Quartz or SMARTclock?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by dean owens, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. dean owens

    dean owens Supporting Member

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    I like Disaster area stuff and have had great dealings with Matt. I'm interested in picking up a SMARTclock but then I saw the Quartz. Am I reading everything right? It looks like the Quartz can do everything the SMARTclock can do. Plus it can save 100 songs that you can use to make set lists from and it's $10.00 cheaper. Am I missing anything?

    If you picked one over the other would you mind telling me why? I'd love to hear your experiences once you got it.
     
  2. Cake Bakist

    Cake Bakist Member

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    I just started a thread on this and got zero responses... Some one out there has to have an opinion!
     
  3. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    I'll chime in here. The Quartz is a very cool little pedal, the set list feature is killer. The display screens are pretty but can be hard to read if you're far away from the pedal. Only one of the four outputs supports tap divisions. It uses mechanical relays for sending taps. It does receive and send MIDI program changes and has a tap override for instantly changing tempo. It also sends MIDI clock.

    Our SMARTClock is physically a bit larger (Boss sized) and does not have the OLED screens. It does have a very bright blue LED screen that's easily visible in daylight or across a stage. Both of our tap outputs support up to 9 subdivisions, and those are selectable for each preset. You can access up to 48 presets on the pedal itself or up to 128 with a master MIDI controller. Our tap outputs use optical / solid state relays with an estimated lifespan of several decades and do not click when changing tempo. Since our relays never wear out, we can send a constant stream of taps to your device OR just send taps on tempo change, your choice.

    The Quartz is probably a better choice if you are short on space or if you don't have a MIDI controller already. The set list feature is neat but it kind of gets in the way of another controller since sending a preset engages the tempo for that position in the set list. That means you have to organize your presets twice (once on your MIDI controller and once on the Quartz) if you want to use the set list feature. If you just have the Quartz you're in good shape.

    The SMARTClock is probably better if you have a master controller and just want to add tempo sending / syncing, or if you need to have different subdivisions on different pedals. I think both are great tools, it just depends on your needs.

    BTW anybody who wants some cute graphics on a SMARTClock just has to ask for them. Don't let the utilitarian appearance fool you...
     
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  4. dean owens

    dean owens Supporting Member

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    I saw your post and was going to ask my question in there but it seemed a little different and didn't want to take away from what you were asking. Hopefully Matt's answer helped you as well as me.

    Thanks Matt. That helps a whole lot.
     
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  5. scholl4060

    scholl4060 Member

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    I really hope you are serious... because I'm interested in this lol
     
  6. porticoguitar1

    porticoguitar1 Member

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    Do the tempo outs have the ability to serve as a Strymon fav switch? How about for latching switch for something like an amp channel or reverb on/off on an amp TS or TRS?
     
  7. Black_Label

    Black_Label Member

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    I think a selling point of the SMARTClock is that it's all black and doesn't look like shower curtain.
     
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  8. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    Yes. If you set the tempo mode (TAPA or TAPB in the setup menu) to OFF, then you can use them for amp channel switching, etc. Set the division to Wh to have the contact open / off, or any other division to have it closed / on. The two tempo outputs are isolated so you can use them for all kinds of switching functions, as long as they're relatively low voltage (under 50V or so.) Amp trem and reverb should be no problem.

    Regarding the Strymon favorite, you can totally do this but you need a slightly funky cable. We can give you the schematic to roll your own, or we can sell you one for around $15. One of our customers uses a SMARTClock with a modded El Cap to have both favorite and taps change for different presets, it's pretty neat.


    Come on now, shower curtains are great. I use one every morning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    That last teal enclosure is amazing!

    I have had both of these for a while, though with work and family I have had so little time to really get into them, and still haven't decided which one to keep. Below is a list of pros and cons for each unit (FOR MY USE), bear in mind I am not really using any advanced features, just syncing two delay units.

    Smart Clock

    Pros
    - 0.5 or 1.0 tempo increments (user adjustable)
    - change outputs to NO or NC via menu settings instead of dip switches
    - silent tempo send
    - firmware upgradeable - DA have a fantastic reputation for improving their products over time - fixing bugs, adding features
    - encoder flashes in time with the tempo constantly. I like this

    Cons
    - no way to use manual tempo in preset mode
    - saving presets is quite annoying. you have to go into preset mode, select a preset, go back to tempo mode, choose tempo, save, then go back to preset mode, move up to the next preset and repeat. I think you should be able to sit in tempo mode, and populate the presets from there. Matthew if you are listening, when you hold down the encoder to save, it could bring up the preset numbers and you could cycle through to select which slot you are saving to. that way you could populate your entire set from one mode.
    - slightly bigger, not really a con
    - less outputs, not a prob for me

    Quartz

    Pros
    -set list. this is a game changer. so great to be able to have all the songs I played stored create set lists from there
    - great looking
    - named presets vs numbers
    - more outputs (not a bonus for me)
    - smaller

