MIDI foot controllers are typically a keyboard thing. But what many guitar players don't realize is that they are extremely handy when paired with a rackmount processor, or even software, in a guitar rig.
Nearly all rackmount effects processors come with a MIDI input and output for this reason.
It allows you to control the processor like you would any other guitar pedal, but from a distance.
The processor sits in a rack somewhere, and the MIDI controller sits conveniently on the floor in front of you.
I'll refer you to this article, written by Hugo from Strymon, that details how to connect a MIDI foot controller to your pedals or effects processor(s), if you're looking for more information on that process.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with the best MIDI foot controllers.
Our resulting specs list should include:
- At least a basic up/down MIDI channel or patch selector
- Banking control system that function via a MIDI connection
MIDI foot controllers are not necessarily the same thing as switches or pedal loopers.
In some cases, they can come housed in the same product, but switches and pedal loopers simply allow you to patch your pedals out, via TRS cables, and then select them from one spot.
Take the following diagram, for example:
The dark red, light blue, dark blue and green pedals are all looped into the 6LE Extension unit.
You'll often see these kinds of systems with MIDI functionality as well and are typically used by pros to control pedalboards and stompboxes from a remote location on a stage or in a recording studio.
For our purposes, we're not looking for a loop system.
Instead we're focusing on just the MIDI-related tasks, and will avoid any foot controllers that incorporate pedal looping. Though the two units are usually sold as separate products.
Here's what we will cover.
How do I know the processor or pedal is MIDI-compatible?
Any stompbox or processor that is MIDI compatible will have MIDI ports (in and out) clearly visible, usually on the back of the device. Those ports look like this:
In a mounted effects processor, you'll have a similar-looking interface.
When you're looking at rackmounted effects processors, like the ones pictured above, a MIDI connection is usually assumed, meaning you might not even see it in the specs sheet if you were to look it up on Amazon.
It will almost never be touted as a highlight feature. For the most part, it's just expected to be there.
On the same page, if we look at some of the other photos provided for this particularly unit, we can easily spot the MIDI ports on the back panel.
On the other hand, when you're looking for MIDI-compatible pedals or stompboxes, the connections will typically be highlighted, even in a stripped-down specs sheet. This is because most pedals do not have a MIDI connection.
Our master list of guitar pedals with MIDI ports shows you where to find them.
Every MIDI foot controller I'll highlight here can control any effects processor or stompbox that supports a MIDI connection. Just make sure you know how to spot that connection when you're shopping for pedals and processors.
Let's look at some pedals and rack effects units that have MIDI ports.
Examples of MIDI-compatible Pedals and Effects Processors
I'll break up the examples into two different categories, focusing on both stompboxes/pedals and rack effects processors with MIDI ports
We'll start with rack processors since they're more commonly paired with a MIDI foot controller.
- TC-Electronic M350 Reverb & Effects Processor
- Behringer Virtualizer 3D FX2000
- TC-Electronic G-Major 2
- Line 6 POD HD Pro X
- DigiTech DSP 1101
- Avid Eleven Rack Multi Effects Processor
Stompboxes with MIDI ports are more rare and thus harder to spot. Here are a few that I've noticed and would recommend based on the reputation of their manufacturer.
- DigiTech Whammy Pedal
- Boss DD-500 Digital Delay
- Strymon Mobius Modulation
- Most large Strymon pedals
- TC Electronic Flashback Triple Delay
These are just a handful among many, meant to serve as examples of what you're going to use a MIDI controller to manipulate.
With all the preliminary information out of our way, lets look at some actual MIDI foot controllers, starting with a popular offering from Voodoo Lab.
1. Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro
While it has a bit of a learning curve, the Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro is the single most complete and effective MIDI foot controller I know to recommend.
Here's just a quick, broad-stroke list of what it can handle.
- Control MIDI (or non-MIDI) rack effects
- Control stompboxes
- Switch between amps
- Switch between channels
How hard is it to setup the Ground Control Pro?
The Ground Control Pro is one of the most complete and highly-functioning MIDI foot controller pedals on the market.
The drawback here is that you have to set all of this up and figure out the gory details of how to get your Ground Control Pro to talk with the device(s) you're trying to couple it with. Learning how to take advantage of all the functionality will take some time.
