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Report: Lexicon MPX R1 Controller w/t Axe-Fx

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
I had looked prior to buying this but didn't see any mention of it here so I thought I'd give a little spiel on the unit.

For your reference here's a picture of a V2 unit (identifiable by the extra lettering just to the left of the 3 digit display):

dscf0279_125.jpg


Manual is here.

On the rear of the unit you've got power in for 9VAC, MIDI In, Out, and Thru connections. A connection for an expression switch (either latching or momentary can be used), a connection for an expression pedal (or you can use this with a TRS Y-cable to add two more switches if you so desire), a relay control jack (there are two internal relays you can toggle) and the recessed button that puts it in setup (they call it EDIT mode) or run mode.

I set mine up with a Boss FV-500L attached to the expression pedal input and an old Yamaha momentar I had kicking around from an ancient keyboard in the expression switch jack.

The unit is capable of accessing both bank A and B on my AFx Standard. It might even be able to access bank C. I know it'll do 30 banks of 10 patches but I set it up to stop at bank 25 because I'm not sure the AFx supports accessing Bank C via MIDI. Maybe I'm wrong there. I'll try it later. But for now: it has no problems accessing patch 1 through 256.

It can be configured to operate a couple of different ways. I went with Bank/Direct mode. This means, when the FX switch light is off, the unit's 10 numbered switches each access a patch in the current bank, BANK UP and DOWN move you through the banks. Tap the FX switch quickly to turn the FX light on and now each of the 10 numbered switches are IA switches, BANK UP and DOWN move you through the patches. Hold down the FX switch for 3 seconds and you're in direct access mode. In this mode the 10 numbered switches can be used to enter a bank/patch number to skip directly to.

So that means 10 patches plus 10 IA switches plus a couple of other utility switches. There's a latching switch under the toe of the built in expression pedal. There's a latching A/B switch that can send CC or SysEx messages on two channels at the same time. There's a TAP switch that's not configurable -- it always send CC values on CC#119. And there's a BYPASS switch that's configurable. So that's 3 fully configurable extra switches plus a TAP tempo switch available always in all RUN modes.

The IA mode available when the FX switch is tapped does not, unfortunately, sync to the state of the effects that the IAs are bound to in the AFx. I'm actually wondering: do other controllers sync up? So if I have an IA sending on CC#10 and then I bind that CC to DRIVE1 bypass in the AFx, when I switch to a patch that has a DRIVE1 block and it's enabled does the IA switch light up on the controller? And when I switch to a patch that doesn't have DRIVE1 does or has DRIVE1 disabled does that IA switch turn off on the controller? I had the MIDI out from the AFx run to the MIDI in on the R1 just in case the AFx was sending some messages on patch change that the R1 could do something with, but no luck. The IAs stay in what ever state you last had them in. Bit of a pain but not the end of the world. It means if you last turned DRIVE1 on with an IA and now, in a new patch, want to use to turn DRIVE1 on because it's off you'll have to tap it twice -- once to send the CC value of 0 (which does nothing in your patch because DRIVE1 is already bypassed) and a second time to send the CC value of 127 to un-bypass the DRIVE1 block.

I've not go much experience with other controllers so I'd really like to know if the above scenario is common to all controllers, just the R1 or what.

The A/B switch is pretty cool. I bound it to GLOBAL BYPASS on the AFx so it functions as a handy "rhythm or lead" type switch. If a patch has bypassed blocks in it pressing A/B to change the unit to "B" mode will unbypass all the bypassed blocks. Switching back to "A" mode bypasses those blocks again. Pretty cool. Like the IA switches it can get out-of-sync with the AFx but a double tap corrects the problem.

I bound the latching switch under the expression pedal to WAH1 bypass. Works great. The built-in expression pedal itself is really light. It just barely holds its place when you set it half-cocked. But it's got the right throw for wah-wah work. I prefer it to the FV-500H which always felt clunky when trying to wah fast.

The BYPASS switch I bound to TUNER. Handy.

At this point the external controllers feel gratuitous. I'm sure I'll figure out what I want them to do in due time. But right now there's enough switches on the R1 and the built-in expression pedal is sufficient to cover my needs. Which is cool. That means, with a 7-pin MIDI cable, I should be ready to rock with just the R1 at my feet. I'll pick up a 7-pin cable this weekend to see if it works. The manual intimates it should be fine, with power expected on pins 6-7. And the wall wart for it fits the phantom power jack on the AFx. Rock and roll.

