The Oscillator Devices HYDRA is a family of MIDI loop switchers. They all feature relay based, true bypass loops with clickless switching and muting function. The HYDRA E-devices also feature expression outs, to control expression inputs of effects via MIDI and control switches to control things like amp channel switches or tap tempo.
- Low impedance, true bypass loops
- Clickless switching with individually selectable muting times for each loop
- Muting after every second loop
- 14 user presets
- Master switch to set MIDI channel, save presets and manually select loops
- MIDI controllable expression outs (HYDRA E only)
- Isolated control switches on TRS plugs (HYDRA E only)
- MIDI Clock synchronous functions on EXP and EXT
- Compatible with all MIDI 1.0 compliant controllers
- High-quality Amphenol sockets
- Developed and handcrafted by Oscillator Devices in Germany
HYDRA4: 4-Channel MIDI Loop Switcher
The HYDRA4 features 4 MIDI controlled, relay based, true bypass loops.
Connect up to four effects devices to the HYDRA4 and bring them in and out of the signal path via MIDI commands.
HYDRA2E: 2-Channel MIDI Loop Switcher + EXP/EXT
The HYDRA2E features 2 MIDI controlled, relay based, true bypass loops. It also provides 2 expression outputs for controlling expression inputs of other effects devices and 4 isolated control switches on 2 TRS sockets for various functions like amp channel switching or MIDI clock synchronous tap tempo.
Connect up to two effects devices to the HYDRA2E and bring them in and out of the signal path via MIDI commands. Control expression, tap tempo, channel or reverb switches on amps. The control switches of the HYDRA2E are completely isolated from the circuit and can switch up to +-60V.
• When pressed shortly while HYDRA is turned on, the loops are turned on one at a time. After the last loop, all loops are
turned on and on next press all are turned off.
• When held while HYDRA is turned on, it enters preset save mode.
• When held while the HYDRA turns on, it enters MIDI channel mode
The MIDI sockets are assigned according to the official MIDI specification of MIDI TRS using MIDI TRS Type A, like pedals from Boss or Wampler. A 3.5 mm stereo jack plug is used. The MIDI Out socket is a low latency MIDI Thru with a latency of less than 1 ms.
HYDRAs are designed without a buffer. This is not necessary due to the low impedance signal path. While the use of a input buffers is best practice, it’s not always possible because many pedals want to “see the guitar”. If you have the need, just place your favorite buffer into one of the loops or before the HYDRA. For small boards with only a handful of pedals, you probably won’t need a buffer at all.
Muting and Clickless Switching
HYDRA devices introduce clickless switching. After every two loops follows a passive muting block. It does not interfere with the signal path in normal operation. For clickless switching the output is muted a few miliseconds before the actual switching. The muting period is so brief, it’s barely noticeable. The time the output is muted can be chosen individually for every loop without complex configuration. Since the muting happens after every second loop, later loops are not affected e.g. delay trails of subsequent loops aren’t interrupted when switching previous ones.
This is what every two loops of the HYDRA looks like:
True Bypass vs. Matrix Switchers
You may ask yourselves why the HYDRA MIDI loop switchers are relay based true bypass switchers instead of Matrix switchers (like the Boss ES-Series) with which you can change the order of loops. Well, matrix switchers have two key disadvantages. First, the crosspoint switch IC’s they use, like the AD8113 or the AD75019, are expensive. That’s why all matrix switchers are, well, expensive. Also, these chips are hard to come by from time to time. Second and more important, they degrade your guitar signal. That’s why they all have integrated buffers. They simply cannot be used without a buffer. The electrical specs of these chips are horrible, even for the guitar world. They introduce noise and THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). They also have a series resistance of up to 300 Ohms. All these add up with every loop you use.