Posts by SimonO

    Here is a long-needed update on this How To!

    1. The process can be greatly simplified if you use the Virus plugin on a computer and assign your pedals to control the soft knobs on that. The computer just becomes yet another box you have to lug to gigs!
    2. I no longer recommend the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller http://www.midisolutions.com/prodped.htm. This sometimes stops working for no apparent reason. It has let me down at gigs. There is one for each pedal, linked in series. So it means that the connected pedal and any whose pedal controller is connected downstream from the faulting one is out of action till it comes right. (So the emergency fix is to remove the faulting pedal controller from the connected series. The pedals connected to the other two pedals will then work.)
    3. Instead, I highly recommend the Audiofront's MIDI Expression range of pedal interfaces https://www.audiofront.net/MIDIExpression.php. These did not exist when I wrote the article. The model I use is the 'MIDI Expression iO', the way to go if you connect direct to the Virus rather than a computer, as it supports three pedals and old-fashioned MIDI cables as well as USB. Its advantages over the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller are:
    • It's reliable. I've had mine a few years. It always works.
    • One pedal interface, about the size of the MIDI Solutions box, connects multiple pedals. Much less spaghetti on the floor!
    • It supports MIDI over USB as well as MIDI cables. So it can be plugged into a computer without a MIDI to USB adapter. Even if you don't want to control software synths, this makes configuring the pedal interface a bit easier.

    Sorry for the delay in replying. I've been having some technical problems with this forum which, as I have just discovered, apparently include the fact that I've had no email notification that there have been updates to this thread, even though I've got the thread as a favourite and have the appropriate setting switched on in my profile.


    Quote

    The idea is you would have your banks of favorites safely on your computer but can easily drop the bank onto the virus to take it with you.

    I'm with you on that one. I've just filled up RAM bank A. I'd better back it up to my computer.


    Quote

    they are not intended to be empty. weird.

    Thanks Marc and everyone else for the info. It's clearly just me that ended up with empty RAM banks. I think I know why. If I am right, it is no fault of the manufacturer. As soon as I received my brand new TI2, I attempted to upgrade it to the latest (beta at the time) TIOS. It went horribly wrong. The upgrade died part the way through. After that, my TI2 would not boot up. Fortunately I fixed the problem. I had been using a longer USB cable to attempt the failed upgrade than is supported by Access/Kemper for use with a Virus. After physically moving things around in my studio, I was able to get a cable within the maximum supported length to connect. (I think the maximum supported is 1 metre.) With the shorter cable, I was able to get the upgrade to work. I've always used a short cable for subsequent upgrades without incident. What I think happened was that failed upgrade died before initialising the RAM banks. The first successful upgrade then assumed that I had previously deliberately set the RAM banks to all Init and so did not overwrite them with the usual selection of patches from the ROM banks. I've recently discovered that my ROM banks were wrong too. I ended up with the ROM banks that there would normally be on a TI1, not what ought to come with a TI2. Probably something to do with the same failed upgrade. I only discovered I'd had the TI1's ROM patches when I suddenly received the TI2's normal ROM patches when I upgraded to the latest and my first non-beta TIOS 4.5.3.00. (I did not get the factory RAM patches, presumably because I'd already made changes to the RAM banks.)


    Actually, I have not felt disadvantaged having the RAM banks all Init. I took that as an invitation to fill them up with my own or favourite patches. I've been busy doing that.


    Simon

    Quote

    if the forum misbehaves, try deleting the browser cache and log in again.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I've just tried that but it did not help. I get those problems when using the Safari browser on an iPad. To write this reply, I'm using Firefox on my PC. No problems here. So it could be an iPad-specific problem. But I think I have written messages to the forum in the past on my iPad without problems.


    Simon

    when they come from the factory they're not empty and are populated as the manual states. If you bought one new that was empty either someone wiped them or missed puitting them there in the first place.

    Interesting. OK, let's just double-check. Is yours a TI1 or a TI2?

