Monday, September 1, 2008

Yamaha FC7 Expression Pedal - Barry’s Mixed Reviews

Yamaha FC7 Expression Pedal Review

Like many other reviews say, this is one of the very best expression pedals around. Nice long pedal sweep range (super for organ work or other delicate control), super solid design, stable, doesn't move around. Fully adjustable. You can even easily and securely attach multiple pedals together. And for only $38 incl shipping ( you simply can't go wrong.

Only negative might be the cable being hard wired to the pedal. If it were a simple plug-in cable, if damaged it could easily and swiftly be replaced with another in a live gig situation. The way it is should it get damaged on stage you'd better be fast and handy with a screwdriver and solder iron.

Really, it does! To work perfectly on Roland, Nord, M-Audio, and other keyboard brands, you just need to reverse the polarity on the FC7 Pedal jack. An adapter jack is preferred here so that you can easily use your FC7 with any keyboard regardless its polarity requirements. (If you're not up to wiring your own adapter, spend a few bucks on the FC7X or FC7X-II adapter cable mentioned in other reviews - - and your Yamaha FC7 Pedal will then work fine with all keyboard brands.) **Update: it appears this item is no longer available.

You could reverse and re-solder the wiring right at the pedal or at the plug end, but then your FC7 would no longer work with Yamaha gear. Once you have an adapter jack you’re always set for any keyboard. (Would be super nice if Yamaha would just put a polarity switch right on the pedal like some other manufacturers. You could of course wire up and install a polarity switch of your own and thus avoid the need for an adapter jack altogether.)

Here's another very easy way to reverse the polarity using two stereo y-jack adapter cables together:

Reversing the connections as shown in the photo, reverses the polarity of the pedal.

You can also "y-jack" the Yamaha FC7 pedal into two (or more?) separate keyboards and control each at the same time from the one pedal.

**Note: If controlling a Yamaha and Roland together (or other kbds which require opposite polarity), the polarity adapter jack mentioned above goes on after the y-jack, then into the Roland or whatever. If you put the polarity adapter before the y-jack then the Roland will respond fine but your Yamaha kbd won't respond correctly because it will now be receiving reverse polarity.

And did I mention, the pedal is adjustable for sitting or standing playing positions? Simply loosen a screw underneath, reset the angle, re-tighten and you're done.

Also, there is a spring-loaded "solo" crescendo feature which you can enable and adjust likewise. When enabled, press hard down on the spring loaded final throw of the pedal for your solo or crescendo boost, then when you're done ease off with your foot and the pedal will return precisely to your preset max.

Bottom line, the Yamaha FC7 Expression Pedal is simply the best expression pedal you can buy for the money. Bar none. Enjoy!

© Copyright 2008 Barry's Mixed Reviews

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TrendNet USB Wireless works on Apple Powerbook G3

The TrendNet USB TEW-424UB 802.11g Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter works with Apple Lombard Powerbook G3 laptop computer. (Apple Powerbook Lombard 333mhz, 320ram, OS X Tiger 10.4.11.)

(I presently have it installed using a 2 port Dynex USB 2.0 PCMCIA cardbus card purchased from Future Shop, which also works fine on the Apple Powerbook by the way and of course give you super fast USB 2.0 speeds for your hard drives as well at the same time via the second USB port on the card! Sweet!! However, the Trendnet TEW-424UB wireless works just fine in the powerbook's own regular usb 1.0 ports as well.)


One great feature of using the USB Wireless over a regular pcmcia cardbus wireless card, is that with a pcmcia wireless card the cardbus is of course filled with that card so you are then unable to utilize any other pcmcia cards (USB 2.0, Firewire, etc) if you are currently surfing the net via the pcmcia wireless cardbus card.

Using the USB Wireless dongle, the pcmcia slot is free for either the pcmcia USB 2.0 card as in my case, or a pcmcia firewire card or whatever else you might desire. If you are surfing via the USB dongle, any downloads can also take advantage of the USB 2.0 ports for super fast disc copy etc. And should you need to do any fast disc transfer work, you won't have to disconnect your wireless as you would with a pcmcia wireless card to allow you to insert your USB 2.0 or Firewire card.

I've yet to test the unit at any great distances from the base station, but unless you're hoping to surf from somewhere "down the block" from the wireless source, I seriously doubt it shall be a problem.

One issue with the TrendNet TEW-USB wireless dongle, is that the Mac only appears to want to recognize it from a full startup or restart. If you simply wake the Mac from sleep, the dongle won't work, even if it was already going when you put your Mac to sleep, or if you try unplugging and reinserting it. Bit of a pain but not a major deal breaker by any means. (I got the Trendnet for a mere $18 at Future Shop, so a little restart issue is no major cost.)

You will have to download the Realtek USB WLAN Client Utility (sorry, don't have the link available at present - you'll have to Google for it) and follow the usual install and setup instructions so the Trendnet USB wireless dongle will work with your Mac. (I am using Realtek driver version 1.5.1A, but you may want to try other versions).

The Realtek Driver software appears to be glitch free (other than the inability to access the dongle after the powerbook has been to sleep). I do have two Realtek icons in my Apple Dock for some reason, but everything is working fine regardless. (Perhaps I unknowingly have two versions installed, hence two icons?)

If you go to "About This Mac" under the Apple on your menu bar then click on the "More Info" button, then click on USB in the list under "Hardware", it will show exactly what Realtek chip is installed in your Trendnet dongle - mine is RTL8187B.)

Anyway, this "review" is being done on the fly so is a bit spotty at best, but hope it might help someone looking for inexpensive wireless options for Apple Mac computers on the cheap. If you're willing to invest a bit of time, the Trendnet TEW-424UB will indeed work.

Should I too find more time to invest here, I'll try to post some links and more install info. - but don't hold your breath!


© Copyright 2008 Barry's Mixed Reviews