The Sunlion was introduced early in 2005 and the first run completed about a year later, with sporadic releases here and there. In 2011-Present you can get one with new graphics and several transistor choices.
This one I have is probably one of the last of the first run, since it’s from January 2006.
It’s a bit of an odd duck, since the Beano Boost side is a Rangemaster type Treble Booster and usually comes with a CV7003 (OC44) type of transistor, and the Sun Face side is a Fuzz Face type fuzz that usually comes with an NKT (Newmarket) 275. The Beanos were made with NKT275 as well. Actually the Beano was made with a bunch of different transistors:
This one is signed by Analog Mike, AKA Analogman, as all Analogman pedals are, but it’s also signed (and thus made) by “Analog Alex,” who also made the first of the Analogman Beano Boosts:
Alex does great work, check out this crazy point to point Triangle Big Muff he made for Analog Tom!
The inside of the faceplate says the Fuzz Face has CV7003 transistors, and the Beano has a “2N507” transistor. Back in 2006 if any CV7003 was being used instead of an NKT275, I would have thought that they would have been from the early batch of CV7003 transistors that were branded Newmarket as well, since they didn’t get the Texas Instruments CV7003 consistently until later, of which those TI/UK transistors are still available in 2012. As said by Analogman, “In 2008 we got a large batch of superb germanium transistors from the UK. These CV7003 transistors were made in the UK by Texas Instruments in 1968 to a military spec. They are not the Newmarket brand CV7003 that we used in the Beano Boost for a while. These TI/UK transistors have nice medium-high gain and are awesome in the Fuzz Face circuit. They are quite similar to the sound of the High Gain NKTS. We also use these in some Beano Boost pedals. These are a little brighter than the 2SB standard germaniums, less wooly sounding.”
But upon closer examination of these CV7003 transistors, they have “NQ” marked there. At first I thought “oh I just can’t read the whole “NKT” so I’m just reading the “Q” wrong.” But it turns out that no, that “NQ” is right, and according to a transistor museum site, “we can confirm the manufacturer from the factory code of NQ, which stands for Texas Instruments, Bedford.”
Which means this might be one of the earliest uses of a TI/UK CV7003 transistor pair in an Analogman Sun Face circuit.
Turning my attention to the Beano side, which is point to point like the old Rangemaster treble boosts, I see that there are really only two General Electric alternatives that should exist in a Beano Boost this early: Either the 2N508 or the 2N527.
That’s a 2003 discussion of the transistors used in a Beano Boost, and Analogman says that the use of these General Electric transistors predates the use of the NKT275. Thus, 2006 is probably one of the latest uses of this transistor in a Beano Boost.
It also means that the “2N507” must be a mistake written on the plate. What’s on the transistor? Well the external looks like an early GE 2N508:
However, a closer look at the Beano shows a partial “27” which means this one is a 2N527. Also, it looks like Analogman put the numbers “53/12” on the transistor. Does this have something to do with the HFE range required for the type of response he wants from his treble boosters? Or do the numbers mean something else? Some things are still a mystery.
All of the internet investigation aside, it sounds great! Time to put the computer down and just fool with this thing some more!