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Discussion Starter #1
Came across this crazy thing just now looking for something else:

Boredbrain Patchulator 8000

Is there seriously a market for such a thing? Cuz it's criminal that it costs that much; I could crank em out cheaper, but I don't think I've ever seen anybody use one before. I mean it seems like a cool idea, but then I thought about it and don't think it would make sense for my setup. Do people reoder their pedals that much, where getting a $170 unit, taking up pedalboard real estate, and making a huge cable mess (also associated costs - you'd need some longer cables) become worth it vs manually moving a few things around?
 

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64 Gretsch 6120, 63 SG Standard, 62 Fender Princeton and a 58 Supro 1624T
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Came across this crazy thing just now looking for something else:

Boredbrain Patchulator 8000

Is there seriously a market for such a thing? Cuz it's criminal that it costs that much; I could crank em out cheaper, but I don't think I've ever seen anybody use one before. I mean it seems like a cool idea, but then I thought about it and don't think it would make sense for my setup. Do people reoder their pedals that much, where getting a $170 unit, taking up pedalboard real estate, and making a huge cable mess (also associated costs - you'd need some longer cables) become worth it vs manually moving a few things around?
I think it's probably a bigger thing for the synth guys than guitar players.
 

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Lol I had some of the same thoughts when I first saw one on Reverb. You wouldn't really leave it on your board though, would you??

I splurged for a Little Lehle Looper Switcher awhile back, and it's pretty handy for trying pedals in/out quickly (with one step on a knob). Also for A/Bing amps and guitars.
 

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Seems like a niche thing for sure. A handy way to figure out pedal order before committing on a pedalboard. That’s what I’d use it for. No way it would take a permanent spot on a board for me. There are great switchers now that do that already
 

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It's a useful device, at a not totally unreasonable price, for a bit of a niche market.

I think where it comes into play is for those folks who are perpetually expanding or changing their pedal collection. This allows the user to leave things in their place on the pedalboard, plugged into the patch bay. As new things get added to the board, you can find a spot for them and all routing is done via the Patchulator, without having to move stuff around. There will be setups where it matters, and setups where it doesn't matter,

Thirty years back, I made myself an analog rack multi-FX unit. If memory serves, it had an active splitter and mixer, a compressor, 3-band EQ, overdrive, parametric EQ section, and envelope-controlled filter. Delay was via an outboard unit. I included a patch bay in the back of the unit, so that I could not only reorder things (e.g., parametric ahead of the overdrive), but also run things in parallel via the splitter/mixer thing. For instance, I could run the compressor to the splitter, send a clean feed to an outboard delay, and a second feed to the overdrive, such that the delay repeats were clean, over top of a dirty real-time signal. Even better, I had some noncommitted solid-state switches that I could operate via remote momentary or latching switches, permitting quick punch-in, as well as "trails" on the delay, long before it became a common feature.

When I met Bob Weil for lunch, in 2009, I was trying to persuade him to make a loop that could be order-flipped a feature in some of Truetone's (then Visual Sound) pedals. The virtue I tried to sell him on was that a person could insert things before or after the effect included in that pedal, without having to tear down and recable their pedal-board. (I've made some dual loop-selectors with an order-flipper toggle on-board, to permit the same "instant reqiring"). He didn't adopt it, but eventually included a re-patch capability in the various dual Truetone pedals, like the VS-XO, Jekyll&Hyde, Route 66, and H2O. In effect, the rear skirt of each pedal IS a patchbay, just specific to the pedal. Repatching still requires pulling plugs out of the back, however. And when a person has a tightly-packed pedalboard, that can be a nuisance. The Patchulator places all the repatching stuff on top, where you can get at it without having to move anything out of the way.

Another thing I like about this unit is that there is no programming involved. Some may view the inability to store presets as a minus, but the straightforward nature of it is refreshing.

