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MIDI in to my Catalyst 60W


littlespaceman
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Just starting a new thread about this (leading on from the conversation on the '60w or 100w? (can't decide)' thread also on this page)

 

Can anyone help explain exactly what I can do with the USB MIDI port on the 60? The manual indicates I can hook it up to my laptop, but I don't want to use it with a laptop or a phone, as I only want to use MIDI to access the full range of Catalyst presets so the MIDI controller needs to be foot activated.

 

1) I'm assuming I could use a USB B (amp end) to 5 PIN MIDI cable (MIDI controller end) but I've looked everywhere and from what I can tell such a thing doesn't exist.

2) I'm away from home at the moment but when I get back I will try a USB A to 5 PIN cable, with a USB A - USB B adapter, but my research tells me that won't work even before I try it :o(

3) I also can't find a MIDI foot pedal that will take a USB A to USB B cable (the same cable I would use to send MIDI signals from my MacBook) Does such a thing exist?

 

So to summarise, can I get MIDI in to the 60w using the USB port using a footswitch or does the USB MIDI on the amp mean I really am limited to using it with a computer or mobile?

 

 

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I don't have a whole lot of experience but the manual states that the 60w only has USB MIDI while the other two have the MIDI DIN plug as well. I believe you can plug a MIDI foot board into the DIN plug. I'm guessing you are stuck with the laptop for the 60w. I believe the Pod Go is the same. I'm pretty sure one of the replies in the 60w or 100w thread you mention went with the 100w specifically for that reason.

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There are plenty of MIDI controllers that use USB only, but most of them require a "host" (iPhone, computer, tablet, etc) to handle the USB/MIDI transmission. The Catalyst 60 has a female B connector, which accepts a male B connector coming from a computer/host (A connector side). Without a host, you will need to add a low-cost standalone host, such as a USB Host Controller Board linked below. I use a hobbytronics board sometimes with a Korg nanokontrol and it works great. You may need to shop around for the type of USB controller you need (need knobs? switches? faders? footswitches?).

 

https://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/usb-host-board-v24

https://www.kequete.com/usb-host-controller-development-board-v24.html

 

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Thank you both.

 

Soundog, we are reaching way beyond my MIDI knowledge here! So if I get this right;

 

1) the Catalyst 60 requires a USB MIDI unit that can act as a 'host'.

2) If the MIDI controller can't act as a host, the hobbytronics board will do the job.

 

How do you attach the hobbytronics board to the MIDI controller though? That's the bit I don't understand.

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Alternatively, will something like this do? https://xsonicaudio.com/pages/airstep

 

The blurb on the website says;

USB HOST:

USB HOST is a unique function of AIRSTEP. In this mode, AIRSTEP's USB interface is equivalent to the USB on the computer. It means that you can plug-in devices that can be controlled by the computer. Many hardware effects only have a USB port, which is only controlled by a computer, like the ZOOM MS Series, now you can use AIRSTEP to extend more footswitches for them

 

It's not a cheap option though, the same price as the amp! But I could also use it with other units such as my Yamaha THR 2 so it will get some use

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You really need a MIDI USB to MIDI USB host device, and I can't seem to find any online any more. I'm guessing the market is too small? There are probably some Raspberry Pi or Arduino folks who have made them. You essentially just need a little host board that will accept USB-A input and send MIDI out via a female USB-A (which would connect to the Catalyst USB B in).

 

Here is a decent educational video (good to put you to sleep) on MIDI stuff, MIDI hosts, cabling, etc....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuKnk3HaZFA

 

Also a video of a fellow who hacked a MIDI USB to MIDI USB setup, but his solution requires a lot of spaghetti and workarounds. Messy, but works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuKnk3HaZFA

 

Re the Airstep, yes ... their website specifically says it will serve as a USB host, so it should work. Expensive though! My old host board was around $30 (but then had to add a USB connector and a case).

 

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Thanks Soundog. Cheaper (but not much!) alternatives to the Airstep are the Ampero Hotone Controller or the Morningstar MC3. Neither say they specifically act as a host but both can transmit MIDI via USB B so I assume these would work too? Both rely on mains or USB Bus power though, so that's not quite the elegant solution I was after, whereas the Airstep is at least rechargeable (I can't imagine MIDI footswitches use much power?)

