Melusine III

HEXE Melusine III

Guitar phonograph simulator

Melusine will take your signal a few generations back, add a few layers of highly randomized crackles, noises, run it through a lo-fi tuned filter, lightly vibrate it to produce a convincing sound of an old worn out vinyl record.
In addition, the new 3rd generation of the pedal can generate an alternative on (needle drop) or off (needle skip/scratch) sound effect. This new feature is activated by holding down the bypass footswitch.


Apart from the main task, Melusine will find its use as a light vibrato/phaser pedal or a static lo-fi bandpass/lowpass filter.

Controls:

  • Speed - rotation speed, mimics the position of the pickup cartridge on the vinyl record, stops the modulation when set to minimum,
  • Noise - adds two types of noise to the signal,
  • Crackle/Dust - adds a random pops, clicks and scratches to the sound,
  • Filter - pans between the dry and filtered signal,
  • LP/BP - lowpass or bandpass filter type selector,
  • Level - output volume,
  • True Bypass, relay based, soft touch momentary footswitch,
  • Power: 9V DC 60mA, regulated adapter only, 5.5/2.1 center negative power jack.

Internal controls:

  • Dust Volume - controls the rhythmic scratchy sound added to the crackles,
  • ON-OFF Volume - needle drop and skip sound FX level (alternate bypass feature).

Bypass footswitch:

  • Short click - classic instant on/off operation, relay based true bypass,
  • Long press - needle drop (Bypass->ON) or needle skip (ON->Bypass) FX. Going into bypass generates a needle skip effect and the audio signal is muted until the footswitch is pressed again. The status light flashes when the signal is muted.

Melusine as vibrato pedal:

Melusine can be used as a gentle vibrato pedal with an unusual modulation waveform. Simply set the Noise and Crackle/Dust controls down to minimum and use the Speed together with the Filter knobs to shape the sound.


Melusine as a static lo-fi filter pedal:

The Speed knob when taken down to 0 stops the modulation LFO. By reducing the vinyl artifacts (Noise and Crackle/Dust) down to 0, the Filter and Level knobs will be used to EQ the signal only.

HEXE Melusine III

Technical info:

  • Bypass: true, relay based
  • Input impedance: 1M
  • Output impedance: < 1k
  • 9V DC, 65mA power, regulated adapter only. 5.5/2.1mm center negative plug.

Demo videos / Sound Samples:

Story:

In early 2009 i was helping my wife with a charity event in one of local retirement homes. At one moment a young man came in and brought a very old phonograph, one of those mechanically spring driven ones (pure passive analog path!). For many esteemed seniors listening to music played from a record player was like a trip back in time to their youth, they looked so happy. That was the trigger point, i knew i want to make a pedal that will mimic that type of sound.

From the beginning i realized it will be a very niche pedal, some might even call it a "one trick pony", but it wasn't going to stop me. The Melusine was born. Btw. another pedal name i have to thank my wife for :)


The basic concept and functionality of the pedal did not change much compared to the Melusine I, the prototype. The vinyl artifacts, clicks and noises are generated on the fly using random number generator driven algorithms. The prototype featured only one, bandpass type of filter, Crackles, but no scratches, no complex lfo waveforms for the modulation part. But it was a start...

Melusine I

...followed by an upgraded model: Melusine II. Now, in addition to Crackles having a dusty record simulator, two settings for the filter: bandpass or lowpass. At one point i even designed a custom stereo model of the Melusine II.

HEXE Melusine II

While changes made between model I and II were mainly upgrades only, hardware-wise Melusine III is redesigned completely from scratch resulting in a lot more convincing vinyl simulation and a few extras:

  • Redesigned filter section allows to use the knob as "aging" control, from a modern HiFi sound to a very LoFi narrow band one. It makes the pedal quite useful as a filter only device.
  • A lot more complex and multi layer crackle/dust sounds.
  • Dual function footswitch for cool needle drop or scratch sound effects.
  • Modulation waveform was made also a little bit unusual to mimic various mechanical flaws of a record player.