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Re: EDP Footpedal vs. FCB1010 ? ?
On the other hand, it's hard for me to imagine the "ordinary joe"
Kim's explanation of the design of the Echoplex footboard was
fascinating, and I think the team succeeded in it's goals. But all in
all, I'm a lot happier with the FCB1010 for it's flexibility and
expression pedals. Then again, I haven't had a gig in a few years. . .
On 9/13/05, Adrian Bartholomew <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> see? this is what im talking about.
> being a technically minded guy, joe was able to get the best out of his
> foot controller. (congrats joe).
> could u imaging the ordinary joe (pun intended:-) ) MEASURING
> RESISTORS(read: having a probe tester and not worried about not knowing
> the color coding) to REPLACE (read: desolder and resolder) them?
> that thing wouldve been in the trash. instantly.
> this reminds me of my epson C80 printer. if u KNOW about print heads
> and how to clean them with alcohol and stuff, ur epson budget printer
> would last u a long time. just go online and read the hatemail about
> but HP knows how to avoid printing "lines" WITHOUT needing the owners
> to be comfortable with printing machines' insides.
> ...is all im sayin.
> Adrian Bartholomew
> Leawood KS
> On Sep 13, 2005, at 10:28 AM, joe rut wrote:
> > For the record, I love the foot controller. I bought mine used 5
> > years ago and replaced the switches just as a matter ot course. I
> > also measured all the
> > resistors and replaced one that had drifted pretty far off value. Not
> > a single problem (knock on wood) since then with fairly constant
> > gigging and
> > rehearsing, including five trips to burning man where *everything* one
> > owns gets permeated with corrosive alkali dust. Upon returning home,
> > I blow the
> > switches out with compressed air and spray in some contact cleaner.
> > No problems. I'm actually amazed at robustness off the design. I
> > bought a bunch of
> > replacemnet switches just so I'd have them on hand, and they are still
> > just sitting in a drawer 5 years later.
> > Joe Rut
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Kim Flint" <email@example.com>
> > To: Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com
> > Subject: Re: EDP Footpedal vs. FCB1010 ? ?
> > Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 01:45:56 -0700
> >> At 08:49 AM 9/11/2005, Adrian Bartholomew wrote:
> >>> ITS PERFECT. go with the 1010.
> >> hmmm, I would say the FCB1010 is ok, but only compared to other
> >> midi controllers currently available. But that is only because most
> >> of the others available today are really horrible. Only the
> >> Rocktron All Access seems better than the Behringer FCB1010, but
> >> much more expensive.
> >> Compared to some past midi controllers however, the Behringer
> >> FCB1010 is really weak. The Digitech PMC-10 and the Lake-Butler
> >> RFC-1 Midigator were really exceptional, full-featured midi pedals,
> >> and completely blow away anything available today. Both are long
> >> out of production. They are really hard to find today because
> >> people really treasure them. If you can find one, get it.
> >> It is really sad that nobody makes something comparable. I wish
> >> somebody would just copy the old Digitech PMC-10 architecture.
> >>> the EDP foot controller response time is good. dont get me wrong.
> >>> but the reliability is NOT. from what i understand, its not
> >>> voltage controlled, its RESISTANCE controlled. maybe that is the
> >>> problem in the 1st place. others may refute me but i have one and
> >>> it sucks. any contamination of the buttons can set off the
> >>> resistances and ur then screwed...ONSTAGE.
> >> I've seen you make these accusations about our poor pedal design a
> >> few times Adrian, so allow me to explain the design goals we sought
> >> in creating the Echoplex footpedal controller.
> >> First of all, the people involved in the Echoplex design are all
> >> musicians in addition to engineers. In fact we were all musicians
> >> before we were engineers. We've used many different pieces of gear
> >> as musicians. We've dragged our gear around for rehearsals and
> >> gigs. We've experienced problematic gear over time that irritated
> >> us or broke on us or couldn't be worked around at the last minute,
> >> and we sought to do better with the Echoplex. We designed the
> >> Echoplex pedal to hopefully address many of these problems that we
> >> had been irritated by in other gear.
> >> So despite what you say, reliability was one of the key design
> >> goals. (I'll come back to the issue of what "reliability" means a
> >> bit later.)
