Home › Forums › Products › Stompboxes › Recommendations please – MIDI Controller for multiple H9s
Tagged: Disaster Area, Eventide, h9, MIDI, MIDI Controller, Rocktron, Source Audio, Voodoo Labs
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October 16, 2016 at 12:53 pm #113769pureambientMember
Hello H9 users,
I am currently trying to decide on and purchase, the best possible choice of a new MIDI foot controller to use with my three H9s.
To be honest, while I have done a lot of research myself, and I have even done a detailed comparison of features and specs in a spreadsheet … But none of that bears the same weight as the honest opinions of experienced users – i.e. That’s you.
First of all, does Eventide recommend any specific MIDI controllers that will work well controlling say, 3 H9s?
Secondly, those of you who use MIDI pedals – what pedal did you choose, and why – and, are you happy with it, or do you regret it? I’m the latter case then, what should you have bought on reflection?
I’m looking at a whole range of possibilities, from classics such as Rocktron, Voodoo Labs, and so on, to Source Audio or Disaster Area pedals.
I like, for example, the small size and portability of the Source Audio “Soleman” pedal. It’s small size and weight appeal to me, and it’s ideal for a pedalboard – which is what I want this for.
I have concerns. I am not convinced, even after discussions with the manufacturer, that it can really support my set up. In the end, I will almost certainly want to run more than just the H9s, and I’d ideally like a pedal that could handle say, ten or more pedals, rather than say, six maximum. And it seems like for the Soleman, six might BE the maximum.
That’s a limiting factor.
Compare that pedal to a classic, such as Voodoo Labs Ground Control Pro…and all of my worries go away. I KNOW that the Pro will do all that I want, that it can handle the load, because I used its predecessor for about 25 years – the original Ground Control.
Plus…no learning curve, no tricky macros, etc. the Ground Control Pro is great, except…its footprint is comparatively to the Soleman…is HUGE.
There is a lot to consider here. Mainly, it’s functionality I crave…being able to control at least six pedals would be good, more if possible, I want a controller that has a PC Editor of some kind. I’d prefer a smaller footprint – but, not at the cost of reduced technical capability.
Please let me know your experiences and recommendations, and if known, which pedals to AVOID.Show More...Show Less...
I really, really appreciate your assistance with this.
October 20, 2016 at 4:50 pm #144679BoylstonMember
Chaining a large number of MIDI devices together is not an Eventide issue, or a pedal issue, or a MIDI controller box issue– it’s a fundamental limitation of the way MIDI signals are usually sent in a chain. Typically, each device has a optical isolator/coupler to make sure there’s not actually a direct electrical connection from one device to the next. This can slightly round off the theoretical square-like signals of a MIDI data packet.
Chain enough of these optocouplers together and the integrity of the signal gets to be a problem. The solution is to use other hardware to send duplicate messages out in parallel and not have so many daisy-chained.
October 20, 2016 at 10:17 pm #144683lmlyonsMember
Well, being a master of the obvious…
I have three H9’s – one that splits into two amps as a front end unit – this one normally takes on pitch shift and stereo sounds, and one each in the amp inserts for time based effects and reverb. I use two seperate inserts because of ground issues, which are different on every stage. I also use a bunch of pedals. They are all in a short 14U rack, controlled by – Voodoo Ground Control Pro and GCX.. Sometimes I control the amp channel switching via midi ( on Marshal and Fender combos) but thats for short shows. I prefer to run amp switching with the amp manufactures control units. I can assure you, I would buy the GCP/GCX system all over and over again if I needed to. I understand, footprint is important and the GCP is wide and tall. BUT its built to handle the rigors of daily use, and so very configurable.
I had a snake created which links all of the performance position units (GCP, tap pedals, volume and controller pedals, amp switching) back to the rack, and a snake to connect the GCX and amp insert H9s to the amps. Roll the rack up – take off the lids, the amps up, put the pedals in my performance position for the gig, connect snake to pedals, connect snake to amps. Play.
I use the system for live performances where I put the songs and their configurations in set list order so that I am pushing one button to change everything (pedals, H9’s amp channels).. It makes the performance SO EASY. I also use the same system for recording where I configure each of the buttons for a particular pedal, and have a set of banks for favorite H9 configurations. When I am in the recording mode, that iPAD H9 control is both invaluable and genius… The nice part is, I store what I record, and can add it back into the live performance configuration really easy. With cable runs kept to the very minimum, and the almost noiseless operation of the GCX, its a joy to use in the studio. AND AND AND… my system can be controlled by someone back stage with another GCP or through a show controller – thats so way cool.
Yes its wide, and tall, and takes up stage space, but I would lose that space and hang from the rafters any day for what I get – quality, multiple configuration strategies, solid control, reduced noise and line loss, fast setup, alternate control locations, predictable results. Thats me.
I hope you find what you are looking for, and take care..
