Meet our 1st Beta Tester

Meet Kody Raine, local career musician, awesome vocalist, and our first Beta Tester. His focus is on the SoulPedal® MIDI controller with his current rig for an enhanced live performance. Our meeting was just a chance encounter at Good Time Charlies after his duo performance with Ethan Newman on Bass. Although SoulPedal® wasn’t quite ready for Beta testing (and you wouldn’t be the first to wonder if or when that would ever happen), discovering use cases just became priority well worth completing the MIDI portion ASAP, then accept $299 for Beta Membership¹ when the full product is ready. It’s one thing to get input on user forums to say “ya gotta have MIDI”, but to collaborate and explore technology as part of a live performance, and get paid, that’s got some real jazz! It was refreshing to hear his view of benefits and uses… the simplest things like “I could be looking up in the air with eyes closed jammin’ away, and engage SoulPedal® without ever having to look for my pedal.” It’s so cool to hear other creative types jump in. Kody currently has his Laptop DAW, MIDI Interface, Delay Pedal, Synth, and Drum Machine all connected up preparing for this integration. We also discussed using our toe-tap method for setting the tempo, so lots to explore there as well. Or maybe just a live drum kick might be useful- essentially the MIDI artform to explore. ¹ Beta Membership is defined as a collaborative group of 10 users who agree to pay $199 to test the Insole Pedal and MIDI, (plus an optional $99 to experience the Wah/Vol-Drive/Ext Expression Controller), to help further both the artist’s performance and SoulPedal® Technology Development (SPTD). The musician keeps the tested technology at no additional charge. The Wah portion will be available when … you know. (Just need to breadboard the new buffer section to get the right Drive clipping sound using parts in-house, then complete the PCB layout to build 10 Beta...

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Controlling a Boss DD-7 Delay Pedal
Jun19

Controlling a Boss DD-7 Delay Pedal

I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner… Here’s a hack that emulates an EV-5 Roland Expression Pedal. Just needs a stereo jack output that connects right up to any Boss Expression Input (or Roland product of course). Not only that, but our controller already has a minimum level adjustment like the EV-5. We might want to figure out a simple way to set and hold the pedal, and have previously tested using a quick twist of the foot (using the Z-gyro sensor in the pedal)… add that to the code To-Do list. Shown is a close up of the wire I soldered to a tiny BROKEN lead off the Digital Pot… as in no lead, just a stub! Obviously it would be a clean connection off the second channel of the chip, but I can’t believe it stayed long enough to test this (why all the tape to hold it). The first channel of course controls the Wah effect. And I might either put in some jumpers to let this be a volume swell, or just create a separate box to simply patch through the audio as a volume...

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New Response is Awesome!
May23

New Response is Awesome!

I’m done tweaking the code for now because I really, really like it! Now it’s on to the Audio PCB revisions (getting rid of all the hacks in the photo, and there are a bunch). Same circuit below as my prior post, just stuffed inside for demo purposes. What’s new is I’ve added an adjustable taper to the response that goes from its native slightly negative curve, through flat response, and all the way to a nice taper that eases in. Control has never felt this good.   Based on User Testing at Guitar Center recently, a smooth taper is important because most people who are unfamiliar with pedal “control” tend to press Full-On at first; so this is like a junior setting until they feel more daring and want a quicker feel. However, if you want to lean into your pedal on stage for a better show out there in the crowd, smooth/heavy is exactly what you’ll want. The goal is more clear now. It’s a Wah/MIDI controller (and a basic MIDI Controller at that). Sorry, no Arduino, no data out. Expansion  is possible (after this gets going) because control is on an addressable bus via a simple stereo jack – so three more effects are possible using this same technology… as is. Stay tuned if you want one of just 10 units being built this summer. I’ll let you know when the boards are on order, then back to code. Target is $200-$300 to be a Beta Tester, then you keep the pedal for free....

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Fast, Smooth, and Quiet – SoulPedal
Apr06

Fast, Smooth, and Quiet – SoulPedal

Is it possible to fall in love with a circuit? I did! Smoother: Opto-Isolator LED is now controlled by Current not Voltage (duh). Naturally responsive now. Quicker: No LED turn-on time (biased on both ends to exactly match LED useful range). Force Sensor in the pedal was selected – Easily replaceable, and High Z for even better battery life. Eliminated Digital Noise feeding back into the DC supply (was OK before but needed isolated supplies). Take a close look at that Wah board. That’s the one I’ve been tweaking the past month and planning to replace very soon. (The controller is still good with 15 built to 75%, and the Pedal PCB is OK but the insole design in your shoe will change.) The analog components are nostalgic using Panasonic Caps and a Red Fasel coil from Italy for that original sound. Right in the center is your automated DPDT switch. That’s what kicks in/out the effect (so to speak) for True Bypass. I used a COTO Reed Relay and I’ve never ever had one wear or degrade on me (sealed switch in an inert gas). Upper left corner are all the caps for the overall tone range. Thanks to Anderton articles on DIYstompBoxes.com, A. G. Keen, and Geofex.com for getting me up to speed over the years. I have no idea who you are, but thanks! I’m sure some of your parts are in these first units. Truth is, I’m finishing 15 units that were on hold for 2 yrs. If you saw Silicon Valley this week, well… I’m Richard. I’m targeting some Beta Testers this summer, 2018. I may never build any more of this design and it will be a while before the Bluetooth version would be even started, but that’s the plan. My partner is still waiting for cash-flow. That’s not the goal anymore (taken from the Musk playbook). I’m not advertising, but you might see me soon at a Guitar Center. I’ll try to get that on video. Oh, and besides MIDI out and Data Out (for Arduino), if all goes well I’ll add Expression Out. That’s a tricky one so I might just give you 3 wires and a guide. It’ll be a 10K pot controlled in parallel with the Wah, used to control your own Wah circuit or your best Stage Show thingy. I’ve always imagined Slash controlling his Wah AND a giant puppet of himself grooving in unison. I’ll get there, watch. I’ve had the vision ever since I saw Fergie and Slash stuck in one spot on stage (Superbowl halftime years ago). Everyone was dancing all around him, but he was...

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Look, No Cables!
Mar09

Look, No Cables!

Since not everyone lives in Sandals like myself, I thought I’d pick up a pair a Chuck Taylor All Stars for a SoulPedal(R) test drive. Look, no Cables! (Referring to the experiment at Converse a few years back with a Wah.) I went for Size 11 US as I’m about a 10.5 US and I wanted some room in case (truth is, they were on sale at Ross for $29). At first, I didn’t like being able to feel the edge of my pedal under the toes so I pulled off the neoprene cover and cut out a full size for replacement. Way better, and my brother also found it comfy. There’s a lot to resolve here still, but getting there. During the fun, careful inspection of the pressure sensor showed no visible signs of wear, but I’m not tracking the ohms Ω/gram data over time… shear is a killer there. Good news is that the flex portion of the pressure sensor isn’t failing like before. I lowered the path more toward Center-line of the bend action. (Maybe...

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