On the surface, it might seem like a bonehead idea, but it has a number of nice features. Again, a niche market, but useful to that niche. There's a reason why studios have patchbays. As pedalboards get almost as complex as studios, I can see why they'd want one too. Is the octagonal shape optimal or simply kooky-looking? I don't know. But it has given me an idea for a smaller version to make and sell at the Musician's Market next month!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
As pedalboards get almost as complex as studios, I can see why they'd want one too. Is the octagonal shape optimal or simply kooky-looking? I don't know. But it has given me an idea for a smaller version to make and sell at the Musician's Market next month!
Oh hell no they're not (no normalling for one thing, maybe if you consider a bay for a single multi module unit such as an 500 series lunchbox in isolation).

The octagon is a standard Hammond shape; I think it worked out well in that regard. That's probably why this thing has 8 I/Os - worked.

Had the same idea for a similar smaller unit.
 

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Measuring it and doing a mockup, I think I can fit five 1/4" phone-plug pairs along the sides into the 125-B, and the corresponding 5 pairs of closed-circuit 1/8" jacks on top. It's not eight, but I think being able to repatch 5 pedals will be serviceable for somebody. I'll have to whip up the 1/8" patch cables, but I think I have some sitting around pre-made.

Thanks for the idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
5 pedals or fx loops - could be multiple pedals per i/o ;P

What I think would be even more powerful, is to break away from the 1/8" BS (eliminatrwe the need for special cables you don't need for anything else; shortens signal pat; decreadses costs - 1/8" jacks actually cost more). Think about it - instead of 2 x 1/8" I/O jacks tied directly to corresponding 2 x 1/8" patchbay jacks, each loop instead has only 3 x 1/4" jacks - input, a normalled output (no cable plugged in to output, the signal goes here) and output (switching type; normalled to the normal output). This is more flexible for retail/trade show type settups and studios - you can have your normal pedal order but then try something else without messing up your default.
 

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Too late!

I've machined the box, buffed it, and the first coat of paint is baking in the toaster oven as I write this. I may ponder other configurations, but this first stab simply lets a person reroute up to 5 pedals. The 1/8" jacks are actually a LOT cheaper than 1/4". I'm using closed circuit jacks for both the 1/4" and 1/8". The preliminary plan is to just have the 1/8" normalized, so that if you don't plug anything into the 1/8" jacks, the 1/4" just feed through from in to out, via the smaller jacks.

While I'm waiting for subsequent coats of paint to bake, I'll explore whether there might be some more creative possibilities facilitated by the jacks. The 1/4" jacks are all closed-circuit TRS type like the one below, which might afford some signal-splitting options. I'll have to think that one through. I suppose the other possibility is to include a couple of toggle switches to expand routing capabilities. All of this passive, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd recommend against the toggles - the closed jacks should be able to do everything that's needed here except maybe ground lift which is probably not a good idea here anyway.
 

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I thought a patchbay would be a pretty good piece to start a pedal board with. Put all the linking cables underneath.

But I guess I like order.

Now I would like an ES-8.

 

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I was thinking more in terms of things like cancelling or rerouting half of a stereo signal, where a TRS jack is used as one. Or alternately using a passive split to send input A to two other locations. That sort of thing.
 

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I think it would be a lot easier to understand what was connected to what if the patch cables came in several different colors.
 

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That's a good idea. I just came into a small stash of shielded cable with different colours of outside jackets. I should whip up some patch cables with that.

Thanks, Greg. Smart.
 

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If you could take a sheet of plastic, solder a bunch of jacks or plugs to it, connect all the grounds, you could use one of those conductive pens to draw the connections.
 

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I did some thinking, and reaized that I had been conceiving the wiring of the thing all wrong. I was thinking of the jumpering jacks in the unit as if they were the pedal, and the 1/4" in-out jacks could, and should, be linked/normalized. (insert face-palm here) The video demo of the unit didn't help matters, since it showed both in and out jackjs used for whatever was plugged into the unit, rather than conveying that something would necessarily have to be using ONLY a cable from its output to the Patchulator, and something else would ONLY be using a cable to its input jack from the Patchulator.
 

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Done. The legending doesn't really imply anything about the wiring inside. It simply provides some visual guidance for someone trying to use it and keep track of what each jack represents for them. Thanks for the idea of having different-coloured patch cables.
I don't know what is more impressive, your mind or your drive to put it to work. Well done.
 
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