LiberaToe Pedal & Module
As the number of pedals to use increases, can we not solve the problem of the tail wagging the dog as the pedal board is heavier and bigger than the guitar, the most important source of sound?
Most of the recent effects are still based on the 70’s technologies. In the past, it wasn't a problem when using 1 or 2 effects. But now emerged uncomfortable problems as the demands for the pedals are growing 50 years after.
Below are some issues why players used to suffer the inconvenience or even discomfort is not recognized.
Q1) Rare effects having multi-channel
Players have different sound requirements of Gain, Level, Tone depending on the play such like backing 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, so two switches increased the weight, volume, and cost.
Would it be impossible to adopt one switch for both dual channel switching and on/off?
Q2) Limits even with multi-channel
Even with dual channel, merits are not fully taken.
If the two channels are installed, dual channel 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 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?
Q3) Pro and con between mass production and hand made
Since the mass production is usually done by automation, the accuracy is maintained and the cost is lowered, but it gives the impression that the sound quality may deteriorate somewhat because it excludes steps that must be manually dealt. On the other hand, can't we replace simple repetitive process from handmade work incurring higher cost? Would it be impossible in the 21st century to only take the advantages of these two options?
Q4) 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 they are usually reversed in the effects pedal world.
Using the general DC adapter, you may damage your pedals as the pedals normally have opposite polarity.
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 of 18V. The different power demands make the pedal board bigger and heavier. Is there any way to not care about voltage regardless of 9V or 18V?
Q6) Protection of the knobs and toggles
When you push the foot switch, the positions of the knobs and toggle switches on the pedals are often altered or they are even damaged. There were some ways to prevent this, but many pedals don't have them. Many of the pedals are built on the universal case (mainly Hammond box) which is easily picked up in the market.
Usually, to secure the effects pedals, velcro tape or dual lock is used. 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 completely solved. For example, some companies had to replace the circuit in the case, but the result missed the purpose. And some pursued modular structure, but it was not popular for sound quality due to digital nature, or even though of analog system. Can't we try a better way?
Q8) Integration of Analog and Digital
If we put each strengths from analog and digital techs into an integrated system, it would not only save volume, weight, and cost, as well as time for reassembly, but also musicians could spend more time for improving plays. However it is too difficult to concentrate multiple functions without significant integration engineering efforts due to the nature of the analog circuitry's vulnerability. Isn't the integration of analog and digital even more so?
LiberaToe Pedal's approach for problem solving
We wanted to solve the problem neglected for 40 years, unless it is a technique to launch a rocket into the sky.
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 of the overdrive out of two sets, depending on the purpose, and you can select between two sets of time, repeat and mix using the 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 - Not just homogeneous effects, we also designed pedals that integrate two different effects. We've made it possible to choose between two heterogeneous effects, and also either in series or in parallel in some pedals.
(A3) Right hands right places - Although the cost has increased to maintain the analog for sonic quality and 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 the sound quality with automation. Human-touch or automation each have strength in different fields.
Automated steps unrelated to sound quality have the advantage of more accuracy than human involvement. Quality is the must. Instead of low-cost Chinese production, the steps requiring hand-built are undertaken through a thorough engagement by craftsmen in Korea.
(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 together, it is hard for us to make it happen solely.
(A5) Single source multi-voltages - Some pedals of ours need 9V power and the others require 12V or 18V as well. However, as the power supply is simply 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, it is made of custom cases through precision NC process, rather than general-purpose cases.
(A7) Relocatable - Easy relocating method for pedal top circuit has been devised to facilitate quick repositioning or replacing the pedals on the pedal board. Pedal top circuit has mobility with platforms as well as across the pedal shells. It sounds the same as the module but looking is slightly different because of two bolt holes.
(A8) Optimized board - As we solve the problems via integration of analog and digital, you will have a more compact & lighter pedal board than the current one. You will have superior shape in terms of weight, volume, cost, and shorter time to reshuffle, of the pedal board.