> >> First, let's cover the design requirements we came up with for the
> >> Echoplex pedal:
> >> - The pedal should not use a proprietary cable. Cables will go bad.
> >> We've all experienced it. If you can't replace the cable at the
> >> last minute because it is some proprietary special-order thing, you
> >> are screwed. So, the pedal must use a cable anybody can get easily,
> >> or preferably something they likely have anyway.
> >> - The cable must not be fixed to the unit. Since we don't know how
> >> big your stage is, we want to let you choose how long of a cable
> >> you need. We also want you to be able to replace it easily if the
> >> cable dies. Especially for transporting gear, attached cables get
> >> bent in strange ways and suffer tremendous strain. It will be
> >> better if it is easily detached.
> >> - There should only be one cable between pedal and rack. More
> >> cables means more points of failure. More cost to the user. More
> >> crap cluttering up the stage. More connections to be made while
> >> setting up before the gig. More things to connect the wrong way by
> >> mistake. More jacks to fail. One cable must be enough for the
> >> Echoplex pedal.
> >> - The pedal should not require power. Power supplies fail often,
> >> especially power supplies out on stage where they deal with beer,
> >> power surges, booted stage divers and etc., and therefore anything
> >> requiring a power supply is less reliable than a passive device. A
> >> power supply requirement also adds to the inconvenience. This
> >> requires power brought out to the stage, and an additional cable
> >> connection be made to the pedal.
> >> - The pedal must be very simple in design, so it is easy to repair
> >> on the road. Anything on the floor of a stage will get broken
> >> eventually, so assume field repairable is essential. This pedal
> >> will be getting stomped on, kicked around, getting beer spilled on
> >> it, getting rained on, sitting in the hot sun in the summer,
> >> freezing in the winter, etc. No matter what you do it will break
> >> for somebody. It should be easy for the user to open the pedal up
> >> and fix it.
> >> - It should be easy for people to make custom controllers. Most
> >> people probably want a pedal, but not all. Some want to make their
> >> own custom pedal. We have no idea what the others may want. It
> >> should be easy for those who want something different to create
> >> their own controller without much engineering knowledge or other
> >> sophistication. The pedal design should be very simple for this to
> >> be possible.
> >> - The pedal design must be very inexpensive to produce. People are
> >> spending their money on the EDP, the foot controller should not be
> >> a huge extra expense. The target manufacturing cost for parts,
> >> fabrication, assembly, packaging, etc. should be less than $20.
> >> - The switches themselves must a) be quiet when pressed, b) have
> >> reasonably low force required for activation, c) have a reasonably
> >> short throw length, d) have a good tactile feel. This is so the
> >> musician can easily feel the connection point for tapping loop
> >> functions, which a generally very rhythmic and demand precision.
> >> In our opinion, these design goals were very friendly towards
> >> musicians, at least according to our real-world experience as
> >> musicians.
> >> So my challenge to you Adrian, is what would you design to meet
> >> these requirements? You think our design sucks, so I would very
> >> much like to hear your better idea. Perhaps you are a brilliant
> >> engineer, and we can all learn from you!
> >> Now, given the design goals above, allow me to tell you how we
> >> chose to meet them when we designed the Echoplex Digital Pro. Our
> >> Echoplex pedal design used 7 resistors, 7 switches, one mono 1/4"
> >> patch cable (just like you would use for a guitar, or even a
> >> speaker cable), one cable jack, steel chassis, and no external
> >> power. This means:
> >> - Very few components, so there is little there to break.
> >> - It is really easy to figure out how the pedal works if you open
> >> it, so most anybody can figure out how to repair it quickly if
> >> there is a problem.
> >> - We published the resistor values in the manual, so anybody could
> >> make their own controller if they wished. It's really easy to do.
> >> - The switches are common momentary switches, and there are
> >> numerous options for those if you want to use something different
> >> from what we used. However we did spend a lot of time trying
> >> switches, and we did not find anything that met our goals for
> >> remotely close to the cost of the ones we used.
> >> We created the pedal itself to be a very simple design to ensure
> >> reliability, while all the smarts are in the rack unit. Simple
> >> stuff has less ways to break. The pedal simply sets a voltage, and
> >> the rack unit reads the voltage with an a/d convertor to interpret
> >> the function. Contrary to recent claims here on the LD list, the
> >> switch is debounced twice. First it is debounced in the rack with a
> >> capacitor before the a/d convertor , and then debounced again in
> >> software, where the value is checked multiple times to ensure it is
> >> correctly read. There is a wide tolerance given to the voltage
> >> range for each function, so even if things are off a bit, it should
> >> still work.
