The long-awaited release of the new Blue Nebula Firmware Version 4 has arrived at last!
Not only has the firmware been updated with new features and improved Shadows pre-sets but many of the emulations have been extensively re-written and improved and several new ones have been added.
NB: Before attempting to update anything on your Blue Nebula you should make a back up of your User patches using the Librarian as initialising your pedal or uploading new patches will overwrite anything you may have edited yourself.
To update your Blue Nebula to Version 4 proceed as follows:
(All required files are on the ‘Latest Updates Here’ page as usual – see menu bar above – so make sure you have downloaded them all and you know where they are saved).
First download and install the latest version of the Librarian for your system (Windows 32 bit, Windows 64 bit and Mac OSX versions are provided).
Power up your Blue Nebula with the 12V supply and then connect your Blue Nebula to your computer via the USB cable and make contact with the Librarian by selecting the correct Serial port from the dropdown list.
Get All patches from your Blue Nebula and save them to your computer.
Click the Librarian’s Firmware Update button, browse to where you downloaded the firmware file and click Open. Wait until the firmware upload has finished and the BN has reset itself.
Click the Re-scan button and reselect the correct Serial Port to re-establish contact.
Ensure the MEM 2 radio button is selected then click the Upload DSP button and browse to where you saved the Mem2 hex file and click Open. Double-check that the Blue Nebula screen says ‘DSP Code uploading to Mem 2’. Wait until the new DSP code has finished uploading. Remember you must have the Blue Nebula powered up from 12V for DSP upload to work.
Click the MEM 1 radio button on the Librarian window and then click once again the Upload DSP button. This time choose the Mem1 hex file and check that the BN screen says ‘DSP Code uploading to Mem 1’.
Remove the USB cable and switch off the 12V power for 15 seconds then power up the Blue Nebula again and it should show the V4.00 startup message shown at the start of this post.
New Firmware Features
Improved button handling avoids inadvertently skipping over a menu item.
New ‘OK to Initialize’ option before initializing the user patches back to their factory settings to avoid accidentally wiping your own patches.
New ‘Tweak’ mode lets you quickly adjust the Wet/Dry mix on-the-fly in a live situation without having to edit the patch.
When naming a user patch the up and down buttons now auto-repeat to help speed up scrolling through the characters.
All the Shadows pre-sets have been improved following user suggestions and extensive testing.
Extended User Patches
Includes almost 40 new patches for extra Shadows tunes, including Dance On, The Rumble, Gonzales, Perfidia etc, plus several Binson Echorec patches and even a couple for David Gilmour fans. See the Excel Song Sheet for a list of all the patches.
Patch File – use the Librarian to upload this to your Blue Nebula
New and Improved Echo Models
All the echo machine emulations have been re-written with the exception of the Roland RE301 and “Factory” Patches have been re-styled to take on board Users’ experiences,
The echo halo and repeats handling and filtering is improved to give a much more analogue sound that “sings” more than the originals,
Signal to Noise Ratio is improved.
A new and improved Tape Saturation Routine has been incorporated that attempts to emulate the way in which magnetic media saturates with different amplitude and frequency signals to provide compression/limiting and extra harmonics,
New emulations have been added such as Meazzi PA306 (5-head modified spacing version), two Copicat 3-head emulations, i.e. vintage valve and IC300 solid-state. (See Table 3 in the User Manual). Note that the ‘Echomatic II Bank’ model has been removed and the E1-F Special is now in the second memory bank.
Emulations have been adjusted to use recent information we have received, e.g. Vox Long Tom now has a setting, which is similar to the Bjorn Andersson YouTube video of Wonderful Land, The E1-F special has been re-written to follow details supplied by Alan Jackson of the settings implemented at Abbey Road by Dick Denney and of a “FAST” speed setting. (See Appendices 1 & 3 in the User Manual for more information).
