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Powercab Plus MIDI Control with Helix MIDI

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Line 6 Powercab Plus MIDI Control with Helix MIDI
This works with Firmware Version 2.20 and later.

 

Have your Helix Floor, Helix Rack, Helix LT or HX Effects automatically switch to any desired Powercab Plus channel Preset or combination of settings when pressing any Helix Preset or Snapshot button. You can easily change the Powercab Plus’ configuration from Helix’ Presets or Snapshots. For example, you may want the Powercab Plus in LF Flat mode for a particular Preset or Snapshot, then switch to Speaker Mode with a Vintage speaker model for a different Preset or Snapshot.

 

A word about Powercab Plus Preset management.

 

There are two basic ways to implement MIDI control for Powercab Plus with Helix MIDI.

 

1) Program Change using MIDI PC (Program Change) messages, and 2) Control Change using MIDI CC (Control Change or Continuous Controller) messages.

 

1) Program Change - In this scheme, when changing Presets or Snapshots on Helix, the Powercab Plus switches to it’s corresponding Preset. For example, switching to Preset 004 on Helix would switch Powercab Plus to it’s Preset 004 or whatever Preset you programmed in Helix. With this method there is only one setting in Helix that has to be programmed. All of the Powercab Plus settings are set and saved in Powercab Plus using the onboard screen or Powercab Edit app.

 

2) Control Change - In this scheme, Helix transmits all of the desired Powercab Plus settings to Powercab Plus using CC messages, regardless of what Preset Powercab Plus is currently on. No settings are required to be set or saved in Powercab Plus. For example, switching to Preset 004 on Helix could switch Powercab Plus settings to use a Green speaker model. Then, switching Snapshots within Preset 004 could switch the Powercab Plus speaker model to Vintage. Or, a Helix Preset could be configured to tell Powercab Plus to use a speaker model and then switching to different Helix Preset could then tell Powercab Plus to switch LF Flat mode.

 

The advantages of using Control Change is, you don’t have to maintain individual Presets in Powercab Plus, it doesn’t matter what Powercab Plus Preset you are currently on, and it works when plugging into any Powercab Plus, even somebody else’s (as long as Helix and Powercab Plus are set on the same MIDI channel).

 

IMPORTANT - When using MIDI Program Change or Control Change switching for Presets and Snapshots it is important to note that Powercab Plus will always remain it it’s last state unless it is sent a message or messages to alter that state. For example, if Powercab Plus had been set on a Preset that called for a Green speaker model, then you switched to a different Helix Preset, unless you send Powercab Plus either a PC message or one or more CC messages to change that, Powercab Plus will remain in it’s last state, set on the Green speaker.

 

Getting Started

 

DO THIS FIRST

 

Connect a standard five pin MIDI cable from the Helix ‘MIDI Out/Thru’ connector to the Powercab Plus ‘Midi In’ connector.

 

DO THIS SECOND

 

Connect a USB cable from Powercab Plus to your computer and launch Powercab Edit. This is only to monitor the status of Powercab Plus to make sure your Helix MIDI settings are doing what you want them to do.

 

Changing Powercab Plus Presets with Helix Presets and Snapshots

 

If you prefer to use Powercab Plus Presets and switch between them using Helix Presets and/or Snapshots, this is for you. You can have your Powercab Plus switch to any of it’s Presets when changing Helix Presets or Snapshots. This is done with MIDI PC messages.

 

Here’s how.

 

1. Go to the Helix Preset you want to program.
2. Navigate to Menu > Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > Page 2 > MIDI PC Send - set this to MIDI or MIDI + USB
3. Navigate to Menu > Command Center
4. Highlight an Instant Command (Lightning Bolt)

 

You should see five settings. Set them like this.

 

Command: Bank/Prog
Midi Ch: Base (or whatever MIDI channel you have Powercab Plus is set on.)
Bank CC00: off
Bank CC32: off
Program: 4 (or whatever Powercab Plus Preset you want to use.)

 

SAVE SAVE

 

Repeat for Snapshots if desired.

 

Check Powercab Edit to make sure it is working as expected. In this example, when you recall the selected Helix Preset, Powercab Plus will switch to it’s Preset 004.

 

Done.

 

Now, every time you press that Helix Preset button, Powercab Plus will switch to it’s Preset that you have programmed into Helix.

 

Repeat for other Presets.

 

Changing Powercab Plus Settings with Helix Presets and Snapshots

 

If you don’t want to have to maintain Presets in Powercab Plus, and you want to change Powercab Plus settings with Helix Presets and Snapshots, and you don’t mind a little extra programming, this is for you.