    Is it just me or has the forum's post editor got buggy recently? Until today, it had been a while since I'd posted any replies to threads. So I don't know how new this problem is.


    I'm sometimes not seeing Reply buttons on individual posts. Once editing, I sometimes don't see any of the formatting buttons except for the smileys. That problem got fixed once today when I did a preview. But I cannot get that fix to work consistently. I'm not seeing the formatting buttons when starting this new thread either.


    Has there been a new version of the forum software recently?


    Simon

    Documenting your patches like on your web site looks like a good approach. Of course the advatage of saving favourite and of course orignial and modified patches to the RAM banks rather than to computer files is that I don't have to have my TI2 tethered to a computer all the time. Handy for me personally for gigs. Irrelevent if you always use your Virus with a computer.


    It would be good if Kemper/Access would state in the Quickstart manual that the TI2 RAM banks are initially empty/INITs. The confusion has lead to some discussion on the forum. See most recently for example
    http://virus.info/forum/index.php?page=Thread&threadID=3212

    Hello John,


    You can copy one or many patches to a RAM bank from a computer via the Browser page of the Virus Control VST plug-in. Open the source computer folder in one pane of the browser. Open a RAM bank in the other pane. Drag the patch with your mouse from the source pane to the target RAM bank pane. There will be other ways of acheiving the same thing within the Browser.


    Use of Virus Control's Browser page is explained in the Virus Control Tutorial PDF. That manual was written for a rather old version of Virus Control. But the Browser basics are still the same these days. Or you can look at the much more up to date Virus Control Overview trainining video.


    Alternatively, if you've got lots of patches to copy, you can burn a whole ROM bank using the standalone Virus Control Centre program.


    Simon

    Yes, it is probably too late to assist the original poster, but I cannot resist chipping in. A concern was raised about reverb and delay in preset patches. An excellent feature of the Virus TI is that it is possible at a global level to disable reverb, delay, arpegiator and EQ on all patches. When I play my usual genre of music, free improvisation, I don't want delay at all. So I disable delay globally. This allows me to play many preset patches that would otherwise be completely useless for me.


    Dance music has become the mainstream, especially for synths. That is why synth makers put so much effort into creating patches that are designed with dance in mind. It is also why most of the Virus and other synth samples on ye olde tube are dance music. I don't think there's any free improv Virus on ye olde tube. There probably won't be till some of my own Virus playing finds its way onto it. I bought a Virus TI because I knew it would be versatile. I have not been disappointed.


    Simon

    Going back to the original question, some of these are conventional names for MIDI control change numbers that don't necessarily need to do anything or be triggered by anything to do with the name.


    For example, Sost Pedal ( control change number 66) is short for Sostenuto Pedal. But Sostenuto is not actually implemented on the Virus. So you can assign Sost Pedal to any parameter(s) on the matrix and you don't necessarily need to use a footswitch to trigger it.


    Similarly, what does Data Entry (CC#6) mean? I looked this up on the web. Apparently CC#6 is conventionally triggered by a ribbon controller. Well, I don't have a ribbon controller. Instead, I trigger CC#6 with an expression pedal. This is very handy because many preset patches have Data Entry controlling parameters via the mod matrix and often linked to a soft knob, in which case I can control by foot whatever the soft knob controls.

    They all correspond to MIDI control change numbers. For example, Controller 3 is CC#3 and Data Entry is CC#6. To see what all the corresponding control change numbers are, click CONFIG on the TI hardware, find the Control Pedal or Hold Pedal parameters and look at the range of values available for either of those parameters.


    You can also download this info in a handy MIDI Implementation Chart PDF.


    So, as well as with the Control Pedal or Hold Pedal, you can trigger them with the Virus's MIDI IN.


