1. Welcome to TalkBass 2014! If you're new here, we just went through a major site upgrade. Please post all concerns and bugs to the Forum Usage Issues forum. We will be monitoring that forum. Thank you for all of your feedback.

    The TB Android app is working, you may need to uninstall/reinstall. The iPhone app is now updated and should work after you upgrade. TalkBass is responsive to any screen size, so we recommend using your mobile browser for full functionality.

    Please read the TalkBass 2014 FAQ for lots of great info on the new software.

MIDI Presets for your analog stompbox? YUP!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Flux Jetson, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    We're talking presets here folks! Preset knobs, preset bypass and routing status, preset tempos, and all totally saveable to memory and instantly recallable. The DIYers among us are gonna dig this.

    (NOTE: I know some of the info I posted here is basic and foundation-level, but I had to assume that people other than "hard-cores" would read this thread. Out of respect for folks that are just learning, I included a few basic notions).

    To Quote: - here's a quote from the manufacturer's website ....

    Imagine ... you've got your rig dialed in ... DIALED! Hold down a button on the Master Controller and BOOM! Your analogue pedals, modular synths, rack gear, and amps simultaneously self-program and save on one of 128 setups.

    Pot positions, switch settings, bypass status, tempo. All stored. All of your oscillating devices synchronized to the same clock, making a swirling syncopated symphony.

    Design simple. Design sublime.

    The future just showed up.


    There are kit bits and pcbs out there that permit a person to replace analog potentiometers with some little trinkets, and actually control those parts via MIDI signals. You may also store up to 128 (one hundred and twenty eight) separate settings. There are also teensy little pcbs that have microchips and relays on them that allow you to (true) bypass .. well .. anything! So where ever you might imagine placing either a standard pot or a standard analog toggle switch (up to 3 poles and two throws), you can replace them with little tiny circuit boards and control them via MIDI signal.

    IMPLICATIONS - APPLICATIONS:

    What this means is you can actually have midi controllable PRESETS and still have the audio path remain fully and totally ANALOG! Unlike using something like a POD or the like ... (where your audio signal is converted to binary ones and zeroes, processed all to hell by moving around ones and zeros, then re-converting that language back into an analog volts and amps audio signal) ... the signal remains fully analog.

    Resist the Digi!

    For the uninitiated, "digital sound" requires that your analog audio signal (which is comprised of VOLTS - AMPS - at a given FREQUENCY), the analog volts and amps are sent through a thing called an AD/DA Converter. That stands for "Analog to Digital - Digital to Analog Converter". What it means is that your precious and most genuine analog audio signal is sent into a gizmo that converts it from analog to digital form, then once in that digital form it is sent into ~whatever~ to tweak it to your liking (y'know, run it through various FX, amp modelers, and so on). Then to put the signal into a form that is most used by the industry, it must be re-converted back to analog again. So your sound has gone through all of these converters, manipulators, and changers then handed back to you. The hope is that the tone is at least CLOSE to being as natural and genuine as it was before it went through all of that. The main issue about digital is that none of these digital devices produce any better tone than their AD/DA converters will produce.

    So an amp modeler or digital FX unit sounds no better than the AD/DA that it uses within it. No matter how trick or innovative the actual modeling or manipulations are, in the end it won't sound any better than the AD/DA circuitry that the manufacturer elected to invest in. There are good AD/DA chips, and crappy AD/DA chips, and everything in between.

    The AD/DA has been the death of many good and well thought out digital devices. The manufacturers of such things may decide to use cheaper/less expensive (read "crappy sounding") AD/DA circuits to keep overall prices down (or to increase overall profit margins) ... in doing so they end up killing something that may have otherwise been really nice sounding. Any time those bean counters in the accounting division get involved, quality usually takes a total nosedive.

