Quest for the perfect foot controller

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by greiswig, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    So I'm entering into modeling space for the first time. I used to have a Mesa Triaxis that I controlled with an old Ground Control pedalboard (not the GC Pro). Still have that pedalboard...and still remember it as being pretty tedious to use and program.

    Well, I've got an AxeFX II now, and I'm trying to figure out whether I can make due with my ancient Ground Control (unlikely) or what to get instead. I started brainstorming what I thought my setup needed to be. There's probably more, but maybe this will be enough to get the ball rolling. I'm looking for input on what, if any, pedalboards might work. Part of my problem is that the manufacturers all seem to assume that users understand and agree on what constitutes a "page," a "song," a "preset," etc. My own mental model is more along the lines of having something like readily-accessed patches that consist of the amps, cabs, and pedals, and being able to get to those by name easily. So...


    • · That I can quickly and directly access at least 4-8 base presets that consists of an amp or amps plus cabinets plus effects without scrolling or paging through a menu to find them, and that the presets would be labeled
    • · That for the amp block in a preset, the switch could toggle the X/Y parameter so that I can get clean and overdrive versions of the amp on the same preset
    • · That engaging an amp version (X or Y) would allow me to simultaneously engage other blocks…(e.g. if turn on the chorus block because Y is the clean channel)
    • · That I could keep the same basic layout for each of those presets (e.g. the Overdrive/Distortion/Boost pedal works off the same switch no matter what the preset is)
    • · That the unit would clearly show whether the device associated with a switch was on or off (LED like on a pedal, or change in the little display?)
    • · That the controller would NOT have a huge footprint with a forest of buttons…to avoid bigness as well as menu confusion and inadvertent hits on wrong buttons
    • · That the controller would have a PC option for programming it that makes it relatively easy to set it up for performance
    • · That I could hook up a volume pedal to it and have that control parameters specific for that preset (e.g. wah or volume)
    • · That it has an input for a tap tempo button, or provides one as a configurable button on appropriate presets
    · It is hard for me to tell who offers something like this. I think the RJM Mastermind GT might do a lot of this, but has 22 buttons...which seems excessive, but then I haven't really done the design so I don't know whether that many would be needed for 1 button per "patch" plus all the effects. Then there's the LiquidFood 12+...but again, I'm not clear on whether I could set it up to do what I want in spite of having gone through the manual online.
    So...any recommendations or thoughts? Thanks!




    :
     
  2. t3oi

    t3oi Silver Supporting Member

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    From what I understand, the MFC-101 is the perfect match to the Axe FX II. Too big for your needs?
     
  3. axelicker

    axelicker Member

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    The newest RJM controller coming this year will do everything listed.
     
  4. mikeyen

    mikeyen Member

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    If size is a concern, it's hard to beat the liquid foot Jr. Two rows of 4 buttons, plus one menu button - but you can get a LOT of mileage out of those buttons, since there are so many creative ways to program it. It's also one of the few that supports tuner display with the Axe.

    One example would be to have the menu button toggle between presets and CC, where the preset mode would have 6 preset buttons and two bank buttons, and the CC mode could have step-through buttons that cycles through a list of CC's (for example, delay 1, delay 2, off). Another example would be to have built-in step-through within the preset mode, so stepping on the preset once gets you there, step on it again activates another cc, step on it again activates yet another...etc etc. Lots of possibilities.

    Mike
     
  5. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    From what I can see, the MFC-101 is the clear ease-of-use winner for Axe-FX pedals. If you want a smaller footprint though, a Gordius or Liquid Foot might work, but I believe they would all cost at least as much as the MFC-101, so...
    -
    Austin
     
  6. mikeyen

    mikeyen Member

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    LF Jr. is $450 new, compared to $750 new for MFC.

    Mike
     
  7. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    Display-wise, though, I think both the new RJM Mastermind GT and the Liquid Foot 12+ have the advantage over nearly anyone else: not only are labels per switch customized, but the colors are. Very handy for at-a-glance navigation.

    So in an ideal world, the smaller footprint of the 12+ would be better for me...but will it do what I ask? Anyone here have experience with it?
     
  8. mikeyen

    mikeyen Member

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    I have a LF Jr, and I'd imagine the 12+ should be able to do everything the Jr. can and more. With regards to your list, I can't answer whether it can toggle the X/Y parameters as I have an Ultra, and am not 100% certain on the on/off link using just one cable (I don't use that function myself), but I believe it can handle everything else.

    Mike
     
  9. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    I wish the folks at FAMC (Liquid Foot's mothership) would allow emailed questions, or provide a phone number for sales questions...
     
  10. U2JustMe

    U2JustMe Member

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  11. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    The first two requirements really seem at odds with the third. You're looking at four switches dedicated to program changes plus another button for each effect you want to toggle. In that mode of operation (I prefer such a setup, too), even a "big" controller like the MFC runs out of buttons quickly.