    Simon

    Once everything is set up, you can get a visual check that it is all working by looking at the Easy page of Virus Control. When an expression pedal is moved, so will the indicator on the corresponding soft knob in Virus control. Check that a full sweep of the expression pedal provides full variation of the soft knob. I did once have a faulty pedal that would only vary the soft knob between about 30 and 127 instead of the full range 0 to 127. I was easily able to spot the fault with this visual check. Note that moving the pedal will not change the value shown for the soft knob in the Virus hardware's display.


    Simon

    The Virus TI's three soft knobs (also known as value knobs) can each be configured to control several parameters to differing degrees and even in different directions, facilitating richness and complexity of timbral variation in real time. But I have found several advantages in controlling (or perhaps emulating is a better word) the soft knobs with foot pedals / expression pedals / control pedals / foot controllers / continuous controllers / whatever-you-want-to-call-them:

    • Both hands are free to play the keyboard.
    • The feet can easily control two soft knobs simultaneously.
    • For even more complexity of timbral variation, one hand can control a knob, such as a third soft knob (value knob), while the feet control up to two soft knobs.

    The training video Animating Using Soft Knobs shows in detail how to program the soft knobs. I will just recap the main points that are relevant for foot control.


    Within a patch, each soft knob may be assigned to either a parameter or a MIDI control change number (CC#). For foot control, the soft knobs have to be assigned to CC#s. This is because an expression pedal must send the Virus the same CC# as is assigned to the soft knob that the pedal is to control. I will explain how expression pedals can send the Virus CC#s later. In the Virus’s modulation matrix, the CC# assigned to a soft knob is mapped to one or more parameters, specifying the degree, positive or negative (-64 to +63), to which a change in the CC#’s data value (0 to 127) will change each of the mapped parameters.


    If a soft knob is currently assigned to a parameter, here is what you need to do to allow foot control while still having the soft knob and its mapped expression pedal control the same parameter:

    • In the modulation matrix, configure a CC# for maximum positive control (+63) of the parameter in question.
    • Change the soft knob’s assignment from the parameter to the CC#.

    This is straightforward for most parameters but can be problematic for some. The names of the parameters that can be assigned to soft knobs are occasionally a bit different from those that can be assigned in the matrix. Usually I can work out the equivalents. But I have found a few parameters that can be assigned to soft knobs but not, so far as I can tell, assigned in the matrix. Analog Boost Int and Unison Spread are examples.


    I’m going to assume that it is either difficult or undesirable to change the CC# that each expression pedal sends. That is in fact the case with the rig I’m going to describe later. Assuming then that the CC# sent by each expression pedal is effectively fixed, we need to adopt a standard approach: in each patch for which we want to enable foot control of the soft knobs, the three soft knobs need to be assigned to the same three CC#s.


    There is no way of controlling the soft knobs via MIDI that is
    a) global rather than patch-specific
    and therefore
    b) completely separate from the soft knob to matrix linkage and co-existing with it.
    If there were, there would be no need map standard CC#s to soft the knobs separately for each individual patch for which foot control is required. In thread MIDI Control of Soft Knobs, I have proposed global MIDI control of soft knobs as a new TIOS feature. If you would find such a new feature useful, you can ‘vote’ for it by adding a post to that thread.


    Meanwhile, unless and until global MIDI control of soft knobs becomes available, what are the best three CC#s to assign to the three soft knobs in each patch for which foot control of the soft knobs is required? If you only want to do this with patches you have written yourself from scratch, it does not matter, provided you adopt a consistent approach. But if, like me, you wish to enable foot control of many preset patches and of patches that are modified versions of original presets, I recommend using the following assignments:

    • Soft knob 1: CC#1 (Modulation Wheel)
    • Soft knob 2: CC#6 (Data Entry)
    • Soft knob 3: CC#3 (Control 03)

    These are the most commonly assigned in the Virus's preset patches. I estimate that a large minority of the presets come like that. So having the expression pedals send those three CC#s minimizes the work required to tweak the patches to allow the expression pedals to control the soft knobs.