 

1. Go to the Helix Preset you want to program.
2. Navigate to Menu > Global Settings > MIDI/Tempo > Page 2 > MIDI PC Send - set this to Off
3. Navigate to Menu > Command Center
4. Highlight an Instant Command (Lightning Bolt)

 

In this example we will Program Helix to send two CC messages to Powercab Plus, telling it to switch to Flat Mode with LF Flat Voicing.

 

With the first Instant Command (Lightning Bolt) highlighted, you should see five settings. Using the MIDI tables from the Manual to set the following as desired.

 

This first Instant Command will send a CC message to Powercab Plus telling it you want Flat Mode.

 

Command: MIDI CC
Midi Ch: Base (or whatever MIDI channel you have Powercab Plus set on.)
CC#: 20
Value: 0

 

With a second Instant Command (Lightning Bolt) highlighted, set the following values.

 

This sends a CC message to Powercab Plus telling it you want LF Flat Voicing.

 

Command: MIDI CC
Midi Ch: Base (or whatever MIDI channel you have Powercab Plus set on.)
CC#: 21
Value: 2

 

SAVE SAVE

 

Up to six Instant Commands can be used per Helix Preset.

 

Check Powercab Edit to make sure it is working as expected. In this example, when you recall the selected Helix Preset, Powercab Plus will switch to it’s Flat Mode with LF Flat Voicing.

 

Done.

 

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Wow!!  Thanks a lot man, extremely solid work and much appreciated. I will definitely be digging into this sometime over the weekend. 

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9 minutes ago, SymphonicDischord said:

Wow!!  Thanks a lot man, extremely solid work and much appreciated. I will definitely be digging into this sometime over the weekend. 

 

Cool. Thanks. Enjoy

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Thank you sir, this is a perfect explanation of how to connect and control parameters of my Stomp with my Helix floor. This should be pinned to the top and added to the unofficial Helix document that's out there. DSP expansion is mainly why I purchased the stomp but it stands on it's own for a perfect back up and super portable solution. 

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5 minutes ago, AZGuitar said:

Thank you sir, this is a perfect explanation of how to connect and control parameters of my Stomp with my Helix floor. This should be pinned to the top and added to the unofficial Helix document that's out there. DSP expansion is mainly why I purchased the stomp but it stands on it's own for a perfect back up and super portable solution. 

 

Thanks. Enjoy.

 

I just got my Stomp also and loving it. I mainly got it for a backup for Helix Floor and a grab and go rig to go with Powercab Plus. I am a little disappointed the Stomp, currently, can not send CC messages to control Powercab Plus. Line 6 has acknowledged it could be done, so I created an Ideascale submission for it. If you like the idea, please vote it up.

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I did when you posted it up the other day. Funny, I told my wife this morning...."hey, I think I will take my stomp with me this weekend...she said side eye...it's our anniversary weekend..."

 

I know what's good for me, stomp staying at home! 

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12 minutes ago, AZGuitar said:

I did when you posted it up the other day. Funny, I told my wife this morning...."hey, I think I will take my stomp with me this weekend...she said side eye...it's our anniversary weekend..."

 

I know what's good for me, stomp staying at home! 

 

LOL Happy Anniversary!! Have a great weekend.

 

Thanks for the vote.

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Thanx a lot for those explanations !!!! It's really helpull !

I've just received my PC+ last wednesday....

I've programmed following the first method (i've seen on you tube) but i was asking myself how to go on the Flat mode and Raw voice for instance....

 

Today, i wanted to programm with Helix Edit but the menu is not the same as the device.

Have you some pictures or advices to program this way ?

 

I find that L6 would have done a better manual to explain how to play with midi stuff (with a Helix for exemple) or they could make a vid tuto.....

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To go on with my last message, i played again with Helix Edit yesterday.

 

At first, i wanted to disable all the cabs on presets.

The fisrt advice that i can tell is to do so with the computer editor. I've noticed that if you do it directly on the Helix, you have to go back on the amp section and all the parameters start from the default settings.

On the editor, you just have to click on the "amp" instead of "amp+cab" and all the amp's parameters are kept. And you have just to save your preset after.....MUCH more simple !!!!!

 

Finally, i've found the midi programming section, it's not a tab that you have to click like bypass/controller assign as i imagined but you have to click on the menus up to find it or the shortway is "CTRL+Maj+M"..... 

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On 10/15/2018 at 10:54 AM, SteveFrance said:

Thanx a lot for those explanations !!!! It's really helpull !

I've just received my PC+ last wednesday....

I've programmed following the first method (i've seen on you tube) but i was asking myself how to go on the Flat mode and Raw voice for instance....

 

Today, i wanted to programm with Helix Edit but the menu is not the same as the device.

Have you some pictures or advices to program this way ?