The Blue Nebula Development Team has worked long and hard to bring these improvements to fruition and wish to thank the efforts of Peter Korving and Roger Cook for their expertise and time spent testing these improvements. Special thanks to Piet Verbruggen for always encouraging us to improve the Blue Nebula and also for his excellent measurement expertise to prove that the new Tape Saturation Emulator was working as expected.
Rolf Holmberg has added a neat MIDI switcher pedal to his eTap2hw ‘EchoTapper’ setup to allow him to change presets easily during a gig.
The Gecko MIDI Switcher pedal by One Control is a great solution for quickly switching between programs on midi devices. It has two modes of operation:
Manual mode – allows guitarists to scroll through midi programs one by one. Use the up or down switch to scroll through programs and once a desired program is reached, hit the select switch to choose the program.
Preset mode – allows you to save 8 presets from 0-127 and scroll through those 8 only. This would probably be the most useful mode for us Echotappers as a carefully chosen set of 8 presets would cover most Shadows tunes in a ‘live’ situation.
In order to upload the EchoTapper Automation code (contained in a HEX file) to the Arduino UNO microcontroller in your EchoTapper unit, it is necessary to connect the UNO to your computer via a USB cable and run a suitable uploader tool.
As users (including myself) have recently found, the original uploader tool that I recommended no longer works. This may be failing due to an incompatibility with the version of .NET installed on the users pc.
I am now recommending users to download and use XLoader and use that to upload the code to your EchoTapper. XLoader can be downloaded here.
These are the default settings for the Uno and they seemed to work fine.
When you run it choose the Uno option from the Device list, select the COM Port that your Uno is connected to, leave the Baud rate at the default (115200) and click the … button to browse to the hex file you wish to upload, then click the Upload button and a few seconds later your software will have been updated and the EchoTapper will restart – check the version number displayed to make sure everything went ok.
Please use the Latest Updates Here link in the banner above, rather than the out of date links below.
Update 24th October 2013: Some bug fixes and extra features added. The links below now point to the latest Version (2.3) of the Editor/Librarian. The EchoTapper Version 3.20 Arduino code has not been changed so there’s no need to update your eTap2HW hardware. I’m looking for anyone using my Automation software with their eTap2HW-based echo units to try out this preliminary release of a software application which I am calling the EchoTapper Patch Editor/Librarian. I have written it in response to a number of requests from users of my automation code to enable them to back-up and re-arrange their User Patches, for example to create personal set lists. Although not yet having all the planned features included, the current version allows patches to be transferred to and from the eTap2HW via the USB connector on the Arduino Uno, and it also allows them to be saved to and loaded from disc. In it’s Editor role the software allows patches to be renamed and fully edited, for example, by changing the echo model and adjusting the echo parameters. It simulates the three main knobs on the ‘real’ eTap2HW control panel. In order to use the Librarian with your eTap2HW you will need to upgrade the EchoTapper automation software to version 3.20 or later. The Librarian requires you to have Java installed on your computer and versions of the Librarian are available for Windows 32, MacOS X and Linux. As I don’t have access to MacOS X or Linux, these versions have not been tested yet and the Windows version has only been tested on Windows XP Professional. I would appreciate feedback on the software running on any of these operating systems so if you are able to help please download the relevant version and leave your feedback in a comment, remembering to state what OS you are using and details of your experiences and suggestions for improvements, if any. Thanks and enjoy 🙂 PhilipLibrarian User GuideAutomation Software Version 3.20 (There seems to be a problem with the old upload tool I previously recommended so please try XLoader which is available here and is very simple to use.) Librarian Windows VersionLibrarian Mac OS X Version (NB Please read the readme file for important information to enable it to run on the Mac) Librarian Linux 32 VersionLibrarian Linux 64 Version
For those who would like to update to the current presets without changing to the latest automation software here are the revised settings for each of the original presets. You can use Basic or Advanced Editing to modify the original settings in the User Patches. Basic edit is sufficient as we didn’t change any of the Echo Model settings or patch names.