Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by ddoyen » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:25 pm

The encoders respond a little less to acceleration now so yea if you wanna really crank thru banks it takes more encoder turns. I dont think it's intended to be a fix. Faulty encoders will inevitably get worse. But with the options for repair being limited due to the virus it's better than nothing for now.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by megarat » Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:33 pm

ddoyen wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:09 pm
I'm pretty sure optical encoders have a larger number of soldering points than mechanical encoders and it would be more complicated than just swapping them out unfortunately.
And they require power that the board likely won’t be equipped to supply. So a straight across swap of mechanical vs. optical encoders usually isn’t feasible.

But there might be higher-quality mechanical encoders that can be dropped in their place. They won’t have the longevity of optical encoders, but they might last longer than the ones currently in use.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Funky40 » Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:28 pm

Xaoc should have built the zadar with optical encoders ! the only logic thought here in my opinion



Q: are there some better Encoders available on the market ,than those put into early Zadars, that will fit in ?
Q2: is the update also updating the update procedure as such, so that the pickyness of zadar is tamed afterwards ?
Q3: have you ever planned on Xaoc HQ to update the update procedure as such ?
since other folks can deliver a way better "audio-file-update" procedure, i must think its doable, no ?
Q4: not shure if i ever want to update my zadar again, but in case: where do i get the 2.02 from ?


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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by yrn1 » Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:26 pm

ddoyen wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:35 am
For those having issues with encoders, I spoke with Xaoc and they sent me a firmware update (2.0.2) that addresses faulty encoder behavior. Mine is still under warranty fortunately but will have to wait till things settle down on the virus front as their person to send repairs to in the states is unavailable and sending out to them could be a months long ordeal. New firmware definitely helps a lot for the time being.
I mailed with Zadar and got the 2.0.2 update too. Before the update, my encoders skipped like crazy: values going back instead of forward, jumping around... Dialling in a value was really a hit and miss. Turning them rapidly a couple of times improved a little bit, but not by much. Luckily I use this module mostly in a set-and-forget kind of way. Otherwise, it would be not useable at all.

After the update, they still jump around occasionally, but it is now totally not a hit and miss anymore. After a couple of turns, values only rarely skip around. Acceleration is a lot less though, but no problem for me. It really feels like my module has been saved!

Thanks Xaoc for the update!

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Mr. Roboto » Sat Jun 20, 2020 2:38 am

I do have an issue with my new Zdar (Firmware v2.0.1). Using longer cycle times (i.e. 600s) the looping (infinity) will not work anymore after a while.

Anyone having a similiar issue?
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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Sync » Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:40 pm

Funky40 wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:21 pm

the Encoder on my LoadRunner sampler is also beginning to have slight failings,
and this Encoder was definitly NOT turned much ! (since its only used when loading samples, but NOT for any parameter adjustment)
Which makes think: what´s the cause that these encoders fail ?
.....it can´t be haevy use alone ! there must be more to it.


for me it seems that my encoders on the zadar get worser over time,
even while they were barely used after my init phase* ( * without an expander, so i wanted to wiggle sometimes )

:despair:
I don't think the problem is overuse, in fact, I think it could be quite the opposite. I've run into this on several pieces of gear, and my theory is that the problem is--- oxidation.

The thing is, even if the encoders have gold plated contacts inside, the plating would be very thin which will wear off soon, and you then end up with copper making contact which oxidizes easily. Once it does, it increases the noisyness when you're rotating it which is harder for the software to "de-bounce." Was really struggling the other day with my Zoom G2Nu guitar effects box. I generally just use a few stored setting combos that I configured way back when I bought the thing, but the other day I wanted to adjust a couple of effect settings in the chain on one of them. The knob just wanted to turn things up, it wouldn't let me turn things down-- I find when it's as bad as this one was, that the only solution is to turn it down REALLY slowly, and it's less likely to jump up for some reason. So with enough patience I was able to get it to the settings I wanted and save it, but man was it a pain. And I hadn't adjusted those knobs for many months, or maybe even longer than a year.

Several years ago, frustrated because both my Korg Electribe ESX-1 and EMX-1 were acting up like that with the main data knob (which started after only about 6 months of ownership), I vowed to avoid buying gear with rotary encoders as much as possible. At some point later, I was torn over wanting an Elektron Octatrack not long after it came out, which really looked like a great piece of gear. Noting the array of rotary encoders, I did some research and found there were people complaining about jittery encoders already, which was pretty disappointing. Instead, I ended up spending my money on an Access Virus TI Snow, which has no encoders, just pots and buttons. I'm still happy with my purchase there, that's a great piece of gear as well, and has been trouble free. To scratch the sampling itch, once I got into Eurorack, I added two 4MS STS modules, which gives me 4 channels of sampling and no encoders...

