Strymon How To - news from the lab

TimeLine / MultiSwitch looping demo videos

Posted by Ethan

TimeLine - Looper Pedal - Live Looping
Our TimeLine delay pedal provides you with twelve different delay machines, each with extensive control over sonic character and feel. Under the hood is a 30-second stereo looper, which can be routed pre- or post-delay—allowing you to record delay to your loop, or saturate your recorded loop in echoey goodness. When in TimeLine’s looper mode, you can access Record/Overdub, Play, and Stop for a fun and effortless looping experience.

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Gear Guide: Backing Up and Restoring Presets on BigSky, Mobius, and TimeLine

Posted by Hugo

BigSky, Mobius, TimeLine - preset librarian

If you have a BigSky, Mobius, or TimeLine, you can save the custom presets you’ve created onto your computer using the Strymon Preset Librarian software.  You can also use our Librarian software to load these and other saved presets for your pedals from your computer to the Strymon pedals. You can download the Mac or PC version of the Strymon Preset Librarian software at the link below:

Strymon Preset Librarian — Download Latest Version


Setting Up Your MIDI Interface

Once you have downloaded and installed the Librarian software, you will need to connect your Strymon pedal to a computer using a dedicated MIDI interface that uses developed drivers for your computer’s specific operating system.  We recommend the Roland UM-ONE and the Yamaha UX-16.

On most MIDI interfaces, the MIDI OUT cable connects to the MIDI IN port on the pedal and the MIDI IN cable connects to the MIDI OUT port.  However, some MIDI interfaces (such as the Roland UM-ONE or the M-Audio MIDI Sport UNO) have arrows or text on the cables to indicate the direction of the data to tell you where to connect the cables to on the pedal.

After you have installed the Strymon Librarian software and connected the pedal to your computer through a MIDI interface, launch the Librarian and click on the SETTINGS menu option to choose your MIDI IN and OUT Ports and run the connection test. The test bar should turn green and display “success” indicating the software does detect your connected MIDI interface.




Backing Up Your Presets with the Librarian Software

The main Librarian screen features both a Device List and a Work List. All changes are made on the Work List side and can be “synced” up to the hardware device using the <=SYNC button between the two list windows.  After you have successfully set up your MIDI interface in the MIDI Settings window, hit the Fetch button to load the presets from your pedal to the Device List and Work List.


Once the Librarian software has finished loading your presets to the Device and Work lists, you can save all of the presets from your pedal to your computer as single .syx file by clicking the Save All button at the top of the Librarian.  A window will popup to specify a location to save the presets to.

TL Backup Location

You can also use Save One button on the right side of the Librarian to save a single preset from your pedal to your computer.  Just highlight a single preset in the Work List, then, click on the Save One button to save that preset to your computer.


Loading Presets to Your Pedal

To load a single preset or bundled preset file to your pedal, click on the Fetch button to load your pedal’s presets to the Device List and Work List if you have not already done so.  (It is important to remember to hit the Fetch button every time you start the Librarian software before managing your presets.)  Hit the Open button to load a preset bundle file (.syx) from your computer to the Work List.

Preset bundle load

Once loaded to the Work List, any presets that are different than what is in the Device List will show as red in the Work List.  To load these changes to the pedal’s memory, press the <=Sync button.  WARNING: Loading a preset backup file will overwrite ALL of the presets on the device’s memory with the presets from the backup file.

You can also load a single preset to the pedal by clicking on a preset you would like to replace in the Work List to highlight it, then, clicking the Load One button to select the new preset to load to the pedal.  The new preset will show as red in the Work List and clicking on the <=Sync button will write this new preset to the pedal’s memory.



If you run into trouble with communicating the Strymon Preset Librarian with your pedal, this is typically due to the MIDI interface being used between the computer and your pedal.

First, make sure to download and install the latest drivers for the MIDI interface from the manufacturer’s website to ensure proper communication with that device.

Also, make sure that your connections are correct:  MIDI IN cable to MIDI OUT port and MIDI OUT cable to MIDI IN port.  In some cases, the MIDI cable ends tell you where to connect them (TO MIDI IN and TO MIDI OUT, for example).


