Pedals with same hardware but different algorithms

apollomusic

Member
Messages
225
Same hardware with different algorithm becoming standard way of thinking for some pedal manufacturers. Strymon: Timeline, Mobius or EHX: B9, C9, Key9, Mel9; BOSS Waza Craft pedals are some of them that could be produced as universal hardware platform with ability to different software updates. Is it OK to say for some products that they are new if they have new front panel (different color) with labels and new algorithm but same hardware?

 

68Injunhed

Member
Messages
645
Looks like a different control count on the Strymon stuff, so not exactly the same hardware, but yes, different algorithms with dedicated hardware for them equals new pedal.
 

rck

Member
Messages
3,839
Digitech iStomp

Source Audio One Series Modulation Pedals: Gemini, Lunar and Mercury.
 

critter74

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,062
I'm not sure why this is a revelation. Obviously a series of digital pedals only needs a firmware upgrade to be something else. That should have been obvious for years now with Eventide and especially Strymon. Its not a coincidence that all the form factors are the same, only the color and firmware are different.
 
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Ivo

Member
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2,190
Excellent insight from @DisasterArea (via ILoveFuzz) on this topic:

To answer some of the questions:

All of our digital pedals use the FV-1. I am user #11 on the original Spin forum, and my dev board is the fourth one shipped. I've been active in the Spin community since 2006.

There are other brands out there rehashing stuff they stole from forums or tweaked from the ROM programs.

There are brands rehashing the same algorithms from product to product ad infinitum.

There are brands putting one algorithm in a pedal and selling it for more than what we charge.

I would consider those to be examples of "milking" it. Not putting in 100% of what the FV-1 can do in every single pedal is a bit different.

Why only three modes on our pedals? Couple of reasons. A three-way switch is a lot easier to deal with than a rotary switch or encoder. We can focus on sounds that go together. It makes the pedals less intimidating for buyers.

Could we put three modes from the Radical Delay in the F.13? Sure we could! No problem. But now we have a bunch of random stuff that doesn't go together, fit an artistic concept, or make any sense.

If you love the BitQuest, please buy one. Ryan is a great dude and deserves your support. If you like my stuff, you can buy that instead. Or in addition to. Our stuff is great value for money and sounds killer for a lot of folks. Maybe it's not your deal, that's cool - there are plenty of pedals I don't like either, and thankfully nobody makes me buy them. If anybody has any questions about our stuff (either Alexander or Disaster Area) I'm happy to answer them.
http://ilovefuzz.com/viewtopic.php?f=149&t=47461&start=135
 

GaryMcT

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,491
The work is in writing the new software. Is perfectly reasonable to expect money for that development time.
 

ERGExplorer

Member
Messages
6,076
Same hardware with different algorithm becoming standard way of thinking for some pedal manufacturers.

Strymon: Timeline, Mobius or

EHX: B9, C9, Key9, Mel9;

BOSS Waza Craft pedals are some of them that could be produced as universal hardware platform with ability to different software updates.

Is it OK to say for some products that they are new if they have new front panel (different color) with labels and new algorithm but same hardware?
Albums by a musical group, using the identical system, might have the same basic hardware platform, but sound different.

If the total system capability is different from one unit to another, then yes, I consider them to be diffeerent.

Additionally, there is no rule saying you have to redevelop an entire computer system, or even just the hardware or operating system, in order to sell a new video game.

I think the OP is feeling angry that developers put time into writing a new algorithm, and then have the temerity to charge for those efforts. There's a solution for that: Don't buy it.

Your mention of the Electro Harmonix gear is strange, because there are various real hardware options which vary between the various models of the whole HOG/POG/X9 family. I didn't even have to include the Freeze and Superego into that mix.
 

valhalladsp

Member
Messages
357
A few thoughts:

  • Software takes time and effort to write.
  • Embedded software can sometimes be a fairly small chunk of code, but the knowledge within that code takes a long time to acquire. I could probably create an FV-1 reverb algorithm in about a day now, but I have been creating reverb algorithms since 1999, and working with the FV-1 assembly code since 2007.
  • Once you get outside of the FV-1, you need to write driver software for your processor(s), and this stuff takes a long time to write and debug.
  • The knob labels for one type of pedal might be nonsense for a different type of pedal. A 4 knob pedal might work for both a reverb and a flanger, but the labels would be very different for each pedal. So having something configurable as multiple types of pedals, without matching labels, makes for a less useable pedal.
  • If you have a pedal that can have different algorithms loadable by the user, the developer needs to make the pedal, the cross-platform that LOADs the software, and a website for downloading the new algorithms. Each of these components can easily be broken by an OS update, or by web connectivity issues. If the developers want to sell new algorithms (a la the Eventide H9), they also need some sort of e-commerce solution, as well as copy protection. All of these things can break down. A dedicated hardware DSP can run for many decades without issues (my Boss RV-3 has worked without a hitch since 1994 or so), but I doubt that an OSX program for uploading software to a pedal will still work 10 years from now.
  • USB jacks are kinda weak sauce, and can break more easily than your standard 1/4" jacks.
  • Digital pedals have high frequency clocks, and therefore need to be tested and approved for FCC compliance. As far as my understanding of this goes, this is expensive, and can take a fair amount of time. I know that EHX got fined nearly a half million dollars a few years back for not testing for FCC compliance on a few of their pedals (or for improperly labeling/documenting the compliance). With this in mind, it makes sense to make a single hardware DSP platform, that can be tested once.

