Ribbons Development Blog

Summary

This is the space where I will post updates regarding the development of Ribbons. This will include: firmware updates and changes/bug fixes I’m working on.

Only admins (myself) can post on this topic. I will update the post below this one to share what I’m currently working on / what I’m aware of and then add new posts when firmware updates are available.

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Future Updates Being Considered

When Ribbons is released, all of its core features will be implemented and it will do exactly what the manual says it will do. That said, I am still working toward some additional features that are not currently implemented.

Potential To-Do’s / Feature Requests Being Considered (last updated April 2024):

  • A recent discovery with Ribbons’ CPU has unlocked the ability to run the four-track looper and any of the touch modes simultaneously. This should be possible in the next update.
  • Add a clipping or VU meter to make input level monitoring easier.
  • New Touch Modes? MP3 degradation / spectral blur or time stretch ?
  • Make it possible to switch between compression and saturation on the pedal.
  • Add footswitch preset toggle mode to pedal so presets can be loaded hands free.
  • Potentially add more synthesizer waveforms or more polyphony.
  • Add double buffering to Magnetic Dance. Change Magnetic Dance so it can optionally be a macro looper (up to 20 second loops). Allow recording of new material while your loop is playing back - old material fades out while new loop fades in.
  • Add new button combination for optional output volume boost.
  • Investigate additional MIDI CC controls: volume boost, filter resonance, 4-track looper post FX, more TBD.
  • Investigate option for Disintegration Loop and 4-track looper Touch footswitch behavior to be record > overdub > playback instead of record > playback > overdub.
  • Add all pass compensation to mix control.
  • Investigate equal power curve taper instead of linear taper for mix control.

Misc. UI improvements and bug fixes:

  • Make the push button show the current page you’re on before jumping to the next one.
  • Make looper LED green while recording instead of light blue to avoid confusion between recording and playback colors.
  • Make pedal state save faster / more often.
  • Make bypass state persistent between power cycles
  • Factory reset animation should continue to display until push button is released to prevent user from entering bootloader mode.
  • When a program change is sent, update the preset UI so that it hovers over the last preset loaded via PC message.
  • Fix issue with Disintegration Loop length not being calculated correctly when max loop length is exceeded.
  • Fix subtle whistle sound that is sometimes heard when using Tape Stop or Broken Machine and the NOISE parameter is turned up.
  • Fix issue where MIDI CC’s and presets load to 99.6% instead of 100%.
  • Fix LED bug after mapping parameters to CV/EXP.
  • Fix LED bug when loading presets and the Repeater Touch Mode is selected.
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Firmware Releases:

