LEL DD drive/distortion

I think I've bought this unit new in 1991, and it was time the first LEL effects appeared. The whole series featured standard metal boxes with space for five knobs and a mini-toggle switch. A radical departure from an old Soviet DIN5 plug - 1/4" jack sockets - were the most welcome feature in LEL pedals. Today, about 15 years after, the company still exists and makes those pedals. It's website - www.lell.ru - for some unknown reason claims the company was established in 1992 which is not true. Anyway, the website gives us some backgound information on the company. It makes guitar effects, rack effects and small mixers with integrated Alesis digital effects modules(!). The headquaters is located in Moscow, on the Lower Krasnoselskaja street.

The Drive/Distortion features two circuits in one pedal and the mini toggle switches between them. Two upper knobs are overdrive and distortion gains and the lower row of master controls affect both effects.

The overdrive section is more useable because the noise this thing produces is terrible and the distortion amplifies it too much. But I like the sound of the overdrive: it's not brutal and it aplies a very strong EQ to the signal. It cuts everything except for middles in a narrow 800-10kHz range (no' it's not from the manual, it's what I hear). The "filter" knob shifts the frequency peak around 1-5 kHz. All the rest of the knobs affect different gain/volume stages. I use this pedal mainly with vocals - the EQ it produces is very telephone-like and it makes the vocals cut through.

Unfortunately, all the hardware, knobs, jacks etc. is typical "soviet" stuff. It was scratchy from the very beginning and you cannot touch this pedal without loosing the signal or producing a terrible crrrrrrraAAAck noise. So the use of the LEL is limited to studio only.

The old unit with russian letters

Modern unit with english labeling

A label on the back of the pedal.
A battery cavity is under the footplate; this pedal has a 9V adapter permanently wired to the battery contacts - that's why it looks so messed up.
The PCB back
Opened pedal. The blue pivot is the footswitch.
Closeup of the circuit.
Potentiometers' closeup
This bolt has its' cap covered with some sort of clay; to open the pedal you have to unscrew this bolt. The pedal could have been serviced in the official repair shop ("guarantee repair") only if this bolt had its' cap untouched, which means noone messed with the insides of the effect.

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