LiberaToe Pedal & Module
As a person increases the number of pedals in his or her arsenal, the biggest problem is preventing a pedal board from becoming heavier and bigger than the guitar, the most important source of sound?
Most recent effects are still based on 70s technologies. In the past, it wasn't a problem when using 1 or 2 effects, but now the number and size of effects have grown considerably over the past 50 years.
Below are some issues as to why players use to suffer the inconvenience or even discomfort of gear acquisition and application.
1) Rare effects having multi-channels
Players have different sound requirements for Gain, Level, Tone, etc., and depending on the play, such as rhythm or solo. But it wouldn't be possible to switch between backing and solo if you had only one set of knobs.
Even when two channels are adopted, a separate switch has been required to select the channel for
decades, thus increasing weight, volume, and cost.
Would it be impossible to adopt one switch for both dual-channel switching and on/off?
2) Limits even with multi-channel
Even with dual channel capabilities, there still are other considerations.
If two channels are installed, they may be comprised of the same (homogeneous) circuits or different (heterogeneous) circuits to provide as many tones as possible. But most of the dual channel effects contain a homogeneous circuit, so there are few options for the players.
Is it really difficult to implement it for various purposes such as A/B selection or A->B in series? Or just no idea inspired?
3) Pro and con between mass production and hand made
Since mass production usually is done by automation, accuracy maintains and cost lowers, but it gives the impression that the sound quality may deteriorate somewhat because it excludes steps that must be dealt with manually. On the other hand, it may be questioned whether we can replace simple repetitive processes from handmade work that incurs higher costs. After all, with today's technology, it shoud be possible to take advantages of these two options?
4) DC input jack
When we look at the DC plug and jack, most electronic products have a positive polarity in the center and a barrel is negative. But the opposite is common with effect pedals.
Using the general DC adapter, you may damage your pedals as they normally have opposite polarity.
Regardless, when a certain product came into the market in the 1970s, it seems to have become a customary practice.
Some pedals use 9V and others use 12V or 18V, even negative volt. And there is growing demands for 18V, but different power demands make a pedal board bigger and heavier. Is there any way to not care about voltage, whether 9V or 18V?
6) Protection of the knobs and toggles
When you push a foot switch, knobs and toggle switch positions on the pedals often alter or even can become damaged. There were some ways to prevent this, but many pedals don't take these factors into account. Many pedals are built based on a universal case or instance (mainly Hammond box), which easily is picked up in the market.
Usually, to secure effects pedals, Velcro tape or dual lock is used. And it is cumbersome to detach and re-plug the input/output cable and the power cable when changing the sequence or replacing pedals.
Several companies were trying to resolve the inconvenience, but it has not been solved completely. For example, some companies had to replace the circuit in the case, but the result missed the purpose or 'effect' they were trying to achieve. And some pursued a modular structure, but they were not popular for sound quality due to their digital nature, or even subpar though of analog system. There must be a a better way?
8) Integration of Analog and Digital
If we put each strength from analog and digital techs into an integrated system, it not only would save volume, weight, and cost, as well as time for reassembly, but also musicians could spend more time improving playing ability. However, it is too difficult to concentrate multiple functions without significant integrated engineering efforts due to the nature of an analog circuitry's vulnerability. This problem magnifies when you integrate digital with analog.
LiberaToe Pedal's approach for problem solving
We wanted to solve the problem neglected for 40 years, and we knew it was possible by investigating these aspects.
While applying unique circuitry and production engineering, we wanted to preserve the ergonomic and analog sensibility, repeated the experiments of creating and crushing prototypes to have the following results.
(A1) Dual channel has been adopted for all the LiberaToe series. For example, you can select the gain, tone and level from one of our overdrive's channels (and depending on your needs) and you can select between two sets of time, repeat and mix using our delay. All sound circuits are designed in analog with one foot switch to select a channel, as well as to turn on/off.
(A2) Multi functionality - We not only created homogeneous effects, we also designed pedals that integrate two different effects. We've made it possible to choose between two heterogeneous effects, some of which run either in series or in parallel.
(A3) Right hands right places - Although the cost has increased to maintain the analog element for sonic quality, to adopt software technology for routing flexibility, and also to include dual-channel, the issue has been solved by replacing the manual steps not affecting sound quality with automation. Human-touch or automation each have its strength in different fields.
Automated steps unrelated to sound quality have the advantage of greater accuracy than with human involvement. Quality is a must. Instead of low-cost Chinese production, the steps required with our hand-built electronics are undertaken through a thorough and rigorous engagement by Korean craftsmen .
(A4) Let it be - While the tradition needs to be corrected, unfortunately this is not going to be solved as long as one company supplies positive voltage to the DC jack’s center. As other relevant devices and pedals have to be changed collectively, it is hard for us to make it happen solely.
(A5) Single source multi-voltages - Some of our pedals need 9V power, while others require 12V or 18V. However, as the power supply is unified to receive only 9V input, there is no need to worry about various voltages; 9V is boosted internally to provide 12V or 18V with enough current.
(A6) Guard rail has been mounted to protect the knobs and toggle switches from foot behavior, unless you intentionally press the foot toward the knobs. For this purpose, we created custom cases through precision NC process, rather than general-purpose cases that most pedal builders adopt.
(A7) Repositioning - We developed a design to allow for easy insertion/removal of our pedal top circuits (modules), and within our platform systems or into shells. So pedal top circuit has mobility with platforms as well as across the pedal shells.
(A8) Optimized board - We solved the problem of integrating analog and digital, to provide you a more compact & lighter pedal board than what was possible before. You will have superior system and platform in terms of weight, volume, cost, and shorter time to reshuffle your pedals.