 

I find that L6 would have done a better manual to explain how to play with midi stuff (with a Helix for exemple) or they could make a vid tuto.....

 

10 hours ago, SteveFrance said:

To go on with my last message, i played again with Helix Edit yesterday.

 

At first, i wanted to disable all the cabs on presets.

The fisrt advice that i can tell is to do so with the computer editor. I've noticed that if you do it directly on the Helix, you have to go back on the amp section and all the parameters start from the default settings.

On the editor, you just have to click on the "amp" instead of "amp+cab" and all the amp's parameters are kept. And you have just to save your preset after.....MUCH more simple !!!!!

 

Finally, i've found the midi programming section, it's not a tab that you have to click like bypass/controller assign as i imagined but you have to click on the menus up to find it or the shortway is "CTRL+Maj+M"..... 

 

Congratulations on your new Powercab Plus.

 

Flat/LF Raw as shown in Powercab Edit and in the Powercab Plus onboard menu is the same as Flat/LF Solo as described in the Powercab Plus manual.

 

If you are using any of the Powercab Flat modes, you will want to leave Cabs or IRs enabled in Helix. Disable Cabs or IRs in Helix for Powercab Speaker Models or Powercab User IRs.

 

Looking at the MIDI tables in the Powercab manual you will see, to send Powercab Plus a message to set it to Flat/Raw(Solo) you would send message CC# 20 with a value of 0 (for Flat Mode) and a message CC# 21 with a value of 1 for LF Solo(Raw).

 

You will notice I have my Powercab Plus set to receive MIDI messages on Channel 4. Yours is likely set to Channel 1 if using the defaults in Helix and Powercab Plus.

 

HX Edit MIDI 1.png

HX Edit MIDI 2.png

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5 minutes ago, redrain27 said:

How long does firmware update take?

 

Firmware? Just a few minutes.

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19 minutes ago, redrain27 said:

    Its been over an hour on the firmware update.  Is that a problem?

 

You might want to give Line 6 Support a call. They are great.

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Thanks again pbatts !

In fact, at first i didn't find the command center menu, it's OK now !!!

I just have to re-programm everything :)

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I know this is an old thread, and I have followed the instructions to the letter. What's happening is on "both PC+'s, when I plug in the midi cable to the input they freeze up and will not clear until I pull the midi cable and then power cycle the PC+. Yes, I have swapped midi cables, same results. If its not the cable, and I dont believe that two PC+'s have the exact same issue, and the midi port on Helix was running the Strymon midi just fine, what the heck is going on?

 

I'm scratching the 4 hairs on my head here.  Anyone?

 

Edited: I Figured it out. In Globals, if you have "Send Midi Clock" set to anything but off, as soon as you plug in the midi cable into the PC+ it locks it up, and the only way to unfreeze it I found was to remove the midi cable from the PC+ and power it off and back on.

 

Now, if I can figure out how to make Powercab Edit work with "two" PC+'s at the same time?  Both PC+'s are set to different midi channels, but it only seems to like one PC+ at a time.

 

 

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On 10/16/2018 at 8:21 PM, pbatts said:

 

 

 

Congratulations on your new Powercab Plus.

 

Flat/LF Raw as shown in Powercab Edit and in the Powercab Plus onboard menu is the same as Flat/LF Solo as described in the Powercab Plus manual.

 

If you are using any of the Powercab Flat modes, you will want to leave Cabs or IRs enabled in Helix. Disable Cabs or IRs in Helix for Powercab Speaker Models or Powercab User IRs.

 

Looking at the MIDI tables in the Powercab manual you will see, to send Powercab Plus a message to set it to Flat/Raw(Solo) you would send message CC# 20 with a value of 0 (for Flat Mode) and a message CC# 21 with a value of 1 for LF Solo(Raw).

 

You will notice I have my Powercab Plus set to receive MIDI messages on Channel 4. Yours is likely set to Channel 1 if using the defaults in Helix and Powercab Plus.

 

HX Edit MIDI 1.png

HX Edit MIDI 2.png

 

Hi,

 

I just want to pick up on this post to add some note.

I've got a lot of presets wherein i've only got one kind of speaker model, so i've programmed my preset with a midi message just with the instant one.

Everything works fine in those cases.

Nevertheless, i've noticed tardily (cause i use my PC+ tilt back), that the model was not the one i was waiting for in presets i have many midi orders.

I've gone back on your post to see how to configure that. Following your screen print, i've done the same. So for example, i've got a preset with three snapshots.

An intro with a fender twin, a chorus with a marshall and a solo with a boosted marshall. 

So i wanted to have a Jensen® P12Q on snapshot 1 and the Celestion® Greenback 25 model for the following.

Then, i was on SNAP1 and go on each lightning to program all those three phases.