If you want some insight into the setup process, this video is a good place to start.
Setup is simple only if you take the time to get familiar with the interface. I'd advise watching this video and consulting the manual, if you're not totally sure about the initial process.
Connecting an Expression or Volume Pedal
Below is the section of the manual that deals with connecting a passive expression pedal, which can also be substituted for a volume pedal if that's all you have.
Though for the volume pedal to work, you will need a special cable, indicated in the photo.
Once your expression or volume pedal is properly connected, you can program its functionality via the Ground Control's front panel.
Overall Value and Ideal Situation for the Ground Control
The Ground Control Pro is definitely intended for rigs that are well-established with a lot of different moving pieces needing to be controlled from one location.
Personally, I don't like the Ground Control Pro for smaller rigs that only need to patch a few different channels or effects through a MIDI connection. Moreover, the price of the Ground Control (usually around $400) moves it outside the scope of smaller, lower-functioning setups.
If you're in a situation where you need more functionality and control, perhaps switching between multiple amps, pedals and rackmounted effects, the Ground Control Pro is an ideal fit.
This is particularly true if you're a live performer with the need for centralized control of all your gear.
However, if you only need to control a couple pedals or a single processor, you're likely overpaying for what you need (see Simon Rowe's guitar rig near the end of this piece).
In that scenario, the Ground Control Pro is overkill.
Check some of the other options instead.
- Simultaneous Control of up to eight MIDI devices
- Up to four GCX audio switchers
- Eight instant access switches
- Use volume or expression pedals for additional control
2. Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller
The Behringer FCB1010 has a few distinct advantages over the Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro, particularly for those who might have felt the Ground Control was too much pedal for what they were trying to do.
For prospective buyers, the FCB1010's most attractive feature will initially be its price.
Sitting around $150 retail, it's one of the single most affordable MIDI foot controllers for guitar on the market.
Moreover, it includes two expression pedals, which can be assigned the same way you would assign an external expression pedal in the Ground Control.
It's also far simpler to use and program.
Setup Help and Other Resources
I was able to dig up some solid instructions and setup help for the FCB1010, so I'll list a few of them here for those of you who want a clearer picture of how to use it.
It is possible to connect the Behringer FCB1010 with my iPad?
Unfortunately, there are a litany of ways to make this connection happen and a best-practices scenario isn't entirely clear.
At least not for free.
If you don't mind investing a little more into the job, the simplest and most straightforward method is the Behringer iStudio iS202 pictured below. This will allow you to connect your MIDI foot controller (in this case the FCB1010) to your iPad, thus allowing you to assign functionality for apps like GarageBand, Amplitube or Ampkit.
You can get the iS202 for under $100 in most markets, which means your total investment (if you include the FCB1010) is still only around $250.
Not bad for turning your iPad into a fully-functional MIDI-controlled guitar rig.
There's no USB port. Can the FCB1010 work with PC or Mac software?
Despite the fact that it doesn't have a USB connection, the FCB1010 can still work with either a Mac or Windows computer.
However, you will need to use some kind of a USB or Thunderbolt audio interface.
Make sure your interface has at least a MIDI input, in addition to a regular TRS or XLR instrument jack. Then you can go from your pedal, to the interface to your software and program the software that way.
Other Features I Like
On a more nuanced note, the FCB1010 switches are made of a rubbery material and are far more quiet than the ones on the Ground Control. If you watched the video tutorial for the Ground Control, you probably noticed those switches have a distinct "clack" when you engage them.
Not so with the FCB1010.
Switching is quiet and feels very seamless, which is another vote up for the FCB1010. Not that it's a deal-breaker, but certainly an aspect of this device that I like.
It's also quite thin, as you might notice from this photo.
For transportation, storage and functionality, I prefer to deal with the increased length of the FCB1010 and have less height and width to the unit.
Other features worth mentioning includes support for trigger and tap-tempo applications, as well as 10 fully editable user preset for each preset bank.
Overall Value and Ideal Situation for the FCB1010
The FCB1010 doesn't feel quite as durable as the Ground Control, yet I have no real reason to doubt its strength and durability, other than the fact that it's much thinner. And while there are still complexities (depending on what you're hooking it up to) there's a simplicity to it that's conducive to smaller rigs and more basic setups.
