• exhibit-sbt

    Midi controller?

    I have parted with my Mark IV and XXX heads (the later soon enough) and replaced them with an Engl E530, G-major 1, and a Mesa 2:50.  Avoiding the Voodoo Ground control type setup, simply because they cost more than the rack itself..   

    I have zero experience in dealing with a midi foot controller or setting one up.  Does anyone else and what models should I consider?  Ideal spending range is less than $200.

    Will it connect into the G major, then into the Engl to control both?  New territory for me!


    New gear day thread coming I suppose after I get all the parts hooked up properly.  

    • ChainOfThought

      I used to have almost that exact setup, just a cheaper power amp.  Its fucking killer.


      Do you need FS access to all of the e530 functions, or just the channel & gain boost?  If you only need the channel/gain then you can get any midi controller you'd like.  Buy/make yourself a short stereo TRS cable and there's a spot on the back of the G-Major (can't remember its label) that will go out to the FS jack on the E530 and allow you to access those two functions via midi.  You would be lacking the Contour & Preamp defeat options though, so not sure if thats a big deal.


      With that in mind, my favorite midi controller that I used was a ground control.  You would only need the pedal, you don't need the rack portion to go with it, so the cost isn't TOOOOO much worse than other controllers, especially if you buy used.  The only other pedal I used was a roland something or other that wasn't so great.  I was highly interested in the rocktron midimate before I sold the rack but I never got around to trying one out.


      For your last question there, the E530 doesn't have built-in midi, so no, the pedal won't directly control the E530 using midi.  You either need a midi pedal that has external control capabilities (I can't remember the name for that...) like an FCB1010, or you need to get by with only controlling one set of the FS functions on the ENGL via the g-major.



      The whole thing is going to depend on what you want to do.  I preferred having a setup where I had 4 buttons for patch changes and then the rest of the available buttons for turning FX blocks on & off.  Thats why I loved the ground control & hated the roland...the roland only had patch change functionality, it couldn't send CC messages for the FX blocks.  It also matters if you want expression pedals built in.  The FCB1010 seems to be a really popular choice, but I think a lot of people only really like it after installing a custom firmware.  The rocktron midimate is the one I had found that was within budget ranges and had all the functionality I was looking for.  The G-Major did it all & had room to grow, but it is definitely pricey....I bet you could find one for 200$ though.


      I'm sure other dudes here can explain this much better than I...  You gotta decide how many buttons you want, what you want those buttons to do, and whether or not you want it to be configurable for different setups (i.e. going from one-tap channel changing style to turning on/off individual effects of the g-major and independently switching channels/boost on the ENGL and/or a combination of the two styles).

    • exhibit-sbt

      Nice! Thanks for the detailed response sir!

      I would honestly like to have access to the e530 options..  I was thinking about the contour feature for leads, however I can make due and survive just fine without it.

      As for end game goals..  I'd like to have a main crunch rhythm channel,  two or so lead options, a solid clean, and a muted channel.  I've been used to a simpler setup and this seems as though it could maintain that, done right.  

      I definitely need to read up more on the G-major's functionality.  Seems like it can do a lot more via midi than I actually anticipated.  

      Did you have the smaller Ground control or the larger?  I see they have one that's similar in the Midimate's size, this might be more my speed as I don't plan to use a 'ton' of varying settings.  The next question I guess is, does that do the same thing?

      Can anyone chime in about the Midimate and it's capabilities?  Related to this setup or your own?


    • ChainOfThought


      I had the 2008 version of that...looks like it hasn't changed.  I'm not sure what smaller version your talking about, unless you mean their Commander products, which are different.  Honestly I forgot they were that damn expensive new, I think I sold mine to pigwalk here a couple years ago for 200$.


      If thats what you're talking about, its an old version.  I don't know the differences.  


      The midi-mate is going to give you a good amount of options.  You can do regular presets, where you have banks of 10 and each button is going to be a program change, which means switching to a new patch on the G-Major.  OR you can do 'controller mode' where you get 5 buttons along the bottom to do program changes, and then 5 buttons along the top for controller changes.  This means with the bottom row you get 'channel changes' and with the top you can turn on/off individual delay blocks (or access individual FS changes on the e530).  For me, thats all I needed in a controller.  I used the GCP in the EXACT same way, it just gave me like 3 extra buttons for controller changes...FWIW I had sold the GCP and was eyeing the midi-mate hard.


      The jack on the G-Major I was talking about is labeled "Switch."  You just run a TRS cable from that to whichever FS jack you want to control the 530 and then you can use CC messages to the G-Major to turn the FS function on/off.  Each patch on the G-Major will have a setting for the state of the Tip & Ring, separately.  SO, you could have Preset1 with Tip-On and Ring-Off, and then preset2 with Ring-On and Tip-Off, and preset3 with Tip-On and Ring-On.  This would translate to 1: Hi-gain, Boost off, 2: Low-Gain, Boost on, 3: Hi-Gain, Boost On.  At the same time, in those presets you could have each of the FX blocks on the G-Major on or off, so you can switch from clean, no boost, reverb, delay & chorus, to hi-gain boosted & dry.  THEN, with the controller mode on the midi-mate or similar pedal, you can hit another button to turn reverb on while you're in your hi-gain channel.  Or turn the chorus off in your clean.  Or turn the boost on & off etc etc etc.


      In that regard...the g-major is going to be the brain in your rack.  The ENGL is just muscle, it gets all its commands from the G-major.  Now, the unfortunate thing is you won't be able to control the contour switch.  And I'll be honest, I always felt like I was missing out because of that.  Some controllers you can buy will have an additional switch jack that will let you control the E530, but that does mean having a 1/4" cable from your FS to your rack, and if you're using one from the switch and one from the g-major then your programming just got a little bit more confusing.  Another option is something like an Amp Gizmo.  This would provide additional switch control jacks and it would sit somewhere in your rack.  Pricey, but something you could add down the road if you're 90% happy with the setup you just NEED that extra FS control.


      So basically, based on what you said for channel functions, the 5 buttons on the midi-mate in controller mode will get you there, and then you get 5 buttons for individual controller changes within the patches, essentially like a pedal board.  And another thing to note, the G-Major has a nice EQ built into it that you can assign per-patch.  I never got too far into using it, but you might be able to emulate the contour function using the G-Major EQ.


      You're making me miss my rack 

    • exhibit-sbt

      Makes a lot more sense now.  Been eyeing the midimate and ground control on ebay..  seems though the ground controls are rounding 300+ used. 

      Will update as I get this figured out.  The 2:50 arrives today, rack cases on monday (Doing a 2 space for powre amp, 4 space for the others to cut down on weight).  Can start setting up then but definitely need that footswitch.  Simply bypassing the TC until then.  

      Yeahh, I used to have a strategy/quad setup, but I simply wasn't ready for that at the time.  Wasn't even in a band or playing locally so I sold that.  Pretty excited to get this going since it's my first "real" rack setup for actual live purposes. 

      • Pushead

        I've used the midimate with my TriAxis setup for a bunch of years now.  It's nice because it can be powered via the midi cable.  You can even buy a 5-7pin cable and plug the AC adapter in to power the pedal from the power supply in your rack.

        I was hoping to do something similar with my 5153, but alas, no midi and too many channels.