Author Topic: TC Electronic Flashback X4 firmware hacks?  (Read 2978 times)

patricks

TC Electronic Flashback X4 firmware hacks?
« on: March 12, 2016, 04:48:49 PM »
Hi everyone!

Does anyone know of any firmware hacks for TC Electronic pedals? I'm specifically looking for help with the Flashback X4, hoping to improve its MIDI functionality. The standard version of the pedal is able to sync to an external MIDI clock, and to switch between the three delay presets using MIDI program change commands when the pedal's in "delay" mode. I'd like to be able to trigger the "record", "pause" and "undo" features via MIDI when the pedal's in "looper" mode.

There have been various requests on the TC user group forum over the past 3 or so years to improve MIDI functionality (things like being able to bypass the pedal via MIDI command, and better looper functionality), but given that bypass via MIDI (the most requested MIDI feature update) hasn't been implemented, and that the Ditto X4 looper doesn't even offer loop record/pause/undo via MIDI program change, I doubt the features will be implemented any time soon.

I know very little about DSP, so any help or advice would be great (even if the advice is "get something from Strymon/Eventide/Pigtronix") :)

Cheers
Pat

ElectricDruid

Re: TC Electronic Flashback X4 firmware hacks?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2016, 04:36:44 PM »
Is the processor socketed? Can it accept firmware updates over MIDI?

Even if it can, unless you've got access to the original source code, you'd have to reverse-engineer the entire device and rewrite routines to do all the stuff it does already. That's before you get to the bit where you can start adding stuff.

None of this is to say that it's impossible. There are several elderly analog synths that have been given a new lease of life (and in some cases second-hand values of the instruments in question have doubled as a result) by people reverse-engineering the firmware and writing equivalent-but-better code for a more modern replacement processor. But it's a big job, at least for a whole synth. Firmware for a pedal is simpler, but still not "simple".

HTH,
Tom

patricks

Re: TC Electronic Flashback X4 firmware hacks?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2016, 08:09:19 PM »
Hi Tom, that definitely helps, thanks :)

I'm pretty sure the processor is soldered in (SMT); firmware updates are via USB, and I'm not sure whether it can transmit or receive MIDI via USB.

There won't be any way to get hold of the source code, either, unfortunately. I'm guessing something like the Magic Lantern project (reverse-engineered, freely available firmware for Canon cameras) would need to happen, but the likelihood is slim. The programming is beyond my capabilities as well.

I'm glad for the info, though, thanks very much! :)
Cheers
Pat