    Also, your desire to have multiple triggers off one IA (e.g., the chorus on clean amp X/Y) might be at odds with the desire to have the foot controller indicate IA state. Having one button send multiple IA messages might make it difficult for the second FX's indicator to "know" about the change.

    While the LF Jr. I used with my Ultra worked well enough, it lacked the buttons to do much with IAs. It did not pick up IA state on program change so if I tweaked a patch since last synching the LF with the Axe, the display was inaccurate (dunno if this has been addressed in newer FW). When I got the II, I decided to also move from the LF to an MFC. It suits my needs much better as it has enough IAs to be a virtual pedalboard and it's polling of IA state means that I don't have to program it beyond assigning IAs and CCs. Any changes I make to a patch are reflected in the IA state the next time I switch to that patch.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  12. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    Thanks for the insights. If I were trying to access every available item in most of the AxeFX patches, I could see how I'd need all those buttons. But realistically, I don't use that many things on each patch. So for example, I could have two patches that needed only 4 buttons:

    1. OD->Chorus->Tremolo->Amp->
    2. Wah->Chorus->Amp->Delay->

    I don't need to access the cabinets from the pedalboard, and so forth.

    Ignorant question: what's an IA?
     
  13. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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  14. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    Kudos for size, but has just numbers for the buttons. It looks like it wouldn't do a number of things in my initial set of needs.
     
  15. steadystate

    steadystate Member

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    Gordius Little Giant
     
  16. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    IA = "Instant Access". More or less MIDI jargon/shorthand for "turn ___ on/off".

    If you're looking to consistently associate a button with a function (4th bullet point in your original list), those two patches you describe would actually need 5-6 buttons:
    1. OD on/off
    2. Chorus on/off
    3. Trem on/off
    4. Amp X/Y
    5. Delay on/off
    6. Wah on/off (unless you use autoengage)
    In practice, this leads you towards one or more of
    • mapping buttons to different IAs on a per-patch basis. The downside to this is not being sure what switch does what (unless you go with something like the $900 LF 12+) and having to program each switch on a per-patch basis (painful if you change/move patches regularly).
    • running the foot controller in all-IA mode and doing a mode change when you want to select a different patch (tap dancing)
    • getting a bigger controller (12+ buttons) which is what you're trying to avoid in the first place
     
  17. greiswig

    greiswig Member

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    Does anybody know how to get in touch with Liquid Foot/FAMC?
     
  18. U2JustMe

    U2JustMe Member

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    You might not have set the Jr. up correctly. There are two modes- preset mode and direct mode. Preset mode allows you to download -auto-update all the current states of IA's. Always has been able to do that with AXE-FX. Direct mode allows you to control the AXE in a live mode just like you would expect- all with the latest IA states active and displayed.

    As for not having enough buttons- just remember that there are various modes of use -- 8I mode allows 8 IA switches to be seen on all 8 switches. 8P mode for 8 presets. And of course all the other modes available. And you can switch between them- so go from 8P mode, select a preset and have it jump to 8I mode- then you have 8 IA's available for each preset change... if thats not enough- go with the 12 or 12+

    The LF 12+ and LF 12 models take that many steps further, allowing dynamic IA's to handle XY and many other features that no other controller can handle at this time.


    for the person asking how to contact liquid- just email or send a support ticket from the web site. You can email info@FAMCmusic.com. on the website (www.FAMCmusic.com) you can submit support tickets with questions as well.
     
  19. shasha

    shasha Member

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    I don't know if this is helpful at all, but what I kind of came up with after being obsessed for a while with the idea of being able to have IA's for everything all the time is that it was pretty stupid. I mean you start getting into a ridiculous number of buttons to keep track of and not only that, but you've got to find a controller that has that many.

    So I decided to just group things on an IA. I'm not usually going to have more than one reverb on any patch, so rather than create a seperate IA for every single reverb type I'm going to create one button that will turn on the first effect block for all types of reverb. So regardless of the patch if there is a reverb block of any kind I can turn it on or off with the same button.

    I do the same thing with drives, but in this case I also program the first compressor block to use the same IA. Now this may sound stupid, but for me I usually won't have both effects in the same patch so I get dual use of the button....say a compressor in a clean patch and a drive in a crunchy patch. But the reason that I keep saying that its the first effect block is that if I ever wanted to create a patch that had a compressor on all the time a drive pedal to turn on or off indepedently I can just put the compressor on effect block two. Now it's not being controlled by the IA.

    It's not perfect, but I do the same thing for modulation effects and delays. Put the stuff I'm not going to mess with on block two in the preset itself, stuff I want control of gets put into block one. My IA layout stays the same and I'm not hunting for specific buttons trying to figure out if that's a multitap delay or a stereo one or whatever. It's a delay, I can turn it off or on.
     
  20. scienceguy

    scienceguy Supporting Member

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    Trust me - I'm no shill, but I absolutely love my LF+ 12+ . It does everything I want it do (I needed more than my Ground Control Pro could give me, but it's almost 10 years old). The 12+ a little expensive, but for me - worth it.
    Check out the youtube videos to get a feeling of what it can do.
     

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