The Cooper FX Arcades can be any type of pedal you want it to be! Essentially a versatile multi-effects platform, the Arcades accepts various cards that can be inserted to determine what type of sound it produces - almost like a retro video games console! The Arcades allows you to easily swap cards whenever you like, with each change resulting in a different bank of eight effects that can be tweaked with several parameters.
Effects cards are sold separately, and include essentials such as 'Delay' and 'Reverb' as well as niche experimental sounds like 'Synth', 'LoFi', 'Gen Loss' and 'Reverse'. However, the Arcades comes with Cooper FX's all-round 'Pastiche' cartridge to get you started - which comprises a host of tone-warping "best of" effects from the numerous Arcades cards available.
- 1. Pitch – Modelled after the arpeggiator modes on the Digitech XP-300. This is what happens when you put a pitch shifter in the feedback loop of a delay.
- 2. Multi – A reverb is made of multiple delay 'taps'. This reverb allows you to isolate the taps and manipulate them in various ways.
- 3. Vinyl – Fun emulation of old dusty and warped vinyls - you know the sound!
- 4. Arp – A two-step arpeggiator with plenty of parameters.
- 5. VHSDLY – A VHS-inspired delay.
- 6. Mono – A classic aggressive mono synth sound. Like on lots of old synths, you can adjust the amount of drift, or detuning between two oscillators.
- 7. Revrse – Standard reverse delay with some fun add-ons.
- 8. Timest – Granular time stretching, or manipulating playback speed but not pitch with forward reverse, and random playback.
Knobs A, B, C and D control the parameter that it is associated with, as dictated by the text on the screen. There are two types of parameters to adjust on this pedal: digital parameters and the system parameters.
Digital parameters will be unique to the program that is selected. The names of these parameters will be sent to the screen from the inserted card. The system parameters, Dry, Wet, Tone and Clock will be constant to all programs and cards.
- Dry and Wet controls the volumes of the dry and wet signals. Dry keeps your signal analogue.
- Tone affects the sound of Arcades: bass-ier tones CCW* and more treble CW**. Noon is flat.
- Clock determines the system operating frequency.
*CCW: Lo-fi, longer delay times, slower response to control changes. **CW: Higher fidelity, shorter delay times, quick response to control changes.
The PRGM and PAGE buttons will allow you to navigate through the Arcades' menus:
- PRGM: Tap quickly to scroll through programs 1 through 8. Hold for 0.5 seconds to enter the 'Configuration' menu. Hold again for another 0.5s to exit this menu.
- PAGE: Tap quickly to switch between the digital and analogue parameters. Hold for 0.5s to enter 'Footswitch' assignments. Hold for another 0.5s to enter 'Expression' assignments.
- Bypass: Relay ’soft click’ true bypass. Turns effect on/off.
- AUX/TAP: Can control any of the 8 parameters. See 'Assignments' information for assigning footswitch to a control. Tap tempo available on some programs.
Both footswitches can be latching (quick press) or momentary (hold for half second)
The cards will contain the following information: effects, parameter labels and program names. User presets will also be saved to and loaded from the inserted card. Insert the card with the electronic components facing away from you.
Page 1: This page will show you the values and names of the four digital controls, unique to each program. Additionally, on the 'Main' screens, you will see the program name and number, here, it is DIGITL and in program slot 1.
Page 2: Here you will be able to adjust the four system controls: dry, wet, tone, and clock. One thing to note is that when you adjust the clock control, you will be able to see its value in kHz, which will be the frequency at which the DSP will run at.
Footswitch Assignments: You can assign the footswitch to any of the 8 parameters. On the 'Footswitch' page, set the value of the parameter you want to control with the footswitch. For example, shown above, only FBK is assigned to the footswitch. When you press down on the footswitch, the FBK parameter will adjust itself to the value indicated on this screen. Release the footswitch and it will return to its previous value, as set on the main page.
Expression Assignments: You can also assign an expression pedal to any of the parameters. On the 'Expression' page, you will set the "toe" position of your expression pedal. The expression pedal you have plugged into the unit will sweep from the value set on the 'Main' page to the toe position, set here. For example, the expression will sweep the clock control between 12:00 at heel, to 5:00 at its toe position.
- Power: 9V, centre negative tip
- Current Draw: 100mA
- Input/Output: Mono
- MIDI: Accepts CC and PC over the ring of an 1/8" TRS jack
- EXP: Accepts a TRS expression pedal or a control voltage of up to 5 volts (do not use a TS jack, that can damage the pedal)