Dying Sun FX
Arcane audio devices for a dying world, built by hand in California.
Arcane audio devices for a dying world, built by hand in California.
This is our current, standard edition line of pedals. We try to keep them in stock at all times, but demand occasionally outpaces supply and it takes a few days to catch up. If there's a pedal listed here that's sold-out or not listed in the store, or if you'd like to specify a custom color and/or knob configuration, please contact us. We're always happy to accept custom builds. Lead time is usually 1-2 weeks.
Unless otherwise noted, all Dying Sun pedals feature high-quality, low-noise components, all of which are tested for tolerance (by me). Each pedal is hand-built and hand-lettered in Oakland, California.
The Avern is full-range germanium boost, based on the classic Dallas Rangemaster circuit. Where the Rangemaster effectively shelves the lower guitar frequencies, however, the Avern offers a separate range control that progressively allows more lows to pass through the gain stage (boosted) and out to the amplifier. It CAN do the classic Rangemaster tone with the range set fully counter-clockwise, but that's merely where it begins.
While not as effective when used with a clean amp, the Avern excels at pushing an amp that's already clipping into beautiful, grinding saturation across the entire frequency range. Couple it with a non-master-volume British tube amp for one of the greatest guitar tones of all time. Or use it to boost your favorite overdrive pedal.
As with the Seraph, the Avern uses a NOS germanium transistor. These are occasionally difficult to source, and each pedal is slightly different as a result. We look for European- and American-made transistors with a very specific gain range and individually test each one for leakage and noise. The specific make/type (Mullard OC76, for example) will be listed in the store description.
We also occasionally build Averns with NOS silicon transistors that impart a brighter, more modern tone.
NOTE: Like most pedals derived from the Rangemaster circuit, the Avern does NOT like being positioned after a buffer in the signal chain. It functions as intended when it "sees" an impedance load directly from a guitar's pickups, and benefits from the added capacitance of a long instrument cable. Ideally, the Avern should be positioned at the very front of the pedal chain, followed by fuzz pedals like the Eidolon and Vicuna.
The Eidolon is a "one-knob" silicon fuzz/distortion, similar to the DAM Meathead and BAT Ritual. Differentiating it is a rotary switch that progressively widens the frequency response in the manner of the Orange/Matamp FAC control, in addition to better/cleaner power filtering. This is a brutally high-gain pedal with a low noise floor.
Every Eidolon build is slightly different, by virtue of transistor selection/availability. In most cases, Q1 is a NOS silicon transistor (BC107 or similar, hFE ~100-225) and Q2 is new-production silicon... but not always. Occasionally we choose a pair of transistors with slightly more or less gain than average, but which sound particularly good. This will always be noted in the description of the individual pedal in the store. Those among you with discerning tonal palates may notice a difference.
What does it sound like? Go listen to just about any Slomatics album. That's a DAM Meathead, but you'll get the idea. If anything, the Eidolon is even more brutal.
NOTE: Like most pedals derived from the Fuzz Face circuit, the Eidolon does NOT like being positioned after a buffer in the signal chain. It functions as intended when it "sees" an impedance load directly from a guitar's pickups, and benefits from the added capacitance of a long instrument cable. It will seem harsh/noisy if fed a signal from the output of a non-true-bypass (buffered) pedal. Ideally, the Eidolon should be positioned near the front of the pedal chain.
The Autarch is a crushing power amp distortion with a JFET preamp stage at the input. The preamp boosts the signal and adds a bit of tube-like compression before pushing it through an LM386 chip set for the maximum possible gain. The result is a thick, saturated, glassy distortion that sounds like a quad of EL34s about to explode.
Having said that, the controls on the Autarch are very wide-ranging and interactive. Dialing back the gain (the drive control) produces a more crunchy, low-mid overdrive; great for pushing an amp that's already clipping. The volume control, in addition to having an effect on the overall volume, also has a significant effect on perceived saturation. At lower volume levels, the sound is more focused and controlled. Bringing the volume up yields a more "open" and full range of distortion. Although, be warned... there's an incredible amount of decibel gain with the volume knob above noon... which is why it works so great as a boost into a dirty amp when you dial back the drive control.
The "hc" control is a simple high cut filter, with zero cut at the fully-clockwise position. As you boost the volume, the highs may become more piercing with certain amps and pickups. Turn the high-cut back to compensate. It works like the "filter" control on a RAT, but in reverse -- more like a traditional tone control. But remember, it's a cut; start at full clockwise and dial back from there.
In short, imagine kicking a fascist in the teeth with a pair of steel-toed biker boots. That's what playing through the Autarch feels like. It is immensely satisfying.
The Citadel is a grinding, full-range overdrive/boost with a NOS silicon transistor (generally a Telefunken BC108/9). In vague terms, imagine a tone that borrows elements from a Fender Bassman, Tweed Twin, and an old Supro combo... all fully cranked.
The drive control is fairly obvious in function; it controls the amount of gain by adjusting the bias on the transistor (crackling noises while turning the knob are normal and okay). The range control widens or narrows the range of frequencies that enter the gain stage. The hi-cut rotary switch progressively diminishes the high-end response, which can be somewhat aggressive when the drive is pushed fully clockwise, or when used with a particularly bright amp or guitar. Finally, the clipping switch toggles between various different clipping diodes, the differences between which are manifested in perceived headroom and compression.
Left: NOS germanium, symmetric
Center: Bypass, no clipping diodes
Right: NOS germanium, asymmetric
The center position obviously provides the greatest amount of available headroom and the least amount of compression/clipping. This can be useful when pairing the Citadel with an amp that's already clipping on its own. The symmetric and asymmetric diode configurations generally sound better into a clean amp. Note that there will be a significant volume increase when the clipping diodes are taken out of the circuit (in the center position).
The Seraph is the germanium cousin to the Citadel. Where the latter is driven by a silicon transistor, the Seraph uses a NOS germanium transistor in its place (usually of the US-made 2Nx family). Otherwise, the structure of the circuit is nearly identical.
The resulting tonal difference, however, is audibly significant. The Seraph is smoother, squishier, warmer, and somewhat more vintage in character. It sounds like germanium, basically. Nothing else sounds like that.
Individual transistors are carefully tested for gain and leakage using an Atlas DCA meter, and then by ear for noise. Those that don't make the cut are discarded. As a result, the Seraph is considerably less noisy than many other germanium overdrive pedals on the market today.
The control layout and functions are identical to the Citadel, with the exception of the toggle switch for the clipping diodes. The Seraph only has two settings: NOS asymmetric germanium and bypass (no clipping diodes). When clipping is bypassed, the Seraph behaves more like a high-gain germanium boost that beautifully melts when paired with a dirty amp.
The Vicuna is a hybrid overdrive/fuzz/distortion based on the classic EHX Big Muff circuit (multiple cascading gain stages with negative feedback clipping diodes), but different enough that it doesn't really sound like one. Where the EHX circuit has a pronounced midrange scoop, for example, the Vicuna is more present and dominant. It's Kevin Shields' tone on Loveless; resolutely focused in the guitar's natural frequency range.
Additional features include a choke function that pulls down the gain to something more like a cranked Orange OR120, with plenty of low-midrange grunt and high-voltage "kerrrang" when pushed. You can also switch between an array of diodes in the second clipping stage: symmetric silicon, NOS asymmetric germanium, and two different types of NOS symmetric germanium. To my ears, the germanium diodes sound better in this circuit (more tube-like, with layered harmonics), but the silicon is there for a more classic sound, should that be your preference.