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Re: EDP Footpedal vs. FCB1010 ? ?

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" <kflint@loopers-delight.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 
> - 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
> kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com


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