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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by luknfur, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I've had an ADA MB-1 since day 1, intially the plan was to get into a midi system and creating tones for playing bass, which I never did. I think I may be up for it now.

    I really don't know squat about this and need some constructive direction. I've done a search and found bits and pieces but I just need the basic starter kit info for the most part. I remember the old synths and floppies loaded with sounds from horns to strings. So I'm guessing I can use a computer or "synth brain" and transfer whatever sound into the MB 1, since it's midi compatible.

    Anybody with experience, ideas, web-site recs along these lines would be appreciated. Also, results people have had in doing this and whether it's a worthy venture. I really don't want to burn time
    re-inventing the wheel here.

    But I remember years ago seeing these two old coots in a funky little flamingo infiltrated restaraunt on the coast in Pass Christian, Mississipi playing Sinatra tunes. Singer playing an URB and the other guy playing a steel guitar run through a midi system getting all these choice sounds. Really a class act. Not your typical cheesie keyboard/guitar duo.
  2. Well...there is a big can o' worms that can be opened here. Yes, your ADA MB-1 is a MIDI controlled device, but from what I remember about it, the only MIDI control you have on it is channel switching. I'm sure you can assign some parameters like chorus and overdrive gain to be controlled by an expression or on/off switch, but it's not a synth module by any stretch. It can pass MIDI signals through it, though.

    Here's how a basic signal chain would go for FX or Synth Processing: Bass into ADA input; MIDI foot controller into ADA MIDI In. MIDI OUT/Thru into MIDI In of FX or Synth Module (but this only controls MIDI operations...no sound is traveling through this (I think). ADA FX Send to FX or Synth Module input. FX or Synth Module Out to ADA FX Return. ADA Out to Power Amp in.

    MIDI only controls program/parameter change operation of all units in the MIDI line. You can assign most controllers certain channels that correspond with your ADA or FX module channels.

    The FX or Synth unit still works as an outboard effect processor and should be in the effects loop.

    HOWEVER, if you really want to delve into the Synth world, you should outfit your bass with a Synth pickup and Synth sound module that you know works well with bass, so the tracking and clarity are there.

    Alesis, Ensoniq, Korg, etc. all make synth brains that can be controlled via MIDI and should work halfway decent if you have a proper synth setup for your bass.

    Hope this helps. But you probably have more questions...


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY
    I've had one since day 1 also('90), & it's a great pre(selling it though with complete set-up).

    The best advice I can give you is to go to www.adadepot.com. They have ALL the info you'll need or be able to get on it, good luck...

  4. Mark Gollihur

    Mark Gollihur Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 19, 2000
    Mullica Hill, NJ
    Owner/President, Gollihur Music LLC
    Yep, MoFat has it right... MIDI-controlled isn't MIDI sounds. I actually use an ADA as my main preamp, using a MIDI pedal to control it. I have access to the presets, as well as control of parameters using a CV pedal (with the pedalboard I have, it can be different depending on the pedalboard preset - on some, it's distortion, on others, volume, etc.)

    I ALSO have a pitch-to-MIDI system in my rig, which is, I think, what you're thinking of. I use the Yamaha G50 with the AXON pickup and a sound module to turn the notes I play into MIDI pitch data - and then into keyboard-type sounds. It's a whole other side of MIDI, which is an oft-misunderstood term. That side of MIDI carries the information of note data, pitch, aftertouch, note length, etc.

    The MB1 is MIDI-controllable, but has nothing to do with the pitch-to-MIDI systems - it uses MIDI for patch changes and continuous controllers only.

    I realize that this is probably confusing; I'd recommend a book called "An Introduction to MIDI for Musicians" (I believe) which is a good primer to the world of MIDI.

    Sorry to disappoint!
  5. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Appreciate the feedback.

    Day 1 for me was roughly my day 1 not the Ada's, when I picked up playing again and switched to bass in the process - couple years ago.

    So far, I've spent most my search reading through the TB midi stuff and harmonycentral - which reportedly had a Midi FAQ thread but that must have been a generic reference cuase I haven't found anything with that title yet. I've seen the Adadepot site mentioned but apparently haven't been there yet cause don't recall it.

    At, this point, all I'm thinking along the lines of is just being able to load an external patch into the Ada that's not already in it and being able to play it like the internal presets. I'm guessing that may not be possible cause I understand about parameters of a note required to elecit a tone. On the other hand, the Ada must be doing something similar for the tones it generates already.

    I've seen the synth pups and basses. It's been a while and I guess they're making progress in terms of the signal delay but doesn't look like anything I'd be interested in at this point. Another reason I'm guessing what I have in mind is not going to work cuase why would anybody go through that when you could just pick up a unit like the Ada.
  6. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    The ADA doesn't generate tones; it is a conventional preamp in that it's signal path is all analog. It uses MIDI to "turn the knobs", so to speak, allowing you to store a whole bunch of different tones in presets. In other words, when you want to switch from a reggae-thick fingerstyle tone to a hi-fi slap tone and then to a industrial distortion, you can step on a footswitch and you're there, instantly, instead of stepping on a couple of effects pedals and walking back to your amp to tweak the eq.
  7. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    Okay, grasp the idea of presets skipping the adjustment phase of things but couldn't tell if you're stuck with using the Ada presets as a starting point - not being able to load an external tone into memory and tweaking that in a similar fashion?

    I went to the Adadepot site and didn't see anything along these lines there but posted a similar thread. The lack of related info I've ran across so far indicates you don't do something along the lines of sticking a French horn patch off an Ensoniq disc into an MB-1 memory user patch.

    I should clarify I understand the MB-1 is not a sound generator. When I used the term previously it was used in reference to the factory presets.
  8. No, you can't load a french horn sound into the ADA. for two reasons:

    1. It's not an effects processor or a synth, so it doesn't have the 'guts' to generate the sounds on its own. Nor does it have the RAM to store and recall the information in the correct way.

    2. It's a bass preamp. That's it. It has some more bells and whistles than others, but when you get right down to it, it's just a preamp. It's got gain, od, EQ, volume. The only thing MIDI about it is that you can control the gain, od, EQ, volume via a MIDI controller.

    Really, all the presets in the ADA came from some button pusher that pushed some buttons and then pressed 'save'. If you want to come up with your own sound, start at a preset that you just hate and zero everything out. Then push buttons yourself until you find a sound you like and press 'save'. There, you just did what the factory did nearly 20 years ago!
  9. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004

    starting to get the picture. The presets on the Ada are literally presets, not samples.


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY

  11. Think of it this way... MIDI allows you to control the front dials or switches in real time.

    As far as "patches" go, in this case a patch is simply a collection of parameters, or put simply, the dial settings. Select one patch to set all of your dials instantly (as BruceWayne mentioned).

    You can send the MIDI signals to do this either via a pedalboard, or via a computer with MIDI-sequencing software. But at the end of the day, you are only using MIDI to remember your dial and switch settings, and to turn them up or down for you when you want to change 'em.
  12. luknfur


    Jan 14, 2004
    I don't mess with that stuff (or really even effects) so it took a while for the rough conceptual framework to unfold - the "preoccupation" with synth pups (little more challenge to sensing a string than a key), etc.

    From the time a I bought the Ada, I had the idea the presets were actually samples and that brain fart twisted things from the start. Great idea though, just doesn't work to the science at hand.