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zest

Using Helix with MIDI foot controller.

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Hi,

 

I just got my Helix Rack yesterday and i bought an used FCB1010 foot controller to go with it, because I needed the Rack version and can't afford the Helix Control right now.

I would like to configure it to work with the Helix but having absolutely no experiences with MIDI and amp modelers, I really don't know how to do it and where to start, or even what is possible to do beside switching presets.

I pretty much only find informations on how to use the Helix AS a midi controller but that's obviously not what I want to do.

 

So, If someone could help me, and/or point me to good documentation about this, It would be greatly appreciated!

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If you have the stock FCB1010, your options are somewhat limited. If you have the UNO chip, that adds options.

 

The stock FCB chip allows you to select PRESETS on the Helix. You can send a PROGRAM CHANGE message to up to 5 devices on separate MIDI Channels (you only use 1 if the Helix is your only device, but if you have MIDI controllable devices like Strymons in the Helix FX loop, these can be controlled too). In addition, you can send 2 CONTROL CHANGE messages on separate channels, and 1 NOTE message. How these capabilities are used in a given user's rig is rig and goal dependent. Ask a specific "HOW TO" question and I'll try to help. The functions available with the UNO chip as described below can be mimicked with the stock chip, but it severely limits your options and is more difficult to configure. You also cannot sync the LEDs as you can with UNO.

 

The UNO chip adds the ability to have 5 of the 10 footswitches act as "TOGGLING CC" (STOMP) switches, with the other 5 footswitches used to select PRESETS on the Helix (FCB PRESET switches). This configuration applies to all of the FCB's banks.That means that you can turn ON/OFF up to 5 effects per preset, and the LEDs on the FCB can reflect the ON/OFF status of the effect (see NOTE below). Two additional effects can be toggled on subsequent presses of the FCB PRESET button, but the LEDs will not reflect status. Again, I'll try to help with specific questions on how to use these capabilities.

 

NOTE: Communication between the FCB and the Helix is ONE WAY ONLY! The FCB can tell the Helix what to do, but has no way to tell what the Helix is doing. In order to have the FCB's LEDs reflect the ON/OFF status of an effect, you need to configure the FCB preset to send the ON/OFF message required for the Helix preset. IOW - if you want effect 1 to be ON and effect 2 to be off, the FCB preset has to be configured to send (on FCB/Helix preset load) the ON message to effect 1, and the OFF message to effect 2. The effect in Helix will then be ON or OFF as required and the FCB's LEDs will reflect that, and know that on next press of the corresponding FCB STOMP button it should send the opposite message.

 

I know that this sounds very complicated. It is. That's why you should buy the proper Helix controller. It can, however be done, and I use the FCB to control Native on my office rig (my Floor is in the studio. If you'd like, I can send you a sample FCB sysex (configuration) file to demonstrate how to do it. Let me know which chip (stock or UNO) you have, and I'll put one together for you. If you want to try this, regardless of which chip you have, you'll need to buy the UNO_ControlCenter Editor (about $22).

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Hey @rd2rk, sorry for the late reply.

 

Well, I basicely just need to switch presets and snapshots with the FCB, and using the looper for songwriting and making presets. I also would like to be able to switch effects on and off, and use the expression pedals (mainly for volume), but from what I understood I need the UNO ship, and I assume I have the stock one.

 

I watched a long tutorial video on youtube about the FCB, which helped, and you did too, but still not fully clear on how I can use it with the Helix.

I'm going to try now to configure it now and we'll see. I'll also try to figure out wich ship I have later and tell you about it.

 

Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it!

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Also what is the difference between CC32 and CC69? FCB documentation only talk about CC

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On 4/7/2019 at 1:12 PM, zest said:

Also what is the difference between CC32 and CC69? FCB documentation only talk about CC

 

CC#32 is used to tell a MIDI device that a Bank Change is coming, and the associated Value (0-7 on the Helix) tells the device what bank to switch to.

