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    Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

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    gotw

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    Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gotw on Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:26 am

    Using either MIDI channels or an expression pedal can I control any of the master volumes via MIDI? I don't mean switching power soak. That does not give enough volume control.
    Thanks
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:28 am

    That's a great question Gotw!  I've had my TM36 for a couple of months now and I have the H&K FSM432 to go with it.  For my needs, getting that may have been a bit of slight overkill, but I used a Vox AD120VT previously so was used to storing voice patches and calling them up for specific numbers.  I haven't really given the midi a proper runout other than to flick around from preset to preset.

    As I understand it...  Embarassed   You should be able to attach an expression pedal to the FSM432 on one of the control in lines and set it to reflect the volume by setting its associated midi channel.  The manual talks about a Volume (soft) and a Volume (hard) being available on channels 7 and 57.  (The soft/hard aspect is a description of the abruptness of the change from one step to the next as the pedal is moved).  There is also a pair of Gain selections too.  However, through the whole description of how to use the pedal in the manual the Grandmeister is mentioned constantly and the Tubemeister...  Yes, you've guessed it, they never mention it once.  That leads me to believe that we have much more restricted midi options with our TMs.

    I've just tried it out again on my system and found that if you select a preset then manually change the master volume, select a new preset, then go back to the first one, you get it played at the overall volume you manually set it to previously.  In other words, the midi selection of that voice did not override the manual setting of the amp for the same voice with a stored value.  So it seems to me that the master volume setting is not stored as part of the patches with the TMs.  I suspect that in our case the best we can do is to select the channel, power soak setting, effects loop state, and reverb state.  All of the tone, gain and master settings will be manual.

    In as sense it isn't so bad.  If that is correct it means that we can just set up a logical layout of every possible channel/power soak/effects loop combination and swap from one to the other while using our current normal controls to control volume and gain.  It's not ideal but it's simple and clean.

    Now that said, I could easily be talking out of my rear end here!  Can anyone else offer any more knowledgeable advice rather than my anecdotal?

    gotw

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gotw on Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:05 pm

    That's what I figured. Too bad. I really need a way to boost volume for solos.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:13 am

    Just try a simple clean boost pedal or an overdrive pedal cranked right down on the drive, that's what I use. You could even put one before the amp and a second in the effects loop then you can choose to overdrive mainly your preamp or just your power amp.

    Boutiques are NOT needed. The prices that get charged for something that has about £1.00 worth of components on a PCB with about £5.00 worth of mechanicals are ridiculous. And people are happy to pay them too!!! Recoup development costs? Nonsense, most of these are put together as week old clones of someone else's week old designs, there is no magic. I built my own design of clean boost and it is as good as anything I've ever heard as in, you can't hear it at all! It's simple as pie and much more satisfying to use. That said, if you're not into that approach then there are good boosts out there, you've just got to watch what you let yourself pay in the end.

    gotw

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gotw on Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:23 am

    I tried a boost in my effects loop and it just clipped because all boosts are designed to receive instrument level signals, not line level signals. Putting a boost in front of the amp will just add distortion not volume because the preamp is already very distorted.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:15 am

    Yep, I take your point on the pre boost adding too much grit but it does depend on which channel you have selected. Have you tried playing with the Lead channel at a lower level then soloing by selecting the crunch channel and kicking in your boost? Does that still give you too much distortion or maybe not enough volume?

    I should have remembered that you have to design your own pedals (properly) so you can make sure it takes a nuclear pulse to overload them! Very Happy It's those damned generic circuits I was talking about.... In effect it only needs two resistors to drop the effects send level down for the pedals to handle, then enough gain in the pedals to boost it back up again (and a bit more of course).

    If we knew what H&K choose as the defined line level of the effects loop we could see what would be needed to make this easy mod work. "Line level" is what it means to whoever is using the term. Studio International, dBU (ref 0.775V), dBV (ref 1V) are all defined reference levels and very different. And the loop impedance is important here too.

    gotw

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gotw on Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:22 am

    bordonbert wrote:Yep, I take your point on the pre boost adding too much grit but it does depend on which channel you have selected.  Have you tried playing with the Lead channel at a lower level then soloing by selecting the crunch channel and kicking in your boost?  Does that still give you too much distortion or maybe not enough volume?

    I should have remembered that you have to design your own pedals (properly) so you can make sure it takes a nuclear pulse to overload them! Very Happy It's those damned generic circuits I was talking about....  In effect it only needs two resistors to drop the effects send level down for the pedals to handle, then enough gain in the pedals to boost it back up again (and a bit more of course).