But there's been some modules where I couldn't resist. I've got two Pamela's New WO, and one of them was misbehaving not too long ago. And I've got a Zadar, because it's capabilities were just too awesome. So far that one's not yet acted up for me.

But while researching a wavetable oscillator, I ended up deciding on the Synthesis Technology E352. They specifically mention that they use high-quality OPTICAL encoders, and that was a BIG selling point for me. Plus, it's a heck of a great oscillator. And they GET IT, with regards to encoders, crappy ones are going to start acting up, it's only a matter of time-- debounce logic can help, but at some point, the noise from the control is just too much. And most debounce code was developed on new encoders, not on old oxidized ones...

I also noticed that Mutable Instruments gear tends to not use encoders-- haven't checked them all, but I have quite a few of them and I think they're all encoder free. But, there's cool stuff that's hard to pass up. I've two Distings that could easily be susceptible at some point, and I'm sure a few other things.

And it'd be nice if you could just drop in an optical replacement for a mechanical encoder, and there are inexpensive optical encoders about the same size as the cheap mechanical ones (though a little hard to find, they're out there if you dig a little), but unfortunately, optical encoders require power because there's an LED inside, while the mechanical encoders don't, so it's not quite possible for a drop-in replacement, plus the in and out signals are likely different enough to be troublesome as well.


The one advantage of Eurorack with this sort of thing at least, is that replacing a bad encoder is not as complicated as it can be on a piece of gear like an Electribe. But it would be helpful to remind the smaller Eurorack companies that this is a real problem, and that it wouldn't cost them all that much to go the extra mile and find optical encoders that won't flake out.

This didn't used to be a problem, back int he 1970s when I got started with synths-- what changed it was-- digital. Encoders are much more flexible than pots when there's a CPU processing the control behind the scenes. Purely analog gear pretty much never had rotary encoders, they're just not analog. But I do like the digital capabilities, and in concept, rotary encoders are fine, but a couple of dollars can be saved by using mechanical encoders, and that's often what you'll get, and often because the engineers simply aren't that aware of the problem.
--

Sync

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Funky40 » Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:29 am

Sync wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:40 pm
But it would be helpful to remind the smaller Eurorack companies that this is a real problem, and that it wouldn't cost them all that much to go the extra mile and find optical encoders that won't flake out.
lets keep in mind: they sell their stuff for boutique prices ( i mean todays eurorack in general......leaving some few Brands out here)
if you compare for example what a elektron box would cost


and if some nifty module with a nice idea behind it, nicely implementet, would cost 380.-$ or 410.-$ is not making that much of a difference. Since its expensive anyway.
But if that 380.-$ ( to just take some really random numbers) is built like "crap" ( in lack of a better term), .......it changes something. Definitly !


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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by toumpouris » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:00 am

Hi!

Been looking to buy zadar, its been a while now, but I am a bit worried about the encoder issue.
Is it something that can be fixed with a firmware issue (if the problem comes up) or is it a hardware problem?

Thanks

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Lux A Turner » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:21 am

toumpouris wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:00 am
Hi!

Been looking to buy zadar, its been a while now, but I am a bit worried about the encoder issue.
Is it something that can be fixed with a firmware issue (if the problem comes up) or is it a hardware problem?

Thanks
I just bought a Zadar. Despite having read of potential encoder issues, I'm satisfied that the support is there to deal with any problems I may have - the manufacturer has already said in this thread, that they will replace any warranty failures. I guess if they wind up replacing too many, then they may look at a sturdier encoder.
Sync wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 9:40 pm
...I also noticed that Mutable Instruments gear tends to not use encoders-- haven't checked them all, but I have quite a few of them and I think they're all encoder free...
The build quality of Mutable Instruments' modules is exemplary QED. Even so, the use of a pot over an encoder does not automatically guarantee long term reliability. I read a post from Emile somewhere recently, explaining that the working life of pots is rated in thousands of turns. Over time she'd noticed that a particular pot in a particular module (can't remember exactly which) was starting to come in for repair 'too' often - so she switched to a higher turn rating for that part.

Anyway, I'm delighted with the Zadar so far - almost instant depth and dimension added to the simplest of sounds with hardly any menu diving at all. Fabulous little module. So many creative possibilities...


