GREENLEAF ZONK MACHINE
My Zonk Machine builds go by GREENLEAF, and are my flagship offering. It’s no secret the Zonk is my favorite effect. A lot of recent Zonk-based effects sound really trebly. They aren’t really supposed to sound like that. My two vintage units, and several others I’ve met and/or repaired, are actually quite dark. The old ones also sustain naturally, with very little gating. Due to the small input cap, Zonks do not compress as much as MKI Tone Benders.
Please note: I tune gating into my Greenleaf units because it sounds great.
Greenleaf is available in Standard, Focus, and Old Pal construction.
A ZONK MACHINE HISTORY
In the last few years, The Zonk Machine’s favor has surpassed even the MKI. It’s hard to imagine now, but, years ago, I started B.E.C. specifically to fill a Zonk Machine hole—a readily available Zonk didn’t exist on the market. Given the Zonk’s strange personality, its sudden ascent still surprises me—it was once considered a shrill, unpleasant rip-off of the MKI. All these early fuzz units stand on the shoulders of their forebears, and the Zonk Machine is essentially an MKI with smaller signal capacitors.
A few versions of original units exist, though none of the variations significantly affect sound (with the exception of the germanium/silicon hybrid variant, perhaps). First built on PCB boards in 1966, Zonks were later built on dark-brown Vero UK strip-board. One original unit features elegant tag-board construction. I’ve seen Iskra and Alan Bradley resistors; Mullard, Hunts, and RS caps; and Texas Instruments TIA02 and 2G309, as well as Mullard OC44 and OC71 germanium transistors.
Once thought extremely rare, a version exists with a Texas Instruments silicon 2N4061 transistor in the second position. Several of these have surfaced in the last few years (including the one I own). A trim pot replaced a 470K bias resistor; the circuit remained unchanged otherwise. This hybrid take on the circuit was probably a last-ditch effort to rein in the all-germanium versions’ susceptibility to temperature fluctuations.
I consider The Plastic Cloud's only album the definitive Zonk Machine example. Mike Cadieux really took the time to master this fuzz, resulting in his distinctively primal performance. Face Behind the Sun is a great place to start—it's my standard riff when tuning a Greenleaf.
Greenleaf is made to order, and may take ~5 weeks to complete. Your patience is appreciated!