Rock Mania

All the sound of the classic, with much more control, in a small pedal

Remember the eighties? Def Leppard's Hysteria? That guitar sound? It was everywhere back in the day. ZZ Top, Joe Satriani, Michael Sembello, Kim Mitchell, and on lots and lots of pop hits.

Rock Mania is what happens when you have a decades-old obsession and too much time on your hands. It took me more than two years of development to get here. It builds on everything I learned while designing its predecessors: Shockman, SMDelay (the delay section Shockman never had), as well as a new version of my low battery Indicator. 

Rock Mania nails (even improves!) the classic Rockman* guitar sound, while not being a straight clone of any particular Rockman product. It brings together some of the best ideas from several different Rockman devices (X100, Soloist, Sustainor, Ace), as well as a great deal of original JTEX R&D. The signal chain is almost entirely analog : Low Noise Buffer, Compressor, Distortion, Cabinet Simulator, BBD Chorus, Stereo Mixer, Headphone Amp with Auxiliary Input. Only the Delay section is digital, by necessity - but it still has an analog vibe.

I spent a huge amount of time and effort optimizing the circuit for the lowest possible noise while also minimizing power consumption. Why bother with low power? Because Rock Mania is meant to be mobile, even pocketable, running as long as possible from a single 9V battery. I take it - along with my guitar and some earbuds - to the park, the beach, on vacation, and also, of course, to practice rooms and gigs. 

To achieve the best low noise/low-power balance, I carefully selected the best op amps available for each stage, regardless of cost. Op amps have come a long way since the TL072s of the 80s, and I took full advantage of the availability of modern, higher performance chips. I also optimized resistor values throughout the circuit to reduce their individual noise contribution. Rock Mania is significantly quieter (less hiss) than any of the classics that inspired it, and it achieves this while typically drawing only 12mA from 9V. This is six times less power than a Rockman X100, enabling over 40 hours of play time from a single 9V alkaline battery.

Rock Mania contains close to 300 components, including seventeen op amps, a hand-selected JFET, an analog chorus chip, a PT2399 delay IC, a microcontroller, three latching relays, and lots more. To be able to fit all this, and a 9V battery, in a small 1590B enclosure, I had to develop my own low profile, magnetic foot switches. Since they don't have mechanical contacts, they feel smooth as butter and should last forever.

Check out the Rock Mania/ Shockman YouTube playlist.

(all older JTEX Shockman videos fully apply to Rock Mania. Remember: Rock Mania is essentially Shockman with an added delay section, in a pedal format)

*Rockman is a trademark owned by Jim Dunlop Inc. (Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc.). JTEX has no affiliation with Dunlop, and any of their product names are used herein for comparison purposes only. To the best of our knowledge, all patents that were protecting the products designed, developed and manufactured by SR&D, then Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc., have expired.

The name and red-yellow-blue color scheme are a reference to my country of birth. Take a guess?

Play along your favorite tunes, any time, anywhere, using headphones!

Stereo outputs. Of course. They're even balanced! (impedance-balanced)

3.5mm Stereo Auxiliary Input

The little plug-in board in the middle is JTEX RockBrain - the very heart of Rock Mania. It is packed with components on both sides. There are yet more components on both sides of the larger main board.

Only 10 Rock Manias will be made. Signed and individually hand-numbered in UV-cured ink, as an integral part of the artwork (not scribbled on top of it!).