My only gripe with this 8-year-old unit is the switches are starting to flake. They sometimes don't engage. I'm not really going to complain too much about this because:

a) It's a known deficiency with these units that the switches die and the replacements can be had from Lexicon or Mouser for cheap. There's even a more durable drop-in from the same switch manufacturer; and
b) I paid so little for it (under $100 before shipping) that a little repair work doesn't bother me. It was a steal.

I'll crack it open tomorrow night to asses the switch replacement situation. I'm actually wondering if I can replace them with something nicer. Some nice momentary Carlings perhaps? I'm all up for that. And honestly: it think it'd be pretty cool to bring my DIY skills over to the Axe-Fx. I figured my days of building and modding pedals might be numbered when this thing landed on my door but no, I'm just going to start making and modding my own MIDI pedals. :)

If anyone wants to quickly get an R1 up and running with the Axe-Fx here's my SysEx dump for my unit. It's setup as above. You'll probably have to do your own expression pedal calibration still. You can get the sysex file here: http://files.getdropbox.com/u/870088/Ax ... _Setup.syx
 

sjaak

Member
hi
I'm using the mpxr1 as well and had the same problems with the switches
if you spray them with kontakt-spray they will work fine
in my case for over two years
it's a bit tricky opening up the footcontroller and loosen the circuitboard from the chassis (watch out for the springs in the switches) but then you can easily spray the switches on the board and they will work fine
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
sjaak said:
hi
I'm using the mpxr1 as well and had the same problems with the switches
if you spray them with kontakt-spray they will work fine
in my case for over two years
it's a bit tricky opening up the footcontroller and loosen the circuitboard from the chassis (watch out for the springs in the switches) but then you can easily spray the switches on the board and they will work fine
sjaak: thanks a bunch! I will try that out tonight.

I ordered a few Carling and other momentaries in, I'm going to look in to just swapping them out with stuff I know to be more reliable. I'm even considering re-housing it so it's "all in one" -- even my external expression pedals. But we'll see. I get grand DIY plans some times and never follow through.

Thanks again for the tip on the spray!
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Tried the spray and it made one of the 5 gimpy switches better. But the rest - looks like they've gotta go. On the upside it's a nice clean board, with lots of space on things, so it'll be an easy solder.
 

Bartolus

New Member
Hi IAN,

are there any new developments on your R1 project?

A have some questions:

How to send your dump back to the unit. I have not found anything in the manual about it.
The A/B switch does not send any CC command (tested in learning mode). How could you configure it for GLOBAL BYPASS?

Thanks a lot.

Bartolus
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Bartolus said:
are there any new developments on your R1 project?
Hey! Yea: the switch cleaner kind of worked. Some of the switches, like Bank UP and DOWN stick and switch more than one bank when you hit the sometimes. I'm just going to replace them with Carlings I have lying around. Just need to find the time.

Otherwise I've been using it pretty successfully with the Axe-Fx. It's actually a pretty slick little controller for what I paid for it.

How to send your dump back to the unit. I have not found anything in the manual about it.
Do you have software that sends SysEx? If so: hook the R1 up to your computer so Computer's MIDI OUT -> R1 MIDI IN. Then play that SysEx file on your computer and the R1 will just load it in. It happens pretty fast. I actually have a new dump. I'll post it tonight. Works better than what's up there. Does MIDI merge as well so you can have the R1 and your computer hooked up to the Axe-Fx at the same time.

The A/B switch does not send any CC command (tested in learning mode). How could you configure it for GLOBAL BYPASS?
It's probably set to the factory default which is a custom SysEx message for the G2. You just need to assign it a CC channel. Put the R1 in setup mode. Hit the FX button to enter the setup page where you configure each IA switch. Hit Bank UP/DOWN until the display reads Ab1. Now use the +/- buttons to set a CC channel on the switch. Press FX to leave IA setup mode. Press the hidden button on the back to leave setup mode. Should work now.

I'll upload that new SysEx file tonight for the R1 along with my chart of CC assignments for the unit that go with my setup.

Hope that helps!
 

jakeykim

New Member
Thank you so much, Ian, for the detailed information on R1. I am using R1 too and think it's very good for the money. Since I don't do gigs now, I didn't worry about the foot switch reliability etc. However, I found my 'drive' button started "chattering"...

