All-tube amp with "full" MIDI control of all parameters (like Strymon Sunset)?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by 9985, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. 9985

    9985 Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    So- I have recently learned about several analog pedals that have "full" MIDI control- by "full" I mean that every single parameter you can adjust with the physical controls is capable of being adjusted via MIDI & saved to a preset that can be switched via an external MIDI controller as part of a preset (I own a HX Effects).

    Examples: Strymon Sunset, Chase Bliss Audio Brothers, Elektron Analog Drive (which I just ordered cheap!), and the Neunaber Neuron pre-amp pedal.

    I own a Randall RM100 head; which allows simple channel switching via MIDI, nothing else. Have been looking hard at the Mesa TC-50, which offers more MIDI controls switching the boost,loop & reverb on/off, but not the various channel toggles (Tight/Normal), or any of the rotary analog pot values (i.e. gain, master, bass/mid/treble). I am not aware of any other all-tube (pre-amp and power-amp) head/combo that allows the "full" MIDI control of all parameters like the analog pedals I listed above.

    Does such an animal exist? Are there some specific limitation(s) to tube pre-amp/power amp controls that prevents the MIDI technologies used in the pedals above from being implemented on a head/combo?
     
    FbIsNotE likes this.
  2. Muffdriver

    Muffdriver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Im not aware. But isnt the Soldano x88r preamp fully midi capable? Pair it with a tube power amp and that could be what you're looking for.
     
    guitarno and FbIsNotE like this.
  3. Kelly

    Kelly Member

    Messages:
    2,973
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    NC
    Ksr amps have midi.
     
  4. Ultra GP

    Ultra GP Member

    Messages:
    877
    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    The Stone Deaf amps (now out of production) are pretty flexible when it comes to MIDI. I've not really explored that feature of the amp, but I know it's possible to save presets of all controls. I'm not sure if you can adjust them remotely by MIDI though, but can find out.

     
    Alex Kenivel and 9985 like this.
  5. Dave L

    Dave L Member

    Messages:
    1,132
    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    We´re talking about different things here. The Triamp and the KSRs and hundreds of other amps have MIDI control over channel switching and some other switching features but not of all dials. The only full tube head or combo I can think of right now that has full MIDI programmability for everything is the Masotti Monster, which basically is a copy of the Soldano X99 motorized preamp with a power section.

    Many other tube preamps have digital control over everything in the vein of the ADA MP1, Boogie Triaxis or H&K Access, but it seems that sort of design didn´t cross over into heads or combos much or even at all. Just a different and more traditional market, I suppose, since there´s no technical reason for it.
     
  6. grunf

    grunf Member

    Messages:
    78
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    I owned H&K GM40 and you could control pretty much anything via MIDI (pedal or via wireless Ipod/iPhone application, I only used pedal)
     
    stratamania and 9985 like this.
  7. teofilrocks

    teofilrocks Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,299
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    Location:
    CT
    If the Diezel VHX gets released, that would be an option.
     
  8. Calebz

    Calebz Member

    Messages:
    742
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2019
    The Joyo DulaKolnz has MIDI switching and some 'other' MIDI capability. But I'm not sure how far it extends. Beyond that, it just looks cool as hell on paper.

    http://joyo-amps.com/dualklonz/
     
  9. FbIsNotE

    FbIsNotE Member

    Messages:
    3,213
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2017
    Location:
    The Bay State
    I was interested in the same thing but couldn't find one. I bought the TC50 2+ years ago since it ticked the most boxes and I absolutely love it.

    I can offer you some workarounds that I'm happy with.

    First, the 3 channels are so flexible that you can emulate the voice toggle by setting another ch. up to get that sound. The Red high gain channel in particular has an unusually wide texture range.

    Depending on which of the 3 tube types you're running changes how much variation the Voice switch provides. For me, that setting on each ch.became a set and forget after about 6 months.

    To get exactly what you are looking for I use a MIDI capable Overdrive which also happens to have a Parametric as well as traditional EQ. All programmable with Expression capability for all parameters.

    Combined with the insane amount of presets the MIDI controller provides, your desired control is achieved. At least for me it is. I can pretty much match the change the voice switch makes and make a preset 1 stomp macro. So changing presets is like throwing the switch.

    I'm currently gearing up to add a MIDI EQ In the loop which will give me Pre and Post EQ even more powerful than having the stock tone pots MIDI.

    In the end, for me the stuff that isn't stock MIDI is not an issue.

    If you really want everything on a tube amp to be MIDI I think you'll have to have it custom built.

    Or you could go all Neil Young and DIY a "Wizzer" rig. I contemplated this briefly and thought a Rasperry Pie with electro-mrchanical actuators could be done affordably.