 

CC#69 tells the Helix that a Snapshot change is coming, and the associated Value (0-7) tells the Helix what Snapshot to switch to.

 

EDIT: Removed inaccurate info. See later posts.

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, I should've been more clear. I understand what CC#32 and CC#69 messages means for the Helix, but I don't know how to program CC#32 and CC#69 messages from the FCB since the documentation I can find only talks about must "CC".

 

EDIT: I've just seen this: "

  • If you have selected CNT1 or CNT2, you can now enter the number of the controller to be sent (0 through 127) when you press the corresponding footswitch. After confirming your selection with UP/ENTER you can select a controller value (0 through 127). Con rm your selection with UP/ENTER. " 

Is it that? "The number of the controller to be sent" being the #32 and #69 in question?

 

Also I tried to program just one FCB "preset" (bank 0, footswitch 1) to send a PC message to the Helix to make it switch to the corresponding preset, following a FCB tutorial, and it seemed to work (In the sense that I programmed it right, but apparently not..) but nothing happen on the Helix when I push the Footswitch.

Edited by zest

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1 hour ago, zest said:

Sorry, I should've been more clear. I understand what CC#32 and CC#69 messages means for the Helix, but I don't know how to program CC#32 and CC#69 messages from the FCB since the documentation I can find only talks about must "CC".

 

EDIT: I've just seen this: "

  • If you have selected CNT1 or CNT2, you can now enter the number of the controller to be sent (0 through 127) when you press the corresponding footswitch. After confirming your selection with UP/ENTER you can select a controller value (0 through 127). Con rm your selection with UP/ENTER. " 

Is it that? "The number of the controller to be sent" being the #32 and #69 in question?

 

Also I tried to program just one FCB "preset" (bank 0, footswitch 1) to send a PC message to the Helix to make it switch to the corresponding preset, following a FCB tutorial, and it seemed to work (In the sense that I programmed it right, but apparently not..) but nothing happen on the Helix when I push the Footswitch.

 

I'm currently having a problem attaching images/files in this forum. PM me a real email address and I'll be happy to provide the details in screenshots and example sysex files.

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Most of it is pretty clear. Thanks a lot for the time you put in helping me, again I really apreciate it.

 

I'll try using the free editor when I get home (I guess you were talking about the "Mountain Utilities" one?) to program it.

- I guess to do so I just have to plug the FCB in the MIDI IN of my soundcard or the Helix?

 

There's still a few things that confuse me though:

- PC1, PC2, etc.. it doesnt change anything for the Helix, they are all just simple PC messages for the Helix, and it's just that the FCB allow to send multiple at once, right?

- Do I really need to select a preset bank on the Helix first, before choosing the preset? What I mean by that is if on my Helix, I'm already "in" the bank where the presetI want to select is, do I still need to first send a message to say where the preset is, or not? Because when I tried my Helix was already on the right bank and I just sent a PC message with the number of the desired preset. Maybe this is why it doesn't worked?

 

Thanks again, you help a lot.

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2 hours ago, zest said:

I'll try using the free editor when I get home (I guess you were talking about the "Mountain Utilities" one?) to program it.

- I guess to do so I just have to plug the FCB in the MIDI IN of my soundcard or the Helix?

 

Yes, that is the ancient and currently unsupported "Ed Dixon" editor.

You'll need two cables, as two way communication is required. FCB OUT/THRU to Soundcard IN, FCB IN from Soundcard OUT.

 

2 hours ago, zest said:

There's still a few things that confuse me though:

- PC1, PC2, etc.. it doesnt change anything for the Helix, they are all just simple PC messages for the Helix, and it's just that the FCB allow to send multiple at once, right?

 

When you press a Preset button on the FCB, the order in which the MIDI messages are sent is: PC1-PC4;CC1,CC2;PC5;NOTE. Anything left blank sends nothing.