Anyways, I have one question for you. I set my R1 so I can do MIDI merge and use it together with Ax-Edit. It seems that I can do (almost) everything but storing presets or using preset manager (FW update included). ARe you able to do these? Maybe I can try your setting. THanks!

Jake
 

Michael

Member
Hi there,

I used this controller with my old rig (Triaxis, Lexicon G2). I loved the FX-Mode (great concept), but I really hated the poor switches (btw, I also need to replace them). After trying the unit with my AFX I decided to wait for the FA-Controller - because of the missing sync-capability of the stomp box-states. In the meantime I use the Behringer FCB1010. The R1 actually is collecting dust in the cellar ...

Michael
 

miketheman

Experienced
iaresee said:
I had looked prior to buying this but didn't see any mention of it here so I thought I'd give a little spiel on the unit.

For your reference here's a picture of a V2 unit (identifiable by the extra lettering just to the left of the 3 digit display):

dscf0279_125.jpg


Manual is here.

On the rear of the unit you've got power in for 9VAC, MIDI In, Out, and Thru connections. A connection for an expression switch (either latching or momentary can be used), a connection for an expression pedal (or you can use this with a TRS Y-cable to add two more switches if you so desire), a relay control jack (there are two internal relays you can toggle) and the recessed button that puts it in setup (they call it EDIT mode) or run mode.

I set mine up with a Boss FV-500L attached to the expression pedal input and an old Yamaha momentar I had kicking around from an ancient keyboard in the expression switch jack.

The unit is capable of accessing both bank A and B on my AFx Standard. It might even be able to access bank C. I know it'll do 30 banks of 10 patches but I set it up to stop at bank 25 because I'm not sure the AFx supports accessing Bank C via MIDI. Maybe I'm wrong there. I'll try it later. But for now: it has no problems accessing patch 1 through 256.

It can be configured to operate a couple of different ways. I went with Bank/Direct mode. This means, when the FX switch light is off, the unit's 10 numbered switches each access a patch in the current bank, BANK UP and DOWN move you through the banks. Tap the FX switch quickly to turn the FX light on and now each of the 10 numbered switches are IA switches, BANK UP and DOWN move you through the patches. Hold down the FX switch for 3 seconds and you're in direct access mode. In this mode the 10 numbered switches can be used to enter a bank/patch number to skip directly to.

So that means 10 patches plus 10 IA switches plus a couple of other utility switches. There's a latching switch under the toe of the built in expression pedal. There's a latching A/B switch that can send CC or SysEx messages on two channels at the same time. There's a TAP switch that's not configurable -- it always send CC values on CC#119. And there's a BYPASS switch that's configurable. So that's 3 fully configurable extra switches plus a TAP tempo switch available always in all RUN modes.

The IA mode available when the FX switch is tapped does not, unfortunately, sync to the state of the effects that the IAs are bound to in the AFx. I'm actually wondering: do other controllers sync up? So if I have an IA sending on CC#10 and then I bind that CC to DRIVE1 bypass in the AFx, when I switch to a patch that has a DRIVE1 block and it's enabled does the IA switch light up on the controller? And when I switch to a patch that doesn't have DRIVE1 does or has DRIVE1 disabled does that IA switch turn off on the controller? I had the MIDI out from the AFx run to the MIDI in on the R1 just in case the AFx was sending some messages on patch change that the R1 could do something with, but no luck. The IAs stay in what ever state you last had them in. Bit of a pain but not the end of the world. It means if you last turned DRIVE1 on with an IA and now, in a new patch, want to use to turn DRIVE1 on because it's off you'll have to tap it twice -- once to send the CC value of 0 (which does nothing in your patch because DRIVE1 is already bypassed) and a second time to send the CC value of 127 to un-bypass the DRIVE1 block.

I've not go much experience with other controllers so I'd really like to know if the above scenario is common to all controllers, just the R1 or what.

The A/B switch is pretty cool. I bound it to GLOBAL BYPASS on the AFx so it functions as a handy "rhythm or lead" type switch. If a patch has bypassed blocks in it pressing A/B to change the unit to "B" mode will unbypass all the bypassed blocks. Switching back to "A" mode bypasses those blocks again. Pretty cool. Like the IA switches it can get out-of-sync with the AFx but a double tap corrects the problem.

