Skip to content

Obelisk Vintage Drive

Based On
Lovetone Brown Source
Effect Type
Build Difficulty
Project Summary
An op-amp overdrive voiced to achieve the legendary “brown sound” tone of the 1960s and 70s, notably used by James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Johnny Marr among others.
Obelisk Vintage Drive printed circuit board

Printed Circuit Board

What's included?
PCB only. Build instructions and parts list can be viewed or downloaded from this page.


In stock

Complete Kit

Not yet available.
Kits are developed based on interest, so if you’d like to see one for this project, let us know.
Request Kit
86 people are interested.

Project overview

The Obelisk Vintage Drive is an adaptation of the Lovetone Brown Source, a distortion/overdrive pedal that was first released in 1995, and which also forms the second half of the Cheese Source dual pedal that came later in 1999.

The Brown Source was intended to capture the “brown sound” guitar tone tones from the 1960s and 70s. At first glance it’s a fairly simple diode clipper, but as usual it has a generous dose of Lovetone’s secret sauce for tone-shaping.

As in other Lovetone circuits, it uses a 4-position rotary control for three different parameters: tone control frequency, tonestack bypass, and a treble cut at the end of the circuit that “warms up” the tone and provides a midrange emphasis.

While each of these parameters could be given their own toggle, we found that there were not really any useful sounds to be had in these extra modes and it really worked best with just the four positions of the original. A daughterboard for the rotary switch is included for easy wiring.

Special thanks to Ian (LaceSensor / Gigahearts FX), the DIY community’s resident Lovetone expert, for help verifying the Obelisk prototype against an original Brown Source for accuracy.