Getting Started

Hardware connections & controls

The OWL has connections for stereo audio in and out and also an expression pedal input (bottom right) on ¼” jacks.

Connections on the rear of the unit are for 9v DC power supply (center pin negative), and for micro USB. The OWL can be powered from USB or via 9v DC power supply. For optimal performance, we recommend using a 9v DC power supply, center negative, providing at least 500mA. Daisy chaining with other pedals is not recommended.

There are 6 controls on the pedal:

- 4 x knobs - these control different parameters of the currently selected effect patch, and are freely assignable for when creating your own patches.

- 1 x bicolour LED switch - currently this is used for switching between the 2 available patch slots, and also for putting the pedal into Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode for updating the firmware.

- 1 x stereo true bypass footswitch - for bypassing the pedal electronics entirely, this switch connects the input directly to the output jacks.


Select patches and more via OwlNest

Your Owl comes with more than 50 patches preloaded! You can select them using OwlNest.

- Launch the OwlNest application, and select the 'Application Settings' tab.

- Check that "OWL FS" is selected as the Active MIDI input, and also as MIDI output. Note for Windows users: the device might appear with a different name, depending on your Windows version and drivers.

- In the 'Main' tab, Click the "Load from OWL" button.

- Select patches for the Green and Red slots accordingly - these will correspond to the current state of the LED pushbutton.

- To save the settings onto the pedal flash memory, press "Save to OWL"

- There are three default Input Sensitivity settings available in OwlNest; Low, Medium and High. These correspond to an input gain of 0dB, 3dB and 6dB respectively. The input gain is balanced by an equivalent output attenuation, resulting in unity gain on all three settings - same level goes out as comes in. To get an optimal sound quality, you should use the highest sensitivity possible that does not cause input clipping.

- To reset to the default settings, press "Factory reset"


- There are four different patches modes: single, dual, series, parallel. The image below describes how they relate to the green and red patches. PatchModes.jpg

Midi remote control

- In OwlNest, you have the option the remote control the knob values by clicking on the "remote control" option. When activated, the Owl does not read the physical knob values anymore. Instead you can use OwlNest knobs !

- This remote control mode is actually based on Midi, so you can do the same from any software like Max MSP or PureData, by sending Midi CC messages. The list of CC messages can be found here.

How to update the firmware and get the latest patches

Currently, to upload new patches to the OWL, it is necessary to update the firmware. To get the latest additions to the OWL patch library onto the pedal, follow the instructions below.

- Windows users should make sure to check their drivers by following these instructions

- Make sure that the pedal is connected to your computer

- Download and launch the latest OwlNest application (important!)

- In the 'Application Settings' tab, select OWL FS as Active MIDI input and MIDI output

- In the Tools menu, click on 'Download firmware from server' to get the latest precompiled firmware.

- To update the pedal with a firmware that you compiled yourself, use the the menu 'Tools/update device firmware from file'. A note of caution, only use .bin files that you got from 'Download firmware from server', or those that you have compiled yourself. Loading random file types may temporarily brick the pedal - we have a solution in the pipeline, but for now be aware!

How to create you own effects patch

- Look at the format of some of the other effect patch .hpp files in the OwlPatches repository

- Create a new .hpp file in the same format

- Add your code into the processAudio method

How to run your own patch as a VST plugin

- Download the latest version of the OwlSim source code

- Dont forget to get the OwlPatches source code as well. For Git users, this is a submodule of OwlSim.

- Add a new .hpp file within the project containing your effects code

- Add this file to the OwlPatches/includes.h file

- Register your new patch in the OwlPatches/patches.cpp file in the same way as the other patches.

- Compile in the supported IDE for your platform

-Start up your favourite DAW, create a track, and load the OwlSim VST plugin. The build script should have copied the plugin to the right location, but if it does not appear, you may have to tell the DAW to scan or reload the VST directory.

-In the OwlSim plugin you can use the drop-down box to select the patch: Template (if you have put your code into TemplatePatch.hpp) or your own patch if you have registered it in the PatchRegistry.


How to load your own patch onto the pedal

Currently, to upload new patches to the OWL, it is necessary to update the firmware. To get the latest additions to the OWL patch library onto the pedal, follow the instructions below.

- Download the latest OwlWare

- Add your .hpp effect patch to the OwlWare/Libraries/OwlPatches directory

- As above, add your .hpp file into the OwlPatches/includes.h file

- Register your patch in the OwlPatches/patches.cpp file

- Carefully follow the instructions in the readme file in the OwlWare folder so that you are ready to update the firmware on your OWL pedal.

- With the OWL powered off, hold the LED pushswitch and connect the USB cable to your computer. The LED should blink a few times indicating that the pedal is now in DFU mode.

- In a terminal window, update the firmware on the OWL using the ‘make dfu’ command from within the top level of the OwlWare directory.

[ Alternatively, instead of following the previous two steps, you can open the OwlNest application, press the Firmware Update button and select the OwlWare.bin file you have recently generated ]