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Getting your Line 6 FBV Shortboard MkII to work with PodFarm plugin in Sonar 6, 7, or 8
by Krontab on 2009-10-10 07:07:56

Getting your Line 6 FBV Shortboard MkII to work with PodFarm plugin in Sonar 6, 7, or 8

Intro:

I want to say that this is a slightly more involved process than it needs to be due to Sonar's ACT controller setup is one of the worst ui's possable. I almost went to hacking the xml directly to avoid it. I realize that most people aren't used to xml markup so, I did my modifications through the GUI interfaces. On the other hand Line 6's FBV Control Software is really easy to use. That being said, Line 6 should work with Sonar developers to supply a preset or importable surface control xml file. Due to competition in the industry it may be impossable.


My Setup Relevent to the Process:

Windows XP
Sonar 8.5.1
FBV Control 1.00


Goal of My Setup:

The shortboard should control transport and PodFarm plugin in a stage-like fashion for recording or live playing with Sonar.

Expected Control Specifics:

Button A        Rewind
Button B        Stop
Button C        Record Start/Record Punch
Button D        Play/Stop
Tap Button        Shift Between Tone 1 and 2 in Dual Mode for the Stomp/Mod/Delay/Reverb
Up Button        Go|Next Marker
Down Button        Go|Previous Marker
Function 1 Button    Edit|Undo
Function 2 Button    Edit|Redo
Stomp Button        Switch on/off for Distortions/Dynamics/Filters
Modulation Button    Switch on/off
Delay Button        Switch on/off
Reverb Button        Switch on/off
Toe Switch        Toggle on/off for Tone 1 WAH Pedal
Pedal in Wah Mode    WAH Position for Tone 1 WAH
Pedal in Vol Mode    Do nothing due to no input level control exploited as a VST adjustable paramater


The Process:

This breaks into a hardware and software configuration. First you have to configure the Shortboard hardware via Line 6's FBV Control Software and then you need to setup the Sonar software to interpret the hardware signals.

Harware Config VIA FBV Control Software:

*Assume all channels and ports are 1*

Control:       MIDI Command    Value:            Switch Mode:
Function 1    Midi CC        CC 26            Single
Function 2    Midi CC        CC 27            Single
Bank Up        Midi CC        CC 29            Single
Bank Down    Midi CC        CC 30            Single
A        MMC         Rewind            Single
B        MMC         Stop            n/a
C        MMC         Record Punch(Protools)    n/a
D        MMC         Play            n/a
Tap        Midi CC        CC 31            Toggle
Stomp        Midi CC        CC 25            Single
Modulation    Midi CC        CC 50            Single
Delay        Midi CC        CC 28            Single
Reverb        Midi CC        CC 36            Single
Toe Switch    Midi CC        CC 43            Toggle
Pedal Wah    Midi CC        Foot Control        n/a
Pedal Vol    Unassigned    n/a            n/a

Save this config to a file for backup purposes:

Sonar Config:

*I'm assuming a basic understanding of how to do basic tasks in Sonar*:

Setup Test Project:

1. Create a new project with one audio track
2. Add PodFarm to the FX bin
3. Set PodFarm to Dual mode and make sure each tone contains a distortion, chorus, delay and reverb
4. Make sure tone one has a WAH assigned to it

Make the Transport Controls Work

1. Goto Options -> Controllers/Surfaces
2. Add a new "MMC" using the FBV (usb audio device on my system) as the input port. If its not available use the MIDI Devices button to enable it. Select none for the output port and hit okay.
3. Close Controller/Surfaces pane
4. The transport should work now using A - D buttons as stated in my Goal section.

Make the FBV control aspects of Podfarm (The Tricky Part):

*This get a bit fiddly so bare with me*

*Instanciate the FBV as an ACT Contoller*
1. Goto Options -> Controllers/Surfaces
2. Add a new "ACT MIDI Controller" using the FBV (usb audio device on my system) as the input port. If its not available use the MIDI Devices button to enable it. Select none for the output port and hit okay.
3. Close Controller/Surfaces pane

*Prep the ACT MIDI Controller for Use*
1. Goto Tools -> The name of the controller
2. Select the default preset enter in a nave for your preset and save
3. Set the rotary, slider, and button banks to 4, 4, and 2 respectivly
4. Set the Rotaries Mode to Channel Strip and the Control group to Main
5. On the options tab set the following (make sure you set the banks right for the buttons)
   
    Rotaries Bank 4     Uncheck Exclude from ACT
    Sliders Bank 4         Check Exclude from ACT
    Buttons Bank 2
   
    Assign the following for the button values
   
    Button:        Command:        Excude from ACT:
   
