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 Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual 
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Post Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the recent requests for a manual on the Railboard's pickup. You can now download a pdf on the STICK TECH page of the website.

http://www.stick.com/tech/

It covers how the controls work, including in mono mode, and some suggestion on connecting the instrument to various devices.

Please let me know if anything about the manual is not clear to you.

And don't forget to check out the R-Block video as well.


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Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
Well hey, that is just cool! Thanks, man!

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Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:35 pm
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
First, some quick copy-editing:
  1. The list of subjects is inconsistent: it includes two section headings and one subsection heading. I suggest omitting the list of subjects entirely.
  2. The subsection heading "Stereo Mode" should match the subsection heading "Mono Mode."
  3. The first paragraph of the Stereo Mode subsection has some typos:
    1. The phrase "In stereo mode" should have a comma after it.
    2. The "s" in "pickups" should be removed.
    3. The hyphen in "counter-clockwise" should be removed (also correct this in the second paragraph).
    4. The phrase "To hear the full signal of each pickup" should have a comma after it.
    5. The term "bypass" should not be in quotation marks.
  4. The first paragraph of the Mono Mode subsection has some typos:
    1. The phrase "In mono mode" should have a comma after it.
    2. The term "pan" should not be in quotation marks (this occurs twice in this paragraph).
    3. The term "two band" should not be in quotation marks.
    4. The hyphen in "two-band" should be removed (also correct this in the Mono Tone Control subsubsection).
    5. The term "eq" should be capitalized or spelled out according to your preferred convention (also correct this in the Mono Tone Control subsubsection).
  5. The subsubsection heading "Mono Tone Control" has a typo: it is written "Mono Tone Contrl" in the current PDF.
  6. The first paragraph of the Controls section has some typos:
    1. The comma in the first sentence should be replaced with a colon.
    2. The hyphen in "high-quality" should be removed.
  7. The subsection heading "Passive Mode" should match the subsection heading "Active Mode."
  8. The subsection "Passive Mode" has some typos:
    1. The phrase "The bass output is marked in red" should have a comma after it.
    2. "MegaOhm" should be rewritten as "megaohm."
  9. The subsection "Active Mode" has some typos:
    1. The second sentence may lead someone to enable phantom power before they have connected the cable. Please rewrite this sentence to make it clear that phantom power should not be enabled until all relevant connections have been made.
    2. The phrase "no added noise" should be rewritten as "no additional noise."
    3. The phrase "The signal is about as strong as a typical dynamic microphone" should have a comma after it.
    4. The last sentence has a few typos, uses commas incorrectly, and is likely to be parsed incorrectly as a result; here is one way it could be rewritten to correct all of those problems without without substantially changed wording: "It is not necessary to use the XLR splitter adapter to run into a single channel in active mode: the TRS male to XLR male cable can be used, and it can be extended by a standard microphone cable.
  10. The trademark notice has some typos:
    1. The word "Federally" should not be capitalized.
    2. If "R-Block" is protected to the same degree that "Railboard" and "The Block" are, then it should be included in that sentence.

Part of me is sorry that I did this much work for free, but the majority of me is happy to help. You are welcome to incorporate my suggested phrasing verbatim and attribute the copyright for the resulting document to Stick Enterprises, Inc. However, I would not mind some sort of compensation. ;)

With that out of the way, I have some comments regarding style. Actually, almost of these comments converge on the same point: operating modes. I realize that misuse of the term "stereo" is more or less traditional in Stick history, but I think it should stop. More specifically, and this gets to my second comment, the wide array of R-Block operating modes presents the best reason yet to break from this tradition. Why is that wide array not discussed in the R-Block Operation Manual? Surely, this is the best place to introduce and discuss all of the following modes:
Robstafarian wrote:
  1. Dual Mono (often called "stereo"), Passive: This provides one output per side via either 1/4" mono (i.e. "TS," for Tip Sleeve) connectors or XLR connectors.
  2. Dual Mono, Active: This provides one output per side via XLR connectors which receive phantom power.
  3. Summed Mono, Passive: This provides one output carrying signals from both sides via a 1/4" mono (i.e. "TS," for Tip and Sleeve) connector or an XLR connector.
  4. Summed Mono, Active: This provides one output carrying signals from both sides via an XLR connector which receives phantom power.
  5. Stereo, Passive: This provides one output per side via a 1/4" stereo (i.e. "TRS," for Tip Ring Sleeve) connector. In this mode, each side's volume control acts as a panning control. The "stereo/mono" switch must be in the mono position for this to work, as explained on SE's R Block product page.

