5150 iii 50w, GCP, Axe-fx II Scenes and Channel Switch?

Q & A for building and interfacing your rack gear with Ground Control Pro and GCX-based systems.
Speculum Speculorum
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Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:27 am

Re: 5150 iii 50w, GCP, Axe-fx II Scenes and Channel Switch?

Post by Speculum Speculorum » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:47 pm

JohnClark wrote:
Speculum Speculorum wrote:Right now, I've got the axe listed as a device, sending IA messages on channel 16 and VCA messages are changing the scenes. Everything is functioning well this way, so I'm curious why adding a device with program changes on a different channel cause any issues? I mean I believe you, for sure. I just don't see what the issue would be. Can you elaborate any more?
That this setup is working currently would suggest to me that you still have the AxeFX set to receive in OMNI Mode. Is that the case?

Also, what channel have you assigned for the AxeFX in the Device Name / Channel list?
The VCA defaults to sending on MIDI Channel 16, but once you assign MIDI Channel 16 to a device within the Device Name / Channel list, the VCA will change itself to sending on another MIDI Channel. Basically the VCA auto configures itself to use the highest unused MIDI Channel number... this is part of why, as I was quoted in the Fractal thread you linked to in your original post, I suggest that the VCA is likely not very useful to users unless they are using our System Mix Plus. ;)

I could just be missing something about a cool way to set the AxeFX to respond on more than one MIDI Channel, but it looks to me like the VCA trick you are using only works if the AxeFX is in OMNI Mode... this means it is set to respond to all 16 MIDI Channels.
I think this can still all be made to work ultimately, it's just going to be a little bit of extra effort to train the 50Watt 5150 III. If the AxeFX is in OMNI Mode you cannot assign the amp to be on its own MIDI Channel since the AxeFX will take a Program Change on any MIDI channel and try to act on it.
Further complicating this is that the 50 Watt 5150 III is the only MIDI device I know of that tries to learn the MIDI Channel whenever you use its learn function, so when training the amp you will have to be sure you are not sending any MIDI data on any other MIDI channel or it gets confused.
I just discovered something pretty damn cool here, actually. When I looked in my Device Name / Channel List I realized that it was set up as "Axe / 01". I had originally set my Axe-fx MIDI in OMNI mode as per the tutorial, but because of our earlier conversation, I decided I would set the Axe MIDI channel to 16 and send all my Instant Access buttons on channel 16 as well. For example, the tuner in the axe-fx is on PC 15, so on my INSTANT ACCESS BUTTON 1, it looks like this:

"1. CH 16 CTL 015".

The VCA messages already communicate on channel 16 but don't seem to interfere with program changes being sent by any of the Instant Access buttons. I'm assuming it's because the VCA aren't measured the same as MIDI program changes. For example, the Axe-fx tap tempo is set to PC 14, and it doesn't engage scene 3, which is sent via VCA message 14. I'm assuming they just communicate with the Axe differently.

The weird part is with the Axe-fx II Device setup as "Axe / 01" I was keeping all functionality even with the Axe-fx II MIDI set to channel 16 and everything else sending on MIDI 16. I don't know why that is the case, but it works flawlessly. I'm assuming it's because the PC are overriding the device setup on the GCP. Go figure.

Here's the even crazier thing...

I can set the Device Name / Channel List to "Axe / -- "... and everything still works perfectly. PERFECTLY. No problems. No snags. Nothing. Everything is fine. So, yeah. It turns out that the Device doesn't even freaking MATTER in terms of communicating MIDI data to the Axe, provided that VCA is on in the GCP, VCA changes on the preset level are controlling scenes in the Axe-fx II by factors of 7 (0, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 51) all program changes from IA buttons are sending to channel 16, and the Axe-fx MIDI CHANNEL is set to receive on 16 as well. Also, go figure.

So here's what I'm thinking:

When I get the amp in I will initialize the GCP and set it up on channel 01. I will set up my program changes as follows: green channel - PC 01, blue channel - PC 02, red channel - PC 03. I cannot possibly imagine my live or recording rig EVER getting more complex than an Axe-fx II four cable method into this amp, so I will never deviate from that setup.

At that point it will be a simple matter of exiting learning mode in the amp, testing it to make sure it's changing channels how I want it to with the four preset buttons as I wish (any variation of the three dependent upon the preset button and it's corresponding axe-fx II scene), initializing the GCP again and setting it up similar to the way I had it before (like a blend of the above tutorial and setting up the 5150 on device list as 5150 / CH 01). This way, the Axe-fx II will only accept changes on channel 16 and ignore the other stuff that will pass through to the 5150 via the Axe MIDI through. This is, of course, all theoretical. I will know for sure once I get the amp in (tomorrow) and can test it the way I want to.

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Re: 5150 iii 50w, GCP, Axe-fx II Scenes and Channel Switch?

Post by JohnClark » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:50 am

OK, so it sounds to me like you are not actually using Program Changes to control the AxeFX.

In this case it looks like all you would really need to do is re-name Device #1 in the Ground Control Pro to "5150" (or whatever you like) so you can later use the preset buttons to change the amp channels with the Program Changes.

BTW, the Ground Control Pro Instant Access buttons are sending MIDI Control Change messages. The Ground Control Pro presets are what will send MIDI Program Change messages. I think this little terminology mix-up is what was throwing me ;)

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