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Making a looper pedal

April 19th, 2010
tech, looper, music  [html]
Yesterday chris jacoby and I decided to make a looper pedal. We wanted to be able to hit a pedal once to start recording, once to start looping, and have another pedal if things went wrong and we wanted it quiet. Luckily, mice have three buttons. So we took a usb mouse and merged it with an broken korg pme 40x modular efects board. This required soldering the mouse's switches to be in parallel with the box's switches. And ripping out all the other box circutry. The completed product, on which only the left three pedals are connected to anything:
Now we get the computer to be a digitial delay using chuck which uses jack:
  1. I started with a fresh eeebuntu 4.0 beta on a first generation eeepc, this also worked on chris's mac
  2. $ sudo apt-get install jack chuck
  3. $ jackd -d alsa &
  4. $ chuck program.ck
Try this on these three test programs: If all of these work, you can move on to trying looping: looper.ck

On linux I couldn't get the mouse to work until I tried something totally different, so if this applies, don't worry (yet).

One problem on the eeepc is that it's a slow computer and currently trying to do a lot of stuff. If we install a realtime kernel and boot into single user mode, though, it's much better:

  1. $ sudo apt-get install linux-rt
  2. Reboot
  3. Press esc when prompted to get into the grub menu
  4. Choose the kernel marked linux-rt recovery mode (otherwise it will start normally with a normal kernel)
  5. When asked what to do next, choose to drop into a root shell without networking
  6. $ jackd -d alsa &
  7. $ chuck looper.ck
If your mouse still doesn't work at all, that's bad. If the wrong mouse works, try changing the device number in looper.ck (nano -w looper.ck)

I still need to learn how to use the pedal well, but now the problems are on my end, not the tech end.

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