I like the FCB1010 for most amateur to mid-level players who want a reliable MIDI foot controller for just one or a few devices. I'd also give the FCB1010 the nod for things like an iPad, PC or Mac connection.
- Tons of presets
- Expression pedals are included
- Good option for smaller rigs and arrangements
- Seems to be popular with the iPad/tablet guitar crowd
- Crazy affordable compared to other MIDI foot controllers
3. Rocktron MIDI Xchange
The MIDI Xchange from Rocktron is the younger cousin of the Rocktron MIDI Raider, which we'll get to next.
I like the Xchange because it's simple and easy to setup. You've got an UP and DOWN buttons for cycling through MIDI patches, as well as a "RECALL" button to memorize or "bank" particular sounds.
For smaller rigs, and especially those who just want to control a single MIDI pedal or stompbox, that's about all you need.
So far, the Xchange is also the most affordable option we've seen, settling at around $110 retail in most markets.
Rocktron MIDI Exchange Connection Diagrams and Setup
When I was browsing the Xchange's user manual, I noticed that some of their diagrams provide a nice reference for setting up a MIDI foot controller of any kind, so I've included them here just to give a clear picture of what our final product might look like.
In the image below, you're going from the guitar to the Rocktron effects processor - which is controlled by the MIDI Xchange - and then back into an amplifier.
If you're setting up a more complex rig with everything in a rack, your diagram might look something like the picture below.
Note that the Rocktron MIDI Xchange can control multiple devices via the in and out MIDI connections.
The only thing you'll have to add is a MIDI cable that gives you enough length to work with. Otherwise, setting up something like the Rocktron is just about as basic as you can get.
Features and Drawbacks
Keep in mind that the two-button up/down system means you're going to have to order your presets in a linear line, which makes it harder to skip to certain settings.
The RECALL button provides some additional flexibility, but you'll still find yourself cycling through sounds primarily in a straight line.
Thus, if you have to go from one to four, it's going to be three clicks instead of one.
That's the price you pay for a simpler MIDI foot controller.
One other detraction from this unit is that a power adapter is not included, per the user manual:
It can run off batteries and (depending on how you have it hooked up) phantom power. But I'd be lying if I said this didn't bother me, especially when all the other units we've looked at come with their own power source.
I should add, however, that I have seen unboxing photos of this unit with a Rocktron-branded power adapter.
My assumption is that it's going to depend on who and where you buy from. For example, when I bought my Line 6 DL4 delay off Amazon, it came with a power adapter and a converter, because the original jack was too small.
That was just me benefiting from the seller's good graces and not a formal perk from Line 6.
It's certainly not a deal-breaker, but worth keeping in mind.
Overall Value and Ideal Situation for the FCB1010
Thus, there are some negatives that need to be considered.
The lack of a power adapter (maybe), the switching limitations and (once again) the "clacking," which is an issue on this pedal as well.
However, as was true with my previous highlights, the value of this controller is almost entirely contextual. For example, if you're in a situation where you only use a few different MIDI channels and you want to easily cycle through them, this is the cheapest and most ideally-fitted option for you.
If you're in need of a more comprehensive MIDI foot controller, the larger MIDI Raider Pro might be a better option.
- Simple up/down selector switches
- Expression pedal support
- Can run off batteries or phantom power
4. Rocktron MIDI Raider Pro
Rocktron's MIDI Raider is one of the most expensive MIDI foot controller pedals available, and one of the largest, spanning a total of 18 different buttons and a 19 x 13 inch floor footprint.
All that real estate sits on 11 pounds of metal.
The RAIDER allows you to work in three different "modes" that include the following:
- Bank Mode
- Song Mode
- Remote Mode
The Bank Mode has 120 total presets, which can be setup as something like 24 banks of five presets with 10 'instant' switches. Or, if you want things to be a little more straightforward, all 15 access switches can be used as 'Instant' switches. Usually, 15 different sounds is plenty, but that all depends on your playing style and what gear you're running.
Speaking of how much gear you might be using:
Like Voodoo Lab's Ground Control, the MIDI Raider from Rocktron is designed to handle multiple MIDI-controllable devices.
Thus, you can have a rack unit with several devices, that can all have their own MIDI channel.
