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Anomaly Vintage Distortion

Based On
Crowther Hot Cake
Effect Type
Distortion
Build Difficulty
Easy
Project Summary
An adaptation of a one of the original boutique overdrive/distortion pedals from the 1970s, notable for its method of overdriving an op-amp directly rather than using diodes for clipping.
Anomaly Vintage Distortion printed circuit board

Printed Circuit Board

What's included?
PCB, build instructions, and parts list.

$12.00

In stock

Complete Kit

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Kits are developed based on interest, so if you’d like to see one for this project, let us know.
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Project overview

The Anomaly Vintage Distortion is an adaptation of the Crowther Hot Cake, an overdrive pedal from New Zealand that dates back to 1976. While the Hot Cake has seen many revisions throughout its history, the Anomaly is based on the 2008 revision that includes internal switches for “Bluesberry” and “XLF” (extra low frequency) modes. This version was traced by Aion FX in 2020.

The Hot Cake is notable for its lack of clipping diodes, instead overdriving the LM741 chip directly. Because of this, at some settings (most noticeable at medium gain) there can be a slight “fizz” as the note decays. The Bluesberry mode helps reduce this somewhat, but it’s part of the character of the pedal.

An updated version of the Hot Cake was released in late 2020 and moves the switches to the outside of the enclosure, although according to the manufacturer’s description the “Cream” mode is not the same as the earlier “Bluesberry” mode.

The Anomaly is an identical reproduction of Hot Cake in effect mode, although the bypass mode is somewhat altered. The original Hot Cake uses a relay to disable the gain of the op-amp and deactivate other frequency-shaping filters, transforming it into a unity-gain op-amp buffer. While creative, this approach is overly complicated. The Anomaly converts it to a standard true-bypass configuration.