 

Regarding the host-board, I'm still not clear on how that works; is the idea that if you are using a non-host MIDI controller, the host-board goes between the controller and the Cat 60 to make the controller act as the host?  

 

Presumably you mount the host board in an enclosure (a cheap plastic or aluminium hobby box from eBay/Amazon?)

How do you connect the host-board to the non-host controller though? Do you have to add another USB connector to the circuit board?

 

IMG_1991.thumb.jpg.c857dcec01a226b4860f657ee6f9375d.jpg

 

It's all starting to make me think the Cat 100W is an easier option - or that they could have included a 5 pin MIDI port on the 60 :oI

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The Ampero has a female B connector, so would be acting as a "peripheral", which you would connect to a "host" (computer, phone, tablet). So no for that one. The MC3 also has a female B, but it has 4 TRS (1/4" stereo jack) MIDI outputs. That's interesting. You would need to contact them to see if it might work to create a TRS to USB cable. I kinda doubt it, but check.

 

The host board shown is a model made to connect to a 5-pin MIDI jack. And yes it needs a power supply. So power in, then you connect a USB controller up to the big USB A female connector, and wire up a 5-pin DIN connector for the MIDI out.

 

I'm with you, the Cat 100W might be a lot easier if you don't want to use it with a computer or phone, and for $100 more avoids the headache all together. Plus, the other fellow said you could run it at 50W if needed. Tempting, right?

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Very tempting - and you can also run it at 0.5 watts, which on the 60 seemed plenty loud enough for home use. Then I have to work out if I keep the Powercab and use the 100W as a second speaker for a stereo rig, or sell the Powercab and accept the Cat 100 allows me to power-amp my Headrush albeit not as FRFR :oI 

 

It's just a shame the 60W doesn't have the 5 pin MIDI...

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28 minutes ago, soundog said:

The MC3 also has a female B, but it has 4 TRS (1/4" stereo jack) MIDI outputs. That's interesting. You would need to contact them to see if it might work to create a TRS to USB cable

 

My Headrush (MX5) uses TRS MIDI ports, so I'm actually going to try a TRS to USB C cable, with a USB C to USB B (male) adaptor to see if the Headrush will transmit PC messages to the 60W. I'll report back!

 

Again though both the MX5 and the Morningstar require power (as does the Ampero in fact) so not my ideal solution as the Catalyst seems to be all about being a simple plug-n-play sort of amp, so in keeping with that I would really like to be able to use a simple footswitch (ie one with no power cables etc) in to the amp to access all the 12 channels, and maybe to turn delay on/off - and that's really all I need the MIDI for. So it's a shame that more channels aren't available using the A/B channel-change footswitch...

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Can anyone tell me how I can send MIDI in to the Cat 60W USB via a Macbook. I want to test/play around with the MIDI on the amp, to make sure my cables are good before I try the same cables using a MIDI footswitch (which I'm yet to get)

 

I'm pretty clued up with this sort of thing usually (I fly commercial jets for a living!) but this MIDI via USB thing is totally doing my head in!

 

For clarity, I'm using a MacBook Pro, with GarageBand. All I want to do is send a simple Program Change message from the MacBook to the amp. I don't have Logic or anything like that, so it might be that I'm limited by the software. But surely the MacBook is capable of sending a simple PC message to the amp?

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Briefly, you connect Catalyst to Macbook via USB cable. Then use software on Mac to send MIDI data out.

 

Garageband doesn't support MIDI out (that I'm aware of). You could use a cheap/free DAW like Reaper, but that's overkill for what you need to do.

 

I suggest getting a couple of OSX apps from the App Store:

Pocket MIDI (to send and monitor MIDI messages). Free. There are also other software MIDI command "senders". I like TouchOSC, but it takes time to use it. If you can fly a commercial jet, I'm sure you could figure it out.


MIDIPatch (to easily route your MIDI from your Mac to the Catalyst). $2

 

You'll need to spend a little time learning how to use Pocket MIDI since you're new to the whole shebang. Also simpler than a jet console.

 

Tip: after connecting the Catlayst, use Audio MIDI Setup (application included with every Mac) to ensure the Mac recognizes the Catalyst (look in the MIDI section of the app, and it should appear). If it appears, you can send commands to it (use Pocket MIDI). Ensure routing using MIDIPatch.