When i call the preset, i've discovered that on the SNAP1, the model jumps directly to the Greenback.....

It took me time to understand that, in this configuration, when i switch on the preset, all the orders are send on the channel so, all the instants are read at the same time and it stops at the last one once the line is entirely read....

 

In fact, if you wanna have a changing per snapshot, to be correct, you have to go on Snapshot 1, go in the command center, on the instant one and select the model you want.

You don't need to close the command center window (on the device itself, don't know with HX Edit), switch to Snapshot 2, select the instant ONE and choose the model. Same thing for the third one....

Now everything is OK and works as expected.

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Is it necessary to use a MIDI cable, or can this be done via the Link cable?

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5 minutes ago, DaveStarns said:

Is it necessary to use a MIDI cable, or can this be done via the Link cable?

 

Most everything described above requires a MIDI cable. There is now, with 2.8, limited control of Powercab+ via L6 link, which is great if you don't need everything MIDI has to offer.

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19 minutes ago, pbatts said:

 

Most everything described above requires a MIDI cable. There is now, with 2.8, limited control of Powercab+ via L6 link, which is great if you don't need everything MIDI has to offer.

 

All I really need it to do is change the speaker models. It would be nice to do it with the Snapshots as well as with presets.

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13 hours ago, pbatts said:

 

Most everything described above requires a MIDI cable. There is now, with 2.8, limited control of Powercab+ via L6 link, which is great if you don't need everything MIDI has to offer.

 

Limited control? You can control every parameter in the Powercab preset via L6 Link. There’s really no reason to use MIDI between the Helix and PC any longer.

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12 hours ago, DaveStarns said:

 

All I really need it to do is change the speaker models. It would be nice to do it with the Snapshots as well as with presets.

 

You can do that via the L6 Link connection.

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13 hours ago, DaveStarns said:

 

All I really need it to do is change the speaker models. It would be nice to do it with the Snapshots as well as with presets.

 

Yes, you can do that via L6 Link per Snapshot or per Preset in the output block.

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23 minutes ago, phil_m said:

 

Limited control? You can control every parameter in the Powercab preset via L6 Link. There’s really no reason to use MIDI between the Helix and PC any longer.

 

You can't control Powercab+ Master Volume via L6 Link.

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14 minutes ago, pbatts said:

 

You can't control Powercab+ Master Volume via L6 Link.


You can’t control it via MIDI either... It’s an analog attenuator, I believe.

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Just now, phil_m said:


You can’t control it via MIDI either... It’s an analog attenuator, I believe.

 

Oh, but you can. I've been doing it since I got the Powercab+. I use an exp pedal and it's awesome. MIDI CC#7.

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8 minutes ago, pbatts said:

 

Oh, but you can. I've been doing it since I got the Powercab+. I use an exp pedal and it's awesome. MIDI CC#7.


I’ll take your word for it... It’s not listed in the manual, at least not the current one. How would that be functionally any different than controlling the Level parameter in the output block with the expression pedal?

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16 minutes ago, phil_m said:


I’ll take your word for it... It’s not listed in the manual, at least not the current one. How would that be functionally any different than controlling the Level parameter in the output block with the expression pedal?

 

Please, don't take my word for it.

 

It's on page 13 in the manual in the MIDI CC - Global Functions chart, MIDI CC#7.

 

It's functionally different than controlling the Level parameter in the output block because it doesn't affect the level going to the FOH or DAW or whatever from the XLR output of the Powercab+ and it doesn't affect gain staging.

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3 minutes ago, pbatts said:

 

Please, don't take my word for it.

 

It's on page 13 in the manual in the MIDI CC - Global Functions chart, MIDI CC#7.

 

It's different because it doesn't affect the level going to the FOH from the XLR output of the Powercab+ and it doesn't affect gain staging.


It’s no longer listed in the latest manual: https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a4107835d2fac0e63b03/application/pdf/Powercab Manual - English .pdf

 

That does make sense. Controlling the master output of an amp with an expression pedal isn’t something I’d want to do, personally. But I’d it works for you, that’s great!

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11 minutes ago, phil_m said:


It’s no longer listed in the latest manual: https://line6.com/data/6/0a020a4107835d2fac0e63b03/application/pdf/Powercab Manual - English .pdf

 

That does make sense. Controlling the master output of an amp with an expression pedal isn’t something I’d want to do, personally. But I’d it works for you, that’s great!

 

Hmmmmm. Interesting. I hadn't looked at the new manual, thanks for that. It appears there has been an oversight.

 

You might want to write this one in. Powercab+ Master Volume MIDI CC#7.

 

Edit:

Not enabling control of the Powercab+ Master Volume via L6 Link is my big disappointment in the latest updates.

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