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Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

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  • Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

    I just bought three hand-wired clone pedals really cheap: a fuzz face, a Rat, and a Rangemaster.
    The Rangemaster is noisy as all h*ll! Running into my gain channel this thing hisses when it is off and sounds like a friggin waterfall when it is on and cranked. Is this normal? Or is there something wrong with the pedal?
    The other two are silent when off and quiet when on (within reason) and they were all built by the same guy. He gives great service and I am sure he will fix it if this is unusual but I don't want to bug him if this is typical for these pedals

  • #2
    Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

    Tradtional Rangemasters with a germanium transistor can be noisy, yes. I've built a bunch of them. They should use a relatively low gain, very low leakage transistor but even with that, there is some "hiss", especially cranked. But they shouldn't be noisy when not engaged.

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    • #3
      Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

      I have two Rangemaster clones, a BBE Boost and a BBE Bohemian Boost. Both are very quiet, I am OCD when it comes to line noise. Both are the same basic circuit, except the Bohemian Boost has a bias control. Look around both can be found at decent prices.


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      • #4
        Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

        Seeing how you have a clone could be the pedal.
        Boost pedal have noise tho.

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        • #5
          Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

          I'm pretty sure this is beyond normal - I have used plenty of boost pedals and never heard this noise. I will contact the builder.

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          • #6
            Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

            If they built it in true vintage Rangemaster form, it will have a PNP transistor rather than NPN. The difference is the polarity (postive ground vs negative ground). With a PNP transistor built circuit, you can't have it plugged up on the same DC power daisy chain as your other pedals. The best way to run a Rangemaster like that is on a battery.

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            • #7
              Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

              and an old style carbon battery at that. even a good germanium rangemaster will be noisy full up but 3/4 it shouldnt be too bad

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              • #8
                Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                Well, I fixed it. But I don't know how!
                I took off the base plate to see if I could find anything obvious like a loose connection. No dice: the solder connections all look fantastic and precise. So I put it back together, plugged it in, and it is quiet as a kitten!
                There are two possibilities. 1) there are some socketted parts and I gave them all a little wiggle so maybe one was a bit loose, or 2) this time I plugged it in by itself. Last time the Rat and my tuner were after it in the chain. Further experimentation required on that one.
                Either way, it works great now and I am happy.
                Thanks everyone!

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                • #9
                  Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                  they do usually like to be at the front of the signal chain to sound their best from what ive found, although they dont seem as picky as a fuzzface in that regard

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                  • #10
                    Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                    It was first last time, with the Rat and then the tuner but this whole fuzz thing is totally new territory for me.
                    I really think the germainium transistor was knocked loose in shipping? It is socketted, and I gave it a little wiggle/push as part of my look-see. There were a couple other socketted parts as well. I gave them all a slight push.
                    Either way, it's all cool now.
                    Last edited by Dave Locher; 01-02-2019, 09:35 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                      Update: the hiss returned. I contacted the builder and he is going to completely replace the guts. Bummer (to have to send it back and be without it for a couple weeks) but at least good customer service.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                        thats too bad, but at least he is fixing it. better to be without for a bit than have a noisy pedal

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                        • #13
                          Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                          Probably a funky transistor. I have a couple of black glass OC75 Germanium trannsistors, both of which the leakage really is too high for a Rangemaster. But, in the circuit, they'll be tolerable (noise wise) one minute and sound like a waterfall the next, or vice versa. With higher temperature, the gain of the transistor increases as does the leakage voltage. So borderline (leakage wise) transistors may be relatively quiet when it's not too hot and get noiser when it's warmer. But again, some are just unpredictable and act up when they feel like it.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                            I have a Catalinbread Naga Viper (not a true RM clone, but in the "vein") and if I turn things up relatively high there is a noticeable (but not intolerable) hiss.

                            Now that I think about it, maybe this pedal was named after a snake due to the hiss? Perhaps.

                            Speaking of hiss...

                            Depending on the style/genre of stuff you're playing, hiss from boosting stuff can actually be an integral part of the tone.

                            A lot of the old bands' albums with boosted Marshalls and stuff in the 70s & 80s have the hiss built in.

                            Ozzy called Randy's pedalboard the "Chip Pan" because of the amount of hiss it produced (like frying french fries).

                            This hiss can, IMO, be kind of a "mix glue" when multitracking guitars - again, it's an integral part of that genre of guitar tone.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Do Rangemaster boost pedals hiss like crazy?

                              I know what you mean but I really do not like hiss!
                              Pretty sure darg1911 is right because this was variable from one day to the next and when it was bad it sounded like a waterfall that was about as loud as the notes!

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