    Ahem ... sorry ... rambling again ... apologies. So then ... a-n-y-h-o-w ...... :rolleyes:

    These preset setups do not convert the audio signal to binary (ones and zeros - aka "digital") in any way. All they do is provide digital control over the analog pots and switches. Think of it like having a robot flicking the switches and turning the knobs for you. And that robot has a memory so that when it is asked to repeat any certain settings of those knobs and switches, it can do so with exacting accuracy. The robot is the digital controller, but your signal has not been converted into anything at all. There's just a digitally controlled ~thing~ making the adjustments and settings for you.

    Is that cool or what?!?!??

    With the bypass relays you may set up various routings .... run the bass through various FX (or whatever), and save those routings to memory. You can also save the individual devices' actual settings to memory. So if you select (let's say) program #10, it will configure the system to route the bass signal into any given FX or processors, and change those processors' settings to whatever you set them at. Just like a fully digital device does.

    The difference being:

    You get to decide what devices are in the system, and what routings the signal pathway takes.

    The hard part:

    Yea, see now this is where this notion is lost on some folks. A lot of this stuff has to be installed manually, most times that means soldering them into place. The actual routing pcbs (tje "bypass realys") may be placed inside of a box or enclosure that has standard jacks that permit you to simply plug in/out any device desired. No different than using a "true bypass looper box" that many pedalboard freaks are very familiar with. The only difference is that the bypass footswitches are replaced with relay bypass modules (each one is roughly no larger than a standard 9 volt battery).

    So if you want MIDI control over bypassing/engaging several types of stompboxes and/or rack units you can simply construct a looper box with this type of digital control stuff and you're golden.

    Setting up various FX and processors so their knobs have digital control ability is more difficult than the signal routing is. You must actually get inside the device and add one of "digital pots" or replace the standard pot with the digitally controlled ones. And there are problems and hassles that go along with that as well.

    COST:

    If you are willing to do the work, the ability is there! And it is a lot less expensive than you may think!

    A switch or logic controlled bypass relay setup is about $13 (thirteen bucks) per switch. So think of it like a $13 bypass footswitch that is conrollable with MIDI!

    The digitally controlled pots sell for roughly $6 (six dollars) each. Then there is a controller pcb that is needed as well to provide the memory slots. About $30 (thirty) bucks, and each controller may control up to NINE separate pots or switches.

    I've ordered in some of this stuff to try out and get my feet wet with it.

    SYSTEM INTEGRATION; putting them midi-bass pedals to work! (whoda thunk that 60+ year old Hammond organ bass pedals would be so useful!)

    The other implication is expansion of the functionality of my midi-bass pedals. Keep in mind that those are essentially just thirteen normally open (or normally closed, whichever way you want to set them up) momentary footswitches. They can be used in any of the same ways that ANY momentary switch could be used. So I could set this system up to use my bass pedals to select various routing presets by simply stepping on a bass pedal! So no added crap on the floor to control stuff with.

    So I can't wait to get started with all of this. The bass pedals will now be fully integrated into this rig. They'll do much more than just play MIDI notes ... they'll control my modular synth, control the parallel processor, play MIDI notes, engage and bypass various FX and processors, as well as provide input impedance buffers to keep my bass's signal nice and clear.

    (I forgot to mention I also bought some input buffers that solder directly to footswitches! So that's all a part of this new bunch of ~stuffs~ that are on their way to my eager hands!).

    Frelling cool. Ok, here's just a few of the goodies .....

    Digitally Controlled POT: - here it is, about the size of a standard 8-pin DIP IC ("chip") ... about 2/3rds the size of a U.S. dime. It's called the "Hi-V" pot, for "high voltage". It can handle up to 18volts through it's circuit. That's pretty high!
    [​IMG]

    Four Pots Controller: - see the four little "Hi-V Pot pcbs" on this main pcb? This controller houses four of them and controls four of them as well. The entire main board with the four HiV pots installed is smaller than 2" x 2" total size!
    [​IMG]

    Naked 4-pots controller: - you can see the pads (holes in the pcb) for the little "pot" pcbs on the board there .... the little pot-pcbs just solder right in ... OR .. 8-pin DIP sockets may be soldered in so the pots can be socketted into place without soldering.
    [​IMG]