In the above photo, the DigiTech, TC Electronic, Nova Drive and EHX pedals all have their own MIDI channel.
Then, with a pedal like the Nova Drive, you can cycle through presets from within just that pedal.
Evidently, there is a notable learning curve for this controller.
The user manual is a staggering (though not unexpected) 80 pages.
Let's take a quick look at the specs, then go through some of the most crucial information covered in the manual.
User Manual Quick Hits & Crucial Info
What the user manual calls a "typical" setup is worth a look, just so you can get a feel for what kind of (and how many) cables you'll need.
As you can see, your cabling needs will depend on how many expression pedals you want to use, whether either (or both) of them are actually volume pedals and how many MIDI-controllable devices you want to include.
Unfortunately, the physical setup would have to be considered the "easy" part.
Particularly if you're programming your MIDI Raider to control several different devices, and presets within those devices, you'll want to make sure to browse the next graphic.
As much as I'm sure you don't want to, I would absolutely advise you to read the entire setup section of the manual.
It spans 18 total pages, with pictures, but 18 pages nonetheless.
Your best bet is to read all of it. And I don't mean skim or just glance for a few minutes - actually sit down and read through it intently. Once you do that, the Raider interface will seem a lot more "human" and easier to navigate.
Assuming you have multiple devices to control, here's how I would approach setup:
- Setup channels for each device
- Setup presets for each device on the devices themselves
- Make a bullet list of each primary device with a dropdown of each preset
- Program all of your presets into each channel, testing as you go
Once that's done you'll be able to cycle through your different devices and presets to get a feel for how you might use the pedal on a "typical day." Copying, patches and expression compatibility can be added later, once you've developed a comfort with the interface.
Overall Value and Ideal Situation for the MIDI Raider Pro
It should be clear that the MIDI Raider is uniquely qualified to run a larger and more diverse swath of processors, pedals or a combination of both, even if we're just talking about the surface of its capability.
Since the Raider is so expensive, make sure you'll take advantage of its ability to control so many different units and avoid it for smaller rigs that don't need to be centralized.
- 120 available presets
- Use all 15 access buttons as 'Instant' switches
- Setup MIDI channels with individual presets for each pedal or processor
MIDI Guitar Setups in Professional Rigs
Since most professional guitar players have robust live setups, they often take advantage of MIDI foot controllers, setup on stage, to make adjustments in rackmounted processors or pedals that are stored off-stage.
Often combined with patch or loop systems for individual pedals, professional guitarists (or their techs) can control an entire array of effects from one centralized location.
You might say they're wired in.
I find it helpful (and interesting) to browse their setups.
You get a feel for how everything is hooked up, how it all functions as a whole and what the final product will look like.
We'll get all our diagrams from guitar.com's rig database.
Deftones' Stephen Carpenter
Since this diagram was built, Stephen Carpenter's rig has changed quite a bit, as he's removed almost all his pedals in favor of a larger MIDI foot controller that houses all of his effects digitally.
If you look at the full diagram from 2011, you can see why he made the change.
It was just a lot of stuff.
The part I'm most interested in is the MIDI board seen here.
That red dotted line you see is the output from the MIDI board, which then runs into a Marshall preamp.
Another MIDI cable then runs from the "out" of the preamp to the "in" of the Rocktron processor.
Remember the Strymon diagram?
This is the same idea, in that it allows Carpenter to link up multiple devices to be controlled by one MIDI floor pedal.
Let's look at a simpler example.
Chapterhouse's Simon Rowe
From way back in 1992, Simon Rowe's rig gives us a wonderfully simple example of how you might setup a MIDI controller.
He's got the board, an Alesis Quadraverb and an amplifier head with a few pedals.
The connection simply runs from the MIDI controller to the Quardaverb via a single cable.
For most of us, this is a great example of what we're likely to start with when we get into MIDI-controlled effects.
Simon Rowe uses one processor, an amp head and few pedals.
It's all wonderfully simple.
His MIDI foot controller is also quite simple, as he's using an old Boss design that cycles through preset patches on the Quadraverb.
If it were me, I'd be happy with something like this.
It's simple, easy to setup, easy to use and has a minimal learning curve. Besides, it's sometimes nice to know that even some of the high-profile guys use simpler rigs.