    Cons
    - tempo sends make an audible click (will never be a problem unless in a silent room)
    - no usb port - this worries me if the firmware needs updating to fix a problem. also tells me that there won't be much product development here unless it is for a v2. If there was a usb port then you could build a simple computer interface to populate the presets and set up set lists. would be amazing!
    - have to open the back and change dip switches to change outputs to NO or NC
    - selector/encoder knobs can be a little bit fiddly when holding them down and scrolling (for fast scrolling) i.e. - if you stop scrolling for a second, it thinks you are selecting because you have the encoder depressed, so you have to keep moving.
    - only 1.0 increment tempo. not a big deal for most but i often do half time tempos which result in 0.5 numbers a lot of the time

    Both of these are incredible units. I would easily be happy with either of them. What it will come down to for me is the set list feature vs upgradeability/Matthew's expertise and reputation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
  10. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    We could easily fix this. Right now you can use the MultiJack to connect a tap tempo footswitch if you like, but that's not always ideal.

    That's a very nice suggestion and I'll implement it as soon as I can. I think that makes a ton of sense and would make the pedal easier to use.

    We have a firmware update coming out to fix some isolated issues with MIDI thru, so if I can get all this stuff implemented and tested I'll release it all together.

    As far as the "set list" thing goes, lots of our customers already have MIDI controllers so they tend to organize their patches on those. Again, if you don't have any other MIDI devices, the set list deal on the Quartz is great.
     
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  11. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    Great responses Matthew.

    As far as number 1; the way the Selah handles it is even in preset mode the footswitch sends tap tempo. Holding down the footswitch advances preset. This works quite well. I think it would be far more useful than stopping the clock on hold, though this could always be a user choice in the config. Manually overriding the tempo should not save itself into that preset for future use, just in the moment tapping.

    Number 2; this was probably my biggest gripe with the smart clock so this would be awesome. Another suggestion here is that when in preset mode, it would be good if you could just go through the presets, manually adjust each tempo, and save them before moving on. You are limited on knobs/buttons so may not be possible. But could for example, click encoded to enter manual tempo manipulation, dial encoder to new tempo, click again to overwrite and save new tempo.

    Lastly if you ever did figure out a way to incorporate the set list idea, boy would that be incredible. Perhaps creating a third mode to sit alongside manual and preset? But I do understand your product is designed to work alongside your other products :)
     
  12. selahfx

    selahfx Member

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    Hey guys just wanted to respond to a few points.
    First up, we have lots of respect for Disaster Area. Great company with great products.

    We would have to disagree here. We find the Quartz screens, being OLED, to be really great under all lighting conditions, wide angles, and from a distance.

    We don't feel it gets in the way because you don't have to use the setlist if you don't want. Like the SmartClock, the Quartz is able to fit right in with your existing controllers but also allow setlists for those who don't have an existing controller, or want both. Best of both worlds we feel.

    Exactly what we were going for!

    We chose a DIP switch because changing the polarity isn't really a regular thing.

    We would also like to thank everyone for their feedback, we are taking everything you say into consideration
     
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  13. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    Any idea on timing for the next smart clock update? Will be the final deciding factor on which unit to keep.
     
  14. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    No firm timeframe, but changing out the preset mode might take a week or two. I feel like we could move the start / stop functionality over to the MultiJack for those that need it, and consolidate everything into a single mode.
     
  15. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    I like your thinking... Will wait patiently :)
     
  16. playing4one

    playing4one Member

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    Well this thread sold me on the Smart Clock. I was already leaning towards this one but this helped push me towards it even more.

    I will be using it with the line 6 M9. With the M9 I use it in scene mode so that I have 6 presets with different degrees of delay and modulation. Does the Smart Clock send a constant tempo via the midi out. The reason I ask is because within a single song I may use anywhere from 2-4 of my scenes throughout the song. I need to be able to have a single tempo that will make sure that my tempos from one scene to another are the same.
     
  17. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    If you don't change presets on the SMARTClock it will send out the same tempo until you tap in a new BPM. Just make sure the delay and mod speed are set to some tap division and everything will stay in sync.
     
  18. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    Hey Matthew, is it possible to send tempo to the timeline via the standard (non midi) outs? Don't want to send midi clock to the bigsky and muck up my pre delay.

    Thanks
     
  19. DisasterArea

    DisasterArea Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals

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    Sure. Generally you need a cable with a pull-up resistor for the Strymon gear, we can get you a schematic to make your own.

    Alternatively, just set MIDICL to OFF in the BigSky globals. That makes it ignore MIDI clock!
     
  20. MattAnt

    MattAnt Supporting Member

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    Awesome on both counts!

    Would be keen to see that schematic if possible? Alternatively will the cable on your website work? The TRS tap tempo cable?

    Thanks
    Matt
     

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