Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

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andrewapeterson
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Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

Post by andrewapeterson » Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:10 am

I'm new here.
I have a Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 which I believe cannot be midi clock controlled via the "pedalsync" kits, because I think it doesn't use BBD IC's.

I'm wondering if anyone knows what I should be looking into to figure out how to make this thing sync to my DAW, or if it's even possible

Also, I know of one place online that has some really crappy hard-to-read schematics for this unit, but perhaps someone knows where I can find better copies.

Here's is the place online that has the crappy schematic.
http://www.stecrecords.com/index.php?RecordId=528

Can anyone see what/where the internal clock source is?

Thanks!

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Re: Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

Post by Andy Peters » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:20 pm

andrewapeterson wrote:I'm new here.
I have a Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 which I believe cannot be midi clock controlled via the "pedalsync" kits, because I think it doesn't use BBD IC's.
It doesn't use BBD ICs. The delay mechanism is basically a lot of 4116 16k-by-1 DRAMs. The real clever part of the design is the ADC and DAC. How it works is hinted by the name of the company ("Deltalab").
I'm wondering if anyone knows what I should be looking into to figure out how to make this thing sync to my DAW, or if it's even possible
Define "Sync to my DAW."
Also, I know of one place online that has some really crappy hard-to-read schematics for this unit, but perhaps someone knows where I can find better copies.
Given that the product was designed before the advent of inexpensive CAD tools, you're lucky that someone found the D- or E-size blueline schematic and photographed it! I suppose if I had absolutely nothing else to do, I could redraw it in Altium, or whatever.
Here's is the place online that has the crappy schematic.
http://www.stecrecords.com/index.php?RecordId=528
Other than that the schematic was photographed and I had to print it out and tape it together, it's definitely non-crappy. It's well laid out and well annotated. Whoever drew it was a professional.
Can anyone see what/where the internal clock source is?
Look for the section labeled VCO (schematic "pages" 5 and 6).

-a
"On the internet, nobody can hear you mix a band."

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re:Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

Post by andrewapeterson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:57 am

Andy Peters:
Thanks for the response.
Sounds like you're a good person to get a response from :)
Define "Sync to my DAW."
What I'd like to be able to do is send a MIDI or SMPTE signal (or even a click-track) out of my computer via my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, in this case, Digital Performer, Reaper or Ableton Live), and use that signal to prevent timing drift.

I've been soldering since I was 9, and I'm comfortable opening things up and I regularly fix things and I've modified a few devices, but I'm not quite to the level of understanding TTL stuff very well (I do often understand what various ICs do when I look at their specs though). And for the record, I don't understand what capacitance is.

-AAP

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Re: re:Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

Post by Andy Peters » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:52 am

andrewapeterson wrote:
Define "Sync to my DAW."
What I'd like to be able to do is send a MIDI or SMPTE signal (or even a click-track) out of my computer via my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, in this case, Digital Performer, Reaper or Ableton Live), and use that signal to prevent timing drift.
The Effectron doesn't have word clock per se, and it really can't easily sync to MIDI or SMPTE time code, at least not in a way that would make any sense.

Here's why. Delay in the Effectron is implemented by a daisy chain of DRAMs, the old-school 4116 and 4164 types. Those DRAMs are only one bit wide. The front-panel delay-range select buttons switch in more DRAMs as you need to increase the delay time.

The clock in the Effectron is generated by a VCO. The clock frequency varies (at least according to the schematic) from 250 kHz to some few MHz. This clock does two things:

a) it clocks the logic state machine which generates the DRAM address and control signals (RAS\, CAS\, WE\, CS\). The higher the frequency, the faster the machine runs and the shorter the delay time. There's an upper limit that's set by the DRAM access cycle timing, and a lower limit set by the fact that it's dynamic RAM.

