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Controlling External Devices With MFC101

Discussion in 'MFC Discussion' started by 56panhead, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. 56panhead

    56panhead
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    Apologies up front: I'm sure many people have had this problem, but I can't find any specific reference material suggestions in this forum, nor on youtube. Sorry.

    Here's my goal: Use the MFC101 to control the Axe FX II and, for each preset and scene that I select, send a midi message to MFC101 "midi out".

    PROBLEM: There doesn't seem to be any PDF or video "Tutorial" for what I want to do. Any suggestions?

    I did find one video that showed: Edit->preset->(pagex2)->(change midi channel to 2, change ProgChg to preset num) BUT.... that doesn't work. The MFC will NOT accept a change to channel 2 (when I recheck the settings, it's back to channel 1).

    I'm not asking somebody to solve this problem (that would be hard), I'm just looking for good reference material. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    steve

    Note: I've connected the Snoize Midi Monitor to the MFC101. Tested it by transfering SysEx Data Dump. The midi monitor shows all of the data being transferred. But I can't get the MFC to send anything else.
     
  2. unix-guy

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    I'd recommend getting MFC-EDIT... It makes some things much easier to access.

    I think you have to have buttons that are "general purpose" to do what you're trying to do.
     
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  3. #3 Richard Kaderabek, Apr 11, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    Richard Kaderabek

    Richard Kaderabek
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    Steve, your post is somewhat confusing.
    So the problem is that Axe FX II doesn't respond to MFC MIDI data or what? I control 4 different MIDI devices with ease (GCX Switcher, RJM Amp Gizmo, Strymon Mobius + Timeline).
    Controlling Axe FX via MFC is just plug and play, just enable Axe FX Mode.
    O.K. what MFC Mark you use, what is the connection, and what communication mode on MFC are you set on? What other devices do you want to control?
     
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  4. 56panhead

    56panhead
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    Unix-guy: Good suggestion. I was thinking of doing that anyway.
     
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  5. 56panhead

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    Sorry for the confusion. The MFC101 controls my Axe FX II perfectly! In fact, one of the constraints I've put on myself is that I don't want to mess with that "perfect union". What I DO want to do, in addition to controlling the Axe FX, is send midi messages to a device like Voodoo Lab Swith Controller to control my Mesa Mark V in harmony with the Axe FX as an effects processor.
     
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  6. 56panhead

    56panhead
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    UPDATE: I got to thinking (always dangerous), and I thought that maybe because the MFC is talking to the Axe via ethercon, perhaps all of the midi message get routed through that physical channel. So, instead of connecting my midi cables to the MFC, I connected them to the Axe FX. And it worked. For every MFC "song" I selected, there was a flurry of midi messages. Similar result when selecting scenes. HOWEVER.... what all these messages mean is not understandable without a tech document to explain the messages

    SO.... My request still stands: Is there a good reference document for the midi messages ??
     
  7. mwd

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    Steve have you checked the actual MFC 101 Owners Manual? Reason I asked is I looked high and low for some MIDI info to control external instruments only to find a pretty rich source of MIDI info starting on page 77.
     
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  8. All Sanity Lost Freddy

    All Sanity Lost Freddy
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    I have a question about this. I basically want to simply activate a effect and deactivate it while still on my diry tone. Basically, i will have a row of effects on Bypass while having my Drive, gate, and amps active. Whenever I want to activate an effect, will the MFC activate it without it changing the Bank??? I dont have this pedal as Im using real pedals. I dont want to change the pedal set up I have, but if the MFC will be a subsitute, then I may consider buying the MFC...
     
  9. unix-guy

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    The MFC is a midi controller. Do you mean you want to use midi to enable/disable effects within the Axe Fx? If so, yes, it will do that. It has nothing to do with "banks".

    Also, this is unrelated to the topic of this thread, which is about controlling eternal devices that are also midi controllable.
     
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  10. All Sanity Lost Freddy

    All Sanity Lost Freddy
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    no problem, thanks Axe-master as im the rookie here trying to find out where to start this convo.... Figured that MFC was mentioned somewhere in this thread and that it is an external Midi device, figure it wouldn't hurt to ask... being i am a rookie..
    pride these days man///

    geezzz
     
  11. unix-guy

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    Well, a) I tried to ask you questions relative to your post but you seemed to have ignored that fact and b) there are many, many posts about the MFC here including a whole sub-forum (where this thread is just one) but you chose this one reply to.

    Posting unrelated questions in someone else's post is called "thread hijacking" and is generally considered bad form on ANY forum.

    Finally, a rude reply such as yours isn't going to garner you further support here from people who might be trying to help you.

    As one more bit of information, the MFC would be considered a midi controller not really an "external midi device". Especially in the context of this post.
     
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  12. All Sanity Lost Freddy

    All Sanity Lost Freddy
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    Dude, Chill out man, what part of rookie did you not comprehend??? I said I was a rookie, yet you bully me with knowledge that I have no idea about. Im a tube guy man. I come from racks of gear and im simply trying to figure this out. I didn't like the tone of your reply at all.. sounded stuck up. relax bro and consider your approach. thats why I replied the way i did.. i was not being rude. i was simply calling your reply out. Thank you for the correction and making it Clear on what the MFC is.. I will consider my question answered.. thanks
     
  13. unix-guy

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    Rude reply number 2... Off to the ignore list for you. Bye!
     
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  14. dukemcrae

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    Thank you Unix-Guy - You are very polite and extremely helpful in my humble opinion, and I have read many of your helpful posts.

    I read this post/Original question with mild excitement as i'd like to use my MFC-101>Axe FXII to control my TC-Helicon Voicelive rack as I have them both on the same rack and I don't like the thought of using another midi controller to operate it....
     
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  15. unix-guy

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    Thanks for your comments. I always try to be helpful, as others have been to me since I started here 5+ years ago.

    I don't have any experience with controlling external devices, but as I mentioned in my previous post, I think general purpose IAs is the way to do it.
     
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  16. #16 56panhead, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    56panhead

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    Okay, it’s Sunday morning and this is a great reason to procrastinate when I should be practicing :)

    My original objective was: (A) Understand midi implementation in the MFC101 (Mark III) and Axe FX II and (B) use this knowledge to configure my rig so I could integrate my MFC/Axe with my Mesa Mark V so I could easily change amp settings, Axe presets and scenes without a lot of tap dancing.

    Spoiler alert: The Axe FX III is MUCH better at this. As I understand it, the Axe FX III includes a midi block in the grid which allows you send midi messages each time you change presets/scenes. Very cool, however, my goal is to relegate my Axe FX II to an effects unit (and controller) for my Mesa Mark V and use the Axe FX III (whenever my waiting list # comes up ) as a separate stand-alone rig. So my challenge continues…..

    I’m an engineer, and nerds like me like to take complex problems and break them down. So I’ll post a few replies to cover: (A) capturing midi data (“sniffing”) from the Axe/MFC (B) understanding the capabilities and limitations (C) workarounds.
     
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  17. #17 56panhead, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    56panhead

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    Sniffing.

    You will need a “midi adapter” device to connect your Axe to your PC. I used the Roland UM-ONE because it plays well with my Mac (High Sierra 10.13.4). Not all interface devices do this. Caveat Emptor.

    You will need an application to read the data. I used “Midi Monitor” from “snoize”.

    (If anybody has better suggestions, please let me know)

    1. Install your midi adapter and your monitoring app.

    2. Connect your midi adapter to the Midi out port of the Axe FX (not the MFC !). Note that the MFC “….sends and receives data only on one port at a time.” (MFC manual section 3.2). This means that (as in my case), if you’re connected to the Axe Fx via Ethercon, you won’t get any data from the MFC midi out port.

    3. On your Axe FX, press: I/O->Midi-(Midi Thru ON). You might also want to turn off the tempo messages other wise you will get A LOT of messages. I/O->midi->“Send Realtime Sysex OFF.

    You should now see messages on your monitor every time you change presets, scenes, etc.

    Note 1: Each message will start with F0 00 01 74 XX where XX is an identifier for your device model (for example "03" = Axe FX II).

    Note 2. The Axe/MFC will send messages on EVERY midi channel. With the Snoize midi monitor you can limit the input to one channel; this helps reduce the clutter.
     
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  18. #18 56panhead, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    56panhead

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    Capabilities and Limitations

    The Axe/MFC sends a lot of info. When you change presets it sends Program Change (PC) and Control Change messages. Note that PC messages start with CX where X is the channel number - 1. CC messages start with BX. Very useful in my situation. It also sends an “0E” (first byte after identifier string) message that identifies “Preset Blocks Data”. However, when you changes scenes, it does NOT send any PC or CC messages.

    Also note the the MFC can be programmed to set internal switches (MFC manual section 6) and and to send custom midi messages (section 14.4).

    However…. The amp controller I’m looking at is the Voodoo Lab “control switcher”. It only recognizes PC and CC messages. No problem for dealing with preset changes, but since the MFC/Axe does not send PC/CC messages for SCENE changes, more precisely DISTINCT messages for each preset/scene, we have no way of telling the amp controller what to do for every preset/scene. Note that the MFC internal switches are INDEPENDENT of the scenes (they do not change when you change scenes. And the the “custom”midi message capability has no way to “understand” the scene setting. In other words, you can easily set up a custom message for PC or CC, but how there isn’t a way for the MFC to “read” the scene amp parameters and roll that into the custom message.

    I mentioned the “0E” message. This contains everything the amp switcher needs to know, but (at least in this particular case) the amp controller does NOT recognize 0E messages :(
     
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  19. #19 56panhead, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
    56panhead

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    Workarounds

    Not the most elegant, but here’s my workaround:
    • Clear a range of presets on the MFC (i.e. from 001 to 128)
    • Set bank size to 5
    • Allocate each bank of 5 presets to one song. In other words, each bank of five presets now behave as 5 "scenes" on the lower row of the MFC.
    • Step through the banks now equates to stepping through each song.
    • Program the amp switcher to respond to each preset change (via PC and/or CC messages).
    Again, not the most elegant(and a waste of preset spaces), but since the Axe FX II will be relegated to the existence of “effects processor”, I can live with it.

    Also note that I do NOT want to select and a scene AND be obliged to press a separate IA switch to make an amp change. I'm just not that good at tap dancing.

    Also, I do not want to set up an IA as a scene selector and a Fixed midi command for the amp. This would mean that (for example) every time I selected scene 2, I would get the "crunch" channel of the amp. That only works if EVERY song uses a "crunch" setting in scene 2.

    Thanks for listening, and if you have anything positive to add, please chime in. If you have anything negative to add, please send me a personal message. No need to harsh the buzz for everybody else on this fine Sunday morning,

    Cheers,

    steve
     
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  20. unix-guy

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    To be clear, I think you are talking about the Axe Fx III, right? There is no mkIII of the Axe Fx II, but there is an Axe Fx II mkI and mkII.

    There is also an MFC mkIII, which is why I wanted to clarify. :)
     
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