Pedals: So how did we get here… My entry into guitar electronics started a long time ago. While I was a freshman in college for anthropology & music (percussion) my failure with both ended with my percussion teacher telling me that I might look for a career with music interest. Bummed out, I went back to the dorm smoked some pot with a friend who said “you could make audio, it’s not rocket science”. That was it left that college and went to Ohio Northern University on the suggestion from my uncle who said they had a bunch of Bell Labs Professors. I leaned how to design tubes, and tubes amps, how to design transistors and built transistor amps. I have been doing Wavelength Audio since 1981. In the 90’s my good friend Rob Fetters (co-lead guitar with Adrian Belew in The Bears) asked me to fix his AC30. I was a little surprised at what I saw and so I made Rob a RFC amplifier (reactor follower direct coupled single ended). He was floored, but I was not. I said can I bring it back tomorrow? I did and he was like what the ^&*((%%$# did you do? I heard you play and started taking lesson the next day. Since then I have done the touring equipment amps, iso cabs and so forth for Barenaked Ladies. I then worked with Andy Partridge (XTC, yes been to Swindon). Then covid happened and I had more free time so I started watching That Pedal Show in March 2020 on This is when my interest in pedals peaked. I bought a bunch of germanium transistors and some weird tubes to try some ideas out. Stay tune to a directly heated triode clean boost and others here soon.

So why circuit boards, I always hear that point to point wiring is so much better? I think the person that said this, probably has never designed a circuit board in his or her life. I have been designing circuit boards since the late 70’s. Back then you used red and blue tape to describe the top and bottom layers. Today with Altium, I can do circuit boards in a couple hours that have only rounded traces and fitted ground planes to reduce noise. This creates a duplication method that is better than point to point wiring.

Octane Tube Clean Boost Pedal

Octane seemed like a good name for this pedal for 2 reasons. One since the site name is it seemed fitting to make the pedals oriented towards engine stuff. The more octane you have the more output and believe me this pedal can output.

The Octane uses a real tube for all the (18dB) gain with a 6418 tube strapped in triode mode. First off, unlike other triodes the 6418 is directly heated. That means it has no cathode. The description of the tube in the data sheet goes something like this…. This tube is designed for audio use in portable or wearable products. It’s widely misunderstood because of it’s lack of cathode and therefore much different than commonly used tubes like 12AX7/ECC83, 12AU7/ECC82 or 12AT7/ECC81. I have designed 300B and other directly heated amplifiers for decade so this tube was easy for me to understand.

Unlike our other pedals and amplifiers this pedal only comes in Turbocharged mode. The best components are used through out this pedal to give it a clean output to more than 3Vac which will overload any tube amp I have ever seen.

Any active tube circuit will invert phase and that to me would end it’s clean ability. So I created a folded cascode inverting buffer. So the signal goes like this:

Input->6418 Grid->6418 Plate (18dB of gain)->Custom Precision Components Volume control->Folded Cascode buffer->Out

The 9V supply has a DCDC converter for high voltage and a regulated supply for the filament. Only 35ma is used for the whole pedal including the relay driven full bypass circuit. There is a switch on the circuit board to turn the unit on at power up. Many users are using this option because they are using the product enabled all the time as a buffer. The directly heated triode adds a lot of air to any system and the folded cascode inverter can drive cable.

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We prototyped over 12 different versions of this pedal. It has ultra low noise like the rest of our tube products. $400 each.
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The 6418 tube can be a little microphonic so the tube is actually located on a sub PCB board and then held in place with 3M double sided foam (1/2”). To stabilize the tube at power up the circuit will no turn on for the first 2 minutes. After which if the auto on switch is set the pedal will go active automatically. Otherwise the pedal will respond to the foot switch.