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Building a midi controlled rack set up

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  • Building a midi controlled rack set up

    I want to convert my set up to be controlled via a midi controller with all effects in a rack.

    I have a DRRI and all my pedals are on a PedalTrain. I think I'd like to keep 3-4 pedal overdrives and run them through a midi looper, while getting a rack effects box that has delays, reverbs, flange, chorus, tuner etc. Perhaps the TC Electronic G Major 2 (feel free to suggest alternatives).

    Is it possible to be able to set it up so that clicking one button on a midi controller will enable a particular loop and also select the settings on the G Major?

    I was thinking something like a Midi Mate going into a Voodoo Labs GCX and G Major. What possible solutions would you suggest? I wouldn't want to spend more than $1000, and preferably less. Cheers.

    Edit: There is also the problem of the DRRI having no effects loop and so the G Major won't work properly. However, I read this post where the guy has apparently created a parallel effects loop. I had my DRRI modded so that the reverb is on the normal channel as well and so the two channels are in phase now. I am confused whether I could do this so I could use a G Major or similar multi-effects unit and whether it is possible to do this while being hooked up to the looper.

  • #2
    I used to have a rather elaborate midi switching setup. It was primarily for my keyboards but it also sent patch changes to my guitar and vocal processors. At the height of my madness I was running a click, midi and audio backing tracks, a midi track for lighting control all while sending patch changes to external synths and processors as needed using Digital Performer on a MacBook Pro with a Midi Timepiece AV and Hercules 16/12 FW interface.

    Whenever you have more than one midi device in your system they typically need to receive midi data on independent midi channels or each device will receive and respond to every midi message. For this reason you wouldn't be able to just get one of those Behringer midi foot controllers; it will only send midi on one channel at a time. It's really only good for controlling one device. It is possible, however, that with a system that isn't too complex, setting up the units to respond on the same midi channel could be made to work.

    As a disclaimer: I have no idea what the Voodoo Labs device is looking for in the way of midi control/switching data.

    Many years ago MOTU Midi Timepiece II units, and later Midi Timepiece AV units, could be setup to do all kinds of fabulous midi things but it required the Clockworks program from MOTU. The program is free but the catch is that only the old OS9 version will do all these things. You could create up to 128 patches just like a synth/effects unit that would send midi data on any channel(s) while changing input/output routings, merging, etc. The key functions were called Midi Cannons, Patches and Modifiers. But, of course, this technology is all but extinct today. It required that you had an old Mac with a serial port (or the right USB to serial port convertor) running OS9 but once you got it all setup it worked flawlessly as a stand-alone 19" rack mount unit to which you could add a couple footswitches. Turn the knob and you could send patch changes, or other data, to up to eight connected devices using as many as 128 midi channels. Pretty impressive.

    I searched far and wide for something more modern to take the place of this setup but could never find anything that didn't require the use of either a Mac or a PC. I've scaled down for my current return to performing but if I got back into the "rack control game" I'd return to using Digital Performer or learn this MainStage program that comes with Logic. Perhaps today there are solutions available in the form of iPad amps for people that need a smaller footprint?