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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by scragz » Tue Jul 28, 2020 12:04 pm

Lux A Turner wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:21 am
I just bought a Zadar. Despite having read of potential encoder issues, I'm satisfied that the support is there to deal with any problems I may have - the manufacturer has already said in this thread, that they will replace any warranty failures.
Unfortunately the warranty is only a year, which is about when the encoders start failing. Mine were fine until the past couple months.

Speaking of....do you have to contact support to get the firmware with the improved debouncing algo? Mine is skipping back and forth now when I turn one direction.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Benoist » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:24 pm

I've made full use of the presets with kinds of templates primarily to reduce the knobs turning to a minimum before reaching certain times and shapes or chains.

To reduce the amount of knobs turning, I would appreciate through a minor firmware upgrade :
1 ) Wraparound for shapes ! should be mandatory over a certain number of menus entries.
2 ) When you change shape, warp / response / reverse are reset so that you have the original shape instantly instead of having to do an another lengthy manual reset !

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by lisa » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:48 pm

I wonder how common the encoder problem actually is. A few people has reported issues here but I'm guessing that thousands of units have been sold so the ratio isn't necessarily very high. For what it's worth I've had mine for 20 months and I have no issues at all with the encoder.
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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by transistorresistor » Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:09 pm

I have a quick question, each time I reboot the unit the channel controls revert to a-b linked and 0 repeats. Would be nice at a mimimum if I leave a channel in infinity repeat if I didnt have to set that each time I powered on the unit. Is this typical behavior and is there a way to remember these settings through power cycling?

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by mosorensen » Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:36 pm

I believe that if you hold the center button for a few seconds until the buttons blink, then the current settings, including repeats and linked, are saved for next reboot. It is in the manual.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by megarat » Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:58 pm

lisa wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:48 pm
I wonder how common the encoder problem actually is. A few people has reported issues here but I'm guessing that thousands of units have been sold so the ratio isn't necessarily very high. For what it's worth I've had mine for 20 months and I have no issues at all with the encoder.
I’ve been wondering this as well. This might be a good use for a poll, but to properly make sense of the result we would need to capture other information, such as how old the unit is and how much use it has received, and I don’t think the forum’s polls can properly record such multivariate responses.

FWIW, mine still works fine, but I’ve only had it for six months.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by mdoudoroff » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:12 pm

FWIW, I’ve had a Zadar since September, 2018. No problems with the encoders. I don’t use the hell out of it, but I do use it.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by transistorresistor » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:22 pm

mosorensen wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:36 pm
It is in the manual.
thank you, I totally breezed over that on the last page. You have to save it as the default program and then it loads that on reboot. Glad to have that sorted today!

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Sync » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:31 pm

Lux A Turner wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:21 am

The build quality of Mutable Instruments' modules is exemplary QED. Even so, the use of a pot over an encoder does not automatically guarantee long term reliability. I read a post from Emile somewhere recently, explaining that the working life of pots is rated in thousands of turns. Over time she'd noticed that a particular pot in a particular module (can't remember exactly which) was starting to come in for repair 'too' often - so she switched to a higher turn rating for that part.
I suppose that's true but I've got a lot of gear with a lot of pots over the years (like 40+ years, bought my first synth in 1976) and haven't seen any pot failures at all. Noisy pots now and then, but even that fairly rarely, and that's pretty easy to mitigate, "there's a spray for that." Plus, replacing a pot is relatively practical as the new one can last for decades, but if a cheap encoder is going out in about a years time, that'd be a yearly ritual if you can't swap them out for optical ones (which you usually can't, at least not easily because the optical ones need power). And of course, there's far fewer sources of compatible replacement encoders than there are for replacement pots.
--

Sync

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Sync » Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:42 pm

megarat wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:58 pm
lisa wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:48 pm
I wonder how common the encoder problem actually is. A few people has reported issues here but I'm guessing that thousands of units have been sold so the ratio isn't necessarily very high. For what it's worth I've had mine for 20 months and I have no issues at all with the encoder.
I’ve been wondering this as well. This might be a good use for a poll, but to properly make sense of the result we would need to capture other information, such as how old the unit is and how much use it has received, and I don’t think the forum’s polls can properly record such multivariate responses.

