Hi BigSky users—many of you have asked us to put together a detailed list of the BigSky factory preset settings. Here is a PDF that contains settings for all of the factory presets. :)
Hi BigSky users—many of you have asked us to put together a detailed list of the BigSky factory preset settings. Here is a PDF that contains settings for all of the factory presets. :)
We’ve made some updates to our open source Preset Librarian. The latest version adds support for BigSky Reverberator, allowing you to organize and back up any or all of your presets (when connected to a Mac or PC with a MIDI to USB converter). We’ve also added support for Mac OS X.9 Mavericks, as well as a couple other cool features.
Here’s what’s new:
Mac OS X – 10.7.x, 10.8.x, 10.9.x
Windows – XP, Vista, 7, 8
Released: Nov 7, 2013
Usage Instructions and Download:
If you have any issues with the software, please feel free to email us at email@example.com and we’ll help you out. Thanks!
We recently decided to develop an open source preset librarian for TimeLine and Mobius. Our main goal was to assemble the infrastructure for an extendable librarian that could be customized and tweaked by developers in many different ways.
We’ve just finished putting together this initial version, which will allow TimeLine and Mobius users to organize and back up their presets, when connected to a Mac or PC via a MIDI to USB converter. So, for the non-coder, you can go right ahead and use this version and access basic organization and back up functionality.
For the code monkey, you’ll be glad to hear that we’ve added all sorts of hooks under the hood that can be accessed and customized. While this current version is very bare bones, we have left the door wide open for additional developers to build in their own features and user interfaces.
We plan to make updates in the future, in parallel with any open source developers that choose to come on and work on their own versions. If you have any issues with the software, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Mac OS X – 10.6.8, 10.7.x, 10.8.x
Windows – XP, Vista, 7
Version: 0.9.1.1 (developers edition)
Download the latest version HERE
The reviews for Mobius have been rolling in, and we’re very excited about what everyone has been saying!
Featuring 12 different types of modulations – chorus, flanger, phaser, a flexible rotary effect and more – “the amount of high-quality effects [Mobius] crams inside is amazing,” writes guitar blog GuitarNoize.com.
Within each modulation type lays a wealth of mod effects that Premier Guitar magazine describes as “shockingly accurate.” The “sonic undulations” of the rotary effect, PG continued, are “deep and complex, and at times sound impossibly real.” We’re deeply honored to have received the Premier Guitar “Premier Gear” award, which the magazine bestowed upon Mobius earlier this year.
In its popular audio blog, The Deli magazine is “extremely excited” about Mobius’ release. It calls the mod pedal “super diverse” thanks to its wide variety of classic mod effects including “everything from lush choruses to pulsating tremolo as well as unlikely additions.”
In a shootout versus some classic mod pedals, Mobius won Sound On Sound magazine’s praises for its “clarity, warmth, smoothness and depth.” With “sounds as glorious as its tech-spec suggests,” Mobius “more than held its own” against its predecessors. SOS ranks Mobius “among the best [mod pedals] of its type.”
Our friends at Premier Guitar think “it’s getting harder to surprise folks with how good Strymon pedals sound,” which makes us really happy. Sound On Sound noted that we’ve “quickly gained a loyal following” in the three years since we began making pedals. And The Deli made us blush when they called us “one of the sickest companies making stompboxes right now.” Thanks, guys, we really appreciate it! :)
We always work hard to improve the experience our customers have with our products. We have been working on adding a few new features and improvements to TimeLine.
We are releasing this version as a public beta to allow additional testing in many different real world usage situations. This is not a required update— please feel free to continue using your current version. Should you choose to update your TimeLine you are always allowed the option to roll back.
Update instructions are included as a PDF with the download. If you have any problems updating, please take a look at these updating troubleshooting tips. :)
If you come across any issues with this beta release, please email us at email@example.com. Thanks very much! :)
Introducing the newest and smallest member of the Strymon family: Tap Favorite.
Want to store a preset of your Favorite settings on your Brigadier, El Capistan, Lex, or Flint? Or remotely tap tempos for your TimeLine, Mobius or Flint? Add our tiny Tap Favorite switch and connect to your Strymon pedal with the included 1/4″ TRS cable.
With the Favorite mode enabled, saving and recalling your Favorite preset is a snap. When you turn off your Favorite, it reverts back to the current knob states of your pedal. It’s like having two pedals ready to choose from.