For further details on the Strymon Preset Librarian, please check out the Strymon Preset Librarian Usage Instructions FAQ. And if you have any questions about managing your presets, please feel free to post in the comments below or send us an email at :)


Gear Guide: Sound on Sound with El Capistan

Posted by Hugo

El CapistanWelcome to the first installment of our new Strymon Gear Guide series!  I will be providing tips and tricks on using and understanding the various features of our Strymon pedals on a monthly basis.  Hopefully I can help shed some light on any questions you may have about using our gear and harness the full potential from our pedals.  Feel free to let me know what else you might want to learn about  our pedals in future posts in the comments or by emailing

For my first article, I’m going to cover the usage of El Capistan‘s Sound on Sound feature.

El Capistan’s Sound on Sound mode can be used to create loops of up to 20 seconds in length using a recreation of a sliding head style mechanical tape loop system.


Entering Sound on Sound Mode

To set El Capistan to Sound on Sound mode, set the TAPE HEAD switch to Single and the MODE switch to C.  Whatever you have recorded in modes A or B will still exist in mode C.

El Capistan - Singel Head Mode C   El Capistan - Bypass Switch

When El Capistan is set to Sound on Sound mode, recording is ALWAYS active when the pedal is engaged (BYPASS light is on).

Tape Speeds

There are 2 tape speeds available when adjusting the TIME knob:

Double Speed (10 sec. recording time) with the knob left of 12 o’clock
Normal Speed
(20 sec. recording time) with the TIME knob to the right of 12 o’clock.

El Capistan Time Left   El Capistan Time Right

Recording and Playback

Once you engage the pedal by hitting the BYPASS switch while in Sound on Sound mode, press the TAP switch at the same time you start playing to set the ‘In’ splice, then, press the TAP switch again at the end of playing your loop to set the ‘out’ splice and immediately start playing back from the IN splice.

At this point, El Capistan will be looping everything you played between the IN and OUT splice points. Keep in mind that it will still be recording, so anything you play will also be recorded an layered on top of the original loop.  The Repeats knob controls how many times the loop will play back.  Turn up the Repeats knob to 100% for the loop to play continuously with the fidelity of the recording diminishing over time.

Bypass Modes

Hitting the BYPASS button will cut the audio of the recorded loop, but it will continue to play as if the tape is still rolling with a mute button pressed.  Hitting the BYPASS button again will return the audio from recorded loop.

If you want the recorded loop to continue playing back without adding any additional layers of recording, you would need to hit the BYPASS button to stop recording as the loop is playing back.  Please note that the bypass mode of El Capistan would need to be in Trails mode.  To change between True Bypass and Trails modes, you just need to press down and hold the BYPASS button as you plug in the power supply to power up El Capistan.  Check out the following video showing you how to change the Bypass mode of the El Capistan:

Finally, to clear the splice points and recordings, a third press of the TAP footswitch while the BYPASS light is on will perform a bulk erase of the tape so you can record a new loop.


Want to learn more?

Check out the blog post below.

El Capistan Sound on Sound looping tips


Looping Tips and Techniques

Posted by Ethan

Looping Tips and Techniques - illustration by Ethan Tufts

I recently had the opportunity to contribute an article for the December 2013 issue of Premier Guitar magazine. The topic? Something very dear to my heart—looping tips and techniques!

“If you want to take your looping from four-bar bedroom jams to a performance environment, start thinking of your looper as an instrument, not an effect. Creating engaging loop performances can require the same type of effort that you put into learning guitar. Really get to know your looper until using it becomes second nature.”

Head on over to the Premier Guitar site to read the whole article:

Read the article

And if you’re interested in seeing some of these techniques in practice, please feel free to check out a couple of my recent looping vids on YouTube. :)

Intro to MIDI for Pedalboards

Posted by Ethan

TimeLine MIDIStrymon Firmware Engineer (and resident Jeep repair expert) Dave Fruehling recently contributed an article for the September 2013 issue of Premier Guitar magazine. The topic? MIDI! And how you don’t necessarily need to fear it!

“MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is an oft-maligned, yet cherished technology. Today, more and more guitarists are joining in the fun by using the MIDI features included with many of their pedals. Once you learn a few basic things about MIDI, you don’t have to fear it. Instead you can use MIDI to add some very cool and useful functionality to your rig.”

Head on over to the Premier Guitar site to read the whole article:

Read the article


Pete explains Flangers in the September Premier Guitar

Posted by Ethan

Our very own DSP Engineer and co-founder Pete recently wrote an awesome article on flangers for the September issue of Premier Guitar. It illuminates some of the finer and more confusing aspects of how flangers work and how to best utilize them. Flangers can be challenging to understand … hopefully this sheds some light on the subject. Read the full article here.

Looping with Strymon TimeLine

Posted by Ethan

Strymon TimeLine looperHey there! We just put together a couple videos that demonstrate looping with our TimeLine delay.

TimeLine Looper Basics

In this first video, we go over the basic looping features available from the front panel. All you need to do is press and hold TAP to enter looper mode, and you can access Record, Overdub, Play, and Stop. All of your delay knobs and parameters are accessible while looping. You can also set the looper to be pre-delay or post-delay. Running the looper pre-delay allows you to record your dry signal and affect the recorded signal with the delay sounds. Routing the looper post-delay will record the delay sounds to the loop. Check it out:


TimeLine Looper MIDI Control

If you want to take your looping a bit further, you can do so by connecting a MIDI controller to your TimeLine. Here we’re using a Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro, though any MIDI foot controller that can utilize MIDI CC or note messages should work fine. Connecting a MIDI controller will give you access to additional looping features: Reverse, Half Speed, Undo to Initial Loop, Redo, and Looper Pre/Post. In this video, we showcase of these additional features and advanced looping techniques.


Setting up your MIDI controller

You can set up your MIDI controller with either MIDI CC (continuous controller), or MIDI note numbers.

MIDI CC values:

Record – CC# 87, any value
Play – CC# 86, any value
Stop – CC# 85, any value
Reverse (toggle) – CC# 94, any value
Full/Half Speed (toggle) – CC# 95, any value
Pre/Post (toggle) – CC# 96, any value
Undo (to initial loop) – CC# 89, any value
Redo – CC# 90, any value
Looper Level – CC# 98, value range 0-17

Note values:

Record – note 0, velocity > 0
Play – note 2, velocity > 0
Stop – note 4, velocity > 0
Reverse (toggle) – note 14, velocity > 0
Full/Half Speed (toggle) – note 16, velocity > 0
Pre/Post (toggle) – note 17, velocity > 0
Undo (to initial loop) – note 7, velocity > 0
Redo – note 9, velocity > 0

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer of the Gods

Posted by Ethan

Gregg StockOur very own Analog Guru and co-founder Gregg Stock recently had the opportunity to contribute an article for the March 2012 issue of Premier Guitar magazine.

In 1830, Michael Faraday submitted his most famous piece of scientific legislation‚ and this bit of genius described the physics that allows guitar pickups to exist. In this article, Gregg goes over the inner workings of guitar pickups, and how pickup loading can affect your true bypass pedals.

Read the article

El Capistan Sound on Sound looping tips

Posted by Ethan

El Capistan dTape EchoIf you have an El Capistan on your pedalboard, you’ve probably spent some time having fun with the Sound on Sound mode. This mode is a complete recreation of a sliding head style mechanical tape loop system. It’s not a standard digital looper, so there are some pretty cool possibilities here.

I’ll be going over a few tips and tricks that you can use to make the most of this tape-style looper.


How to enter Sound on Sound mode

To enter Sound on Sound mode, select Single tape head Mode C. When you enter Sound on Sound mode, the machine is already recording, just like a real tape echo machine. El Capistan Sound on Sound mode is like having a tape-based looper inside a pedal.


How to splice and bulk erase your loop

You can instantly “splice” your own custom tape length in real-time. Press Tap once to set your splice ‘in’ point, and press Tap again to set your splice ‘out’ point. You can do this as you play or after you’ve recorded material to the loop. Pressing Tap a third time completely erases the tape and resets back to the original loop length.

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