> >> I thought our design was rather clever, and I was always proud that
> >> we managed to get 7 buttons of control communicated through just a
> >> simple patch cord. But I'm now looking forward to Adrian educating
> >> me on better ideas.
> >> Our Echoplex design has been working pretty well since 1994. Many
> >> pedals have been working that long without problems (including
> >> mine). The design itself generally does not fail. Usually the only
> >> problems seen are with switches failing in various ways. (like
> >> getting dirty.) A failing switch is a failing switch. Any pedal
> >> will have a problem if the switches fail, so that is not a problem
> >> unique to the Echoplex.
> >> And that brings up an interesting point. If you are into looping,
> >> you will be tapping buttons and switches a lot. Probably much more
> >> than on any other device you use. Switches wear out when used
> >> frequently. (you may not be used to this.) They get dirty. They
> >> break. They become intermittent. You need to start thinking about
> >> switches similar to the way guitarists think about strings, or DJ's
> >> think about crossfaders, or saxophonists think about reeds, or
> >> drummers think about drum heads, or like the oil in your car.
> >> Looper switches are commodities that wear out and need regular
> >> replacement and/or care. It has nothing to do with it being an
> >> Echoplex pedal or a boss or a digitech or whatever. If you are
> >> stepping on it a lot, the switch will wear out. Be prepared or be
> >> sorry.
> >> And I can guarantee you - you know those switches on your FCB1010?
> >> If you use it for looping, their gonna break also. It's just a
> >> matter of time. Do you know how to fix them?
> >> Now, let's talk about reliability. What is more reliable, the
> >> Echoplex pedal, or a midi pedal like the Behringer FCB1010? How do
> >> you determine that objectively?
> >> Reliability is an engineering science. It is not a guessing game.
> >> It is also not my engineering specialty, but I work with
> >> reliability engineers who are very good. I don't know exactly how
> >> they do their reliability calculations, but I do know what
> >> information I need to specify to them, and what results they
> >> provide back. (another reason why I think it is funny when people
> >> think laptops are a good thing to bring on stage, but that is
> >> another topic.) Here are some parameters that go into a reliability
> >> calculation:
> >> - how many components are used
> >> - what is the individual reliability of each component in the usage
> >> conditions
> >> - how many component pins are connected
> >> - how many electrical connection points (solder joints, connectors,
> >> sockets, etc.)
> >> - what sort of shock and vibration will it experience
> >> - Is the device powered
> >> - If it is powered, what voltages and voltage tolerances are used
> >> (and how do they affect individual device reliability
> >> characteristics, as each device will be different depending on its
> >> own manufacturing process.)
> >> - if powered, What are the temperature ranges where it operates
> >> - what are humidity ranges where it operates
> >> All these factors go into calculating the MTBF (mean time before
> >> failure). Half the units made will fail before that time, and half
> >> after, with some statistical distribution. (I think it is gaussian,
> >> but I'm not sure.)
> >> Now, considering all that, any midi pedal (including the Behringer
> >> FCB) will have far more parts, far more device pins, far more
> >> connection points, will be powered, will have more external
> >> connections, will be more affected by temperature, more affected by
> >> humidity, etc., than the overwhelmingly simple Echoplex pedal.
> >> In other words, if you really do a serious reliability analysis, a
> >> midi pedal will always prove to be less reliable than the Echoplex
> >> pedal, and probably it is the least reliable device you are using.
> >> On the other hand, if you do use a good midi controller pedal with
> >> the Echoplex, you will have far more flexibility and access to
> >> commands than you do with the pedal or the Echoplex front panel
> >> (assuming you are using LoopIV in your Echoplex, LoopIII wasn't so
> >> interesting for midi). A good midi pedal is far more useful with
> >> the Echoplex, and that may be an excellent reason to choose the
> >> midi pedal option!
> >> It is great to have choices,
> >> kim
> >> ______________________________________________________________________
> >> Kim Flint | Looper's Delight
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org | http://www.loopers-delight.com
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