Friday, February 4

Tap Tempo Troubles...

(Sorry, this is a super technical and probably super boring entry, but if you're into electronics, enjoy! If not, just go watch that Ryan Adams clip I uploaded in the last entry. It's way more interesting.)

So you remember how I said that I had an ingenious plan to make both of my DD-7's sync up to one tap tempo? By home-brewing a Y cable that split the signal and sent it to each delay? Turns out my soldering sucks.

I would tap in a tempo, and first of all, the delays would only kind of get the idea. Like they'd catch three out of four times I'd step on it. Then one would be a few milliseconds off from the other, so they would drift in and out of sync. Kind of a cool effect, to be honest, but definitely not what I was going for. What could I do? I could of course get one of those cool tap tempo boxes that has two outputs. That would be the easiest. Though if you're looking at my current pedalboard, you'll notice that there's not much room left, so it probably wouldn't have fit. And this was more fun.

Step one involved ordering an insert cable. An insert cable is used to send and receive information from a device. It's got a Tip-Ring-Sleeve (TRS) end on one side and two Tip-Sleeve (TS) ends on the other, where one gets the signal from the tip, the other from the ring, and they share a sleeve. That's pretty much the only kind of split cable with 1/4" ends that you can buy without having something specially made. Since quality literally does not matter to me, I got an $8 job (with shipping and handling) from Zzounds.

Step two was to find a TRS jack. Radioshack to the rescue. $4.

So then a little bit of wizardry. I took out the old jack, saving as much wire as I could on the leads and making a note of what wire went to the Tip (or carried the signal) and what wire went to the Sleeve (or was the ground). Then I connected the Tip and Ring terminals together on the new jack with a little bit of wire that was laying around (you can literally use anything) and soldered it in place. The last step, solder the signal wire, which previously was attached to the Tip, to the Tip/Ring connection, and the ground wire to the Sleeve terminal. Put the little box back together, et voila.

Now, when I tap in a tempo, both DD-7s get a strong signal because I'm not compromising the integrity of the cable, and they both stay in sync. There is, of course, a downside. If I were to use a normal (a.k.a. unbalanced, TS, Mono) 1/4" cable, pretty much like all guitar cables you ever come in contact with, the Ring terminal will come into contact with the Sleeve, short-circuiting things and making it not work. So this is only a stereo tap tempo pedal from now on. Though I would think that if I used a TRS -> TRS cable, it would still work perfectly...something to experiment with. If only I OWNED a stereo cable...

...just don't tell Loopmaster. I may have voided the warranty. ;-)

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