    Button 1    none            uncheck
    Button 2    none            uncheck
    Button 3    none            uncheck
    Button 4    none            uncheck
    Button 5    Go |Next Marker        check
    Button 6    Go |Previous Marker    check
    Button 7    Edit |Undo        check
    Button 8    Edit |Redo        check
    Shift-Button 1    none            uncheck
    Shift-Button 2    none            uncheck
    Shift-Button 3    none            uncheck
    Shift-Button 4    none            uncheck
    Shift-Button 5    Go |Next Marker        check
    Shift-Button 6    Go |Previous Marker    check
    Shift-Button 7    Edit |Undo        check
    Shift-Button 8    Edit |Redo        check

6. Return to the Controllers Tab and save the preset
7. With the Controller Tab open double click the PodFarm plugin to bring up its properties frame
8. looking back at your Controller tab you should see some frames have turned blue and the Active Controller Technology section reads Pod Farm
9. Check the "lock" box to make the plugin have the focus for "midi learning"
10. save the preset

*Frame Assignment and Midi Learn (the tricky part)*

As you look at the frames in the Controllers Tab you'll see that they are not the controls we need so we will have to alter them using the ACT Learn Feature. The help file and manual are brief in their description and in some cases leave out steps when describing this feature. I willl try to be more verbose. My ACT Learn process is as follows:

Frame Assignment Repeated Process:

With both the PodFarm frame and the Controllers tab open do the following:

Note: In the case of the FBV make sure the pedal on your controller is in WAH mode prior to starting as it seems more reliable in being sensed than the buttons

1. Hit one of the "ACT Learn" Buttons on either of the frames (button just says ACT)
2. Then left click the cell you want to assign a function to in the Controllers Tab (it will display MIDI learn)
3. Then adjust a parameter in PodFarm like turning the distortion pedal on or off
4. Move a midi control (in the case of the FBV I use the Wah Pedal moving it back and forth once not engaging the toe switch)
5. Hit one of the "ACT Learn" Buttons on either of the frames (if all has gone well you should have a prompt saying it has seen one control and parameter move.)
6. Accept the change (you should see the frame now contains the parameter you just moved)
7. Left click the cell it will say "midi learn" now click the floorboard button you want to assign to that parameter
8. Test that the button adjusts the parameter ( sometimes it took a few tries for the midi learn to take )

How I assigned my frames(follow my order using th above process and variations in process are labeled with **):

Frame:        Value:            FBV Button learned:    Where in PodFarm:
Button 1    1 DstDynFltOnOff    Stomp            On/Off button for tone 1's distortion pedal
Button 2    1 ModOn/off        Modulation        On/Off button for tone 1's modulation pedal
Button 3    1 Dly-On/Off        Delay            On/Off button for tone 1's delay pedal
Button 4    1 Vrb-On/Off        Reverb            On/Off button for tone 1's reverb processor

**on the options tab "Clear Midi learn"
**On the Controllers Tab hit "Shift Learn" and press tap twice on the FBV
**Assigning the shifted Buttons is the same but the shift must be engaged when doing the ACT Learn
**Make sure the tap is lit and proceed ACT Learning the shifted buttons 1-4

Shift + B1    2 DstDynFltOnOff    Stomp            On/Off button for tone 2's distortion pedal
Shift + B2    2 ModOn/off        Modulation        On/Off button for tone 2's modulation pedal
Shift + B3    2 Dly-On/Off        Delay            On/Off button for tone 2's delay pedal
Shift + B4    2 Vrb-On/Off        Reverb            On/Off button for tone 2's reverb processor

**Turn off the shift by pressing tap so that it is not lit
**Put the FBV Pedal in Volume Mode
**Assign the next parameter using the toe switch instead of the sweep and there is no need to do the midi learn of the cell at the end

Rotary 1    1 Wah-On/Off        Toe Switch        On/Off of the tone 1's Wah Pedal

**leave the pedal in Wah Mode and assign it

Rotary 2    1 Wah-Pos        FBV Pedal        The Wah position dial in tone 1's Wah Pedal

**Now just midi learn the buttons 5-8

Button 5    Go | Next Marker    Bank Up
Button 6    Go | PreviousMarker    Bank Down
Button 7    Edit | Undo        Function 1
Button 8     Edit | Redo        Function 2  

**test all controls but you should be done (Clear Midi Learn is your friend if you have bad button to cell assignments)
**remove the check in the ACT lock
**Save your preset

Summary:
The transport controls will work in any context the PodFarm controls will only work in a PodFarm plugin. You Should be done. Post back if you have any questions.




The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.