    GigRig was experimenting with universal actuators for use on analog pedal knobs a while back. Videos are out there that may help source parts.

    I know this isn't exactly what you are looking for but I hope some of this is useful to you.

    To close, whatever you find I can tell you that the functionality of the MIDI controller is crucial to having a practical, real world rig. Good luck!
     
    9985 likes this.
  10. forgivenman

    forgivenman Member

    Messages:
    2,387
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    The 5150 III has a midi input on the back. No problem idea how to use it though.
     
  11. ironman28

    ironman28 Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    The HK GMD 40 has 128 MIDI presets controlled by program change messages. It also has full control of every editable parameter including the FX and attenuator via MIDI CC messages in real-time.
     
    Roark, FbIsNotE, 9985 and 1 other person like this.
  12. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,100
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Simpson, PA
    Tube preamps with full MIDI control

    ADA MP1/MP2
    Marshall JMP1
    Mesa Triaxis
    Rocktron Piranha
    Soldano X99R
    Hughes and Kettner Access

    Pair any of these with a tube power amp and there you have it.

    Tube heads with full MIDI control;

    Hughes and Kettner Switchblade
    Hughes and Kettner Core blade
    Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 40
    Peavey VYPYR Tube (hybrid)
    Line 6 Spider Valve (hybrid)


    Tube heads with MIDI for channel switching:

    EVH 5150 III 50w
    Marshall JVM
    Marshall 6100
    Marshall DSL 100HR
    Diezel VH4
    Diezel Herbert
    ENGL Steve Morse signature
    (Most ENGLs can be outfitted with a MIDI module)
    Hughes and Kettner Triamp
    Mesa Mark V
    Mesa JP2C
    Mesa Triple Crown

    You can add MIDI switching to any amp with one of these devices:

    Voodoo Lab Control Switcher
    RJM Amp Gizmo
    Rockman Octopus
    Voodoo Lab GCX
    Rocktron Patch mate.


    These effects processors switch your amp channels per patch:

    TC G-Major/2
    TC G-System
    Boss GT10 and up
    Boss MS-3
    Line 6 HXFX
    Rocktron Replifex
    Korg A4


    This is just off the top of my head, there's more. But that should get you going.
     
  13. 9985

    9985 Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    Just looked at H&K website manuals for the GM40 and TriAmp; the GM40 does allow MIDI control & presets for everything- from the manual:

    "Once you have found your favorite setting, exactly that setting of every single knob and switch (except the Master Volume) can be stored into a preset with the Store button. This is pretty much like playing a tube amp with 128 channels, each with its own Gain, Volume, EQ and even effects settings."

    That's what I'm looking for, so GM40 just made my list of candidates. Only immediate downside: GM40 is made in China unlike the TriAmp, saw some review complaints about reliability. Weight is only 17lbs, makes me wonder about quality of the transformers in particular, I've had issues with Chinese transformers in Egnater amps. Still- it has MIDI features I'm looking for, so I will research this one more- particularly interested in how much "lag" there is between presets that change EQ & gain settings on the same channel- i.e. would it be an issue to change presets mid-song in a live setting.

    TriAmp is out- similar to the other partially MIDI controllable amps being discussed (manual says you can preset anything with an on/off value, but none of the rotary control values like EQ, gain, etc.).

    I already looked at the current Mezzabarba line of amps - manuals on their website don't indicate any have full MIDI controls, I had never heard of the Monster; their website does say Monster is still available as a custom special order (for a mere 4K Euros!!), I don't see a manual posted for it, even on the old Masotti website. With international S&H, customs, VAT, etc- we are talking $5K+, which is way too much.

    Suhr Hedgehog- not full MIDI, it only controls on/off functions like other partial MIDI heads. Beautiful amp though.

    Had not heard of Stone Deaf; their website still has the manual for the SD-30 & it says it is full MIDI for all its settings- and I do mean ALL -including switching Class A/AB & tube/SS rectifier, fixed/cathode bias- pretty amazing. It has 128 presets, and allows external MIDI control, so in terms of MIDI, it's what I am looking for & makes my list of candidates. Bonus- available in a combo. Not listed on current products on their website, but a buried (old?) page for the SD-30 says its available direct via special order, maybe that's just old info. I'll keep eye out for used ones. Wish they had one that took 2x 6L6 or EL34s vs 4xEL84s.

    Dulaklonz is a very interesting amp that I also never heard of previously, it has cool capabilities to change power amp tube assignment (ala Mesa Road King) & even switch between multiple cabinets, but it doesn't have have the "full" MIDI control of the various rotary controls. Henning Pauly's YouTube review they have linked on their website makes that clear. The recessed strat-like cable input on the side is brilliant, great for cramped live stages.