October 24, 2016 at 8:57 pm #144715pureambientMember
LL and everyone else who has replied so far…thank you!! Your feedback and experiences are truly useful to me, and I hope to hear more success stories about more excellent controllers.
I absolutely understand that a long daisy chain is a bad idea, and I would definitely go for a four way splitter and run four chains of three, than risk artwork chains of six. I’d prob actually do nine max…
As far as the GCP goes….it was and prob still us my first choice so far, mainly because I owned and used the original ground control for 20 plus years. It finally fell to bits just a few years back…
But – I was taken aback by the increase in size of the Pro over the original, which had just two rows of pedals rather than three, and, much less empty real estate too,
That’s the only doubt I have about it, I know the unit already, I will have zero learning curve if I buy it…it should be a no brainer, but I am paranoid that there is something smaller and better out there.
LL thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for the Voodoo labs GCP and GCX ( I’m not even going to look at switching yet, I just want MIDI to start.
I really appreciate your comments everyone.
All the best
October 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm #144720lmlyonsMember
You are welcome. I do come off as a bit zeleous I guess. Sometimes a great product comes along, such as the H9’s, or the GCP/GCX, and they change my performance, production and or invention, in very significant ways. I jump at the opportunity to talk about them. The key is the H9’s and their amazing sonic voice. VooDoo is the seamless tool to get all that voice out at once, with my toes.. Maybe make them do a little more than just tap, eh?
Wow – 20 years… For something we pound on with our feet – sometimes a little too vigorously in my case, thats not a bad return on investment.
You come at it in the right way – better. I’m not worried so much about smaller – unless its wieght. I went from stacks to combos a few years back. Even then, 80 pounds each wasn’t too significant a drop. IF I were to jump ship so to speak, it would have to be equall in midi and switching capabilities, which are huge in my book – AND – display visibility. In a dingy bar, or a studio, I can see all the displays and LED’s pretty well, in my performance position. Not so on a sunlit stage – those display hoober doobers do the invisibility thing pretty well when the sun is directly pointed at them. That would be something I would consider above size – but thats me.
You certainly are on the right track asking around.
October 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm #144763bigtimParticipant
G-lab GSC4 very good, well built can control loads of kit with very flexible PC and CC commands. Six effects loops and a great sounding buffer. Very happy with mine.
Or if I could rewind time how about a Boss es8? re-routable loops (Ok not such a big deal for the three H9s)
November 6, 2016 at 10:48 am #144810pureambientMember
Thank you everyone for your suggestions – in the end, I went for the devil I know – I bought the Ground Control Pro.
I know how to program it already, and I know it’s reliable because I owned it’s predeccessor, the Ground Control for nearly 25 years!
It’s working beautifully so far, controlling three H9s and my Space – and I am having no issues with that chain of four.
Back to work!!Show More...Show Less...
November 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm #144822kenhanParticipant
check out morningstar fx mc6.
November 8, 2016 at 12:03 am #144826lmlyonsMember
Congradulations on the new controller. Heres to another 20 plus years use … The control you have now with those H9’s will be very well worth the money spent.
November 9, 2016 at 3:06 pm #144839pureambientMember
I hope I’m still playing in 20 years. I have yet to really start programming the Ground Control Pro, because I had to create presets in my H9s first. I’ve done the first two banks of ten just so I have something…
It’s worked out really well, I just finished last night.
Pitch Factor handles one thing: Harmonisers and pitch shifting. I just use the factory preset numbers to access the sounds on PF and on Space for the moment.
H9 1 contains clean and EQd guitars, distortion, and boosted distortion for solos.
It also contains the two truly ambient algorithms: UltraTap and SpaceTime
H9 2 is for two things: Modulation, and the semi ambient algorithm Resonance.
H9 3 is for one thing: Delays (a lot of delays) plus just to fill it up, my favourite nine reverbs 🙂
Space handles one thing: Reverb. Atmospheres.
I’m now running them as a chain of five, and so far, thanks to short short midi cable runs and to GCP design – all five are responding beautifully every time. I may still spilt the chain at some point, but if it keeps working this well, I shouldn’t need to…we shall see.
Back to the GCP now – the really fun part, build sounds out of my three very different H9s !!
November 9, 2016 at 9:31 pm #144846lmlyonsMember
I saw a pic the other day of a friend playing at a festival in the 70’s. Shot from the back of the stage looking at 30,000 fans, were the Marshalls, my friend in bell bottoms, his SG on, plugged into a a big muff pi, then into a phase 90, which was plugged into an echoplex next to his mic.. That was a heck of a pedal board back then.. I still have my pi, mxr and echoplex from the same era.. :o)
I did the same thing by having a certain set of sounds relegated to each H9 – however, 2 of them are in the effects loops of each amp. Time based Echo’s and verbs. Pitch and phase and other etherials are at the front end.. About every few months, I set the rig up just to tweek, then I lock it all in. As I perform, I hear little things that I want to improve on and live is not the place I care to make changes. Like you, I use presets – then I store them on iCloud. I can tell you its well worth the trouble to store them there, if you can do it. My H9’s have been rock solid, but I have been known to get all exhuberant, showing other guitarists whereever we perform, and every so often, overwrite a preset. I do most of my H9 wild changes, when in a studio and while inventing sounds that are unique and fits the new stuff.