Sean Costello
 
Last edited:

minty901

Member
Messages
2,124
A few thoughts:

  • Software takes time and effort to write.
  • Embedded software can sometimes be a fairly small chunk of code, but the knowledge within that code takes a long time to acquire. I could probably create an FV-1 reverb algorithm in about a day now, but I have been creating reverb algorithms since 1999, and working with the FV-1 assembly code since 2007.
  • Once you get outside of the FV-1, you need to write driver software for your processor(s), and this stuff takes a long time to write and debug.
  • The knob labels for one type of pedal might be nonsense for a different type of pedal. A 4 knob pedal might work for both a reverb and a flanger, but the labels would be very different for each pedal. So having something configurable as multiple types of pedals, without matching labels, makes for a less useable pedal.
  • If you have a pedal that can have different algorithms loadable by the user, the developer needs to make the pedal, the cross-platform that LOADs the software, and a website for downloading the new algorithms. Each of these components can easily be broken by an OS update, or by web connectivity issues. If the developers want to sell new algorithms (a la the Eventide H9), they also need some sort of e-commerce solution, as well as copy protection. All of these things can break down. A dedicated hardware DSP can run for many decades without issues (my Boss RV-3 has worked without a hitch since 1994 or so), but I doubt that an OSX program for uploading software to a pedal will still work 10 years from now.
  • USB jacks are kinda weak sauce, and can break more easily than your standard 1/4" jacks.
  • Digital pedals have high frequency clocks, and therefore need to be tested and approved for FCC compliance. As far as my understanding of this goes, this is expensive, and can take a fair amount of time. I know that EHX got fined nearly a half million dollars a few years back for not testing for FCC compliance on a few of their pedals (or for improperly labeling/documenting the compliance). With this in mind, it makes sense to make a single hardware DSP platform, that can be tested once.

Sean Costello
interesting insight. im guessing we wont be seeing a valhalla verb pedal any time soon?
 

valhalladsp

Member
Messages
357
interesting insight. im guessing we wont be seeing a valhalla verb pedal any time soon?
Nothing is happening "soon" for me nowadays. My development cycle seems to be occurring in geological time. :jo

I'm definitely not ruling out working on DSP based pedals. I just don't think that I would want to go down the route of pedals that can be reconfigured with a whole bunch of different algorithms by downloading the algorithms from the web or an app store. The lifespan of computer software is measured in years, unless it is actively maintained in order to keep up with OS changes. If the software used to load the algorithms onto the pedal isn't actively maintained, at some point it will just stop working, due to ongoing changes in the OS. Microsoft is better with regards to this than Apple, but I doubt that many Windows 98 apps are still working.

It makes me really happy to walk out to the studio, and plug into a fuzz box built in 1968, with that running into an amp built in 1977. Meanwhile, there's a few boxes in the basement, full of old computer peripherals and recording interfaces that no longer work, due to the drivers being incompatible with modern OSes. If I ever build a DSP based pedal, I want it to be like my old Big Muff*. Not like my Zip Drives.

Sean Costello

* Full disclosure: I sheared the Drive knob off my 70s Big Muff during some recent construction work in the basement. So I don't want my pedals to be like that. Although, to be fair, as long as the remaining part of the Drive knob is set to 100% on, it won't make that big of a difference.
 

tbader

Member
Messages
855
Nothing is happening "soon" for me nowadays. My development cycle seems to be occurring in geological time. :jo

I'm definitely not ruling out working on DSP based pedals. I just don't think that I would want to go down the route of pedals that can be reconfigured with a whole bunch of different algorithms by downloading the algorithms from the web or an app store. The lifespan of computer software is measured in years, unless it is actively maintained in order to keep up with OS changes. If the software used to load the algorithms onto the pedal isn't actively maintained, at some point it will just stop working, due to ongoing changes in the OS. Microsoft is better with regards to this than Apple, but I doubt that many Windows 98 apps are still working.

It makes me really happy to walk out to the studio, and plug into a fuzz box built in 1968, with that running into an amp built in 1977. Meanwhile, there's a few boxes in the basement, full of old computer peripherals and recording interfaces that no longer work, due to the drivers being incompatible with modern OSes. If I ever build a DSP based pedal, I want it to be like my old Big Muff*. Not like my Zip Drives.

Sean Costello

* Full disclosure: I sheared the Drive knob off my 70s Big Muff during some recent construction work in the basement. So I don't want my pedals to be like that. Although, to be fair, as long as the remaining part of the Drive knob is set to 100% on, it won't make that big of a difference.
A pedal with your algorithms, capabilities for 2-3 presets, and spillover would tempt me to sell my BigSky. It don't need no USB.
 

rsmith601

Vendor
Messages
6,395
The utility of USB comes during the early phase of life of a complicated pedal. It allows for the addition of features and tweaks that are extremely difficult to anticipate in advance. Remote firmware updates are very handy.

The Neuro app allows for deep editing and sharing of sounds. The app creates audio band tones over a 1/4 inch trs as a means to communicate with the pedal. I can see a long life for this technology, because the hardware interface is so universal.

Our One Series are first and foremost simple straight forward effects pedals. Once they are configured to the users whim (or left in original factory mode) they will have the same long life of utility of any more fixed technology.

The comments on the FCC certification are real. It is not only expensive, but it can be awful to learn late in a product development cycle that you are not compliant and need to make difficult hardware design changes that may or may not work!

I suspect that I notable number of players in this business cheat on FCC certification. They should not. It is there for a good reason!
 




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