    So- we have 2-3 contenders so far: GM40; out-of-production SD-30, and the insanely expensive custom order Masotti Monster (I can't find manual to confirm extent of its MIDI features).

    Any others? Now that I know at least the GM40 is a viable option, I can get a bit more picky- ideally looking for a current production 50-ish watt combo that is not made in China for $2K or less.
     
    FbIsNotE likes this.
  14. 9985

    9985 Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    First- appreciate your lengthy reply- I was mid-response to the early ones when you posted it! Regarding separate pre-amps; Sorry, only looking for all-tube head or combo options; not pre-amp/power amp rack rig, also not interested in hybrids,or I'd just go to a high-end modeler. Info is good for others looking for different MIDI options.

    Switchblade and Coreblade manuals says they are not full MIDI like GM40; just on/off switch functions & channel switching, no saving rotary control settings. Which is a shame, because the Switchblade is made in Germany & has a 50 watt combo version; both unlike the GM40. Other two are out for my criteria as they are hybrids, might be of interest to other people.

    MIDI Channel switching only amps are not of interest to me; only ones that offer "full" MIDI presets of all rotary controls, like the GM40 or SD30.

    Understand- I'm using HX FX to do channel switching now on a PRS Archon with a custom cable as part of presets. Idea is to use the MIDI features of the HX FX to control presets on a "Full" MIDI control amp, along with the onboard settings of the HX FX, and at least one other MIDI controllable effects unit; all programmed to "one touch" presets.
     
    FbIsNotE likes this.
  15. 9985

    9985 Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for the reply - this MIDI quest started after I demo'd TC-50 & Fillmore 50 combos 2 weeks ago for about 90 minutes, I liked the TC-50 a lot, particularly the MIDI features that aren't in the Fillmore, was disappointed to learn that it doesn't have the "full" midi capability I'm talking about in this thread. Due to my recent research, I just ordered an Elektron Analog Drive (which is a fully MIDI controllable- and enormous - analog pedal), which combined with my HX FX and a TC-50 in 4CM probably gets me very close. But- for $2100 for the TC-50 combo, I wanted to see what else was available & if anything had everything I'm looking for out of the box. The Stone Deaf SD30C is the closest. I just dug up the SD50 head off their website (also appears out of production), but is 50 watt, 6L6 based- that's so cool, I may contact Stone Deaf & see if they would custom make one as a combo, and how much that would cost (probably a ton). I saw the "Whizzer" GigRig stuff awhile ago, very Mr. Gadget-ish, I'm not even going to attempt building something like that on my own.

    EDIT- I emailed Stone Deaf. Kind of scared they will say yes to a custom build of a SD50 combo (buh-bye, savings!!) Here's the link the the head on their site:

    https://www.stonedeaffx.com/sd50
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
    FbIsNotE likes this.
  16. guitarbilly74

    guitarbilly74 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,100
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Simpson, PA
    The manual is confusing but I can tell you with total confidence that they ARE fully programmable. I gigged with a Switchblade for years. The only knob that isn't programmable is the overall Master Volume. But Gain, EQ, Presence, Channel Volume, Effects and Loop On/Off are programmable per preset. I'm 100% sure of it.

    They're great amps btw. Again, I've used one for years. Zero issues and it sounded great.
     
  17. ironman28

    ironman28 Member

    Messages:
    545
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    The Line 6 DT series has a pretty extensive list of MIDI CC parameters.
    In regards to the HK GMD 40 I have been using mine for two years now at rehearsals,gigs and practice with no issues. Dropped a 5751 in the V1 slot to smooth out the gain a little and some new JJ outputs.
    I use my HX effects in 4cm and send the HK cc messages from snapshots to set up gain,volume and eq for each preset/snapshot. I get 80% of my settings from the crunch channel just varying the gain and attenuator settings. I have presets set up with the internal fx as a backup in case the HX crashes I can plug in a midi foot controller to access the presets and keep working.
     
  18. 9985

    9985 Member

    Messages:
    38
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    Wow- that is amazing, which version did you have? 50 or 100 watt, did it have TSC (Tube Safety Control), was it head or combo? The H&K website has manuals for all their out-of-production stuff here & lists 2 different models of Switchblade heads & 3 combos:

    http://hughes-and-kettner.com/support/oldie/

    Do you know if the full MIDI features are identical across all 5 versions? I am really surprised that advanced set of MIDI features exists in an older amp (I think they came out in 2006.) Are you aware of any MIDI guide online that describes the settings to control the various rotary values?
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice