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DIY Distortion Pedal - The BSIAB (Brown Sound In A Box) - The Best Stompbox Projects (Kit, Project PCB & Schematic)

Updated on March 29, 2016
The Brown Sound In A Box (BSIAB)
The Brown Sound In A Box (BSIAB)

Brown Sound In A Box (BSIAB)

The quest for the ultimate distortion pedal is probably biggest one when regarding a guitarist rig and setup. Internet musician's community for DIY projects have been up for sometime creating, testing and upgrading designs to meet the demands of millions of DIY'ers who found that building their own stompboxes is not only a great hobby but also a great way to customize their guitar sound according to their needs.

One of the oldest, more sough, and upgraded projects is the Brown Sound In A Box. The BSIAB is a distortion pedal design to meet the demands of those searching for the warm brown tone mostly found on Marshall type amplifiers, like Orange, Laney and other British-like-designs.

There's no doubt for thousands of DIY'ers who already built and customized their own BSIAB, the Brown Sound In A Box distortion pedal is one of the best stompboxes around. Hardly found on the market and if even so, a gadget like this one (like the Marshall Shred Master) can easily reach 200$. And yes, you can built it for 20 bucks and get that Marshall Stack-like distortion on your pedal board.

What do you need to build your BSIAB:

  • 18 cheap resistors rated 1/4w.
  • 14 cheap capacitors rated 16v (minimum).
  • 4 potentiometers
  • 1 diode (1N914)
  • 5 FET transistors (2N5457, J201)
  • Input/Output and DC jack
  • 3PDT footswitch (bypass)
  • 9v battery snap
  • PCB
  • 24 gauge stranded wire
  • 4 potentiometers knobs
  • enclosure
  • Soldering Iron
  • High quality solder
  • A drill (in case you'll be drilling your own enclosure)

If you're already a DIY'er, you may have already many of what is needed. The total budget for the Brown Sound In A Box won't probably exceed 20 bucks, the small electronics like resistors and capacitor being the cheapest and the enclosure the most expensive. Indeed, the enclosure may represent 70% of the project's budget.

BSIAB distortion pedal Review:

Indeed it is one of the best stomp boxes I've come across. From pure warm blues tone to electrifying Hendrix, from AC/DC to Metallica you can nail it all. Beside being a british-like sound you can even get some Van Halen tunes (yep, Van Halen did used a Marshall JCM800 before he got his own signature amp, the Peavey 5150). It cleans up very well rolling down your guitar volume, the bass ain't muddy and big open chords come out pretty defined and clean like a pure tube amp stack is supposed to.

It sound great on big stack amplifiers, on small combos and even connected to cabinet simulators. It ain't got a harsh distortion like many designs on the market and just like a Marshall stack...the BSIAB roars!

Building one of these is a fulfilling job, you'll get a unique sound one can't get out of a shop, you'll save some bucks and get a high quality boutique like stomp box.

This DIY project is a must! So start digging, get your own Brown Sound In A Box running and wake up your neighbors!

Here's some sound samples from this amazing pedal:

The Brown Sound In A Box (BSIAB) sound samples:

More Samples of the BSIAB (Brown Sound In A Box):


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    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Looks like a fun project. I did a diy guitar amp a few years ago just because. It was a cool project, but now I only play bass. I like my low-end rumbling.

    • Audiogeek profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      any DIY'ers around here?


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