    If we knew what H&K choose as the defined line level of the effects loop we could see what would be needed to make this easy mod work.  "Line level" is what it means to whoever is using the term.  Studio International, dBU (ref 0.775V), dBV (ref 1V) are all defined reference levels and very different.  And the loop impedance is important here too.

    I actually was thinking about trying your suggestion, but I recently dumped all my pedals and need to pick up a new distortion pedal to try it. I had an OCD and used to love it but it started sounding like it had too much low end. TS is almost certainly too low gain for my purposes. Suhr Riot is way over-priced. Boss DS-1 has a questionable buffer. MXR Distortion+ apparently has to be cranked to reach unity gain. I was thinking about the Xotic SL Drive. Got a good distortion pedal recommendation? Smile

    You're exactly right. Line-level is reported as standard but effects loop levels seem to vary from amp to amp.
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    mm408

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by mm408 on Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:45 pm

    If you want distortion,,,, the Bogner Red..... awesome and VERY flexible. I really like it. Great for leads.

    But if you want on OD, then just found the streets for the one that sounds good to you. There are many, one of the best is the one you no longer like! ")
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:21 pm

    Unfortunately I use my own designs so I have never got into the pedal junkie syndrome. My current is a three stage mu-amp all JFET design made up of two driven stages and an output buffer. It inputs to a Feed pot which takes high signal voltages down to a sensible level before driving any active stage. Plain common sense. It's not the same as having a Gain control based in the first stage as your limiting factor. You need to restrict the input to the right range to feed the following shaping stages. It runs off any voltage from 9V to 24V and has a selectable DC voltage multiplier for the power line which gives some 16V from a 9V supply if required. That gives useful headroom and changes the nature of the overdrive. None of this is unique or difficult, but you'll pay over £100 for most pedals which go to this extent. You can build one at least as good for around £20! (So how much does it cost them as commercial buyers of parts to produce?)

    A lot depends on what sound you are looking for but if it's not out and out heavy driven metal take a look at the Okko Diablo, it's a sweety. (But true to form it's ridiculously overpriced imho.) I found I had a lot of common ground with that little beast. The most important fact it proved to me was that the circuitry for producing the distortion is not as important as the circuitry which shapes it afterwards. As an example, how many diode clipping circuits are out there? How many are at all different to the others? In the few which do stand out it's not in the diodes or how you clip them! It's generally in the complexity and selection of the filtering components which shape the clipped signal.

    Original Tubescreamer? I wouldn't give you £5 for one. If I wanted something that coarse, I'd rather make my own clone using plain common (read cheap) semiconductors which are better and more reliable than the older "mojo" ones, then filter the signal properly to get the tone I want. And every pedal I made based on that would sound the same!!! Not many designs think that is important.

    gotw

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gotw on Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:59 pm

    bordonbert wrote:Unfortunately I use my own designs so I have never got into the pedal junkie syndrome.  My current is a three stage mu-amp all JFET design made up of two driven stages and an output buffer.  It inputs to a Feed pot which takes high signal voltages down to a sensible level before driving any active stage.  Plain common sense.  It's not the same as having a Gain control based in the first stage as your limiting factor.  You need to restrict the input to the right range to feed the following shaping stages.  It runs off any voltage from 9V to 24V and has a selectable DC voltage multiplier for the power line which gives some 16V from a 9V supply if required.  That gives useful headroom and changes the nature of the overdrive.  None of this is unique or difficult, but you'll pay over £100 for most pedals which go to this extent.  You can build one at least as good for around £20!  (So how much does it cost them as commercial buyers of parts to produce?)

    A lot depends on what sound you are looking for but if it's not out and out heavy driven metal take a look at the Okko Diablo, it's a sweety.  (But true to form it's ridiculously overpriced imho.)  I found I had a lot of common ground with that little beast.  The most important fact it proved to me was that the circuitry for producing the distortion is not as important as the circuitry which shapes it afterwards.  As an example, how many diode clipping circuits are out there?  How many are at all different to the others?  In the few which do stand out it's not in the diodes or how you clip them!  It's generally in the complexity and selection of the filtering components which shape the clipped signal.

    Original Tubescreamer?  I wouldn't give you £5 for one.  If I wanted something that coarse, I'd rather make my own clone using plain common (read cheap) semiconductors which are better and more reliable than the older "mojo" ones, then filter the signal properly to get the tone I want.  And every pedal I made based on that would sound the same!!!  Not many designs think that is important.