Click Here for Older Versions
  • 9/14/2022, v1.0: Production release
  • 10/16/2022, v1.1: Bug fixes, feature requests, relative knob mode, stereo degradation features, more
    • Change list:
      • I finally re-configured the pot controller to modify parameters in a relative way. No more “jumpy” parameters when switching from one page to the next. Only nice smooth adjustments from here on out! This radically improves Ribbons during live performances.
      • Stereo tape effects. There have been some critiques about the tape effects not being nuanced enough across the stereo field. I’ve come up with a pair of great sounding stereo elements for the dropout and crinkle functions. Hope you all approve. If not, let me know. Crinkle is now a much more accurate physical model of real tape crinkle - based on measurements from my Channel Master and Sony TC-440.
      • Variable looper write/record speeds are now possible. The previous implementation captured the speed parameter before writing a loop and then ignored changes while writing to a loop. The new implementation allows you to modulate the speed while writing a loop, which means you can print your own warbles/speed/pitch variations to the loop.
      • If the looper has tracks playing back and you jump out of “looper mode” and into “tape parameter mode”, you can now use the Touch Footswitch as a tape stop effect on the loops.
      • You can now adjust the blend between noise and crackles on the noise knob. I wanted the ability to just have white noise on this track I was working on so I came up with a way to smoothly blend between the white noise and crackles.
      • The last used page is now stored in the preset state. This means Ribbons will boot up to the same page you left off at between power cycles.
      • Bypass settings and stereo mixing settings (the ones you change during bootup) now display your current setting during bootup instead of defaulting to 1. You can use this as a way to confirm your setting if you aren’t sure.
      • RDS flag is now cleared before erasing and writing to FLASH memory. Recommendation from ST (maker of our microcontroller / DSP chip).
    • Download here: Ribbons_v1.1
  • 12/9/2022, v1.2: Feature requests, more accurate tape modeling, MIDI synced looper, bug fixes
    • Change list:
      • More randomized wow and flutter parameters modeled after data collected from numerous functioning and non-functioning tape machines.
      • Presets updated to reflect new tape parameters
      • Added a new factory reset option to restore factory presets and default mixing/bypass options. While in the Preset menu, hold the push button and double tap the Touch footswitch to start the factory reset process. After 5 seconds Ribbons will reboot on its own. Do not power cycle Ribbons during the reset process.
      • To save / overwrite a preset, you now have to tap the Bypass footswitch twice. It sounds like lots of people were accidentally overwriting their presets and were bummed - this should help prevent that.
      • You can now sync Ribbons looper to a MIDI clock. Ribbons will take a jittery MIDI clock and generate a stable internal clock and stay locked with the grid / beat. During recording, Ribbons will also apply micro timing adjustments to prevent loops from drifting out-of-sync with the grid. When a clock is received, the fourth param LED on each of the looper tracks will start blinking to indicate where Ribbons thinks the downbeat is. If this doesn’t match your DAW, drum machine, or synth, you need to send Ribbons a START message to tell it where the downbeat is. Once this is received, Ribbons will be synchronized with your other device(s). To start recording, you must press the Touch footswitch slightly before the start of the beat/pulse where you want your recording to start. You will also need to release the footswitch slightly before the end of the final bar you want to record to. Ribbons will also make sure that the max loop time is some division of the grid so that if you exceed the max loop length your loop stays in the grid. The quantization knob doesn’t do anything when a MIDI clock is supplied. The speed knob defaults to three options: half speed (CCW), normal speed (NOON), and double speed (CW). Direction and speed changes go into effect when the loop wraps around to the start.
      • Made a slight improvement to the Tape Stop function that results in a smoother transition when the “tape” catches up.
      • Fixed subtle issue with Mono In / Mono Out mode where the crinkle parameter was not as intense as it should have been.
      • There was a slight gain mismatch of 1.5-2.5dB between different MIX knob settings and different Input/Output Mixing options. This has been corrected and all settings should match.
      • Re-designed the Resampling Repeater mode to start resampling when transients are detected (as opposed to the previous implementation which resampled when the tempo changed)
      • Replaced the Repeater’s 1/32nd subdivision with a random subdivision option that picks a random subdivision each time the Touch footswitch is pressed in Normal Repeater mode. In Resampling Repeater mode the division of the loop is randomized any time audio is resampled.
      • The Repeater repeats now “lock” to the tap tempo/MIDI clock grid or a subdivision of the tap tempo/MIDI clock. This means your repeats will always be in-time even if you don’t quite play something on the beat.
      • Any touch mode can now be latched by tapping the Bypass footswitch while the Touch footswitch is held down. This is the only way to latch the Repeater touch mode. You can still latch all other touch modes with a momentary press.
      • Repeater Touch Param 2 knob dry/wet mix has been reversed. The current implementation was a little confusing because 100% wet was set at noon. The new implementation has an equal mix of repeater and dry signal at noon and at full clockwise / anti-clockwise you get 100% wet signal.
    • Download here: Ribbons_v1.2
  • 1/9/2023, v1.2.1: Tape Stop Static Noise Fix
    • Change list:
      • Added more resolution to the Tape Stop parameters to get rid of static noise sometimes audible when using the effect with max start/stop times.
      • Changed the response curve of the Tape Stop cross fades from linear to equal power curves to create more natural sounding transitions.
    • Download here: Ribbons_v1.2.1
  • 2/15/2023, v1.2.2: Added ignore MIDI Clock, CC51
    • Change list:
      • Added support for MIDI CC51. Sending Value = 0, MIDI CC51 will tell Ribbons to ignore incoming MIDI clock and start/stop messages. If Value > 0, this will tell Ribbons to listen to MIDI clock. This setting is not persistent and Ribbons will by default listen to MIDI clock after bootup.
      • Made slight improvement to the memory management system, which reduced CPU usage by ~5%
    • Download here: Ribbons_v1.2.2
  • 4/18/2023, v1.3: New touch modes (Crushed Cassette and Disintegration Loop), Tape Saturation, UI Improvements, Sine Wave Synth Improvements, Repeater Improvements
    • Change list:
      • New Touch Mode Disintegration Loop. A looper with controls for decay and speed/direction. This may be one of the few loopers out there that is capable of through-zero speed control without artifacts while recording to a loop. This mode can be used as a tape delay or a >20 second looper.
      • New Touch Mode Crushed Cassette - sample rate reducer and bit crusher with mu-law companding.
      • Tape Saturation can now be enabled by sending Ribbons a MIDI CC52 >0. This is global and persistent between power cycles.
      • Sine wave synth now has controls for attack, release, and volume via MIDI CC.
      • Stepped parameters now have stepped LEDs for improved visual feedback.
      • Improved UI feedback when loading presets: once loaded, each preset has a unique glow pattern.
      • Slight improvement to the way the Repeater touch mode triggers the playback of samples.
    • Download here:
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2022 and glows green/blue when you enter bootloader mode:
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2023 and glows purple/blue when you enter bootloader mode:
  • 4/19/2023, v1.3: New touch modes (Crushed Cassette and Disintegration Loop), Tape Saturation, UI Improvements, Sine Wave Synth Improvements, Repeater Improvements
    • Change list:
      • New Touch Mode: Disintegration Loop - A looper with controls for decay and speed/direction. This may be one of the few loopers out there that is capable of through-zero speed control without artifacts while recording to a loop. This mode can be used as a tape delay or a >20 second looper.
      • New Touch Mode: Crushed Cassette - Sample rate reducer and bit crusher with mu-law companding.
      • Tape Saturation can now be enabled by sending Ribbons a MIDI CC52 >0. This is global and persistent between power cycles.
      • Sine wave synth now has controls for attack, release, and volume via MIDI CC.
      • Stepped parameters now have stepped LEDs for improved visual feedback.
      • Improved UI feedback when loading presets: once loaded, each preset has a unique glow pattern.
      • Slight improvement to the way the Repeater touch mode triggers the playback of samples.
        • v1.3.1 file adds a small amount of gain compensation when saturation is enabled so there is no noticeable boost or cut when engaging/disengaging the pedal. It also resolved a slight issue with the dropouts when in mono in / mono out mode.
    • Download files:
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2022 and glows green/blue when you enter bootloader mode:
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2023 and glows purple/blue when you enter bootloader mode:
    • If you don’t have access to a MIDI controller and would like enable saturation on your Ribbons by default, we’ve created an extra firmware update file for you. You will need to run a factory reset after completing the update to enable saturation.
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2022 and glows green/blue when you enter bootloader mode AND you want saturation enabled by default instead of compression:
      • Download this version if your unit was manufactured in 2023 and glows purple/blue when you enter bootloader mode AND you want saturation enabled by default instead of compression::

All units from our sping 2023 pre-order shipped with v1.3.1

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