When do I really need one?
When applied to a guitar rig, MIDI controllers (especially the larger ones) are designed to centralize control.
However, we've also seen that this doesn't necessarily mean that your rig must be complex or large.
There are two scenarios in which I'd recommend a MIDI foot controller:
- If you want to centralize a large amount of effects, stompboxes or processors
- If you have any rackmounted processor
If you have anything in rack form, pair it with a MIDI controller.
If you ever find yourself using or buying a rackmounted effects processor like the G-Major or the Behringer Virtualizer, you should pair that unit with a MIDI controller right away.
Even if you're only using the one processor, there are usually a ton of different effects to cycle through and you don't want to do that by hand.
So, don't assume that just because your rig is small or you're only wanting to control one processor that you should wait on a MIDI foot controller. If you have anything in rack form, pair it with a MIDI controller.
At that point, you need to answer a question of scope, specifically, "How much do I plan to expand my rig in the future, and how much of it do I want to be controlled by a MIDI pedal?"
The answer to this question will determine whether you buy something larger and more complex like the Ground Control, or whether you setup your rig more like Simon Rowe's with a simple MIDI foot controller and just a few effects.
In other words, plan ahead.
Deciding when and if you need the MIDI controller should depend on the answers to these questions.
And to finish on a logical note, those who play live will likely have an expanded use for this type of setup.
Comments, Questions and Setup Ideas
Have questions about the products I listed here?
Have a MIDI guitar setup you'd like to share?
Leave it in the comments section below. Technical questions about the gear should be specified in the comments section of this page so others, who might have similar questions can benefit as well.
Thanks for reading.
Written by Bobby on MIDI and Roundups
Bill Pasdeaux says
word association game:
Boss Katana Artist Amp
ART X-15 Ultrafoot Controller…
any comments about how I cun use them together in 2022?
ART X-15 is a MIDI controller, right? Should be compatible via the MIDI-in on the Katana. I would assume you could then switch channels, control effects, and presets.
The MORNINGSTAR Midi Controllers are fabulous!
All Well built and easy to program.
The MC8 is just fantastic!
It will control ANYTHING with a MIDI connection.
There is a new version coming out soon with discrete high definition colour screens.
Cannot say enough good about the MC8 I purchased.
Checked it out and it looks great. Thanks for sharing, Bob. I’ll try to incorporate these in future write-ups.
David G says
Thank you Bobby and the rest of the folks in this web page. Might any one know how to use the Line 6 Helix to control the Boss Katana mk1 KTN 100 head? My goal is to integrate both the head and effects in both units simultaneously with out having to use the GAFC controller that comes with the head.
Thanks again and have a great day.
Leigh Fuge says
Hope you’re well! Bobby asked me to speak with you as I’ve written some Helix based content for Guitar Chalk.
That’s a great question but one that I am not 100% certain on. A quick online search tells me that Helix is capable of sending MIDI signals to a MIDI unit that can receive program changes.
In the Command Center menu of the Helix you can view an overview of all the switches. Highlight a switch and the control knobs will show:
“Command = None”
By rotating this control you can scroll through options that include MIDI CC sends and there is even an option for External Amp control.
Theoretically, what you’re suggesting here sounds totally possible based on that. I found this great video that shows a quick way to get set up, I hope this helps with it!
I personally have not used my Helix to send or receive any MIDI information. Let me know how you get on! I’d love to hear how it goes.
Hellraiser Johnny says
Having some trouble with my Hughes and Kettner Access preamp. I love this thing for so many reasons but most of all for it’s 3 FX loops and MIDI control. Here’s my trouble, and I know this is strictly an Access pre amp problem but if you can help it would be awesome, I am using an old Art X11 foot controller to change patches on 3 FX processors, each assigned it’s own MIDI channel, no problem, all is working. Here’s where I would love to simplify, each time I press a button on the Art (Bank 1 – #1-#2-#3 etc.) the Access preset changes to the corresponding button # pressed. I’ve gotten around this by moving or copying the Access presets to the patches of each bank so I have a rhythm patch, Rhythm W\FX, Solo, Solo w\FX and a clean patch on each bank. What I want to be able to do is keep the Access or MAP the Access to stay on a particular patch and just let the processors change so I don’t have to load a new preset every time I make a change. I can’t figure out how to do this becuase I can’t seem to “Map” a preset to a program # or button on the foot switch. Hope you can help.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Dang, that’s tricky. To be perfectly honest with you, it’s really hard for me to tell without actually looking at the setup and tinkering with it. It sounds like you might need a more versatile MIDI controller. What would be the difference between the processors changing and the presets changing? Not sure I totally get the distinction there.
