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Re: Air Intake of the Echoplex Manual
I think the EDP manual is pretty good, though clearly more of a
reference manual than a user's manual. A good user's manual teaches
you how to do something. A reference manual reminds you of the
details of something you are already familiar with. Arguably, the
reference manual is more important since the system must at least be
comprehensively specified. For systems as complex as the EDP, it is
very, VERY hard to write a good user's manual.
From my own experience with the manual, I can offer a few suggestions,
though this is a rather academic exercise since I doubt Gibson is
going to pay for another revision.
First, I found the transition from the User's Guide to Parameters
disorienting. I think Functions should have been first. I was
expecting more depth on the User's Guide material but got lost in
parameter details without having a good mental model for how those
might actually be used.
Functions should be presented in order of "popularity" rather than
alphabetically. Sure everyone has a different way of approaching the
EDP, but I'll bet the top 10 functions of interest will be pretty much
the same for 99% of new users. Put brain contorting features like
InterfaceMode and Loop Windowing last. There is enough to digest
without having those bombs dropped on you in the middle. Possibly an
"Advanced" section to contain those things that you won't understand
until you already have a good grasp of basic functions.
I found myself bouncing between the Parameters and Functions sections
often in order to understand something. Some things were mostly
specified in Parameters, others in Functions, others a mixture. I'd
prefer that the bulk of the text be oriented around functions, with
each function fully specifying how it interacts with parameters. This
may result in some amount of duplicated parameter docs.
The Parameters section then reduces to more of a pure alphabetical
reference, with a brief summary of what it does and references back to
the Functions that are affected by it.
The problem with this approach is that some parameters like Quantize
affect lots of functions and you don't want to duplicate it
everywhere. For this and a few other things I would add a "Concepts"
section that precedes Functions. Here you introduce what functions,
parameters, and presets are. Then a few broadly applicable concepts
like like Feedback, Quantize, MoreLoops, maybe SwitchQuant, and some
things in the Functions section that aren't really functions like SUS
Commands and LoopDivide.
I might move interesting but not very practical information like
"Undo/Under The Hood" to an Appendix.
The "Parameter Presets" and "User Interface" felt sort of buried, I
would probably place them higher, certainly above Synchronization and
MIDI Control, and maybe after Concepts. The downside of course is
that the text would contain terms that aren't fully defined until the
Parameters and Functions sections.
Now, I don't want to sound too critical. These are debatable
editorial choices that should not detract from the fact that the
manual is extremely comprehensive and accurate. I have great respect
for the authors, writing for complex systems is a very hard job.