I’m a looping guitarist living in Sheffield, England. I have been performing for 45+ years in a variety of professional bands and latterly, as a solo artist / collaborator.
Repetition and Intuition are the key factors behind my music, which places dynamics & timbre high up the list. I see the guitar as an organic sound source that uses looping technology and laptop treatment to build moods & soundscapes. My pieces are born, evolve and die away.
I recently upgraded to ableton 10 and a new laptop, the latency and CPU are down, but I was getting odd spikes when I sent midi messages from a pedal. On further googling, I found that the default windows power setting is “balanced”. I changed it to “high performance” and the CPU dropped yet further, from 30% to 10%. Result! It probably means I will have reduced battery life, but I try to plug in the power whenever possible, so it’s not a serious issue. I used this article to tweak the settings.
Still in search of the perfect yet compact midi foot controller, I recently revived the idea of using a standard non-programmable midi pedal (a Rolls midibuddy in this case) with midi-ox to put out data that Ableton will listen to. MO will translate anything to anything, but only midi notes actually work with Ableton, which ignores PC (they are sent as pitch bend!) and CC (since you cant send two alternate values at once). What you can do is send a note on followed by a note off, “cloned” in MO so they are sent together.
In order to route MO to Ableton, you need Loopmidi which installs seamlessly. You set it up with a single port (I called it “LoopMIDI out”). In MO’s midi devices, set this as the output port, then Ableton will offer that as a midi input (select both IN and OUT). You can then map it to buttons!
I hope this saves someone the time it’s taken me to figure out! I’m considering building an arduino-based unit to convert incoming messages and re-transmit them – this would mean I didn’t need to use MO & Loopmidi, which simply add an extra layer of complexity and hence causing problems.
I spotted a neat new midi foot-pedal from Meloaudio recently and was all set for purchase, then I decided to download and RTFM. It didn’t say how many banks of presets were offered and the the manual was decidedly thin, so I checked the forum. Thank Clapton i did – The unit offers lots of profiles for various rigs, but the two custom profiles were what interested me, since I could tailor them.
HOWEVER, for the custom profiles, the same midi messages are sent for all the banks – you can’t edit them per bank! Utterly crazy. Why limit the use of this good-looking machine in this way? Some people will find the preset profiles adaptable for their needs, but most would surely want to use the custom option. It seems to has been rushed out (they admit this on the forum) and I hope they work on it soon. I’d hoped this would be a FCB1010 killer, but as it stands, it’s just not there yet. Extraordinary that the FCB remains the most flexible and user-friendly device, although it’s too big and Behringer show no signs of wanting to bring out a mark 2.
In case anyone from Meloaudio is reading, here are some suggestions for what I’d expect from a modern midi controller.
Custom edit for ALL banks
Ability to send midi notes
Editing software (utterly essential for copy/paste banks, autoflll incremental midi values and saving different setups)
Stereo jack socket for bank up/down footswitches, to free all 10 switches for midi messages
The new-ish Nektar Pacer is also a potential winner, but it won’t be one until they also create editing software for it, plus the pedal is presented as an ableton controller, not everyone will use it for this and will probably not want the play, stop icons printed on the pedal itself. I’m utterly amazed that the perfect, flexible, easy to use, compact controller hasn’t been created yet. All the required soft & hardware is available, they just need to consult potential users during development and realise that what people want is a flexible device, rather than put their efforts into pre-configuring it for specific uses at the expense of flexible custom settings.
Until that happy day comes, I’m still obliged to try and build my own solution or lug the massive FCB around with me…
One of my M9 footswitches was dodgy, so I thought I’d do a quick replace. Not only managed to f**k that switch up (soldering skills needed), but all the spring mounted contacts inside fell out and I can only find 2 of the 4. So, it’s buggered! Luckily, I have an M13 handy to replace it with, but what a bodge job ;(
I supported John at the Grapes back in the 90s but this was our first outing as a duo. Two more disparate guitarists you’ll struggle to find, but that’s the joy of it! Here’s a snippet from the gig last night with John Jasnoch, pedal steel extremo!
Spent a happy few hours today in the Human League studios, chatting with their synth player & tech guy for 30+ years, David Beevers. They seem to have kept every synth they ever played and it was like being in Wonderland!
Echoloop VST is wonderful, but I’ve struggled to save mdimaps for it. No longer! If you drop the plugin into an instrument rack, you can save midi mappings for it then just drag the rack into a new project. Shame you can’t (AFAIK) rename the presets, or do the same for standard ableton midimaps…
The BOss Katana 100 head is a powerful beast and using the tone studio software, offers huge flexibility in sound control. However, I’ve been struggling to find an option that boosted the volume without adding too much extra dirt. You can short out the FX loop and set a volume change by switching it in and out, but I’m using the “4 cable” method to add my spacial effects after the preamp, so this wasn’t an option.
I played extensively with the “solo boost” options, but the sound was getting dirtier rather than louder, even using the “clean boost”. Some googling later, I realised the effects chain defaulted to #2, where the boost was before the preamp. Switching to chain 1 moved it after the preamp, which gave me extra volume without adding more dirt. Result 😉
I use the M9 with an acoustic guitar for looping and also effects, so have built a midi pedal to handle the looping side of things, so the M9 always in “effects” mode. The real beauty of DIY mdi is that you can customise the midi messages to use the device exactly as you want.
I want to capture a chord sequence then immediately stop, then when I replay the loop I want to be in “solo” mode (requiring 3 pedal presses), so the custom code triggers the echo & delay on the M9. At the end of the solo, I want to go back to live guitar, so stop the loop & switch of the effects. So the pedals act as follows
#1 switch between overdub & play
#2 switch between play & stop
#3 switch between play with overdrive/delay triggered & stop
#4 switch between record & play
I’ll live with that for a while, but can change the midi messages relatively easily. With a couple of other pedals I could, for example, reverse the loop, or swap between 2 scenes.