 

2 hours ago, zest said:

Do I really need to select a preset bank on the Helix first, before choosing the preset? What I mean by that is if on my Helix, I'm already "in" the bank where the presetI want to select is, do I still need to first send a message to say where the preset is, or not?

 

No, if the preset you want is in the current bank.

 

I'm attaching a sysex file that demonstrates three things. When you get the editor installed, click READ SYSEX and select the file. I hope it works, it was created on my UNO equipped FCB and exported to sysex format. It demonstrate how to set up the following:

 

Bank 00 - pedals 1-8 select snapshots

Bank 01 - Pedals 1-8 select Helix Banks 1-8 with different presets in each.

Bank 02-10 - Simple preset selection, current bank

 

If it works as designed (sometimes sysex created on UNO boards with ControlCenter don't work properly on Stock boards with the Ed Dixon Editor), you should be able to create whatever you need.

 

Let me know if it works!

 

Helix Stock FCB demo.syx

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Damn, I only have one MIDI cable at the moment. I'll try to get another one this weekend and I'll tell you if it works.

 

EDIT: Probably a stupid idea, nut I guess there's no way of using the editor by pluging the cable alternatively on the IN/OUTS when needed? haha..

 

I still wonder why the preset (just a PC message) I did manually doesnt work though :(

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Wait, for the connection to the Helix I only need a cable from the FCB OUT/THRU to the Helix MIDI IN right?? If it needs the two-way communication too that would be the reason it doesn't work (Sorry I'm really a newbie to this..)

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Just now, zest said:

Wait, for the connection to the Helix I only need a cable from the FCB OUT/THRU to the Helix MIDI IN right?? If it needs the two-way communication too that would be the reason it doesn't work (Sorry I'm really a newbie to this..)

 

Two way communication is only required to use the editor. Your preset probably didn't work because of a Global settings mis-match. See previous post about that.

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Question: What is the make/model of your soundcard/AI?

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21 hours ago, rd2rk said:

Question: What is the make/model of your soundcard/AI?

It 's a PreSonus Audiobox USB. I also have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (1st gen I think) that I tried to use with Cubase 5, but I get an error message everytime I select its driver inside Cubase. The Audiobox works well though.

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37 minutes ago, zest said:

It 's a PreSonus Audiobox USB. I also have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (1st gen I think) that I tried to use with Cubase 5, but I get an error message everytime I select its driver inside Cubase. The Audiobox works well though.

 

I asked because not all MIDI interfaces are capable of passing long sysex files. Either of your AIs should be fine.

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Oh ok. I'll try again the manual method tonight but I'm pretty sure I put both devices on channel 1. Also, I remember Helix had a "Omni" MIDI channel that i assumed meant it was reading MIDI messages from all channels, which I also tried though.

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On 4/9/2019 at 3:01 PM, rd2rk said:

In Helix Globals/MIDI make sure that the Base Channel matches the FCB (default ch 1), and MIDI PC Receive is set to MIDI.

 

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So FCB MIDI OUT goes to Helix MIDI IN. The MIDI PC RECEIVE was set to USB+MIDI and is now set to MIDI. I tried PC, CC32 and CC69 messages on channel 01 and OMNI (Helix), still not reacting. to anything, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. :(

 

edit: When I plug the FCB into my Sound Card and press randow switches, Cubase detect the MIDI activity so I guess the FCB is working well. I don't know if there's a way to see the messages being sent though.

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1 hour ago, zest said:

So FCB MIDI OUT goes to Helix MIDI IN. The MIDI PC RECEIVE was set to USB+MIDI and is now set to MIDI. I tried PC, CC32 and CC69 messages on channel 01 and OMNI (Helix), still not reacting. to anything, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. :(

 

edit: When I plug the FCB into my Sound Card and press randow switches, Cubase detect the MIDI activity so I guess the FCB is working well. I don't know if there's a way to see the messages being sent though.

