I’ve long been a fan of Tom’s even though the only one of his creations I have to date is the Chase Bliss Audio Edition of his Generation Loss. I long considered his Moment Machine Pitch-Shifting Workstation, before I decided it was probably a little too large for my needs, and I had the recent Outward V2 on my imminent acquisitions list.
It’s as well really that I hadn’t hit the trigger sooner on that one, as Tom is obviously being influenced by the same developments and innovations as I, and has now created a masterpiece. I’ve always touted the use of intuitive graphic display screens - most recently in my posts about Neural DSP’s Quad Cortex device, and my own annual innovations summary in the guise of ’The Perfect Compact Guitar Pedal Design’ feature.
So the use of the on-screen graphical indicators with in-context legends really brings all that to mind, and the concept of the pedal also reminds me somewhat of Elta Music’s now discontinued Console device - also a smart modular (cartridge-based) multi-fx system with some clever controls, but missing the intuitiveness of a screen.
When I review the Arcades, part of me thinks the ABCD knobs should have been grouped AB | CD vertically rather than horizontally as in the current layout - as they would be closer to the functions they control. I also wonder about the stage-readiness of the card slot and long-term impact of component wear and exposure to elements and happenstance. But other than that this is really a perfect format for me - readers will know that this is just the kind of device I am likely to rave about.
Currently, because of supply issues - the purchasing of the unit is rather odd - as the China-originated cards are currently in very short supply. Tom has therefore decided to initially limit each purchase to two different $330 packages as such - with your choosing either the Delay + Reverb Cards option or the LoFI + Pitch combination option. Once Cards are re-stocked you will be able to buy these for $30-$50 each, with forthcoming cards feted to be Granular, Reverse Delays, Generation Loss and Synth - giving you a total of 8 swappable banks of effects.
Each Card comes loaded with 8 effects as detailed in my visual and below, and each Effect has 4 specific parameters which are labelled on the screen and controlled by knobs A|B|C|D. If you hit the ’Page’ button you get the second screen of 4 system parameters which remain the same for all Cards - Dry[A] Wet[B] Tone[C] Clock Rate[D]. The PRGM button allows you to scroll between effects algorithms and access various system parameters which appropriately change the screen legends and button assignments - for Footswitch, Expression, and Configuration control. The last mentioned is also where you set your 8 presets per Card - which are also stored on each card. There are all manner of clever configurations you can set here - like assigning any of the parameters to momentary footswitch or expression control etc. You really get the most utility here out of the simplest of form factors.
The available Effects are as follows per each named card :
Those of you who have read my commentary on a variety of glitch-style pedals will know my biggest bugbears and pain-centres in using those pedals. And based on what I see here - this is the perfect execution of this kind of pedal. It’s just the kind of thing I’ve been searching for - a Glitch-style Multi-FX Unit with Intuitive Controls and Presets in a moderately sized smart enclosure. Tom deserves to sell bucketloads of these. I had thought that Hologram Electronics had mastered the Glitch Workstation Format with their new Microcosm - but for me the leader of the pack is most definitely the Cooper FX Arcades - it has the range, the form-factor and the added smart controls over and above everyone else - all hail the new King of Glitch Workstations!
The Arcades goes straight to the top of my acquisitions / wishlist - it will be taking up a long-term residence on slot #33 of my pedal-chain and just ahead of the GFI Syneshtesia - I’m really looking forward to that combination!
Here follow my pick of the launch videos :