The memory implements a large FIFO. On one clock tick, you read the bit at the current address, which is the oldest data bit, and then on the next clock tick you write the newest data bit to that location, then you increment the address modulo the memory size. Rather than setting the delay time by having a read pointer chase a write pointer and the delay is the difference between those two, you just vary the clock.

b) this is the clever part: the VCO output acts as the modulator clock for the sigma-delta (oversampling) ADC and DAC, which are built out of CMOS transfer gates (4051 switches) and an op-amp. The output of the modulator on the ADC is a one-bit stream. It is this bit that gets written to the RAM and passed along the daisy chain. The audio data stream is never decimated down to a parallel word at the "sample frequency." An obvious side effect to this is that as you dial down the clock frequency -- to increase the delay time -- your sampled audio signal bandwidth decreases. On the DAC side, the single bit read out of the last DRAM gets fed into the modulator whose output is the reconstructed analog signal.

The converters are crude versions of the usual sigma-delta converters which are now standard everywhere.

What's the actual sample frequency? I don't really know, since I didn't work out the math. My guess: "not so great. Adequate."
I've been soldering since I was 9, and I'm comfortable opening things up and I regularly fix things and I've modified a few devices, but I'm not quite to the level of understanding TTL stuff very well (I do often understand what various ICs do when I look at their specs though). And for the record, I don't understand what capacitance is.
I suppose it could be done.

A BBD-based delay unit is not too dissimilar in terms of function. There are obvious differences: in the Effectron, the state machine generates the memory addresses to which you write new bits and read old bits; in the BBD, you bump the charge for each sample from bucket to bucket by applying clock pulses to the gates of the FETs which connect each bucket. In both cases, though, the delay time is set by how fast you clock the storage devices. You set the delay time range by switching in and out additional delay devices.

So the trick, then, is to decide what you want the incoming time code to do. Will it set the delay time within a given range? That seems to be the most obvious, although I'm not sure what exactly you'd do. (I'm not too up on how MIDI time code works.) My guess is that you get a periodic message, and when you get it it blips a PLL which synthesizes the clock (drives the VCO). So you need a micro to handle the MIDI messages and a PLL clock synthesizer and you have to do some amount of work to shoehorn it into the box.

Honestly, though: the Effectron was a neat device, and I still love the infinite hold button and the way you can capture sound in the memory and yank on the delay time knob and make cool sounds. But it does sound kinda dirty and as noted gets worse as delay time increases within each range.

You'll spend more to sync the thing to your DAW than the unit is worth, and a plug-in is certainly easier.

Good luck.

-a
"On the internet, nobody can hear you mix a band."

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re:Deltalab Effectron II ADM 1024 MIDI Sync Mod?

Post by andrewapeterson » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:03 am

Andy Peters,
Thanks for the reply. (funny about our names) (what does it mean!)

Anyhoo,
The reason I want to do this is that, in my experience, every piece of outboard gear has a different sound to it. And I love the way this thing sounds when it's overdriving its signal path. The clipping sounds awesome. It's dirty, but in a beautiful way.

I guess my thought is, that while the labor involved might be worth more than the original unit, the sound and the possibilities would make the resulting unit certainly worth the trouble.

Also, in infinite repeat mode, sampling a tone, the increments of where various pitch changes are via the delay time get closer together as the delay time gets slower (a low pitch's half-step is way closer together than a high pitch's half-step). I'm wondering if I could make this more even by adjusting the pot used Etc. Any thoughts?

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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:05 am

I really, REALLY wanted to sign-up for a fake account or five, with the name "Andre DiPietro-Hijo," and maybe another with "Peter Anderson," and maybe another with "Drew Peterson," and then "Peter Drewson," and then maybe "Petrew Deterson," then "Anders Pattersonn," and then finally, "Andy," and "Pete."

Then I'd post absolutely nothing of value to the thread under each assumed name, and pee my pants laughing all the rest of the morning. But then I realized that I was really over-tired. Just being completely transparent with the Tape Op Community, y'all...

GJ
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Post by Andy Peters » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:21 pm

Gregg Juke wrote:I really, REALLY wanted to sign-up for a fake account or five, with the name ... "Peter Anderson,"
I have a friend, a Minneapolis-based drummer, named Peter Anderson.

-a
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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:24 pm

:D

You guys should all get a band together. I had a couple of musician friends once named "Greg;" we were going to start a group called Gregg Cubed.

GJ
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