When using Tap Tempo mode, you can place your TimeLine, Mobius, or Flint anywhere on your pedalboard and tap in your tempos remotely. Perfect for large rigs or boards with pedals fighting for real estate.
Learn more at the Tap Favorite site.
We’ve been hard at work building Mobius pedals! We’re busy shipping out pre-orders to our North American customers, and will be making a large shipment to our international distributors in early January. Here are some photos of our recent activity:
Circuit boards complete!
Chassis anodized and ready to go.
Audio testing and programming. Jorge keeping it real.
Just waiting for knobs.
Getting ready to box up!
What? A librarian?
As you may have heard, we have been planning to develop a preset librarian for our TimeLine delay. The goal of the project is to allow users to connect their TimeLine to a computer and organize and back up presets.
First, an apology.
We recently posted a video on our Facebook page that showed an incomplete development version. Since then we have come to realize that our approach of building a proprietary, closed system was flawed. We also may have raised your expectations as to when software would be available. We always do our best to exceed the expectations of our customers, and in this case we did not. And for that we apologize.
Ok, so what’s next?
Instead of developing a closed, proprietary design—or software that we would potentially need to charge money for—we have opted to move forward with a new project utilizing an open platform. While this may cause a delay as we change direction, we feel in the long run it will offer more benefits over the version that we abandoned.
An open design.
As you may know, many preset librarians are proprietary systems. Some of these are not well supported, and never evolving. Many of them are not extendable to take advantage of new technology. By going with an open platform, users can get exactly what they want by interfacing directly with open source developers. And if you are technically savvy, you can customize for your own purposes and share the results with others.
Here’s the plan.
Within the coming weeks, we will be providing a core foundation that open source developers will be able to build upon. This early version will be for developers and coders, and will allow very basic command line preset management. If you’re a code monkey, this is the platform you’ll be able to start with to develop your own custom librarian.
Within the coming months, we will be working with an open source developer that has committed to building in additional features and providing a preset librarian that can be used by everyone. The plan is for his version to work on Mac and PC—and will work with both TimeLine and Mobius.
We are very excited about the possibilities of shifting the librarian to an open platform— and we hope you are too. Ultimately, going open will allow all sorts of customization, and can open up the door to new ideas one might not even imagine possible. We appreciate your patience as we change direction here. Keep an eye on our blog— we will post updates on our progress and software downloads when they are available.
UPDATE – April 8, 2013:
We planned on first releasing a developer version of the librarian in a command line format. Now, as useful as this will be for code monkeys and programmers, we felt that we simply couldn’t release something that every TimeLine and Mobius customer could not use right from the get go. So we decided to take it several steps further and ensure that this first offering has a simple and easy to use user interface that everyone can take advantage of.
We still intend on releasing this librarian as an open platform and because of this, various research needs to be done to ultimately decide which code licensing makes the most sense for us and to our developer level customers. We are actively researching all of our options.
Thanks again for being patient with us while we work on getting this out to you. We will continue to post updates on our progress as it’s made.
UPDATE – May 22, 2013:
We’re just a few days away!
UPDATE – May 29, 2013:
Click here for information on the recently released developer’s edition.
We’re very excited to announce that the Flint tremolo & reverb has received the Premier Gear award from Premier Guitar magazine. Check out the review by Charles Saufley here.
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.
Recently our friend and all around good guy Rick Miller joined our team as Strymon’s customer service and community manager. If you send us an email or give us a call, chances are it will be Rick that you’ll be talking with! He’s active and available on several popular gear forums, and he also offers support and answers your questions on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
So how about we throw a few questions at Rick and let him tell you a bit more about himself?
What was your first guitar?
My first guitar was a cheap Strat knock off that I got for my 15th birthday. I remember my folks made me play my mom’s old acoustic guitar for a full year before they committed to buying it for me. Before that, I had played the baritone horn in grade school and, surprise surprise, quit shortly after! I’m convinced it was because of the first time I had to march. I just didn’t have the coordination to read music and march at the same time. In the end, guitar and bass were a much better fit for me!
Most random job you’ve ever had?
When I was about 19 years old I actually worked at a local hardware store in Connecticut for a whole entire month. The ironic part about this is that I knew nothing about tools at all. One time a guy asked me for a “C” clamp and I took him to the plumbing aisle and showed him the hose clamps. He looked at me like I was an alien and then proceeded to explain to me what a “C” clamp was. Super embarrassing!