I bound the latching switch under the expression pedal to WAH1 bypass. Works great. The built-in expression pedal itself is really light. It just barely holds its place when you set it half-cocked. But it's got the right throw for wah-wah work. I prefer it to the FV-500H which always felt clunky when trying to wah fast.

The BYPASS switch I bound to TUNER. Handy.

At this point the external controllers feel gratuitous. I'm sure I'll figure out what I want them to do in due time. But right now there's enough switches on the R1 and the built-in expression pedal is sufficient to cover my needs. Which is cool. That means, with a 7-pin MIDI cable, I should be ready to rock with just the R1 at my feet. I'll pick up a 7-pin cable this weekend to see if it works. The manual intimates it should be fine, with power expected on pins 6-7. And the wall wart for it fits the phantom power jack on the AFx. Rock and roll.

My only gripe with this 8-year-old unit is the switches are starting to flake. They sometimes don't engage. I'm not really going to complain too much about this because:

a) It's a known deficiency with these units that the switches die and the replacements can be had from Lexicon or Mouser for cheap. There's even a more durable drop-in from the same switch manufacturer; and
b) I paid so little for it (under $100 before shipping) that a little repair work doesn't bother me. It was a steal.

I'll crack it open tomorrow night to asses the switch replacement situation. I'm actually wondering if I can replace them with something nicer. Some nice momentary Carlings perhaps? I'm all up for that. And honestly: it think it'd be pretty cool to bring my DIY skills over to the Axe-Fx. I figured my days of building and modding pedals might be numbered when this thing landed on my door but no, I'm just going to start making and modding my own MIDI pedals. :)

If anyone wants to quickly get an R1 up and running with the Axe-Fx here's my SysEx dump for my unit. It's setup as above. You'll probably have to do your own expression pedal calibration still. You can get the sysex file here: http://files.getdropbox.com/u/870088/Ax ... _Setup.syx

You are also able to use different midi channels with the toe switch and internal (and external?) expression pedals, if I´m recall correct.

I´m still on my project, of putting the PCB of my R1 into a new chassis. As stated... uhm... several years ago in another thread (what the hell happened?!). Hopefully I´ll finish it during this lifetime. I´m sketching up my different thoughts and goes back to the drawing board each time... new ideas coming around all the time.

/Mike
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
jakeykim said:
Anyways, I have one question for you. I set my R1 so I can do MIDI merge and use it together with Ax-Edit. It seems that I can do (almost) everything but storing presets or using preset manager (FW update included). ARe you able to do these? Maybe I can try your setting. THanks!
I don't use the Editor, sorry, so I can't comment on whether it works for FW updates or IR transfers with the R1 in MIDI-merge mode. I stick to the front panel and SysEx Library for back up these days and it's working great.
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
miketheman said:
You are also able to use different midi channels with the toe switch and internal (and external?) expression pedals, if I´m recall correct.
Yes. The toe switch, the internal expression pedal, the external expression pedal, the (i think) 3 external switches and the A/B switch can all be assigned to transmit on different channels. The A/B switch can actually send on/off on two channels simultaneously. Handy if you've got lots of gear and a complicated setup. I was all set to build an outboard 3 switch box and then I realized...I don't really need it. With F/X mode, the toe switch, the A/B switch, the Tap switch and the Bypass switch I'm in pretty good shape.

A modern update on this controller, with the two mode patch/IA switch setup, the built-in expression pedal with toe switch -- it'd be a sweet board. Almost like the Line6 FBV. Small, but not too small. Big, but not too big. And all in one so it's easy to transport.

I´m still on my project, of putting the PCB of my R1 into a new chassis. As stated... uhm... several years ago in another thread (what the hell happened?!). Hopefully I´ll finish it during this lifetime. I´m sketching up my different thoughts and goes back to the drawing board each time... new ideas coming around all the time.
Nice. If it's helpful at all these switches: http://www.smallbearelec.com/Detail.bok?no=672 fit inside the unit and clear the board -- just. I'm in the slow process of replacing all those silly TACT switches in the unit with these. That switch design has to be one of the strangest industrial designs I've ever seen. I guess it really help them separate the electronics from the physical side when building.
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Updated R1 SysEx File

As promised, here is my SysEx dump for my R1:

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/870088/AxeFx ... 202009.syx

That dump assumes your Axe-Fx ID is set to 125. It should work in MIDI merge mode: merging the data sent to it's IN port on to the OUT/REMOTE port. This lets you connect the R1, your computer and the Axe-Fx together in a loop. It assumes your did and tid settings in your R1 are set to 0. Should be able to put the R1 in edit mode, send the SysEx on the wire, and it'll absorb the changes.
 

miketheman

Experienced
iaresee said:
That switch design has to be one of the strangest industrial designs I've ever seen. I guess it really help them separate the electronics from the physical side when building.

