I wanted to start this post off with a problem with solution format. When I first saw the Patchulator 8000 by Boredbrain Music I was intrigued with the concept, which is a 8 channel mini patchbay for pedal routing. The concept is obvious, but I was a little in the dark on how I can apply this.
Talking about problem scenarios – Let’s say you have a pedalboard all set up. Pedals velcro’d and all of your patch cables are cut to perfect lengths and you wanted to do some experimenting. What happens if you move that reverb here, or the phaser there, or what if we put the delay or fuzz here? To do this with an established and set board, is a major PIA, so much so, that it might not be worth bothering. In fact, when I personally encounter this, I search for similar pedals on my shelf and do some testing off-board. This issue there, it’s not the *actual* pedals and I might not have a proper substitute to do a valid test.
The solution where the Patchulator 8000 could help is providing that center routing of 8 pedals or 8 loops (groups of pedals). If you have this *brain* on the board, you can change positions and routing incredibly easily by routing the Boredbrain patch cables. So swapping order, is insanely easy.
Another problem. Let’s say you got a new pedal, but not sure where you want it to go on the board, or you’re curious where it would sound the best. Again, on an established *locked* board, it gets tricky. Usually involves keeping the new pedal off-board and using some long jumper/patch cables to reach it while you add it to the line.
The Patchulator 8000 would easily allow you to add that pedal and pop it into different positions.
Pedalboards usually make you think linearly – this pedal goes to this pedal and so on and so forth. It follows a nice line, and basically follows the shape of your board but linearly. That is definitely not a problem, but it corners your thinking a bit. I like the idea of thinking of routing in a different way. The Patchulator 8000 lets you think in a spoke-hub logic, and while I was experimenting, thought it was quite refreshing to see things in a new light.
Using and playing with the Patchulator 8000, the thing that came up constantly was the freedom and the ease for experimenting, which I didn’t realize I missed. Going back a few years ago, I remember having my pedals on the floor (no board). The setup sucked. It took a while to set up and tear down for shows, etc. But it was easy to add a new pedal. It was easy to experiment and play with pedal order. I didn’t realize at the time, when switching to the board setup (which I love), that the freedom to experiment was more difficult. The Patchulator gave that back to me.
Let’s talk about Patchulator 8000 specs. First off, I was impressed with the size. I initially thought it was going to be large, but the entire unit is only 5.25″ x 5.25″ and is 1.5″ tall – it’s basically a little wider than my MXR Phase 100 for simple reference. The enclosure is a aluminum octagon shape, which is a great design to maximize input and outputs. All jacks are isolated jacks. The unit comes with 8 6″ patch cables which use small 1/8″ mono plugs to route. The routing graphic on the top, is super easy to understand – arrows guiding you. Easy.
The Patchulator 8000 is only $120, which in my opinion, is a fantastic price! You can buy one directly from their site.
If you want to learn a little more about Boredbrain Music, I did had the opportunity to send a few questions to the fine people at Boredbrain Music and talking about what they do. You can read the full interview here.