Celtics or Lakers?
Celtics! C’mon, I’m from New England!
First CD you ever bought?
This is a tough one because I didn’t actually own a CD player until I was old enough to use my own money to buy one. Before that, I was all tape baby! I think it may have been Nirvana Incesticide. I DO remember buying my first album though. I was about 8 years old and i bought a copy of Sports by Huey Lewis and the News. I still love that album.
Things you miss about Connecticut?
My entire family still lives in Connecticut so without a doubt I miss them the most. I also miss the Summers in Connecticut. It’s so green and vibrant and there are so many cool lakes and streams to swim and fish in!
Things you don’t miss about Connecticut?
The blistering cold, gray winters will never be missed by me! After almost 10 years in Los Angeles my blood has thinned to a point where I refuse to go back to Connecticut in the winter unless I absolutely have to!
Your favorite beer?
Wow, what a great question. I love so many different beers for so many different reasons. You cannot go wrong with a Sam Adams Boston Lager and that’s typically my go to beer if the bar only offers the usual American swill from Miller-Coors or Budweiser. If I had to pick an absolute favorite I’d say Russian River “Consecration”. It’s a fantastic dark sour ale brewed with sour ale yeast and aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels along with black currants. It’s truly an exceptional beer.
Your favorite beer you brewed?
I’ve been brewing for a long time now and have literally brewed at least 100 different batches of beer. I’d say my absolute favorite batch was the very first one I brewed. It was a simple red ale that I completely screwed up by not adding enough water to bring it up to a full 5 gallon batch. In the end, it came out incredibly strong and barely drinkable but it was the catalyst for a new obsession that I still enjoy today.
The production of our Flint Tremolo & Reverb is now under way. We hope to start shipping to customers and dealers very soon. Thanks for your support! :) Here are some photos of the first Flint build:
Sometimes to understand who you are, you have to go back to the beginning, back to where it all began. Before smart phones, before computers, before integrated circuits and the transistor—the only effects available to guitarists were tremolo and spring reverb. The guitar players of the day didn’t have the rainbow of colors that we have now.
But like a charcoal sketch, there is a stark beauty to the tone without the wash of effects that are now possible. Stripped down to the bare necessities, the contrast of the different tremolos becomes apparent. You feel the beating heart of the photo trem, the rolling waves of the tube trem and the hypnotic swirl of the harmonic tremolo.
Given the storied history of these circuits found within classic amplifiers of the 1960s, there was no doubt that we wanted to develop a studio-class pedal that faithfully delivers three of these iconic and unmistakable tremolo effects. We examined the sonic complexities and tonal interplay, and accounted for every last detail in our hand-crafted algorithms.
The result is the technology found in Flint Tremolo & Reverb. Pete Celi, our Lead DSP Engineer and Sound Designer illustrates the research and sound design process in the White Paper below.
Amplifier Tremolo Overview
Still incorrectly labeled as ‘vibrato’ in many cases, the tremolo effect is a cyclical amplitude (volume) modulation of the input signal. Although there are many cool tremolo effects that can be had by using a simple VCA (voltage-controlled amplifier) circuit and applying geometric waveforms (like sine, triangle, square, ramp) to modulate the amplitude, our interest is in exploring the unique, soothing, pulsing, hypnotic effect that comes out of vintage amplifier tremolo circuits.
There were three main variations that came about in the late ’50s and ’60s. The three types can be referred to as Harmonic Tremolo, Power Tube Tremolo, and Photocell Tremolo. These variations have unique characteristics that result from the very different ways that the effect is achieved
One thing that these vintage trem types share in common is the LFO (low frequency oscillator) circuitry, which is generated by a classic positive feedback ‘phase-shift’ oscillator. A network of resistors and capacitors determine the rate of oscillation, and the resultant LFO signal is a mildly distorted sinusoidal signal.
As the LFO circuitry is common to all three trem types under investigation, we can see that LFO waveshape is not responsible for the very different sounds that result from the three implementations. Let’s look closer at the three types.
