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I have run the H9 both with and without MIDI control. .. and here is my 2c. This is for people like me who can’t use an Ipad on stage cuz that is not f-ing rock and roll 🙂
If you do not have a totally pre-planned and regimented setlist.. you will need more buttons. It can be Midi or AUX.. but you are gonna need a patch up/ patch down at minimum. Additionally, you need an external switch for the HOTSWITCH.. which is totally key if you want to do everything the H9 is good for. This can be done easily with a simple AUX switch.. . but even then its a lot of searching for the right preset if you dont set them up in order, and you burn your ports so no expression pedal.
When I was gigging a lot with variable setlists.. I used a small MIDI controller (A disaster DMC-3XL) which was sufficient. I could program the setlist in during setup – it was that easy- and get through all the changes no problem. But it was not incredibly flexible. I had to keep on target.
Now, I am a big proponent of custom MIDI controllers. Once you are using your setup for a while, for cheap you can make a controller that does just what you want without any extra frills. My practice setup uses the non-MIDI AUX port for an expression pedal and the HOTSWITCH as well as a tablet with H9 control. For Live play, I lose the tablet, and I have a custom controller I add for live use with 5 switches. Preset up and down, and three favorite presets. To me this gives me enough creative flexibility to move around presets in real time.. with the ability to jump back to somewhere I know quickly.
That is all one mans opinion
midi is easy, make your own controller for cheap