 

 

 

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Thank you Soundog. I thought the limitation might be that Garageband doesn't transmit MIDI, so I tried recording a MIDI track with PC messages from my Boss RC5 Looper. I then tried to play this back through the amp, hoping it would recognise the PC messages embedded in the GB track, and change amp patches. But no luck. I've also tried to use the Audio MIDI Setup, but again didn't get anywhere with that; I was hoping the Audio MIDI would allow me to send simple PC messages to the amp, but again no luck - probably because I still need a 3rd party app like Pocket MIDI to the set up, which I didn't know until your reply.

 

The eureka moment came when I found a free iOS app that I found called MIDI Wrench. Using the iPhone camera kit, I managed to get any PC or CC message in to the amp's USB socket. So I've now had a good play around to see what the amp can do and it's pretty cool - but it's only a way of testing things work, not a real solution, as you spend most of the time dragging your finger up and down the iPad screen to send the messages.

 

Anecdotally, modern wide-body aircraft like the Dreamliner are basically fixed using iPads too - the engineers literally plug the iPad in to the jet when there's a fault, to diagnose and remedy it. Long gone are the days of 'impact technology' - or in other words, fixing things by giving them a whack with a hammer ;o)

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  • 1 month later...

I am using the Kenton USB MIDI Host MKii with a tech 21 midi mouse to select the 13 presets on the Catalyst 60( manual plus 1-12 presets) and. It works perfect. I take the midi mouse 5 pin din out to the Kenton 5 pin midi din in and the Kenton usb A to usb B cable to the catalyst 60 usb jack.
I already owned the midi mouse and bought the Kenton on line $105. The Kenton comes with power adapter.
As I said above this solution allows Me to switch presets on the midi mouse with ease.
Hope this can help

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On 4/17/2022 at 4:37 PM, lewwoolford said:

I am using the Kenton USB MIDI Host MKii with a tech 21 midi mouse to select the 13 presets on the Catalyst 60( manual plus 1-12 presets) and. It works perfect. I take the midi mouse 5 pin din out to the Kenton 5 pin midi din in and the Kenton usb A to usb B cable to the catalyst 60 usb jack.
I already owned the midi mouse and bought the Kenton on line $105. The Kenton comes with power adapter.
As I said above this solution allows Me to switch presets on the midi mouse with ease.
Hope this can help


So can I ask the dumb question? Why wouldn’t you just buy the Catalyst 100 for $100 more than the 60W version? It has built-in MIDI ports, and you wouldn’t need this additional accessory to control it. The 100W version is only slightly larger than the 60W and like four pounds heavier…

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Yes. If you think you might need MIDI control for your Catalyst without using a computer or mobile device as your controller, skip the 60W and buy the 100W with MIDI DIN ports. If MIDI control via a computer or mobile device is all you need (or if you could give a damn about MIDI), then choose based on your power needs and budget.

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I have the same dilemma. You can switch channels with a the simple two button footswitch but that will not be flexible as changing presets on say HX Stomp and simultaneously sending a change preset via MIDI to the Catalyst. So MIDI is the easiest best way. But you must have a host for the 60W.

 

I thought of the AirStep but price / features compared to the Catalyst 60 cost is ridicules. XSonic simply price too high.

 

There are cheaper single purpose MIDI Host box solutions. However they come (as with any other solution) with the additional problem of - needs a separate power source as MIDI-B connection for devices is without power. It can be easily achieved connecting the host to a USB charger or battery bank but phew.. why couldn't they just power it with the MIDI power? It is possible as CME do with some of their WIDI devices. 

 

Now speaking of CME, as they do WIDI it poses a whole new area which is really frustrating. 2022 and we are still having to rely heavily on old MIDI DIN and cable spaghetti. At the minimum a normal two ways MIDI over USB-C should have been adopted by any current hardware manufacturer. Or better still built-in WIDI on new devices. But  anyway, if not - at least cheap WIDI convertors. No - it seems that we are in the middle ages.

 

So until the renaissance we have to pay ridicules amounts or opt for the Catalyst 100 but still be tethered.