John Pastore says
Thank you so much for your reply. So this is the reason . . . I have 14 guitars, each very different, some have active PU some have passive. What I am trying to do is get a “sweet spot” for each guitar and assign it a program # on the Access ( Preset #1 – Les Paul\Explorer #2 – Strat #3 – Jackson Soloist etc) as I can set very distinctive parameters (Gain\Tone\presents\master volume) on each preset for that guitar. So now the Access is in the MIDI chain with all the FX. If I use an entire bank (5 selections) on the foot switch for one guitar, I want the foot switch selections NOT to change the Access preset#, only the FX program # on each FX unit (Delay\Chorus\Reverb etc.). Would truly simplify managing sounds for live and recording. In the manual it looks as if I can do this (See page 20-21 on the manual -Link provided below. Don’t know if I’m misunderstanding the instructions, could you look and set me strait? Really appreciate your advice.
Great article! Helped explain most of my midi questions although it’s still not clicking for me ….. I’ve been playing a long time, 20 years, and am finally making the dive into midi. I got the musicomlab 62m lite (6 patches and 6 midi devices ). My question isn’t with the loop switcher as I’ve had a couple of them. It’s the midi. Do I need a relay box, like one from midi solutions or M-audio? Or can I just run off the musicomlab? Then if I do need one how is it then wired? Is it from the musicomlab to the relay or to the pedal to the relay? I would be so grateful if this could be explained for me as it has stumped me and now my board is all apart cause i dove I’m without knowing how to swim!! Thank you !!
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Steve – you should just be able to cable each device together with the Musicom Lab, in series with multiple MIDI cables. How many pedals are you trying to control?
Petros Kotsileos says
I have a Alesis Quadraverb as in the last picture and I have connected it to the MIDI foot controller _ Boss Fc50. However, I can not match Alesis programs so that I instruct the controller to change the programs. That is, by clicking on the MIDI foot controller No4 I have the program at Alesis No32. Can you help me solve this problem? Thanks and sorry for my English.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Petro – you should be able to assign each preset on the Alesis to MIDI channel on your Boss footswitch. Do you have documentation for either device in your primary language?
Any knowledge yet of the new EHX Super Switcher Bobby? Great article BTW! Very complete…
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey, thanks a lot, Bruce – I haven’t had any experience with the EHX Super Switcher, but the specs look similar to the Voodoo Lab Ground Control. The Super Switcher actually strikes me as a little more user-friendly. Sorry I can’t be more helpful on that one.
Firstly congratulations and thanks for producing and sharing this fantastic article – MIDI has always been a complete mystery to me in all areas of its operation so this has helped de-mystify a lot. Pleased to see some links to TC Nova Drive & Line 6 M13 which I will now be hooking up with the plan to be able change patches on the Drive via the M13.
Bobby Kittleberger says
Thanks for the kind words, Martyn. Glad it had what you needed. Let me know if I can be of any further help.
Hi Bobby, first of all thanks for this guide, it was very useful but I need to upgrade my pedalboard. Let me explain: I’m playing in a band, we use Logic Pro to send the sequences to the PA and the click to the ear monitors, we have to connect the computer used by the dj to the rig of every instrument in order to change the program simultaneously. We know the possibility to set a program change track on Logic but we don’t know which kind of hardware we need to let Logic speaks to the rigs. If you need an example Meshuggah do the same thing using Axe-Fx. Thanks a lot
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Daniel – what do you mean by Logic “speaking” to the rigs? To be honest, this sounds like it might be a little bit outside of my realm of knowledge. I’m pretty entry-level on Logic, so I’m not sure if a MIDI controller could help you out there or not.
