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Most popular Op Amp IC chips for diy pedals

You can find here circuits & schematics, modifications, information and error reports of some famous pedals. They are useful for reference purpose and everyone can learn much from 'em. They can also be used to build your own clone (BYOC).

Most popular Op Amp IC chips for diy pedals

Postby maz » December 27th, 2019, 9:36 am

As I started to built diy guitar and bass pedals I was always wondering about which op amp IC chip was the most popular and used, here's a short but still useful guide.

741 - General-purpose Operational Amplifier (single)

Even if the 741 was introduced by Fairchild in May of 1968 (µA741), the LM741, made by National Semiconductor, is the first stable and usable single op amp. The MC741, µA741, and the RC741 are still good substitute made by different companies: Motorola, FairchiId and Raytheon respectively. The LM741 is one of the most common single amplifier IC chip used to boost and overdrive the guitar signal, is frequency compensated (includes a 30pF capacitor internally), has its output protected against short circuit and a gain bandwidth product of 1 MHz. The 741 also has a rather low slew rate (higher than the LM308N), which is not ideal for audio applications but this characteristic appears to be a good thing when overdriving the chip for a distortion effect.

Example of use :
--- MXR Distortion+
--- MXR Phase 90
--- DOD 250 Overdrive Preamp

LM108/208/308 - Precision Operational Amplifiers (single)

Developed in 1969, the LM108 series of precision operational amplifiers are particularly well-suited for high source impedance applications requiring low offset and bias currents as well as low power dissipation. Unlike FET input amplifiers, the offset and bias currents of the LM108 do not change significantly with temperature variations. The LM308 is somewhat unique in that it has a terrible slew rate of about 0.3V/us, it is around 40 times slower than a TL071 which have a slew rate of 13V/us. The LM308 is so old that it is not made anymore, is very hissy/noisy but seems to be the "holy grail" that most people use when builidng their own DIY Rat.

Example of use :
--- ProCo RAT

4558 - General-Purpose Operational Amplifier (dual)

Everyone knows the mystical 4558 op-amp IC chip, it has a lot of variations from a company to another, but the JRC4558 by Japan Radio Company is the most popular. A high performance monolithic dual operational amplifier, internally compensated and constructed on a single silicon chip. The high voltage gain (100 dB), good input impedance (5 MΩ) and versatile power supply (± 4 to 18 Volts) make it a perfect choice to use in pedal circuit designs. That's a very inexpensive chip which is not considered Hi-Fi. The RC4558P made by Texas Instruments is also a very inexpensive chip but considered to be a bit more Hi-Fi than the JRC4558.

Example of use :
--- Ibanez Tube Screamer TS-808

MC1458 - General-Purpose Operational Amplifier (dual)

The MC1458, made by Motorola, is a high-performance, monolithic, dual operational amplifier intended for a wide range of analog applications, it is actually just two 741 opamps in a single IC, all the specs (Max Voltage gain, slew rate, ramp, recovery and bias) are identical to the old µA741 and can generally be found in early to mid '70s pedals.

MC1741 - High Performance Operational Amplifier (single)

The MC1741 is the Motorola version of the 741, Internally Compensated so no frequency compensation required, short circuit protection, offset voltage null capability, wide Common mode and differential voltage ranges, low power consumption, no latch up.

TL072 - Low-noise Operational Amplifier (dual)

The TL072, made by Texas Instruments, is a low-noise high impedance JFET-input op amp with low noise and low total harmonic distortion, it is one of the most common FET op amp used to built diy boost, overdrive and distortion pedals, but also very popular in audio circuits. It seems a bit dark, although it had really nice drive and sounded pretty cool at higher drive levels, very defined harmonics at high volume, it was designed to be a general purpose part with plenty of gain, and better than average bandwidth.

Example of use :
--- Marshall bluesbreaker

TL071 - Low-noise Operational Amplifier (single)

Also made by Texas Instruments, has the same specs found in the TL072 but in a single package.

TL074 - Low-noise Operational Amplifier (quad)

The TL074 is a Quad Package Operational Amplifier, meaning it has four Op-Amps inside it, perfect to built a diy clone of the Boss OD-1 Quad version. The original was using an RC3403 so the LM3403 seems to be a good choice, but some people report that by using the TL074 they can get pretty darn close to the original sound.

TL082 - JFET-Input Operational Amplifier (dual)

The TL082 is a good opamp for audio, it is just a TL072 that was rejected because of higher noise levels. High end content is more preserved and the TL072 sounds darker in comparison

TL022 - Low-Power General-Purpose Operational Amplifier (dual)

This is a great op amp if you're looking for minimal clock noise in LFO circuits. Often found in chorus, flanger and phaser circuits.

LM386 - Wide Input Voltage Low Power Audio Amplifier with Internal Gain (single)

The LM386 is a Voltage Audio Power Amplifier manufactured by National Semiconductor and JRC/NJM, has been a popular choice for low-powered audio applications. It is a flexible device, the frequency response can be shaped with some external components and there are plenty of clever circuits that people have come up with over the years. Due to its low quiescent current drain and power consumption, it is suitable for portable battery-powered guitar mini amplifiers.

Example of use :
--- Smokey Amp
--- Little Gem
--- Ruby Amp
--- Noisy Cricket

LM358 - Low power Operational Amplifier (dual)

The LM358, introduced by National Semiconductor, consists of two independent, high gain operational amplifiers in one package, BJT based, internally frequency compensated, having a poor slew rate, it can be considered as one half of an LM324 Quad op-amp. its maximum output current is around 40mA.

LM833 - Standard monolithic general−purpose operational amplifier (dual)

The LM833, made by Texas Instruments, was designed specifically for audio use. Low noise and low distortion it is a very good and cheap dual op amp for audio amplification.

NE5532 - Low-Noise High-Speed Audio Operational Amplifier (dual)

The NE5532 is a high-performance operational amplifiers combining excellent dc and ac
characteristics, very low noise, high output-drive capability, high unity-gain and
maximum-output-swing bandwidths, low distortion, high slew rate, input-protection diodes, output
short-circuit protection and is compensated internally for unity-gain operation.

OPA2134PA - Audio Operational Amplifier with Low Distortion, Low Noise and Precision (dual)

The OPA2134PA Burr Brown, made Texas Instruments, is the most expensive out of these chips and has the best quality. It has been said that the OPA2134PA really opens up a pedal, and makes it more sensitive to playing dynamics. It is also slightly better in the mid range area, keeps the noise floor down, which is great for clean boosts and really heavy distortion.

CD4049UBE - CMOS hex inverting buffer/converter in 16 pin DIP package

The CD4049UBE, made by Texas Instruments, is a CMOS hex inverting buffer/converter in 16 pin DIP package. It features logic level conversion using single supply voltage (VCC). The CD4049UBE is the chip inside the famous Red Llama distortion pedal. The CD4049UBE is unbuffered, while CD4049BE is buffered. This device is sensitive to ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD), follow proper IC handling procedures. Supply voltage range from 3V to 18V.

Example of use :
--- Way Huge Red Llama
--- UBE Screamer
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