Couldn´t possibly agree more on that! Those tiny little springs inside the switches are supposed to stand some serious stomping at live stage? ...uhm yeah right! :lol:

For me I think actually that the options you have by using different midichannels for the exp pedals and the other, may possibly be quite handy when all comes around. I see no problem to use them together with my G2 engine (which itself is an extreme machine when talking midi/audio processing). Damn, just thinking of it all I realize that I really SHOULD go and do some chassisketches right now! Can´t wait to use it...

/mike
 

sjaak

Member
cleaned my switches long time ago and they still work fine
assigned all my switches to external controllers in the axe
because all my patches have the same line up (my gig-patches) switching the effects on/off is remembered by the footpedal as well the as the axe
often on/off is setting the mix parameter from max to zero
this way I can see wich effects are on and which are off (you have to switch them on/off once after powering up)
allso set 2 switches to cut a few db and use the pedal for the wha wha
now the only thing missing is the tuner
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
sjaak said:
cleaned my switches long time ago and they still work fine
assigned all my switches to external controllers in the axe
because all my patches have the same line up (my gig-patches) switching the effects on/off is remembered by the footpedal as well the as the axe
often on/off is setting the mix parameter from max to zero
this way I can see wich effects are on and which are off (you have to switch them on/off once after powering up)
allso set 2 switches to cut a few db and use the pedal for the wha wha
now the only thing missing is the tuner
Hey sjaak, I'm curious about this statement you made:

because all my patches have the same line up (my gig-patches) switching the effects on/off is remembered by the footpedal as well the as the axe
often on/off is setting the mix parameter from max to zero
this way I can see wich effects are on and which are off (you have to switch them on/off once after powering up)

Does that mean you've gotten the R1 to transmit the IA states along with the PC change numbers? I didn't think it could do that. Let me show you what I mean:

Lets say I have two identical patches: P1 and P2. In each patch I have a drive block, default state is bypassed. On the R1 I have the switch labeled DRIVE set as the IA controller for that drive block. I'm on P1, I turn on the drive block using the DRIVE switch. Now the LED on the R1 next to the DRIVE switch is lit when I'm in F/X mode. I leave F/X mode, go back to patch-access mode, and I switch to P2. What happens?

In my setup the drive block in P2 will be bypassed. But if I switch to F/X mode on the R1 the DRIVE switches LED will be lit. Because I used this switch with P1 to turn on the drive block. But the R1 didn't tell the Axe-Fx when I switched to P2 that the IA was on. So the state of the Axe-Fx and the state of the R1 aren't synchronized.

Controllers like the GCPro and All Access will actually, after sending the PC change message, send along the state of all the IA switches so in the scenario above, when I switch to P2, the drive block will actually be on in P2 because I never switched it off with the IA switch before changing patches.

Are you saying you've got your R1 acting like a GCPro or All Access? Can you elaborate, because that behaviour might be cool! Thanks!
 

sjaak

Member
unlike many others I don't connect the r1 switches to effects on/off but to one of the external controllers of the axefx
when you change a preset these are remembered
the same with the r1 .... when you change a preset the status of the switches stays the same
I keep the r1 in fx mode and change presets with the up/down switches
there is no 2 way communication but you have visual control of the on/off status of your effects
far from perfect but it works for the time being
 

bluemaple727

New Member
There *IS* a way to keep the FX Mode LED's in sync with your presets. Page 6-1 of the MPX R1 manual offers alternate "Program Load" options. With a feature called "Setups" you can send up to 8 program change messages and 16 controller on/off (127/0) messages at a time. The Setups will take the place of your normal single program changes.

The best part is if you send a CC that corresponds to a button in FX Mode, the R1 will update it's LED status to match!

Hope this helps
 
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