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MIDI, Instants and Snapshots on the HX


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Hi All.


First post here. Have read lots of good stuff on here since buying my HX  a month or so ago.


I do love it and don't miss my Boss ES-5 setup with Mobius and other assorted pedals at all!


I'm pretty good with MIDI (from my 90's days when all my synths/effects were outboard!) but have some observations and thoughts on MIDI instant command/Snapshot/Preset interactions that I'd be interested in feedback on.


To my mind, it should (logically) work thus (and I'm only dealing with PC messages here...):

  1. In Preset mode, you set up your MIDI messages using the Instants in the Command Centre. These would be the default MIDI messages for the whole preset.
  2. Within a snapshot, you should be able to change the instant, or have it default to the ‘Preset’ one set up above either by having no instant at all, or a "preset default" option.


I use Midi (for my H9 and Elektron Analog Drive) and snapshots (I use one preset per song and the snapshots for the different sounds within a song) and it doesn’t seem to work in a consistent way for me. For instance : 

  • I set up one snapshot as a default for a song and copy the snapshot to make changes for different sections.  The Instants do not copy across.
  • If I remove an instant from a snapshot (as the snapshot doesn't need to change any MIDI values) the Instant MIDI command is removed totally across all snapshots and the preset.


I'm quite sure this is just me not fully understanding how Instants and Snapshots interact!


Anyone got any definitive answers on how Snapshot Instant’s work. I’ve fudged my way through (checking each snapshot’s Instant values) and have the unit setup as I want now but would like to now the official line on how it is supposed to work for future programming.




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You can have up to six Instant Commands per preset, and each of those can be changed in certain ways per snapshot. If you assign an Instant Command, that assignment will apply to the whole preset, but, like I said, you can still change things with it per snapshot.


If you're only dealing with PCs, it's actually really straightforward. You need one Instant Command for each device you're wanting to send a PC to (generally you'd want it so each one was being sent on its own channel). For example, I have the Strymon Mobius and Strymon BigSky connected to my Helix (the HX would be the same), and I have Instant Command 1 set to be a PC message on Channel 1 and Instant Command 2 set to be a PC message on channel 2. In Snapshot 1, I might want PC2 for the Mobius and PC10 for the BigSky. I just go and set those values in that snapshot. For Snapshot 2, let's say I want to bring up something different on the Mobius but leave the BigSky alone. I would just go change the value of the PC in Instant Command 1 in Snapshot 2 to PC8 (or whatever). Now when I go to Snapshot 2 from Snapshot 1, only the PC message for the Mobius should be shot out (I believe).


I say "I believe" because there is one thing I'm not sure about in regards to the HX. On the Helix, there's a "Duplicate PC" parameter in Global Settings menu that when off (the default), it makes it so the Helix only sends out PC messages assigned as Instant Commands when changing snapshots if the value is different compared to the snapshot it was coming from. So in that example I gave, only one PC would be sent when changing from Snapshot 1 to 2. If, however, the Duplicate PC parameter was set to on, both PCs for both pedals would be shot out. If you're controlling something like the H9, it probably would not be a big if it received the same PC again. It would just reload the current preset. I have read one report saying that on the HX, the behavior is just that it always sends all PCs regardless if they're duplicates or not, but I don't have an HX myself yet, so I can't confirm that.

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Hi Phil.


Thanks for the detailed reply.


I get how the Instant's work - and I've got everything set up on channels etc. It all works in terms of sending stuff correctly (I'm actually pretty good at MIDI...I control all my Preset changing on the HX from an iPad lyric App; I select a new song, and the HX changes to that preset and the correct snapshot to start the song with), it's how the HX snapshots are storing and copy/pasting that I have issues with.


I guess I my query boils down to this...  


I populated a whole batch of presets with a "baseline" preset to work from - it saved me doing things like setting up my Amp Switcher button every time I built in a new preset.  As part of that, I also set up default Instant Commands with PC 0 to go to both my MIDI pedals (on their separate channels). Again, the idea was to not need to set up the two Instant Commands with the MIDI channel everytime I wanted a new preset.  All I thought I would have to do is change the PC for each in Snapshot 1, then build from there, copying and pasting that snapshot for each part of that song.


So, I go into a preset to set it up for a song.  For this song, I go into snapshot mode and program snapshot 1, changing the Instant Commands PC msg relevant to that tune.  This works fine.  I can leave the preset, come back to it and, as long as I saved it to snapshot 1, the correct PC is sent.


I then Copy/Paste the snapshot to a new snapshot to work on the sounds for the chorus/lead/whatever.  In this new snapshot (which I've copied from my correctly setup one), the Instant Command messages do not get copied over.  They stay the same as the "baseline" preset I originally had and send the PC 0's I set up in that baseline; I would expect the new snapshot to be exactly the same as the one I copied.


In essence - copy/paste in snapshots is not copy/pasting Instant Commands.


I couldn't see the Duplicate PC function in the HX manual - shame - that would be perfect and is the sort of functionality I was after when I set out how I would expect it to work in my first post.




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  • 4 years later...

Point is that on Hx effects, sometimes it works well : one instant message (eg N°1) must be the same command type (eg PC) accross snapshots (and is copied among other snapshots when defined), while you can set different parameters for midi channel and value(s) in each snapshot. ... and by saving of course after each modification before moving to the other preset.

While its does not work using the Hx edit program on PC, it works not so bad on Hx effects itself.

I still have some issues with it : sometimes when you change a value in one snapshot, it changes it in all snapshots, and there is nothing you can do to change this.

It is also very difficult to disable this MIDI command in another snapshot (sometimes you can set it to OFF, while it's not always working)


Adding the fact Hx effects does not passthru the MIDI sysex commands it receives, I feel MIDI implementation in Hx effects is not reliable, unfortunately.

...While this machine is a killer for audio effects.

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