Wattson Classic Electronics Escape Velocity

Various

Wattson Classic Electronics

The fundamental purpose of an overdrive circuit is to simulate the warm and slightly gritty sound of a good vacuum tube amplifier being pushed gently into distortion. A lot of circuits have been developed to recreate this tone, but none is more widely used and copied than the venerable Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer. No TS style overdrive is as versatile and rich sounding as the Wattson Escape Velocity. With better bass response, low noise transistors, a variable clipping threshold control, and a "mid hump" elimination switch that provides the flattest bandwidth of any TS clone on the market, this is truly the Tube Screamer that Ibanez wishes it had built.

The top row of knobs will be easily recognized by anyone who has used a TS style overdrive. The Drive control sets the amount of overdrive, the Tone control shapes the high end response, and the Level control adjusts the output level allowing the effect on and off levels to be balanced.

The second row is where our enhancements can be found. These controls are appropriately named in keeping with our astronautical theme.

The O2 control changes the level at which the overdrive circuit begins to clip. Going back to the overdriven tube amp analogy, this is similar to changing the level at which the amplifier's front end begins to distort. Many popular TS mods accomplish the same thing by swapping out the stock silicon diodes with a variety of diode types, from germanium at the low end to blue or white LED's at the high end. The O2 control simulates this effect while being continuously variable. Like swapping diodes, this effect can be subtle. In order to really hear it you have to play hard enough to drive the diodes into clipping. The O2 control also interacts, to some degree, with the Drive control.

The Trajectory switch allows you to disable the parts of the circuit that cause the infamous Tube Screamer "mid hump", making the bandwidth flat to within a few dB's from 16kHz down to well below 20Hz. The Tone control continues to work, allowing you to to tame the high frequencies, even when the Trajectory switch is in the 'flat' position.

Here's a brief listing of other additional features we've added:

  • Better Bass Response! The Escape Velocity using 10uF electrolytic coupling capacitors throughout, making it highly suitable for bass guitar as well as conventional six-string.

  • Available Headroom! All of the components have been spec'd to a minimum of 25V, allowing you to safely run the Escape Velocity with an external power supply from 9V to 18V. You can also run with an internal 9V battery.

  • All jacks are on the back! There is nothing mounted on the sides of the Escape Velocity enclosure, saving precious horizontal space on your pedalboard.

  • Pedal board friendly size! The Escape Velocity uses a 1590BB style enclosure.

  • Rugged Finish! We start with a base of durable baked powder coat. Then, instead of silkscreen or water slide decals, we use a CNC mill to engrave the lettering into the enclosure. The engraved letters are filled with gold color powder and baked a second time. The result is a finish and legend that should stand up to many years of use.

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