    Having explained how to configure Virus patches for foot control of the soft knobs, I shall now show how to make expression pedals send the Virus the required CC#s.


    One expression pedal can be plugged into the Virus’s Control (Ctrl) Pedal socket, which can be assigned to the CC# that is in turn assigned to one of the soft knobs. But there are three soft knobs. Two or three (or more) CC#s can input to the Virus via its MIDI In socket. To take advantage of that, we need a method, external to the Virus, of converting the signals of the two or three expression pedals into CC#s which are then merged into a single MIDI cable to be plugged into the Virus’s MIDI In.


    There are several devices on the market that can convert an expression pedal’s signal to MIDI. But I have not found anything quite as suitable as the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller. Compared with the other devices of which I am aware, it has the following advantages for our specific purpose:

    • It does not come with built-in footswitches or buttons you don’t need.
    • Consequently it is small and very light, though you do need one per pedal.
    • It is powered through its MIDI input socket, so there’s no need for a battery or wall wart.

    In my rig, I’ve got four expression pedals. Three are plugged into MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers and one is plugged directly into the Virus via its Control (Ctrl) Pedal socket. I use the one that one is plugged directly into the Virus to control master volume and the other three to control the soft knobs. Obviously you could do with one less expression pedal and one less MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller if you do not want to control volume by foot.


    Before the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers are connected to the expression pedals and the synth, they first each need to be plugged into a computer, usually via a MIDI-USB adaptor/cable/interface of some sort, to be programmed to convert the expression pedal signal to the required CC# with a range of 0 to 127 (decimal). For details of how to do that, please refer to the instructions that come with the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller and which are available for download. I will just mention a couple of points.


    The MIDI messages output by each MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller need to specify the Virus’s channel number. But you need to subtract one from the channel number to do this. So, if the Virus’s channel number is 1, which it would be by default, you need to specify 0 for the channel number in the MIDI message.


    The MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers will be connected in series to the Virus. So, to allow the MIDI messages from previous pedal controllers in the series to be passed through, MIDI Echo needs to be set to On for all but the first pedal controller in the series.


    To prevent the possibility of a MIDI loop, MIDI Echo should be set to Off for the first pedal controller in the series unless you are sure that either
    a) there will be no MIDI input to the first pedal controller, in which case it does not matter whether MIDI Echo is On or Off
    or
    b) you do want to pass through any MIDI input and it will not make a MIDI loop, in which case MIDI Echo should be On.


    Once the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers have been programmed, they need to be connected to the expression pedals and the Virus. I’m going to assume that
    a) no sources other than the pedal controllers need to send MIDI messages to the Virus
    and
    b) the Virus itself is to provide MIDI power to the pedal controllers.


    Obviously one expression pedal is to be connected to each MIDI Solutions Pedal Controller. I have successfully used both the Roland EV-5 pedal, which is not suitable for plugging into the Virus via its Control (Ctrl) Pedal socket, and the Yamaha FC-7 pedal, which is suitable for plugging into the Virus via its Control (Ctrl) Pedal socket. So it seems that the MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers will work with many, if not all, types of expression pedal.


    The MIDI Solutions Pedal Controllers need to be connected in series (MIDI Out to MIDI In) to each other, with MIDI Echo on each pedal controller set as described above and the last pedal controller in the series connected to the Virus’s MIDI In.


    Up to four MIDI Solutions devices can be powered in series from a single MIDI source that is capable of providing MIDI power. But they can only receive MIDI power through their MIDI In sockets. So, even though no MIDI messages need to be passed into the first pedal controller in the series, its MIDI In socket still needs to be connected to something to provide power. I connect my first pedal controller to the Virus’s MIDI Thru socket. Connecting to the Virus’s MIDI Out socket works too, though in that case it is essential to have MIDI Echo set to Off for the first pedal controller to avoid a MIDI loop.


    Well, there you have it. I hope some Virus players will find this useful. And I would be interested to hear of any variations to the approach described.


    Simon