An Open Letter to Digitech: Let’s Get With the (Software) Program
I’ve been an avid user of Digitech’s products since roughly the year 2000. I own four loopers made by Digitech, and nine Digitech RPs of various sizes, shapes, and capabilities. I don’t need to be convinced that the hardware works very, very well. What I need is better software, and I think it’s well past due.
Digitech’s software for managing the configuration of RP devices is a little better–not enough, but a little–than most of their competitors’s offerings, except of course for Line6, whose software makes Digitech’s look like something created by a dyslexic kindergarten student. On the other hand, I can’t even get Korg’s crap software for their Pandora devices to recognize the Pandora. Their user forum has plenty of similar complaints from disappointed Pandora owners, among whom I no longer count myself.
Digitech’s Xedit is a reliable program, and its functions include all the essential ones: save and load individual patch setups and the entire contents of the device, move patches around on the device, and so on. It’s easy enough to use, and it works. But Digitech took a big step backward with the software for the RP360 and 360XP; the Nexus program used with those devices doesn’t permit drag and drop changes to the patch list, and the firmware update that they demand you do after purchase is a straight-up nightmare. Even more shocking, Digitech hasn’t produced software for converting patches from one RP model to another since they introduced the RP350–I guess that’s, like, ten years ago? So if you want to convert patches from ANY RP device to the RP155, 255, 355, 500, or 1000, you’re out of luck. I would think that any marketing professional with half a brain would realize that the absence of such software is a strong disincentive for RP users to upgrade their devices to better RPs, but perhaps I don’t understand marketing; maybe it’s a more powerful incentive to have to throw away all the great sounds you’ve already created in order to upgrade your device. (That’s Bizarro-Superman logic: me thirsty, me want sand; me want people to buy my new devices, me make it harder for them to carry over their work from the old ones.)
Digitech’s software for its loopers has exhibited the same worrisome trend. JamManager XT offers no functionality that was not present in JamManager, and in some ways it’s more difficult to use, because the various functions are spread around the interface in non-intuitive ways. Some functionality is crippled in weird ways; why, for example, can’t I export a loop to audio from my looper’s internal memory directly, instead of having to put it in the library first?
The fact is that we’re not in Kansas anymore, Digi-folks. A physical device that only talks to itself is less and less useful going forward. Software that makes it easy for me to set my device up, order its contents, and restore it to a previous configuration on a moment’s notice is a necessity, not an option. Software that reminds me how little a manufacturer cares about me and my device management issues, every time I use it, is not helpful to me or anyone else.
I said above that Digitech’s competitors–well, some of them, anyway–aren’t doing much better with this stuff. So Digitech might comfort themselves with the idea that they’re not any worse than anyone else (which of course is untrue–see my previous comments re: Line6). I’d think instead about how much more competitive the products could be if only the software was as good as the hardware. Or about how ridiculously stupid Digitech’s software looks alongside Line6’s.
What do you think, Digi-folks? Ready to take your software game to the next level? I sure hope so, and not just for my sake.
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