Three Outputs?

multiple outs

Why not six outputs I hear you ask? Whilst I don't want to close off this possibility for the moment (more on this in a future post) I wanted to focus on users who wanted to have two or three distinct sounds/tones from their guitar. I felt this would offer enough versatility without compromising utility. Additionally the connectors, cabling, breakout box and switching would have tripled the price of the Submarine Pro. 

 

I'm always considering ways to make Submarine products more useful and versatile. One lesson learnt from the original Submarine is that people love to tinker! Some guitarists just love customisation. I felt that the original Submarine was not as 'Open Source' as it perhaps could have been. This was just not something I had considered at the start.

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The three way switch mentioned in the previous post has three positions: Channel 1 - OFF - Channel 2.

I feel that better use could be made of the off position of this switch. In an ideal world it would be sent to a third output. The stereo jack uses a TRS jack. This stands for Tip Ring Sleeve and corresponds to Left, Right and Ground.

TRRS jacks

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TRRS jacks exist but only for mini-jack connectors. You will have seen them on headphones with a microphone for use with smart phones - really not durable enough for stage use. Unfortunately it seems there is no manufacturer of 6.35mm (1/4") TRRS connectors. I have requested quotes for custom connectors but I'm fairly sure the tooling will make it prohibitively expensive.

So in the meantime I've looking at other options for how it would be possible to offer users who require three outputs the ability to have this many. At the same time I do not want it to cost more for those who don't.

 

I think the solution will be to have a stereo output as standard - endpin style for acoustic players, regular TRS jack socket for electric

 
Acoustic Output

Acoustic Output

Electric Output

Electric Output

 

Break out pads

Currently I have a fairly low-tech solution for what to do with the third channel. The back of the Submarine Pro will be removable. Adventurous users will be able to make a cut in part of the PCB track that will sever the connection between the middle pin of each switch and ground. A break-out solder pad will be easily accessible allowing a custom third channel to be available to those who wish for great functionality. This will require further testing as there may be earthing issues that will need to be tested for first. If this is possible it will be a nice bonus! Watch this space.

Design Update : Switches

I have lots of news since the end of the Submarine Pro Crowdfunder. Some exciting developments with the design, a slight change to the schedule (don't worry shipping is still planned for June) and if you're wondering why it's been a little quiet in the last few weeks, well I've just become a dad.  Exciting times all round.

Firstly let's talk design. We had a number of queries about how the switching would be carried out. The original plan was to locate DIP switches on the endpin. This would allow any combination of strings to be routed to two separate outputs.

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DIP switches...

...routing to stereo output

However there are some drawbacks to this. Obviously changing the routing requires getting inside the guitar. Not ideal for a quick change or experiment! Why not just give a separate switchboard I hear you ask? The short answer is that the price would go up by a substantial amount. 

When I was originally designing the Submarine Pro I was keen to have the switch on the actual pickup. Unfortunately I was unable to find a switch small enough for the job. Each option made the footprint much much bigger. However...

Over Christmas I thought I'd have one last check to see if anything new had appeared and lo-and-behold I found this in my switch sleuthing sojourn;

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It's the smallest of its kind by some margin and has been released since the Submarine Pro was originally designed. Using this kind of switch has some benefits and some drawbacks. Firstly it is small enough that six of them can fit inside the pickup housing. This means that you will be able to change the routing much much more easily - good news. the bad news is I have decided not to allow one string to be sent to both outputs. I know some people were keen for this even if it mean having impedance issues.  I'm of the opinion that this three way switch will result in a more usuable product all round.

Thirdly it will allow you to turn a string off - ie. to not send to either output. 

There is the tantalising possibility of a third output. More info on this soon.

This does mean that the prototyping stage has been put back slightly but we have enough contingency not to move the shipping date.