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HX Stomp/1500/Variax Midi Control - Idea Time

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One of the advantages a full on Helix has over the HX Stomp is the VDI Input, which allows for more Variax Control. 


Now, the Firehawk 1500 has a VDI input that allows for a significant amount of Variax control (though still not quite Helix level), but if you buy an HX Stomp, there's a good chance you'll spend more of your time controlling everything with the Stomp, rather than the Firehawk, which means it becomes more difficult to retain that Variax benefit on the Firehawk


In comes the Midi Controller. 


Because the Stomp will pass on midi messages, it is entirely possible to connect your Midi Controller to the HX Stomp, and then the HX Stomp's midi out to the Firehawk's midi in. 


From there, you can create presets on your Firehawk that Line up with your HX Stomp's presets. In my case, I largely created neutral presets in the Firehawk (no amp/cab, no effects unless desired) with the Stomp doing most of the heavy lifting, but the Variax settings (guitar type, tuning) are saved to each Firehawk preset. 


Then, as you change presets on the Stomp it does a matching preset change on the Firehawk, and viola, the Variax changes with it! In fact, you can even take it one step further. If you need more effects than the Stomp provides for some sets, the preset on the Firehawk can provide this extra oomph. Granted this takes time because you'll need to do a fair amount of programming, but once the process is done once it's not too hard to do it over and over again quickly. Here's the general framework I did, and it is a powerful rig once done:


1. Variax into VDI input of Firehawk 1500.

2. HX Stomp placed in effects loop of Firehawk 1500 (1500 FX send to HX Stomp main ins, main Stomp outs to 1500's FX ins). 

3. Midi cable from HX Stomp midi out to 1500's midi in. 

4. Midi cable from midi controller to HX Stomp midi in. 

5. Make sure all FX blocks in every Firehawk preset are turned on and saved to the Firehawk 1500 (not to the app or the cloud). You don't want to switch a preset and have your Stomp go quiet. 

6. I prefer to have the mix on the Firehawk set to 100%, but it's up to you. 

7. Make sure all Firehawk 1500 presets perfectly line up with your HX Stomp presets so they're 1 to 1. 


There you go. It's a simple setup that can allow you, with the press of a button, to change tunings, guitar styles, etc. on the fly. You can also turn on and off effects depending on how you program it. 


Pro Tip:


This setup can work very well to save DSP usage on your Stomp. In other words, whenever possible forgo the use of EQs in the Stomp and instead use the Firehawk's EQ. If you are like me and find you use the legacy reverbs the most in the Stomp, instead rely on the solid reverbs of the Firehawk. Lean on the Stomp for the heavy lifting elements (Distortion/Compressor/Amps/Cabs/IRs/Modulations/Delays/Wah/Filters/Complex Reverbs). 

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