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Command Center - MIDI Pitch Bend missing ?

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Another "where do I find this" question ... there doesn't seem to be any way of sending pitch bend messages from a switch/pedal. I'd have thought that this was pretty basic MIDI functionality ?

 

Mike

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Another "where do I find this" question ... there doesn't seem to be any way of sending pitch bend messages from a switch/pedal. I'd have thought that this was pretty basic MIDI functionality ?

 

Mike

 

Hi Mike,

 

I guess you won't "find this" - it just isn't there!

 

Yep, that is pretty basic MIDI functionality within a controller keyboard, BUT (it's a big but) Helix is not a MIDI controller.

 

The way I understand it is Helix simply transmits and responds to MIDI messages from an external controller over MIDI/USB. These would be, essentially Patch, Bank and Set List change messages. The MIDI CC messages can be used to remotely trigger some of the Helix Foot Switches (in Stomp Box Mode). Helix does not generate and send note info - there is no pitch to MIDI conversion going on in the Helix, although that would be interesting to see. If you want to record all that regular MIDI stuff, Portamento, Modulation, Aftertouch and all those other goodies you're going to need to stick a MIDI controller (keyboard, hex pickup, whatever) into the MIDI DIN socket and capture the signal in your DAW. You can then use the data to play VST/AU soft synths, external rack mounted equipment and such like.

 

I say you can capture the MIDI in your DAW of choice - that's only partially true and if you can get it to work! Seems to be that everything works fine for Windoze users running the supplied ASIO driver. If you're a Mac pilot you could be about to enter a real world of pain. My Helix worked perfectly with my 27" Retina iMac from last November '15 up until early March '16 when, for no apparent reason, it stopped playing nice - no MIDI input. Those nice people at Line 6 Ideascale say that they are working on a fix by writing a custom USB/MIDI driver for OS X. Although, as for an ETA on that – nada, zip, zilch, zero!

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Yep, that is pretty basic MIDI functionality within a controller keyboard, BUT (it's a big but) Helix is not a MIDI controller.

 

 

 

I'd disagree ... from the advertising blurb ...

 

POWERFUL MASTER CONTROLLER

When you need to incorporate external devices via MIDI, Helix offers more flexibility than any multi-effect ever. In addition to powerful real time MIDI control, Helix can send up to six separate commands at patch recall that aren’t assigned to a footswitch, which means you can change a patch on a synth, start a sequencer, and turn up a fader on an external digital mixer, all with one press of a footswitch. Add two additional expression pedal inputs, CV/Expression out, and external amp switching, and Helix can be the command center for any size rig.

 

Kinda implies that the Helix IS intended as a MIDI controller. The pedals/buttons can already send MIDI CC, CC Toggle, Bank/Prog change, Note On/Off and MMC. It's just that Pitch Bend seems to have been forgotten. I'm not expecting note generation from the guitar - as you rightly said that needs note to MIDI conversion and there are plenty of products that do that pretty well already (Roland VG, GR etc, plus the Axon converters). I want pitch bend so I can duplicate the Hold/Glide/Exp pedals on a GR-20 on the Helix. I can do it with a MIDI protocol converter but it still seems like a missing feature from the Helix.

 

Also, there's no computer/DAW or anything like that involved as this is for stage use. I'm using the good old 5-PIN connectors!

 

 

Mike

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POWERFUL MASTER CONTROLLER

When you need to incorporate external devices via MIDI, Helix offers more flexibility than any multi-effect ever. In addition to powerful real time MIDI control, Helix can send up to six separate commands at patch recall that aren’t assigned to a footswitch, which means you can change a patch on a synth, start a sequencer, and turn up a fader on an external digital mixer, all with one press of a footswitch. Add two additional expression pedal inputs, CV/Expression out, and external amp switching, and Helix can be the command center for any size rig.

 

Kinda implies that the Helix IS intended as a MIDI controller.

 

Mike,

 

Dammit, you are correct - and that quote from the blurb is the exact same one that I used, to prove Helix is a controller, in a similar discussion in another thread - DOH!

 

I'm a real idiot.

 

So, having re-read the manual (again), I sort of see your dilemma. No mention of Pitch Bend via MIDI.

 

Is it not possible to achieve what you need by using the expression pedal MIDI CC set with a Min Value and Max Value? I have used this technique on a Variax with the tone knob mapped to and controlling the feedback amount into one of the delay models. A continuously variable effect. Although, what parameter would you need it to change? Mapping to a pitch shifter model, maybe? Dunno.

 

Regarding your other thread question about a MIDI hold function momentary button, in the manual on Page 38, the Note on/off section that says "sustains only when the switch is held". Is that function not available through Command Center? I've never really checked that stuff out. if it's not there, it needs to be fixed.