The Harmonic Trem is actually not a pure tremolo effect. It is really a dual-band filtering effect that alternately emphasizes low and high frequencies. The end-result is a soothing pulse that has shades of a mild phaser effect combined with tremolo due to the nature of the frequency bands that are alternated. This circuit required two tubes to create a two-phase differential LFO that controls the gain of the two frequency bands, and then another tube to sum the two bands together. This implementation had a rather short period of availability perhaps due to the somewhat ‘expensive’ implementation. The basic idea is shown below:
One phase of the LFO signal is added directly with the low-band input signal, while the other phase gets added directly to the high-band signal. Essentially, the filtered signal ‘rides’ on top of the LFO signal on its way into the tube summing amplifier. This effectively changes the small-signal operating point of the filtered signal along the tube gain curve. When the LFO signal is at low voltages, the filtered signal will have more gain as the tube operates in its steepest gain region. Conversely, when the LFO is at higher voltages, the tube gain-curve flattens out, and the input signal experiences reduced gain. Since the two bands have opposite phase LFO signals, when one band is experiencing high gain, the other is experiencing low gain. When the two are combined, the opposite phase LFO signals cancel each other out, and the two alternating amplitude-modulated filtered signals comprise the output. This produces the tremolo effect of hearing a loud (bright) signal alternating with a soft (dark) signal.
Also, as a consequence of riding up and down the tube’s gain curve, the filtered signals experience slight changes in harmonic content due to the changing nonlinearities of the gain curve around the signal. This adds further complexity to the trem’s sound.
Power Tube Tremolo
Next in line was a more cost effective circuit that eliminated two tubes from the Harmonic Trem implementation. It used the LFO signal (no longer a two-phase LFO) to directly influence the power tube bias of the push-pull output stage.
In a push-pull power amplifier, two tubes are employed and biased so that they idle at substantially less than full power. This keeps power dissipation to a minimum when no signal is going through the amp, allowing them to provide power to the speaker more efficiently while increasing tube life. The guitar signal is split into opposite phases so that one tube conducts when the signal is positive, and the other tube conducts when the signal is negative. The two outputs are added together through the output transformer.
By applying the LFO to the bias, the power tubes are being biased into lower and higher idle currents. At low idle currents, the tubes are shutting off and signal gain (volume) is reduced. At higher currents, the tubes are running hot and higher gain results. This alternating gain produces the tremolo effect.
But there is more going on than just a change in volume. Secondary effects coming into play are crossover distortion as the tremolo volume heads towards zero and the tubes are shutting off. At the other end, increased power tube harmonic distortion occurs as the tremolo nears its maximum volume. The effects of power-supply sag also contributes to some of the dynamic response when playing through this kind of tremolo circuit, as it influences the relative bias point of the power tubes. All these things add up to contribute to the ‘magic’ of this trem circuit.
The Photocell tremolo uses a light-dependent resistor (LDR) to attenuate the input signal. The LDR is coupled with a miniature light bulb that is connected to the LFO. As the LFO oscillates, the bulb gets brighter and dimmer which in turn varies the resistance of the LDR. The varying resistance works with other circuit impedances to change the signal level.
The light element used in the classic photo-trem circuits in the 60s was a neon bulb which has a very fast response time, meaning it turns on and off very quickly and spends very little time in between. This produces a characteristic ‘hard’ sounding tremolo that is moving between two levels, almost like a square wave. The duty cycle (symmetry) of the tremolo depends on the characteristics of the bulb relative to the LFO voltages, but the classic Photo-trem circuits were tuned to spend most of their time at the higher output level (duty cycle >>50%, bulb is ‘off’), switching to the lower level only briefly during the cycle. At maximum intensity, a choppy trem results.
Also, as the photocell trem circuit is not buffered, the tremolo creates a varying load resistance in the signal path as the bulb changes the resistance of the LDR. This in turn has secondary effects on the signal’s frequency response that contribute subtle characteristics as well.
Capturing the Magic
We can see from the discussions above that the end result of these vintage tremolo circuits is much more than a simple cyclical volume fluctuation. The depth, warmth and overall vibe of each one of these tremolo types can only be created by giving consideration to the entire circuitry used in the process. For the harmonic tremolo, the interaction of the LFO with the input signal in relation to the preamp tube’s operating characteristics must be accounted for. The Power-tube tremolo must recreate the vintage push-pull power tube section including the phase-splitter, tube characteristics, and power supply considerations. The photocell trem must involve the proper bulb-LDR characteristics in relation to the LFO signal, along with secondary consideration of variable loading in the signal path. When these things are all properly accounted for, the difference from a simple VCA tremolo is apparent. The complex and subtle nuances come to life, producing the mojo of their vintage amp brethren.
