wired as an inverting amplifier. Thus, we can calculate the gain of it, which is simply R3/R2 = 360/180 = 2. The OP amp multiply the signal by 2, so when it is split between the dry and wet section, it is like having 2 signals like the original one going on each side of the circuit.

The treated signal section (wet section) simply is the Belton brick circuit. The signal enters through pin 3 and goes out through pin 5 and 6. It is then mixed with two 4,7k resistors accordingly to Belton mono circuit example. The signal that goes out the brick is the reverb signal ("wet" signal).  The signal then goes back to the amplification loop of the second OP amp. First, the "mix" potentiometer sets how much wet signal is going back in the circuit to be mixed with the dry signal. So you define how much signal there will be in the final sound! A coupling capacitor prevents any parasitic DC current to go in the circuit, and a 20k resistors defines how much signal can go through at the minimum mix level. A fun mod to do is to put a switch before the 22k resistor in order to make the entire signal going through the wet section: all the signal will be treated, and you will not have a dry signal anymore, creating a "wet" reverb.

The mixing section mixes the dry signal with the wet signal using the second OP amp of the TL072. The amplification gain is around 0,5, so that the mixed signal will be of the same amplitude that the original input signal. Thus, the volume will stay constant. By modulating the resistors values, for instance the 12k resistor, volume can be increased or decreased. It is also possible to put a potentiometer there in order to have a volume / boost knob. Then the signal goes through a 1uF coupling capacitor, and there is another pulldown resistor to prevent noises, and it finally gets out!

The power supply section stabilizes the current and offers a 4,5V voltage, and a regulated +5V voltage. This is important to supply the voltage needed by the TL072 and the Belton Brick. The current enters via +9V(T), goes through a 33R resistor. A 1n4001 diode protects the circuit against polarity inversion, and a 100 uF capacitor eliminates all the residual oscillations that may come from the power supply. More details about the stabilization of the power supply in my dedicated article. On the left side of the power supply section, there are 2 resistors that act as a voltage divider. Half of the current goes through the 10k resistor linked to the ground, and half of it goes to VB. We have a 4,5V VB voltage, perfect for the TL072! On the right of the circuit, there is a 7805 REG regulator. Even if it looks like a transistor (with 3 pins), it is an integrated circuit with a simple role: a voltage between 7 and 36V can enter through pin1, and a stable 5V voltage goes through pin3. Pin2 is connected to ground. It is really convenient when you need a stable particular voltage. There are many possible versions for voltage regulators, depending on which voltage you need:
  • 78xx: positive voltage
  • 79xx: negative voltage
  • "xx": voltage value of the regulated voltage output.
There it is! I hope that everything is clear for you!
Any questions? Post a comment!

To go further:
Belton brick BTDR2H official webpage and datasheet.
Rub a Dub reverb bill of material and informations
About 7805 voltage regulator: more infos here.

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    I am quite happy with it, because in the end, there is even enough space for a 9V battery!James


    hi! thanks for the article (and whole website!), you rule! hey weird question: i started to put this together and the 33R resistor connected to my 9V immediately started smoking. i'm using just a normal-ass 9VDC 300mA power supply. any insight into what might be going on here? thanks!