In January of 2018, shortly after the Winter NAMM show, my friend Knobs and I were on a plane to San Francisco. It's difficult to describe the feelings surrounding the immediate aftermath of a NAMM show, but we are a bit loony. We were also excited because we were going to visit one of our favorite musicians, Tycho (this trip yielded this video). Throughout the flight, Knobs kept talking about how there were no loopers out there that fit his needs, and at some point in the flight we just looked at each other and said, "Should we make a looper together?" We began working on the concept immediately.
A few months later, we enlisted the help of DSP code guru Mark Seel of 3 Degrees Audio to help fully realize the radical ideas that Knobs had. Several months later we added Parker Coons (former DOD / Digitech engineer) to help with hardware design and to provide general engineering support.
In January of 2019, one year after the idea was originally conceived, we found ourselves at a crossroads. We had worked tirelessly to demonstrate our ideas and to develop a physical prototype to show at the Winter NAMM show. Getting the hardware in its first iteration was a photo finish with the start of the tradeshow. We had our prototype and we had our booth, but there was just one problem... the prototype just kind of sucked. We knew it had promise, of course, but our original ideas just did not translate well when we finally actually had the thing in front of us.
So, we decided to do something a little risky, and a little weird. We decided to show the prototype anyway, and just tell people right there at the show what we felt was wrong with it. Then, we decided to document our progress on the device, and gather feedback from other musicians both at the NAMM show and through online comments of our YouTube videos. The first episode in this series (affectionately called Blooper Reel) is here:
This was followed by episodes 2 - Salt Fade, 3 - Goat Buttons, 4 - The Mini Project, 5 - Ramping Chicago, and our sixth episode is this one. We will continue to release these until the project is complete.
Of course we don't expect everyone to actually watch all of this stuff so here is what we believe to be the most exciting features about blooper:
- 40 seconds max loop time (48kHz, 16 bit) with ultra-low-noise hardware / XMOS DSP processor, 32 save-able presets and full undo / redo capability
- 8 layers of undo / redo, unlimited overdubs (oldest layer gets discarded after 8)
- Layers knob to navigate through undo / redo layers
- 6 loop modifiers (quantized & free time/speed changes, scrambler, trimmer, filter and dropper) available over 2 independent channels
- Normal, additive (effects get recorded), and one-shot sampling modes
- Full midi implementation via 1/4" TRS
- Repeats knob for fading loops or to use blooper like a tap-tempo delay
- CV clock sync and modulation control
- Stability control introducing optional tape and warble effects to loop.
- Chase Bliss ramping control (including randomization and ability to sync to loop time)
- Expression control over any parameter either individually or simultaneously
- Dip-switches for customizing behavior: dry kill, straight to overdub, etc.
In closing, thank you so much for all of your support and feedback so far. This has largely been a community driven project, and feels especially appropriate for Kickstarter. We are targeting a release / ship date of Thursday, December 12th so that bloopers are safely received by Christmas / Winter Holidays.
Risks and challenges
As a team, we have a great deal of experience designing and bringing musical devices to market but there is always a chance things will get delayed. We do have fully functional prototypes with our final hardware (as seen in our videos). Sometimes, parts become unavailable or there is an unforeseen bug or coding issue that requires more time than we expect. We feel we have the big issues largely ironed out at this point, but of course, there's always that chance a wrench could be thrown into the spokes. There's also a chance that some of features could change slightly (i.e. number of save-able presets, losing an undo/redo layer, etc) if there is an unforeseen issue sourcing some of the specific parts we are planning on using.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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