The magical combination of tremolo and reverb is the earliest example of a perfect guitar effects marriage. Our new Flint Tremolo & Reverb pedal delivers three classic tremolo circuits, along with three completely unique and complimentary reverb types.
You get the classic ’60s Spring Tank Reverb, the inventive ’70s Electronic Plate Reverb, and the nostalgic ’80s Hall Rack Reverb. Pete Celi, our Lead DSP Engineer and Sound Designer illustrates the research and sound design process that went into creating our reverbs in Flint.
The ’60s Combo Amp Spring Tank
The full-size 2-spring tank was commonly used in vintage amps, and it continues its popularity today for its classic tones. The 2-spring tank uses spring segments of differing delay times (a function of the mass and tension of the spring), which adds to the complexity of the sound and smooths out the time and frequency response of the reverb. Contributing greatly to the sound are the input (driving) and output (recovery) tube circuits. These circuits are designed to reduce low-end boominess and to minimize coupling of the low- frequency cabinet resonance into the tank. The high frequencies roll off naturally due to the limits of the spring’s ability to transmit the shorter wavelengths of the higher frequencies.
The signal from the driving circuit drives a coil which in turn produces a fluctuating magnetic field that moves a magnet attached to the spring. This results in a twisting wave that travels down the spring. The time it takes for the wave to travel down the spring is a function of frequency, with lower frequency waves traveling down the spring more quickly than higher frequencies. This accounts for the ‘drippy’ or ‘boingy’ sound that the reverb produces when given a percussive attack. At the other end of the spring, the signal is recovered by the inverse process which includes coils, magnets, and a recovery circuit. In addition to being recovered, the wave will continue to reflect back and forth along the spring, creating a wash of reverberation that evolves in time due to the frequency-dependent delay times of the spring. The length of time that the reverb lasts when given an impulsive input is known as the ‘decay time’, which is controlled by physical dampers that absorb energy from the spring.
At low mix levels, the 2-spring tank adds a depth and dimension to the sound. Generally speaking, the 2-spring combo-amp reverbs tend to sound a bit less splashy and trashy than their 3-spring stand-alone counterparts at the extremes, but add a full, integrated explosion of sound when cranked up.
The ’70s Electronic Reverb
During the 1970s, digital electronic systems advanced to the point where high-quality real-time electronic reverberation was possible. A single memory chip was capable of storing 1024 bits, and the possibilities seemed endless. The most famous early electronic reverb was a $20,000 plate-style reverb that used eighty(!) of these memory chips. The amazing hardware-based algorithm used multiple delay- lines configured in parallel, with each delay featuring multiple output taps and filtered feedback paths.
The lengths of the delay lines and individual taps were derived mathematically to produce the most natural reverberation. The reverb algorithm also employed modulation by mixing various taps under internal control to create changes in reflection phases to further reduce undesirable resonances and add depth. The result is a rich, smooth reverb with a quick build-up in density due to the summation of the many parallel output taps.
The ’80s Hall Studio Rack Reverb
By the late ’80s, continued advances in digital ICs and microprocessors lead to (relatively) low-cost digital reverbs that could run many different reverb algorithms and allowed for preset storage and deep parameter editing. Cost sensitivity and the limited available processing power of the day led to the necessary invention of efficient algorithms with minimized computational and memory requirements. To create a Hall-style reverb, a well-practiced technique was to create an early reflections section that fed into a late reverb generator.
A simple multi-tapped delay line was sufficient to create early reflections. The late reverberation was accomplished by a regenerating ‘series-loop’ of delays, all-pass filters, and low-pass filters. Inputs could be injected into the loop in more than one place, and the outputs might consist of the summation of several points from the loop. Delay-line modulation was employed to reduce artifacts and achieve a smoother, more pleasing decay. These hall reverbs have a signature sound of distinctive early reflections followed by the slowly-building density of the late reverberation. The modulation adds an increased sense of warmth and depth.
Enter the World of Flint
The three reverb types in Flint pay homage to these three classic reverb sounds. While not focusing on any specific recreation, these classics served as philosophical and sonic guides in the creation of our ’60s, ’70s and ’80s reverb types.
Learn more about the team. Read More »