Roland Euro 'Demora' Delay: teardown and forensic analysis

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Roland Euro 'Demora' Delay: teardown and forensic analysis

Post by paults »

This will be on-going as I have time. Here is Part 1.

#1: If you are a Euro module designer, and you think "I have a complex design!", you are about a 3/10 compared to this damn thing.

#2: We sent people to the Moon with less hardware.

INITIAL IMPRESSION: I hope they have REALLY fast pick and place machines, I will count later but just as a QUICK estimate: 550 parts in this thing. Yes, 550.

Photo 1: the cute plastic molded case needs die-cut metal foil sheet to keep EMI from taking down aircraft.

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Photo 2: the pot board has nice metal support brackets but, except for volume, crappy plastic D-shaft pots. And about 150 passive parts.

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Now this is REALLY being "cheap" (cough): instead of fancy light pipes you see on those 2 pushbuttons (I guess that took up the entire budget), they use the blue foam (anchored by the 2 SMT 100uf caps) to form 3 "tubes" for the LEDs on the pc board to shine up to the case.

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Photo 3: the back of the pot board. Hand soldering is not, errr...., *pristine*. Black tape, expertly applied (cough), prevents shorts.


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Photo 4 (oh, we're just getting started). Main DSP board with BGA, 2 SDRAMs, about 25 ICs, 300 passive parts.

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Photos 5/6: the ADC/DAC boards (the TI rep is driving a Ferrari) has so many parts on it, I have a headache. Top and bottom shots.

Plugs into DSP board.

Top side:

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Bottom:

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DSP main board back side, more of that top-notch hand-soldering.

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I need a drink.
Last edited by paults on Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ignatius
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Post by ignatius »

how does it sound?
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Post by paults »

Who cares about that? :guinness:
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Post by sempervirent »

Well, if you ever give up on running SynthTech, you could always apply for a job with iFixit.
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Post by ignatius »

paults wrote:Who cares about that? :guinness:
lol.

as an engineer i'm sure you were more than a little curious what's going on in there.
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Post by vav »

Huh.
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Post by ENDIF »

Nope, still nothing that makes me say "Oh crap, I don't want that anymore"
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Post by sebiiksbcs »

It's interesting which choices a non-boutique (?) company makes to balance (?) cost and quality in the Eurorack domain. Thanks for this!
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Post by ignatius »

sebiiksbcs wrote:It's interesting which choices a non-boutique (?) company makes to balance (?) cost and quality in the Eurorack domain. Thanks for this!
but these are pedals/desktop too. you don't have to have eurorack to use these.
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Re: Roland Euro 'Demora' Delay: teardown and forensic analys

Post by continuum »

paults wrote:This will be on-going as I have time. Here is Part 1.

#1: If you are a Euro module designer, and you think "I have a complex design!", you are about a 3/10 compared to this damn thing.
I have a prototype sitting here with easily 50% more components (4x DSP chips too) than the Roland.
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Post by VanEck »

glad to see my soldering and tape skills are on par with roland.
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Post by ether »

Interesting. Was that a retail unit Paul, or a prototype from somewhere?

I heard the range over the weekend, and got a demo of all the features, and they sound really good, and have an impressive number of ways they can be used. The customisation app is very clever, and, believe it or not, each one of the 4 fx can actually be used as an audio interface.
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Post by auxren »

That might've been the greatest teardown I've ever read. About the TI rep and his Ferrari, I can totally see my TI rep gunnin' for that Ferrari
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Post by paults »

a) boxed retail unit, serial #112

b) This thing has *7* different power supplies inside it. INSANE.

c) They use an 8ch DAC IC, but only 2 channels are used ("We bought too many in 2011!").

d) they use 24bit audio ADCs for the CVs (corrected) (there is no little MCU doing that, VERY ODD). Again, using up leftovers. But this explains why it needs 450ma (not a typo, 450ma) of +12V. There are 10 audio ADC channels and 8 audio DAC channels running.

e) the audio ADCs/DACs are "good" parts (Burr-Brown/TI PCM18xx/16xx family), but every audio op amp is an $0.08 JRC TL062 part. Which is "meh" audio, not even 'CD quality' but then not even TL072 which 99.999% of Euro uses.

Lest people misunderstand my 'snarky comments': I expected the *total opposite* design: 1 DSP, 1 little MCU for USB/CV ins, a AKM CODEC and a few quad TL074s. THAT'S ALL YOU NEED.
Last edited by paults on Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by david_r »

When you say only 2 channels of the DAC are being used, did they just leave the other 6 channels untraced? Or are they traced somewhere but just not being used? Just curious. If they're untraced that is really strange and TI guy won the salesman of the year award along with the Ferrari!
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Post by paults »

The answer my friend, the pins are blowing in the wind, the pins are blowing in the wind.
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Post by numan7 »

:mrgreen: holy smokes, it almost looks as if Roland is trying to compete with the Ciat Lonbarde 'Cocoquantus'...

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cheers
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Post by sromanel »

numan7 wrote::mrgreen: holy smokes, it almost looks as if Roland is trying to compete with the Ciat Lonbarde 'Cocoquantus'...

Image


cheers
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Post by chrisso »

Has any Euro maker ever torn down and analysed another maker's module on Muffwiggler before?
On the one hand this thread arguably contains valuable info for prospective buyers, on the other it is unprecedented IMO.
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Post by Hainbach »

numan7 wrote::mrgreen: holy smokes, it almost looks as if Roland is trying to compete with the Ciat Lonbarde 'Cocoquantus'...

Image


cheers
I think its beautiful. Isn't there even a tshirt of the circuit?
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Post by Jack Gull »

well.. I see they are using their FPGA. this could be one of the reasons for the INSANE COMPLEXITY.. and the 8 power supplies. (two for adc+related ics, two for dac + audio signals ICS, one for FPGA, two for micro and other logic i guess) i wasn't expecting all this shit just for a little pedal/module
#2: We sent people to the Moon with less hardware.
i was already agreeing with you at photo number two :hihi:
16 bit ADCs
weren't these advertised as with 24 bit resolution CVs?
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Post by sync24 »

yikes!
couldn't resist this, sorry!
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Post by chrisso »

Jack Gull wrote: weren't these advertised as with 24 bit resolution CVs?
24 bit knobs (whatever that means), and 24bit/96khz audio.
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Post by HIMA »

chrisso wrote:Has any Euro maker ever torn down and analysed another maker's module on Muffwiggler before?
On the one hand this thread arguably contains valuable info for prospective buyers, on the other it is unprecedented IMO.
I don't recall ever seeing someone do this before. You've been here longer so you'd know better.

I for one welcome this. Surely we shouldn't be protecting anyone selling low quality products? If i got a module that looked like this, I'd send it back. I'd probably post pics on muffs too, though likely i'd not mention the name of the manufacturer. because we're all too nice.

well, some us are... :hihi:
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Post by chrisso »

HIMA wrote: I don't recall ever seeing someone do this before. You've been here longer so you'd know better.

I for one welcome this. Surely we shouldn't be protecting anyone selling low quality products?
That's fine if it's the new reality, across the board.
Not so great if it's only directed at bigger, established companies.
Like Trip Advisor, it always looks better when an ordinary member of the public writes an honest review, less of a good look when one hotel or restaurant owner posts a bad review of a competing hotel or restaurant.
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