(To be thorough, I copied that list from one of my posts.)

There is no mention that the active cable can be used in passive mode. I think this should be mentioned with the output level described as being comparable to a ribbon microphone. Finally, I think the brief discussion of passive mode input impedances should be expanded somewhat to explain that input impedances greater than one megaohm are preferred and that it is impossible for input impedance to be too high.


Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:00 am
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
Very timely. I'm afraid prior to this the Stick had the dubious distinction of being the only electronic device I have ever owned with many controls and no documentation or labeling of any kind.

Thanks Greg and/or Stick Enterprises.

- Dave


Tue Jul 28, 2015 2:36 am
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
Careful Robsta,.......or Emmett is going to hire you......!

cheer mate,
kev

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Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:47 am
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
Glad you find it useful folks.

Thanks, Rob, for all the suggestions, corrections, etc. As far as input impedance goes, my experience with the Stickup and the Rane AP-13 showed me the "mic input" channel was a little too "crispy-crunchy" in its tone because the input was very high, something like 15 MegOhm. So I guess I'm not sold on the idea that the impedance can't be "too high."

When I asked Rane to modify the AP-13 to give us the SP-13, I asked them to match the impedance of of the piezo channel for both rather than the mic channel. It just sounded better.

As to trademark notices, R-Block™ is not a registered trademark (yet), so it has to be distinguished as such, hence the ™ instead of the ®.

Thanks again.

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Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:09 am
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
If stylistic suggestions are welcome, I'd recommend against indenting the first line of paragraphs. I've always been taught not to do that when it comes to technical writing, as well as not splitting words over two lines.

The comparison of filter sounds with the words cot and caught seems funny to me, as most people around here seem to say the words identically. Neither of my parents were from here so I never picked up on the local accent, but it's made me very aware of short vowels and how people in North Dakota ruin all of them. (short A in the middle of a word is the worst, turns into something of a Fonzie, "ayyyyy")

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Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:56 am
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
greg wrote:
As far as input impedance goes, my experience with the Stickup and the Rane AP-13 showed me the "mic input" channel was a little too "crispy-crunchy" in its tone because the input was very high, something like 15 MegOhm. So I guess I'm not sold on the idea that the impedance can't be "too high."

Your memory is a bit off. The mic channel input impedance is only 20 kiloohms, thus your problems were caused by the input impedance being too low. The piezo channel's input impedance is five megaohms.


Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:41 pm
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
AndyJPro wrote:
If stylistic suggestions are welcome, I'd recommend against indenting the first line of paragraphs. I've always been taught not to do that when it comes to technical writing, as well as not splitting words over two lines.

Thanks Andy, you reminded me of something I forgot to mention.

ATTENTION GREG:
The last sentence before the "Mono Tone Control" heading should not be indented: it completes the preceding paragraph, as opposed to starting a new paragraph.
AndyJPro wrote:
The comparison of filter sounds with the words cot and caught seems funny to me, as most people around here seem to say the words identically. Neither of my parents were from here so I never picked up on the local accent, but it's made me very aware of short vowels and how people in North Dakota ruin all of them. (short A in the middle of a word is the worst, turns into something of a Fonzie, "ayyyyy")

Yay, I get to link to the Wikipedia entry about formants! :geek:


Last edited by Robstafarian on Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:48 pm
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Post Re: Railboard® R-Block™ operators manual
kevin-c wrote:
Careful Robsta,.......or Emmett is going to hire you......!

I could certainly use the money, and I am sure Greg could use the free time... :idea:


Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:50 pm
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