 

Maybe, stick in a request for these items on the Ideascale page.

 

I'm probably looking down the wrong end of the telescope and totally wrong - once again!

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Is it not possible to achieve what you need by using the expression pedal MIDI CC set with a Min Value and Max Value? I have used this technique on a Variax with the tone knob mapped to and controlling the feedback amount into one of the delay models. A continuously variable effect. Although, what parameter would you need it to change? Mapping to a pitch shifter model, maybe? Dunno.

 

 

I need the pitch bend specifically as it's to control the pitch bend on a Roland GR-20. I'm putting the GR at the back of the stage to reduce clutter up front and I want to use the Helix as a "control everything" box.

 

I'm getting around the problem using one of these - http://www.midisolutions.com/prodepp.htm, which is an awesome bit of kit for translating MIDI messages. I'll program it to change a CC on an unused MIDI channel to a pitch bend on the GR-20 channel which solves the problem. It'd just be nice if the Helix could send the messages directly. I'm using the same box to convert note on/off messages from a Helix footswitch to CC messages to simulate a momentary MIDI CC switch which is also missing.

 

Mike

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I need the pitch bend specifically as it's to control the pitch bend on a Roland GR-20. I'm putting the GR at the back of the stage to reduce clutter up front and I want to use the Helix as a "control everything" box.

 

I'm getting around the problem using one of these - http://www.midisolutions.com/prodepp.htm, which is an awesome bit of kit for translating MIDI messages. I'll program it to change a CC on an unused MIDI channel to a pitch bend on the GR-20 channel which solves the problem. It'd just be nice if the Helix could send the messages directly. I'm using the same box to convert note on/off messages from a Helix footswitch to CC messages to simulate a momentary MIDI CC switch which is also missing.

 

Mike

 

That's an amazing little box of tricks, but an additional expense to solve a problem that you really should not have.

 

Seems that you're not alone with the MIDI implementation on the Helix and a "control everything" senario.

 

Check out this other thread about more MIDI usability issues, here:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/19754-helix-not-as-good-as-hd500-for-midi-control-close-to-unusable/

 

Hope you are not encountering these clock problems too. ;)

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What are you trying to use pitch bend data to do? Because you can't "bend the pitch" unless you put a whammy in there somewhere, and then you simply use the controller assigned to it.

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What are you trying to use pitch bend data to do? Because you can't "bend the pitch" unless you put a whammy in there somewhere, and then you simply use the controller assigned to it.

 

I'm not bending pitch on the Helix - I need the pitch bend to control the pitch bend on a Roland GR-20.

 

My rig is a Godin LGXT (or GK'd Strat) running into the Helix via a G70 for the mags, and also via a 13-pin GK cable into a GR-20/VG99. Both of these are located at the back of the stage controlled from the Helix via MIDI. They feed back into the Helix via the Aux and S/PDIF inputs and everything is mixed/switched on the Helix.

 

Mike

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That's an amazing little box of tricks, but an additional expense to solve a problem that you really should not have.

 

Seems that you're not alone with the MIDI implementation on the Helix and a "control everything" senario.

 

Check out this other thread about more MIDI usability issues, here:

 

http://line6.com/support/topic/19754-helix-not-as-good-as-hd500-for-midi-control-close-to-unusable/

 

Hope you are not encountering these clock problems too. ;)

 

Fortunately I've got one of the boxes already as I needed to send SysEx messages to a VG99 from a keyboard that didn't support SysEx.

 

So far I've not needed to clock-sync anything from the Helix, but I'd like to see the looper controls quantized to beat boundaries

 

Mike

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I'll freely admit that pitch bend (and by extension, aftertouch, poly aftertouch, and SysEx) was omitted because it doesn't really fit within the confines of what one would expect from a guitar-based MIDI controller. But seeing as certain Roland guitar products do indeed respond to pitch bend, it's certainly worth requesting it on IdeaScale.

 

EDIT: Never mind; I see you've already done this. Cheers!

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stumbling on this - I got the fishman triple play & can get the expression to control volume - & learn midi via a 2nd exp EV-5...problem is finding where the pitch is on some synths - can control almost every bloody dial within each synth

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Huh. Pitch bend has been in our backlog since the beginning, but I honestly didn't expect anyone to notice or care. To be fair, it took almost 18 months. ;)

Helix also doesn't send monophonic aftertouch, polyphonic aftertouch, RPNs, NRPNs, active sensing, or massive strings of SysEx. Missing synth-centric MIDI data from a guitar-centric MIDI controller isn't exactly a glaring omission IMO. Regardless, I'll push MIDI pitch bend up the list.

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