    Yeah it's not materials you pay for in a pedal. It's that they can build one and 99% of us can't. Kudos to you for having the skill. You should charge for it. Wink

    Rullian

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by Rullian on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:58 am

    I've had the best luck with this by putting a volume pedal in the effects loop (which means there's no impact on gain level) and a boost either out front or assigned to a footswitch.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:27 pm

    Great idea Rullian, I wouldn't have thought of that! I'm certainly going to play with that one! In fact it makes me wonder if there isn't a place for a simple switched attenuator pedal unit which is just a control pot and a bypass switch. Rather like a manual volume pedal with just the innards and without the rocker mechanism! You could even have two inside the same pedal to offer double levels of attenuation and full bypass, three controllable settings overall.

    I learned with my Vox Valvetronix Blueface that some amps really come to life with just an EQ pedal in the effects loop. I used a simple Behringer in that role for the Vox and the Behringer has a useful dollop of gain on top. I will also try it with my TM36 with a simple pot before it to drop levels to what the pedal can handle then using the pedal to EQ and boost up to the level I eventually want.

    There are other ideas in here I think.....
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    gravydb

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by gravydb on Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:59 pm

    I'm a GM36 user but I thought I'd chime in because I can relate to this dilemma. I'm really happy with my GM - however I was disappointed when I realized that an expression pedal configured as a volume pedal does not behave like a conventional volume pedal. Instead, it's actually a remote control for the amp's volume knob... meaning, when you toe-down, you're diming the amp. Maybe that's useful to some folks but not for me. My preference would be that when toe-down you are reaching the amp's current volume knob position. I tried a few different brands of exp pedals but they all behaved the same, so it's apparently just the way the amp is designed. Eventually I gave up and put a Ernie Ball 25K volume pedal in the amp's loop, and I'm a happy camper. Having it in the fx loop means that it behaves like a master volume control - I can control the volume without affecting the gain. If you put a VP between the guitar and amp (in which case you'd probably want the 250K version) it will affect volume AND gain. Neither is right/wrong, just personal preference. I primarily use my VP for ambient volume swells, and I don't want it to affect the gain.

    Hope this helps!


    Rullian

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by Rullian on Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:29 pm

    bordonbert: your idea sounds awesome. My issue with volume pedals is that they can be adjusted too easily. Rock it too hard and suddenly your volume is way up (or down) for a second while you adjust back. Here's what I always thought would be a good pedal: a volume pedal without the rocker kind of like what you described. Instead, it would have two buttons: one would increase the volume by a user-defined set of decibels, the other would reduce the volume by a user-defined amount. There would be an LED indicator showing how much higher or lower you are from the middle point. That way you can adjust your volume by very specific amounts. This seems like it would be easier to use (rather than by rocking a volume pedal back and forth). And, it would be super easy to dial it back to where your volume was originally set if there was a button that reverted everything to the middle position.



    About the volume pedal being in the effects loop: I love doing this because i can adjust my volume without affecting the gain just like gravydb days. You could use guitar volume to adjust the gain if you want, but the volume pedal only goes to the max of whatever you set your HK's master - which is how I thought an expression pedal controlling volume pedal would work. And, there's no huge changes in volume like what happens when an expression pedal is used and you switch patches.. I've been waiting for HK to send out a software update to allow us to set how the volume pedal should work when using an expression pedal but i doubt that will happen.

    Rullian

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by Rullian on Tue Apr 21, 2015 3:33 pm

    Days= says. Autocorrect foils me again.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by bordonbert on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:53 pm

    I've been waiting for HK to send out a software update to allow us to set how the volume pedal should work when using an expression pedal but i doubt that will happen.

    Haha!  Speaking with my software developer hat on, I'm certain it won't.  Razz  The money has been spent getting the software to do what it does now.  People are buying the amps on the strength of that.  They won't allocate more money to improve it when it isn't actually costing them anything to have it as it is!  That's software life, (nowadays).

    Now, speaking with my electronics engineer hat on, your idea for a pedal to step the signal up and down in XdB steps with a "centring" button is a great one!  It's definitely doable and I'm in thinking mode!  geek

    Rullian

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    Re: Can I control the volume of Tubemeister 36 with MIDI

    Post by Rullian on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:26 pm

    I would buy that pedal, my friend.

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