If you could clarify, I might be able to give you a marginally better answer. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobby, I understand this could sounds strange. Logic, like every software of this kind (cubase, protools, etc.), has the possibility set up a dedicated track used to change the programs of every midi controller, for example this is a common use for keyboards, setting this track you can play all the project tracks (click, sequences, backing vocals and everything you want) including the program change track. To let you understand better what I need to do here is a tutorial to set up Logic to control Axe Fx, it’s so easy because Axe Fx it’s made up for this kind of stuff, the computer is connected with a usb cable to the Axe. As I mentioned in the last comment Meshuggah use this method to change every sound on the stage, it’s very cool to play without dancing the tip tap on the footswitch, and also you don’t have cables or hardware on the stage (that sometimes are very overcrowded by external hardware). The question is: there’s the possibility to do the same thing with a midi looper or a midi footswitch? Thanks a lot for your help
Sorry, I’ve forgotten the link
Bobby Kittleberger says
Ok, I think I get what you’re saying. You want to change these programs from your MIDI controller, right? Instead of having to go directly into the software?
No, I mean to change programs automatically, the software (in this case Logic) has to change the program according to the section of the song we are playing. To make an example: we have written a song where I’ve to change program from hi-gain channel without any effect to the clean channel with some chorus and reverb, and return to hi-gain, and repeat many times, considering that we are playing a progressive song at 130 bpm, I’ve to be quick and accurate, dancing on the footswitch. The problem is that the other guitar and the bass have to do the same thing. So I know that we can set up an automation track on Logic and I know how to do it, but the real problem is: which kind of hardware do we need to do this? A kind of “USB-Midi footswitch”?
Thanks a lot for the availability and for the time you are dedicating to me
Bobby Kittleberger says
Oh okay, sorry for misunderstanding you. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what kind of hardware you would need to do this. I do know that most MIDI footswitches have USB compatibility, which might mean that it’s going to be more of a trial and error venture. I’d start with a MIDI footswitch that has the USB connection and go from there.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful!
Jeff de says
Read your awesome article which helped me heaps, but I’m looking at Ramble effects Kismet drive to handle my drives (expandable to 100 presets) and Eventide H9 for the rest… will the Behringer handle that and also cope with the expendable presets of the Kismet?
Bobby Kittleberger says
Without being super-familiar with the H9 and Kismet, I think the Behringer should be fine. If you want to be on the safe side, the Ground Control might be a better bet.
Great explanation, Bobby. But am still confused about channels. If I had one MIDI controller but, say, five MIDI effects units, would each effects unit be assigned to a particular channel? If so, would those channels remain assigned/programmed even if not in use? And could an additional channel be used for software (a la Guitar Rig or Amplitube) through a MIDI-based interface?
Look forward to your reply…
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Matt – if I understand your question correctly, that’s pretty much it.
Each MIDI-compatible pedal gets its own channel, then (with more advanced MIDI controllers) you can cycle through presets within that pedal on that particular channel.
And yes, I believe you could use one channel for software, then cycle through presets that you’ve setup within the software.
Hope this helps.
I realize this article was focusing on MIDI only, but a lot of us are looking for a compact solution for our setup, and in 2017 there are a lot of combined loopers/MIDI-switchers out there – I miss information on this in your article:)
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Martin – thanks for the comment. This might have more of what you’re looking for: https://www.guitarchalk.com/guitar-pedals-midi/
Bill Ewing says
I am shopping for a Midi foot controller to work with an H&K Grandmeister36 amp and an Eventide H9 stomp box. This article really helped me a lot. You are one fine human being for providing this!
Because my rig is small, I am leaning towards the Behringer FCB1010. But, for any given preset, it can only make two control value changes???
That kills it for me; I would like to tweak my amp’s tone controls, delay, reverb, gain, volume, boost, FX loop on/off– to name a few.
Is the Behringer FCB1010 really that limited? Is there something I don’t understand here?
Bobby Kittleberger says
Hey Bill – thanks for the kind words.
I’m not sure I totally get what you’re saying, but if I’m understanding you correctly, the FCB1010 can control parameters of an effect (preset) with the expression pedals.
So, if you have a delay effect, you can use the expression pedal to change time and/or repeats on the fly.
I believe (though can’t remember for sure) that this can be unique for each preset. To be honest, that’s plenty of control, as most MIDI boards only support two expression inputs at most.
Then again, I could be misunderstanding you. Let me know. Hope this is helpful.