    4-Pots controller board with IC chips instead of the Hi-V pot-pcbs: - The Hi-V pot-pcbs are used for applications where the signal is rather hot and beefy (as high as 18volts and 5mA!!). But if your application has a lower power signal to be adjusted, a standard "digipot" on an IC chip may be used. Here's a 4-Pot board with four MCP4151 Digipots installed (the four 8-pin DIP IC chips) By the way .. "IC" simply means "integrated circuit", it does NOT mean that it is a "digital chip" and that it is the root of everything digitally evil. The most basic stompbox circuits use IC chips, some of the most beloved classic analogue stompboxes use loads of ICs. The adored and well known "Tube Screamer" uses an IC chip. "Integrated Circuit" just means that a larger circuit normally installed on a circuit board has been miniaturized and "integrated" into a small package called a chip. It is nothing to fear or dislike. A circuit board the size of a piece of notebook paper can be reduced into an 8-pin DIP IC. Thank the "transistorization age" of the 1950s and 1960s "space race" for that!
    [​IMG]


    Digitally Controlled Bypass Relay - the size of a standard 9volt battery. Actually it can be logic controlled (digitally controlled) OR a momentary footswitch may be used as well. Any type of "logic" signal (as in on-off, to ground) can be used to trigger it. So a footswitch, or something as simple as a SPST toggle switch - or organ bass pedal switches! (wink wink). Think of it as a bypass footswitch on a pcb. The advantage being that it may be activated with other stuff (like a toggle switch or a MIDI signal) and also it is far more reliable than a stomp switch. Companies like Boss have been using this type of system for 50+ years. Every Boss stompbox has this type of system in it (except they use a different means of actually switching the signal, but it is the same basic idea - using a tactile switch to trigger a pcb mounted bypass relay. Essentially Boss just uses a solid state relay rather than an electro-mechanical relay).
    [​IMG]

    Bypass relay board with I/O jacks already preinstalled on it: - Same as the bypass relay pcb above but it has the 1/4 inch in-out jacks installed on it to simplify installation. Cooly, right?
    [​IMG]

    So there ya go. Oh ... right ... "who makes this stuff?" ....

    http://www.pedalsync.com/

    There .. that might help!

    TONS more info on their website .... datasheets, application suggestions, dealer links, and so on.

    L8R SK8RS! :)
  2. Jordan S.

    Jordan S. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Disclosures:
    Blacksheep Effects Pedals
    And....sub'd
  3. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Haahaa .. you're the sole reply. :) But thanks for the supportive post!

    This thread is here to just expose it and discuss it. If you want to see what I am doing with this stuff hit this link ...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f36/experimental-fully-modular-bass-rig-902681/

    There's a TON of stuff in that thread but the gear mentioned here is on page 17.

    I'll also be aiming to use it with my midi-bass pedal conversion, here's a link to that project thread ....

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f36/cygnus-midi-bass-pedal-conversion-project-1-a-938717/

    I'll be using some of this stuff as it arrives, I've ordered a few pieces of this-n-that for use with my "X-Rig" bass setup. I just posted this stuff here by itself to expose some people to it that may not know of it. I didn't know about it myself until this past weekend.

    I'm just really enthused with the idea here. You could pretty easily build a box that would allow you to scroll through four presets with a footswitch, and make some sort of EQ or even a bass wah with a presettable freq pot. So as you scroll through the four presets you'd be sortof sequencing through four separate filter settings in real time while playing.

    That's just one dork-simple idea ... the potential is just crazy.

    You could also link-up analogue FX and stompboxes to change their settings when you select a different preset in your digital modeling toys (like a POD, or a Line 6 M5/M9/M13, or anything that sends a MIDI program change ping). Once I get my head wrapped around this stuff a little better I am planning on using my Line 6 Flooboard to change various aspects of my rack gear and stompboxes, along with changing things on the POD Pro that I use with my bass. Once I get more familiar with all of this stuff I'll have a better idea how to harness the processing power this stuff delivers.

    It may also be used in concert with other MIDI encoders and decoders like those from Highly Liquid.

