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Heavy philosophy on the fifth anniversary of LD (was: a Repeater suggestion)

Miko, Miko, Miko... 

Yhis is getting silly, and I seem to be doing a lousy job of explaining
myself.  So I'll try to be very precise and clear.  

Here's where I'm coming from:

Electrix announced the Repeater over a year ago.  They then spent about
a year finishing up the software, beta testing, and checking for bugs.  

Obviously you already know this; I certainly don't mention this to be
patronizing.  I mention it to raise an idea:

I would presume that Electrix, and their various beta testers, put the
Repeater through a large amount of actual, practical, hands-on music
making in the process of inventing the unit, testing, and de-bugging it.

I also presume that by the time they announced the product, beta-tested
it, and then finally shipped it out, that numerous people had put the
Repeater through its paces and had clocked a serious amount of time
using the thing in actual musical applications.

All of this leads to the following idea:

If Electrix, and their design team, and their programmers, and their
beta-testers, all worked together through the various stages described
above, for as long as they did, and never found things like the absence
of a wet/dry mix or direct overdub functions to be a problem in the work
which they did during these design, debugging, and beta test procedures...

...then that leads me to believe that those sorts of functions were not
utterly integral aspects of how they themselves designed the Repeater to
be used.

The people who invented the thing have been using it to make music. 
David Torn, a player who has a long history of using a mixer in his
guitar rig, was a consultant and beta-tester for the unit, and has been
using it in session work (including the current gig with David Bowie.)

So, it seems to me that at least some people, who have had a hands-on
aspect in designing and testing the unit, and who are intimately
familiar with the concept of the unit's layout, have been reasonably and
realistically satisfied with the Repeater exactly as it currently exists.

That's all I've been trying to say.  If I've been doing a bad job of it
up until now, then hopefully this will help clarify where I'm coming from.

Let me address a few specific things you mentioned:

>> You seem to want to speak FOR them... that's what's intrigueing to
me. You're not asking Electrix anything. You're making statements about
what they might or might not have intended. <<

Electrix are regular readers (and semi-regular contributors) to this
list.  Damon in particular has always been ready to chime in with his
commentary on Repeater threads, and I would have to assume that
Electrix's eyes are glued to any post on this list with the word
"Repeater" in the subject header.  

You also have Mark Pulver, who has obviously worked directly with the
company, and who knows the Repeater very well.  He too has been quite
ready and capable to offer his point of view.

My point here is that I'm assuming that any of the Electrix folks will
feel free to make a post here to correct or comment on anything they
think is inaccurate or misleading.  If I were to say something about the
design that DIDN'T reflect Electrix's point of view, can you think of
a reason why they WOULDN'T speak up and address my inaccuracy?

It's a public forum, right?  There's no way I COULD "step in between"
you and Electrix even if I wanted to, and I certainly don't wish to do
so.  I'm not trying to come across as any sort of expert on the Repeater
here.  What I am doing is offering forth my opinion on a variety of
topics, in a field I have a reasonable amount of experience with.

I've read a lot about the Repeater on this list since the middle of last
year, and I spent about a half hour talking personally with both Damon
and Jamie at the NAMM convention in January.  So I do have a bit of a
clue as to where they're coming from.

Needless to say, if anything I'm saying is contrary to Electrix's own
position, I would hope that they would be comfortable with speaking up
and correcting me... just as I would hope that anyone on the list with
an interest in the Repeater, or looping in general, might be welcome to
offer forth their own perspective on the thing.

>> I've gotten my answer from Damon. Had we just shut up and not asked,
he'd be less informed of our particular desires; and we'd not know if
they're going to do anything about it. I'm very happy to actually know
they have plans to add the feature. <<

I'm glad you spoke up.  I think it's good that you've got a forum to do
so, and I think it's great for people like yourself, who aren't
satisfied with what the current Repeater can do, that you have an outlet
for suggesting modifications on the unit.

However.  There is a latent issue that's still bothering me, which I'm
not entirely sure you've addressed...

>> I'm sure I just don't get what those geniuses are tryin' to do with
that fancy box! Jeeze Andre... <<

Unnecessary sarcasm, man.  It demeans Electrix, the complexity of the
unit, and myself.  

It also runs the risk of trivializing a crucial point, which is possibly
the very core of where I'm coming from here.  I'll make it again, at the
risk of repeating myself (no pun intended).

A lot of people who use electronic musical gear don't go very deep into
the components they use.  They develop a certain basic familiarity with
the stuff, and can use it for some basic applications, but they rarely
(if ever) reach the point where they can actually master the unit, and
understand where the unit is coming from on a serious level.  

Instead, they start looking for new gear, and new components, so that
they can "do more things," rather than fully come to terms with what
they already have.  And sometimes they look for gear based upon what
they already know how to do, at the risk of ignoring things it can do
which they might not be familiar with yet.

Now, I've been on Looper's Delight since it started up, almost exactly
five years ago today to this very day (happy birthday, list).

In that time, I've seen people complain about the EDP because it has
"too many features," that it's "too deep" or "too hard to use."  I've
seen people say that they don't like to read manuals, and therefore
never obtain a deep level of proficiency with their gear.  I've seen
people place down-payments on products that they've never seen in person
or used hands-on.  And I've seen a TON of rabid gear lust.

What I haven't seen very much of, in my personal opinion, is a deep
understanding and facility with a lot of the tools of the looping trade.

I haven't seen a lot of people who truly make an effort to look at a
unit in terms of what it was specifically designed to do, and see where
the inventors were coming from in the first place.  

I haven't seen a lot of people looking at loopers as instruments, as
opposed to docile effects processors.  

And I haven't seen a lot of people genuinely interested in the idea of
developing new techniques to accomodate new approaches in musical

It usually seems to be the other way around: people wondering how they
can get a hold of gear that will suit the techniques they already have
and know.

So, I readily and unabashedly admit:  It bothers me when people
immediately start asking for changes on brand-new musical components and
instruments, sometimes before they've even had a chance to put the unit
through its paces.  

I keep getting this mental image of a guitarist who's used to playing a
Telecaster, who sees a seven string guitar with a Floyd Rose tremolo 
and three humbucking pickups, and starts asking for a locking bridge and 
a coil tap before he's even picked the thing up, on the grounds that he 
can't use this new instrument for what he wants to do the way it's 
currently set up.

If I sound frustrated at some of the current Repeater reactions, I guess
it's because I've seen a lot of people pass through this list who didn't
have the time or the patience to deal with gear on its own terms... and
passed up the opportunity to make some great music in the process.

I don't know much about your own background, Miko, so I have no idea how
much of my concerns above are relevant to you personally.  I would love
to have the time to personally research every single person I exchange
email with, but it's just not possible, so I have to settle for dealing 
strictly with the basic ideas they seem to be expressing... or maybe
some peripheral issues that they're indirectly alluding to, even if 
they're not aware of it.  

Sometimes I don't get a totally complete or accurate picture of where
they're coming from.  And sometimes some good points can get made 
regardless of that fact.

What little I have heard of your music sounds very cool, so at least you 
know what you're doing (which is not always the case on this list).  If 
I've misinterpreted your comments, I genuinely apologize.  If I've
raised issues you hadn't considered, maybe it was food for thought.

Anyway...  Congratulations on pushing for the updates you want on the
Repeater.  I hope it lets you do what you want more than you currently
can with it.  And I hope it gives you a few ideas you might not have
considered yet...

--Andre LaFosse