FWIW, mine still works fine, but I’ve only had it for six months.
My estimate is anecdotal, but of the three Korg pieces of gear I bought all developed the problem in the main encoder in less than a year-- an Electribe ESX-1, Electribe EMX-1, and a Korg Micro-X. Also, I've got two Pam's New Workout modules, and I've started to see the jitter symptom in one of them, also within less than a year. I do also have a Zadar that's been ok so far but it's less than a year old at this point, and an Arturia Beat Step Pro that has an array of 16 encoders for step adjustments that's a couple years old now and hasn't shown the problem. Also an Alesis Air Synth that's probably a decade or so old and is ok as well and that encoder gets a lot of exercise at times, so it does appear that maybe those chosen by some manufacturers are worse than others-- Korg being on my shit list for sure because of it since every encoder they've got has acted up for me, a shame because I really like some of their gear otherwise.
--

Sync

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by autopoiesis » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:42 pm

to be clear: Xaoc knows about the issue and has mentioned that it is a case of the encoders' mechanical wear and tear being, in a sense, "amplified" by the acceleration detection algorithm that Zadar uses (and it is a particularly radical acceleration detection algorithm, which allows you to traverse [in the Time parameter] millisecond increments as well as increments sized in tens of minutes, depending on the speed of the encoder spins).

the issue manifests as values sporadically being registered in the direction that is opposite to which you're turning the encoder, and it's particularly jarring when you're adjusting a parameter like Warp which has relatively few values to traverse across its entire domain (versus Time, which has many, many more) - the shape "jumps" backwards as you're turning the encoder forwards, and vice versa.

I own two Zadars: one new and one second-hand (purchased after the original owner had it for 8 months), and they both had this issue with at least one encoder on each of them from the very first day that I got them. I have also seen the issue on the only other Zadar I've used, in the showroom at Schneidersladen. I sent both modules to Xaoc for encoder replacements, and one of them re-developed an issue with its Warp / Response encoder (same one that was replaced) 6 months later, and now it's out of warranty. I guess I just have some very bad luck with this module, and that others have enjoyed better luck ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

the issue can be mitigated with alternative firmware that Xaoc developed after I sent my Zadars in for repair. unfortunately, this firmware reduces the sensitivity of the acceleration detection so much that parameters like Time (which has a very wide range of values in its domain) become kinda painfully slow to tweak. and I am also concerned that we would end up shortening the encoders' mechanical lifespan even more quickly with such a cosmetic bandaid firmware installed.

I have offered to Xaoc the suggestion that this firmware be tweaked so that the acceleration detection sensitivity is less reduced for the Time parameter, as it is only for this one that the reduced sensitivity significantly detracted from the workflow for me (and made me wonder about the greater mechanical wear risks). based on the reply, I gather that the suggestion was acknowledged but not followed up on.

one of the wisest things you can do to minimize the presence of this issue in your use of Zadar is get a Nin and VC the shit out of whatever parameters you like to tweak the most on Zadar, ideally with the help of a module that can add a manual DC offset to your modulation signal. tweak that external offset rather than the encoders on the module itself.

I still debate selling both of the Zadars because of this issue that I worry will bite us all inevitably 2+ years down the line, but it is just too useful an envelope generator for me.
Last edited by autopoiesis on Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by scragz » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:53 pm

Some people have speculated further back that "wear" in this case would just be oxidation and that using them or not is irrelevant.

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by autopoiesis » Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:57 pm

scragz wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 7:53 pm
Some people have speculated further back that "wear" in this case would just be oxidation and that using them or not is irrelevant.
this would align with my experience, where the encoder that was replaced re-developed the same issue after 6 months (half of which I was not even in the same city as my studio, so I probably turned that encoder less than 300 times).

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by Tonefloat01 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:28 pm

mdoudoroff wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:12 pm
FWIW, I’ve had a Zadar since September, 2018. No problems with the encoders. I don’t use the hell out of it, but I do use it.
Good to hear that someone is using their Zadar without any issues.
I initially wanted this module way back for my E370 but didn’t pull the trigger.
However, I’m ready to purchase one now but I guess people are complaining about updating the firmware on this thing now..
When do think that the newer batch with the latest OS will be released?
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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by prephylve » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:07 pm

mosorensen wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:36 pm
I believe that if you hold the center button for a few seconds until the buttons blink, then the current settings, including repeats and linked, are saved for next reboot. It is in the manual.
Wow I RTFM and totally didn't catch this. Thanks!

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Re: Xaoc Zadar, Quadruple Envelope Generator + Nin expander

Post by prephylve » Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:10 pm

lisa wrote:
Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:48 pm
I wonder how common the encoder problem actually is. A few people has reported issues here but I'm guessing that thousands of units have been sold so the ratio isn't necessarily very high. For what it's worth I've had mine for 20 months and I have no issues at all with the encoder.
I've had mine since April of last year and had no issues. Upgraded the firmware to 2.0.1 as soon as I got it. Works beautifully.

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