    And just for the record, I am not tied to or affiliated with Pedal Sync in any way whatsoever .... not professionally or personally. They aren't ~friends~ of mine, or anyone I publically ~endorse~ .... other than to say that I "endorse" the idea of using MIDI control of various analog controls in stompboxes and rack gear. "Endorse" meaning I like and support the idea.

    So, this isn't spam.

    Thanks!
  4. Chaddycakes

    Chaddycakes

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Where's the manufacturers link?
  5. cheapbasslovin

    cheapbasslovin

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    I recently was looking into designing a switching system for myself and am realizing now that I need to learn some basic programming to turn what I can do from pretty awesome to :eek:. It's so easy to do really great things if you can program even a little.

    Now to the learning.:(
  6. Gadgetjunky

    Gadgetjunky

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    I sub'd and thought about replying. This is an awesome find!! Thanks for sharing. The midi-relays sound very useful, for all kinds of things.
  7. Swift713

    Swift713

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Likes Received:
    1
    This looks very interesting. I don't expect I'll be attempting to do any if it but it looks way cool.
  8. mikeythekid

    mikeythekid

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2011
    Likes Received:
    0
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown Engineering
    I like what I'm hearin
  9. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Likes Received:
    5
    WHAT!

    its like you read my mind, I was daydreaming about this literally 30 minutes ago..


    flux, youre the 'fully modular rig' guy right? good stuff in that thread...
  10. Basehead

    Basehead Now with even more synthy goodness... Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Likes Received:
    3
    I need this...
  11. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Right at the bottom of the first post, just before the signature.
  12. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup, that would be me alrighty. :) Thanks!

    I am putting any of my experiments with THIS stuff in that thread. See page 17 (it's the last page at this time) for the beginnings of that chapter. But for now all it really is, is the same thing I've posted here in this thread plus some additional stuff about using the Line 6 Floorboard and my midi bass pedals as triggering devices for these pcbs shared here. As I rec'v the parts that I've order from Pedal Sync I'll have more ~stuff~ to wrap my head around it all better and know more about what I will do with it.

    I'll also be using it with my midi-converted organ bass pedals. The links to all of that are in my 2nd post in this thread (see above).

    It allllll ties together fellas. The X-Bass, the X-Rig, the Midi-Bass pedals (as well as my modular synth, but that is of no interest in a "bass guitar" forum so that project is located elsewhere on the web).

    Links for those that missed them in the 1st and 2nd posts here in this thread:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/x-bass-experimental-3-pickup-bass-948548/

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f36/experimental-fully-modular-bass-rig-902681/

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f36/cygnus-midi-bass-pedal-conversion-project-1-a-938717/

    And here's the manufacturer's link, in case you missed it in the first two posts:

    http://www.pedalsync.com/

    So that should do it. This is gonna be some SERIOUS FUN! I'm STILL working out the possibilities with all of this potential! Especially combining my bass pedals, the Line 6 Floorboard (which there is room to add footswitches) and this Pedal Sync stuff. And for those of you using clock-syncing stuff, there is also strong potential to aid with those issues as well with this stuff.

    I hope I helped. :)

    Flux.
  13. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here's the ~extra~ stuff about this Pedal Sync gear that I posted in my X-Rig thread. The post just before this one here was exactly what I posted in THIS thread, that's why it says "continuing here...."

    Link ... http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f36/experimental-fully-modular-bass-rig-902681/index17.html .. scroll to post #331.

    And quoting .....

    So there it is. :)
  14. pwsharp

    pwsharp

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also subscribed. I need to look deeper into the capabilities of this stuff to figure out the best way to utilise it in my rig :)

    Peter
  15. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you. :)

    I'm expecting my first bunch of stuffs from Pedal Sync in this week sometime. I ordered four of the bypass relays and a few of the digipots to start out with. I bought a bench power supply that provides 0-30vdc at 0-3a so I can cobble together various tester circuits at first. Once I get the feel for what is happening (and what CAN happen) with this gear I'll have a better set of ideas what I can do with it.

