It's been a while since my last update! This summer (and hell, the month of September) has passed in what feels like a blink of an eye. Between work, wedding planning, vet stuff (don’t worry, all is well now), and barely holding down a social life I have been working hard to ensure EAE functions smoothly. This update is mostly about that. And I must apologize in advance, as it’s a bit lengthy.
Quick housekeeping: 1) I remain immensely thankful for everyone who preordered a Sending. We are in the midst of shipping out preorders and can't wait to get your feedback. And 2) huge thanks to everyone who took part in our last sale! The Beholder preorders are slated to ship in mid to late October, and we will post regular updates until then.
My relationship with pedal building is in somewhat of an unfortunate pattern: when my day job is in a lull I experience a period of productive R&D and prepping for build runs, whereas manufacturing often coincides with chaos elsewhere in my life. To break this pattern we are modernizing our manufacturing methods by moving all of our main products over to surface mount technology (SMT) – a process that has been underway since early Spring.
SMT is not a new thing but given the fact that the audio world places every component under intense scrutiny, I feel compelled to elaborate on our motives. SMT allows for much faster production – rather than 20-30 pedals going at a time we can easily do 50-100 and beyond. We have partnered with a manufacturer here in Massachusetts for circuit board assembly and will be doing final assembly and testing in-house. This is not for some “made in the USA” jingoism cred, but rather to form a close relationship to continue making our work the best it can be. I find the most joy in the art of designing and that, rather than some particular way of placing components and wires in a box, is how I leave my personal mark.
So I've already posted about a few SMT prototypes on social media, but I kept this one under wraps:
Say hi to Longsword V4. This is a direct evolution of V3. The main changes are 1) the new control layout, which places the Boost control on the exterior of the pedal and 2) soft-touch bypass switching, for increased cycle life and reliability. The signal path remains largely unchanged – I reduced the noise floor and adjusted the center of the High tone control a bit towards the darker side, but on most setups the change is negligible.
Manufacturing has begun and we fully expect to have a sizable batch available this fall, with specific dates TBA. We are so excited to get this out there.
Other updates for those who are curious:
I posted a teaser of Model feT V3, which is also SMT and features revisions I have wanted to make for a long time. We are waiting on enclosures and I will provide more details once we have them.
Ian from Collector/Emitter posted an excellent video of some new prototypes from
Fear the Riff that you can watch here. More about those pedals:
The new drive pedal is called Halberd. It is based around the same transistor gain block used in Sending’s preamplifier, but with some tweaks for more gain and tonal range. It’s somewhere between a console-style overdrive and a “transparent” overdrive, with some elements reminiscent of our µ Blaster boost. The latest prototype sounds fantastic, but we are using a special power supply design that needs some stress testing before it is market ready.
Unfortunately, Hypersleep is going back to the drawing board. It turns out that at high volumes, the LFO bleeds a ridiculous amount of RF noise into the ground line of other pedals – even when using a high-end isolated power supply. I like to design around the worst case scenario—we use an off-brand supply for R&D—so the noise level is not acceptable. I will most likely be replacing the entire clock infrastructure with a microcontroller, which is going to take some time. I really want to release this thing, but only when it’s right. There is only a finite supply of MN3011s in the world and if I am going to use them, I do not want to half-ass it.
Surveyor is in limbo because I managed to spec out a transformer that is perpetually out of stock. I have these transformers on back order, but I am holding off on placing an order at the PCB manufacturer until after I get transformers in. I can’t afford to sit on a pile of partially populated boards for very long.
The SMT Beholder will be identical to the through-hole version, which is why we didn’t rush it for the batch that is currently up for sale. And shout-out to my friend Wooly at Champion Leccy who is assembling this run!
There WILL BE another run of Sendings, whenever it gets the SMT treatment it desperately needs.
That’s all for now!