I really really really like being able to program in a ‘show order’ into the GCP and then being able to set it up to access effects based on a grouping of sounds for recording. No matter what controller – if it has the ability to do this, and control otther effects in the rack drawer, I’m all in.
November 11, 2016 at 11:07 am #144854pureambientMember
I remember when my “pedalboard” was a tattered red Fuzz Face and a Vox Wah.
I look at what I am running now, and it’s science fiction.
I am a bit different with the way I set things up.
This time around, I’m going to have two main areas, one is for Rock, i.e. Normal Sounds for use when I start gigging again, and then another large area for Ambient sounds – in case of solo shows, I need all of those beautiful SpaceTime and a UltraTap sounds available. Plus certain Space reverbs, many for use with the energy bow. And maybe looping too.
I have never, ever set up a midi pedal for a performance, or for song by song…because I don’t usually play songs – I improvise a lot.
Now – it may come to pass that I will start doing that (playing regular songs in a band), at which point I’d be asking you for tips, but for now, I’m trying to imagine banks of ten that are just…useful.
So – here’s a rough description of what I’ve done so far, and what I’m thinking for the rest of the banks:
Bank 00. Raw guitar sounds. 00 is flat EQ, so just the dead, effectless guitar. Great for tuning. Then I have two clean sounds, that are roughly a Les Paul and a Fender, then, the rest are distorted sounds.
I like having pairs of the same basic sound, so for example, I have one Wizard’s Tele at 0 db, and a second at +6 db so I can play rhythm with the first, and then get a big volume boost for solos with the second. Sometimes that plus six becomes plus 7 or even plus 9, but I do take a care not to overload the input of h9 number 2 too much.
So I’ve got two pairs, and then three “singles” so maybe Sculpt, Butter Churner and Wahvolver, all set to +9 for solos.
So that’s bank 00.
In all above cases, the second two H9s are just left at Flat EQ, so it’s literally raw sound, clean or dirty.
Then I copied the entire bank to bank 10, with a slight difference, this time, I have four clean sounds and six dirty, and, I’ve added either a Big Clone Chorus or a Long Flyby Flanger to each one, but they are all pairs – so a pair of clean choruses, a pair of clean flanges, a pair of dirty choruses, and a pair of dirty Flangers. Plus one extra patch that is a distorted Rotate Slowly with a lovely tape echo added.
So some basic choices of basic chorused and flanged sounds there – all pretty normal.
Bank 20Show More...Show Less...
This is a land of solos. It’s 9 copies of Wizards Tele, all at plus 7 I think.
Each one has a different effect:
Barrel Roll Flanger
Swamp Moon Vibrato
Auto Fast Slow Leslie
Watery Dark Mod Filter
Square Mod Wah
Electricity Ring Mod
So obviously, with the same base distortion on the whole bank, it’s a real joy to just solo forever in this bank…and the ten voices I chose are each pretty spectacular and have great pre-programmed expression pedals too.
For the moment, I’m not using the GCP for expression pedals, because the H9s work so beautifully already, I rarely can fault their choices.
So that is a hugely fun bank.
That’s where I’m at.
I will, I think, have various banks that zoom in on particularly great sets of H9 sounds.
I’ve programmed the entirety of both SpaceTime and UltraTap, so I could see maybe two banks featuring twenty of each…
And a bank of the best reverbs. And a bank of the best pitch shifters.
And a bank of the best delays. Once those are established, I could then pick and mix the best sounds from each of those into more banks more similar to my first few.
I am going to use the numbers for Rock, and the letters, start with A for Ambient.
I need banks of different clean tones with reverb for my ebow playing.
I need banks of different clean tones with SpaceTime for my ebow playing.
That’s what I will be trying to establish today – what each of the remaining banks should be, before I go too much further.
So, a very flexible, free and utterly anarchic way compared to your ordered universe of songs. I get why you do it, but it’s mostly, not for me. I might set up a Hendrix bank, so I can play Purple Haze or Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). I might set up a Fripp bank so I can play Red.
But I would try to capture tones that were useful for playing many Hendrix or Fripp songs, not just one. I realise – easier said than done – but I’m a gonna try!
Wish me luck. I really enjoy these conversations by the way.
March 8, 2017 at 5:13 pm #145893cljffordParticipant
This conversation is really helpful, as I’m just learing about MIDI foot controllers now. I’m excited to get one. Thaks for sharing the different ways you’ve set yours up.
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