Back in 2017, I designed “The Mighty Flea” – a 20W guitar amplifier aimed mostly at acoustic jazz guitarists, and built a couple of prototypes. I used to go to gypsy jazz festivals a lot, and I thought it would be great to make a portable amp aimed primarily at acoustic jazz guitarists – something that looked stylish, and sounded similar to the vintage Stimer amps that those Dhango Reinhardt made famous, but could run off batteries and be played around a campfire.
The boxes for the prototype amplifiers were made by my friend Peter Lewis, and as you can see he did a fantastic job – they really look the part.
The MASSCOT (Massive Analogue Sound Shaper – Compressor, Overdrive, Tone) is an effects pedal for guitar and bass players that creates a full, warm sound that is the hallmark of top quality analogue circuitry.
At the heart of the MASSCOT is a unique optical compressor – a compressor that always sounds smooth but never pumps, due to the custom-designed control circuitry which uses the characteristics of the optical element to shape the sound. The circuit was designed in the spirit of the great circuit designs of the 50s, 60s and 70s, without being a direct “clone” of any of them. rather, a lengthy process of trying design ideas, and then both measuring and listening to the results has given this circuit its unique sound.
This is a very simple project that takes only a few hours to make. It is a pair of 8 ohm resistive loads which can be used to test a mono or stereo power amplifier.
If you are working on an audio amp, you often need to see how it will behave when it is delivering power to a load. Using real loudspeakers is not practical, especially if you want to test at high levels and with sine waves. The noise would be unbearable, also you might damage a speaker. So you need a load to use instead of a loudspeaker.