Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

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Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by MrShake » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:24 am

Hey all, sorry if this is a little wordy:

Years ago, I got a DF-2 Super Feedbacker & Distortion because my bandmate in college played one and I always enjoyed it. I learned to use it actually pretty well for my own stuff, found the feedback useful for textures. So abt 5-10 years ago, I ordered one, a Jan 1985 model, just after the name change. Was broken when I got it, did the "siren sound" (like a ray gun or a helicopter). Which was cool, but not what I wanted it for. Got a refund, seller told me to keep the pedal. A while later, I flipped the plastic button under the treadle and it worked, so I was happy. For a while. Then it siren'd up again.

I put it away, convinced it was the "hold it down for feedback"-style switch. Unable to diagnose it, I got another (a late 1986), which not only worked perfectly, it was the one of the most minty pedals I'd ever bought used.

The other day, I was reading about pedals (duh), and came across a post elsewhere from last year about the DF-2. The poster described a problem like mine and somebody suggested that they should a few particular components on the board. I checked them, and lo and behold, I had a cold solder joint on one of the caps. Five minutes later, it was back to stock and totally playable! Oh yeah!

What WAS wrong with it seemed to match the DESCRIPTION of what Adam Franklin's broken DF-2 sounded like - a siren with wide oscillation, almost like a ray gun crossed with a helicopter. Some places online speculate that it was his Small Stone that was broken, but I found some direct quotes from him that it was the DF-2, and that he had more recently had some modded to make them switchable from "stock" to "broken". A bunch of online hunting found me a couple pics of his pedalboard I'd not seen, and I'll be damned if there isn't a tiny little toggle switch on the top face of his DF-2 by the power input.

What it had sounded like before the fix matches what FX Doctor offers as their switchable "Siren Mod" in their demos. (I don't think they were responsible for modding his, just mentioning as an indicator of what mine sounded like.)

So, now I have a dilemma. I now have a stock Jan 1985 DF-2. I JUST fixed it after years. I'm a player, not a collector, really -- but that 1986 replacement is just too damn cosmetically clean to put on my dirty punk rock board and stomp on in ratty practice spaces. But the '85 has wear 'n' tear 'n' mojo. Now that I know what I could do to it to make that mod switchable, I'm tempted. Electronically, it seems like the same thing as doing a switchable Ruetz mod to my Rat -- SPST switch, break the connection at that leg of the capacitor, and BOOM, modded.

But I just dunno if I wanna drill a hole in a nice, working, MIJ DF-2 that I want mostly for stock reasons.

I'd wanna mount it up by the power jack if I did it (I don't like side-mounted switches), and wouldn't be comfortable drilling the top face by the control knobs.

I'm a punky shoegazer-type (the band is more Spacemen 3 than Swervedriver, but I love em both), so the idea of a "Swervedriver" mod on my DF-2 (which may even be what that pedal is most famous for) is tempting and fun for a project to do and bonus coolness, even if I'd rarely use it. Why not hot-rod a pedal if I can make it switchably stock like my Rats? But there's something holding me up about doing the drilling, probably because I know it's a tight enclosure anyway, and while I'd never sell the damn thing (fondness for the model, nostalgia for my college band, useful musically to me), the potential risk of a botched mod and a useless hole in a reasonably uncommon pedal I love seems dangerous.

So, should I mod my DF-2 for the siren effect?

Pros:
- Fun project
- Cool additional sound option if I want it
- Even though it's "broken", the siren sound is prob the most infamous sound this particular pedal makes, thanks to Swervedriver
- Shoegaze cred in my own mind (I'm not much of a modder, skills-wise, but "Franklin-izing" a DF-2 is pretty badass, right?)
- If done right, electrical work should pretty easy (lift the leg I re-soldered, add 2 wires and a switch)

Cons:
- Risk of failure (dead pedal)
- Drilling a hole in a not-cheap MIJ Boss pedal
- Tight enclosure, concerned about my accuracy and space in the casing
- Top-mount switches have broken off on me before because of placement
- I'm a modding primitive, no multimeter skills, really
- Is this the AF/SWD sound?

Bonus points if you can link me to some audio or video where you can hear the "WOO! WOO! WOO!" on a Swervedriver track. I've heard a lot of speculation, and I'm actually pretty sure I've heard the stock sound on one of their records, but I dunno if I've ever pinpointed a "that's the broken pedal" moment when I'm nodding my head to Raise or Mezcal Head or the early EPs, but it's been a while, and I haven't had time since I fixed it to go back and listen.

What say you, you beautiful maniacs?

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by fuzzjunkie » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:33 am

You could add the switch :BEFORE: you drill any holes.

You’re going to want to know if it works or not , just to mitigate the risk. If it doesn’t, all you have to do is resolder the capacitor.

If it does, then you can decide if you want the switch on the outside, or not.

I suppose you could get a switching potentiometer and replace one of the controls with a push/pull pot, but then you’ll be doing more changes to the original while saving the cosmetics?

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by fuzzjunkie » Thu Oct 01, 2020 11:14 am

It's funny but before you and others mentioned the "broken pedal" siren sound, I just assumed he did it the way I did it. Turn your JM towards your amp and give the wiggle stick a good shake.

I have seen Adam mention he had a broken pedal before, but I thought it was like the broken fuzz pedal the Jesus and Mary Chain used on Psychocandy, just a saw wave fuzz, not a siren or raygun.

Listening to Mezcal Head now and there are raygun sounds that are different than the siren sounds. I thought that was a Small Stone on those.

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by blunderbuss » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:26 pm

If you’ve had some thoughts about it bring a Small Stone you could try the two together first? Otherwise I think unless something you’re really dying for leave well enough alone.
Ryan

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by spacelordmother » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:50 pm

I haven't seen inside of a DF-2, but from having worked in many other boss pedals I would assume a push/pull pot won't fit as they are usually all board mounted and there's usually not a ton of room for extras in there.

Do you use a battery or a power supply? If you don't want to deface your pedal and are cool with an extra step to flip the switch you could drill your hole underneath the stomp. If you ever were to sell it I doubt anyone would make a peep about it.
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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by ElephantDNA » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:19 pm

First obligatory mention that Swervedriver are great. Saw them on their last US tour and still sounded fantastic.

Honestly I would mod the junky one and save the minty one. Those mint MIJs are only going up in value.

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by CorporateDisguise » Fri Oct 02, 2020 3:47 am

If you don’t use a battery in the pedal, you could just put the switch in the cavity. Maybe pad it with a little bit of foam, but let it float free. That would make the mod 100% reversable.

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by Pacafeliz » Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:32 am

Ha, I just happen to have picked up two DF-2 pedals last week. Love 'em!

(Keeping the '85, selling the '88)
i love delay SO much ...that i procrastinate all the time.

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by stooge » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:02 am

Which cap are you lifting? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by fisonic » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:31 am

C37

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by stooge » Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:21 pm

Okay, here’s a goofy question. If lifting the cap completely gives the siren mod, what would a different cap value do in there? Any thoughts?

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by jvin248 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:29 am

.

Looks like you need a small rotary switch that fits in the battery compartment: stock, disconnected C37 leg, several different cap values.

.

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Re: Boss DF-2: Broken, Fixed... Modded? [Swervedriver Siren Mod?]

Post by andy_tchp » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:26 pm

stooge wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:21 pm
Okay, here’s a goofy question. If lifting the cap completely gives the siren mod, what would a different cap value do in there?
A siren with flashing blue/red lights.

(Sorry...)
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