 

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I’ve been trying to „talk“ midi to my Catalyst 60 from an iPad Pro wirelessly via a Yamaha UD-BT01, so far unsuccessfully:( I can see the Yamaha device is receiving midi but unfortunately the Catalyst is not responding.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/18/2022 at 5:58 PM, phil_m said:


So can I ask the dumb question? Why wouldn’t you just buy the Catalyst 100 for $100 more than the 60W version? It has built-in MIDI ports, and you wouldn’t need this additional accessory to control it. The 100W version is only slightly larger than the 60W and like four pounds heavier…

The answer - for me at least - is that I live in a tiny house, and I will never really get to gig with the amp (young kids = no time!) So I don't want something that is even only a few inches / pounds bigger and heavier, not to mention $100 / £90 more expensive, for the sake of a 5 pin MIDI socket.

 

Call it a battle of wills if you like, but it's become my personal mission to get the 6oW to work with USB MIDI, without the need for am external host. To be frank, I think it is a major ball-drop by Line 6 to make it so difficult to get the 60W to work the way we want - and if it's all about marketing and not wanting to under-sell the 100W by giving the 60W proper MIDI, then look at it this way, Line 6 - this does not make me like you any more! You could easily have used a TRS MIDI socket on the 60W if space was an issue.

 

In the meantime I did buy an Airstep, specifically to get USB MIDI in to the 60W. And it doesn't work - BUT, and it's a big but, Airsonic have been fantastic, and are working on a firmware update for the Airstep that will make it work directly with the 60W via USB. Their customer service makes the purchase worthwhile, it's a fantastic pedal, and I get to use it with loads of other hardware I own, such as the Yamaha THR 2 (control of all patches and FX, via Bluetooth directly from the Airstep, without the need for the THR app to be open!)

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I had the same issue with 60 HX. Tech support suggested the Kenton MIDI host (as above). Again, it would have cost more than the difference between the 60 and 100W models. My store thankfully allowed me to exchange, and I now have the 100W - which works with my Nectar Pacer foot controller and gives me control over so much more than a basic footswitch would.

 

I think that Line 6 are fudging a bit with their promos. As a guitarist, how would I know that a MIDI foot controller won't work over USB? Yet they seem to imply that the only difference between MIDI on the 100 HX and the 60 HX is that the latter uses a USB socket. I really think they should be explicit and say the 60 HX can use MIDI with a computer - which is about as useful as adding an ashtray. Why wouldn't you just use the app? 

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On 4/28/2022 at 2:34 PM, paulstreet said:

I’ve been trying to „talk“ midi to my Catalyst 60 from an iPad Pro wirelessly via a Yamaha UD-BT01, so far unsuccessfully:( I can see the Yamaha device is receiving midi but unfortunately the Catalyst is not responding.

With a wired USB connection from my iPad Pro I'm able to control my 60 with an iRig BlueBoard, the Bluboard App and Audiobus 3 acting as the midi bridge. Bonus here is that I can still fine tune the 60 with the Catalyst Edit App too. Not quite the wireless solution I was hoping for, but I still have the option integrate an HX Stomp which definitely responds to the Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth midi adapter without any problem.

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  • 1 month later...

I have the Catalyst 60. I use an iPad for lyrics/chords with an app called "UnrealBook" and this app will let you send midi messages over USB. I use the Apple camera connection dongle into the lightning port on the iPad, and a midi cable into that and then into the Catalyst 60. After I've decided what preset I want to use for a song, I put that midi info into the page for that song. So when the lyrics/chords pdf comes up, the amp automatically changes to that amp preset I've got set up, including whether I want the effect on or off.

 

Alternatively, if you didn't need the lyric/chord charts, you could just set up a pdf for each particular preset, name the pdf for the preset, put them in a "setlist" which would simply be blank pages with the midi preset information in them.

 

No foot control, but I hope that helps.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hopping on late to this, but I'm setting up a TouchOSC template to be able to control the Catalyst 60 from pretty much any computer/phone that is running the TouchOSC app. For me, this will work to control via USB MIDI from iPhone/iPad to USB adapter, then wired to Catalyst via USB.

Next step is Wireless control via a WIDI adapter on the Catalyst that receives wireless MIDI via Bluetooth from same devices. 3ms latency. Killer.

If anyone interested in this resulting TouchOSC file and/or video, let me know and I'll share and whip up something for YouTube. 

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