 

Insert this on an audio track. Create a midi track with the FCB (it's interface - probably the Helix - in globals be sure that MIDI THRU is ON - or the presonus - whatever the fcb is plugged into) as input, the audio track (or midimonitor on the track, not sure how cubase names vst inserts). Both tracks probably need to be in record mode.

 

midiMonitor.dll

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1 hour ago, zest said:

When I plug the FCB into my Sound Card and press randow switches, Cubase detect the MIDI activity so I guess the FCB is working well. I don't know if there's a way to see the messages being sent though.

 

If you are on a PC (as opposed to Mac) you should check out the Midi-OX software

http://www.midiox.com/index.htm

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MIDIOX will also work, but since he's already got Cubase running, and he's a newb.....

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1 hour ago, zest said:

So FCB MIDI OUT goes to Helix MIDI IN. The MIDI PC RECEIVE was set to USB+MIDI and is now set to MIDI. I tried PC, CC32 and CC69 messages on channel 01 and OMNI (Helix), still not reacting. to anything, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. :(

 

edit: When I plug the FCB into my Sound Card and press randow switches, Cubase detect the MIDI activity so I guess the FCB is working well. I don't know if there's a way to see the messages being sent though.

 

When you get your second midi cable, you'll need to have the FCB running thru the presonus to use the editor for the 2-way communication required. After we've verified that the sysex I sent installed and is working properly, THEN you can connect the single cable to the Helix, and we'll take it from there.

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So I plugged the FCB into my AudioBox (one-way, MIDI CABLE), and Cubase detected midi activity when I pushed on the switch and exp. pedals. So I create a midi track and find that there's a "MIDI Monitor" insert, which is exactly what I was looking for, showing the exact MIDI messages sent. I try it, and it recieves the MIDI messages that I was expecting, so I though the problem was with the Helix. I plug the FCB back into the Helix, and.. it works. Why, I don't know. Didn't changed anything. The next day, it doesn't work anymore. I do the exact same thing with Cubase, and it works again. Yesterday I had rehearsal, and again, doesn't work but this time I can't get it to work again and Cubase doesn't detect anything anymore. I'm really confused and at this point, unless I'm stupid, I assume there is something wrong with the cable (new one though..). I'll get another one and tell you what.

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5 hours ago, zest said:

So I plugged the FCB into my AudioBox (one-way, MIDI CABLE), and Cubase detected midi activity when I pushed on the switch and exp. pedals. So I create a midi track and find that there's a "MIDI Monitor" insert, which is exactly what I was looking for, showing the exact MIDI messages sent. I try it, and it recieves the MIDI messages that I was expecting, so I though the problem was with the Helix. I plug the FCB back into the Helix, and.. it works. Why, I don't know. Didn't changed anything. The next day, it doesn't work anymore. I do the exact same thing with Cubase, and it works again. Yesterday I had rehearsal, and again, doesn't work but this time I can't get it to work again and Cubase doesn't detect anything anymore. I'm really confused and at this point, unless I'm stupid, I assume there is something wrong with the cable (new one though..). I'll get another one and tell you what.

 

I DL'd and installed the Cubase Elements 10 Trial. Helix is connected via USB. FCB is plugged into Helix. Everything works in Cubase.

Pick a time when we can communicate without having to spend hours waiting for each others replies.

We WILL get this working.

 

EDIT: Might want to tell me what time zone you're in. I'm in Colorado, US, MST.

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If you've gotten your second MIDI cable, plug your FCB into your Presonus (INS to OUTS, OUTS to INS), fire up the editor, open the sysex I sent and load it into the FCB. Be sure to follow all the directions, including holding down the DOWN pedal for at least 10 seconds to SAVE the sysex to memory. Then unplug the FCB OUT cable from the Presonus and plug it into the Helix. If you've got Helix -Global-MIDI -  MIDI PC RECEIVE set to MIDI then you should be good. Works for me!

 

Let me know.

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