    I think one of the more exciting features of it is being able to sync cyclic analog to MIDI, such as a Boss PH-3 phase shifter or analog delays and tremolos. WAY WAY more-betta-butta than trying to use tap tempo. I've found that with tap tempo you can set up a given whatsis with a tempo at the beginning of a song, and by the time it's que rolls around inteh song and you engage that device, it's not quite right. Since I was off just a fraction when I tapped-in, by the time I needed that device engaged the tempo had driftedd far enough to saound like ass. This Pedal Sync stuff offers the ability to actually ~force~ analog clocks to sync-up with MIDI. Mondo Cooly!

    :hyper:
  16. cheapbasslovin

    cheapbasslovin

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's funny to me: you have this gigantic goal of controlling the world (or at least a huge synth rack full o' toys), and all I can think of is getting an old 24V Bass Micro Synth and going to town.
  17. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yea, well .... some of us follow, some of us lead, and some of us just get in the way.

    Bob Moog, Jim Marshall, Leo Fender, they all had crazy ideas too.

    :)

    My ~goal~ is to learn. I never stop learning. When I learn one little thing ... one little tiny thing ... it cascades into greater overall understanding of much larger things. You gotta build a house one brick at a time. My house gets larger each day.

    I post this stuff all over the place to share it with others. So that perhaps other players might gain some tiny understanding ... that may perhaps be that final little ~tick~, that little bitty "last block" that cascades in an instant to understanding something huge. The light comes on, and suddenly an entire new environment is visible.

    I share to help make people more empowered.

    Control the world? Hardly.

    Learn new worlds? Totally!
  18. cheapbasslovin

    cheapbasslovin

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    Likes Received:
    0
    Funny only in the differences of application of the same technology. I'm seeing it as a way of improving smaller pieces and you're seeing it as a way to tie in EVERYTHING.

    I'm interested in seeing both come together.

    I just started the process reading up on PIC controllers and how to use them and my mind is RACING with ideas of how to apply it. Honestly how more companies aren't using digital control for their analog pedals is beyond me. It is relatively inexpensive and simple and increases the usefulness of the pedal tenfold.
  19. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2010
    Likes Received:
    2
    Man, I love your attitude and ambition! And you're right - learning little things often leads to much larger things. Not only that, but the larger things - like the original big Moog synths - begat smaller synths and synth or synth-like pedals. It's a beautiful cycle, but one has to think big to get the ball rolling.
  20. Flux Jetson

    Flux Jetson

    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Likes Received:
    0
    There .. ~that~ .. see ... you DO understand what I am going through day after day. This digital control stuff is new to me, and my brain is friggin ON FIRE with ideas.

    Write this on the wall .... digital control is coming .. in a huge wave of change. Since companies like Pedal Sync and Highly Liquid are providing the means for DIYers to create digital interfacing with their analog audio circuits, this will ... ABSOLUTELY -- start an all new stage in DIY pedal tech. And as we all know, when the pedal freaks (like myself) begin to take money from the "big boys", it will get their attention. They permit "us" to do all of the R&D, as well as allowing "us" to test out the market, once "they" have seen it sell and make money, they will follow in DROVES!

    Look how many pedal companies .... BIG pedal companies now do things they way the small boutique builders have done things .... advertizing "hand wiring" and the phrase "True Bypass" has become indispensable in marketing text now.


    So I feel that what Pedal Sync has said on their website .... "The Future Just Arrived" .. is 100% true. I am predicting that digital control will become the next adopted phase in analog pedal tech. Simply because the technology has been spoon fed to us in the form of these nice and convenient little kits. Now we'll all know what "language" to use to order up the right IC chips, the right relays, the right components. We'll all make our own little PCBs and integrate them into our designs. Clock-syncing analog pedals such as flangers/phasers/delays and so on with MIDI will be as second nature as wiring up a 3PDT footswitch is now.

    I feel it should be added that compnaies like Tech 21 have been doing digi/analog devices for YEARS. Guys like them are gonna be like "What the hell? We've been doing digital control over analog pathways forever!" Just sayin'...

    :)

Share This Page