Use a Knob or Fader as an "Expression Pedal" to Control Continuous Parameter(s)

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    Profile photo of Dave

    Many guitar FX units have an “expression pedal” input that lets you map, say, a volume pedal to your reverb decay time… you set whatever minimum value (say, 0.5 seconds) for the heel-down position and a max value (maybe 2.5 seconds) to the toe-down position (maybe set the half-way point to be something weird like 5 seconds, if your FX unit is fancy enough), and then you can easily control how long your reverb decay time is.

    By itself, that isn’t *super* interesting since you can set the east area soft knobs to belong to an FX unit (although it would be very nice if we could pick individual parameters for individual knobs instead of taking up all six knobs for one unit when all I might really want is “reverb decay time”, “delay time”, and “chorus depth”). However, some of the fancier multi-FX units let you tie multiple parameters to the same expression pedal, which would let you have your reverb at, say, -6dB when its decay time is 0.5 seconds, and smoothly decrease to -12dB when the decay time is 2.5 seconds so that it doesn’t get overwhelming as the length goes up. Or maybe you want to increase the output level or whatever on a delay as you increase the speed of a virtual rotary simulator. On some units, the different parameters’ curves don’t even have to have the same “shape”… you could have a delay time increase for the first half of the expression pedal’s sweep and decrease for the second half, all while the reverb time does something completely different. What I’m mostly interested in right now is layering multiple reverbs and being able to proportionally turn their decay times up and down together (come to think of it, probably their pre-delay times, too). I don’t mean have them all set to the same decay time, just the same “distance” between whatever minimum and maximum values I have set for each parameter. Or maybe I could have the fader next to (or the knob above) my chorus FX return channel control the chorus’s speed and maybe turn it’s depth up as well (but just for the last 10% of the fader’s throw).

    Anyway, consoles don’t have a place to plug in such expression pedals, but it’d be nice if we could assign faders, soft knobs, IP1/6/8 controls, etc to do such things. It’d give us a lot more options to be expressive with our FX, without having to page around if we like keeping that screen on something else, or do an unhealthy number of scene changes if we frequently want multiple parameters to change at the same time (assuming the target values even stay the same from show to show & room to room).

    Profile photo of Dave

    Also, I use the tube stage to add distortion to the bass sometimes. This might make it easier to vary the amount.

    Profile photo of Wolfgang

    I find the idea of being able to remotely control parameters of the effects via an IP8 or IP6 very interesting.

    Profile photo of

    Yes I agree. and also for many other variables as well. as Per below
    Unfortunately I do not own or have access to a DLive [I Wish]
    @dave, Its nice to see someone thinking & expressing themselves outside of the toolbox!
    Often FOH desk operators or the person running the sound who often owns the equipment is told “oh you’re a 5th 7th 9th member of the band!”
    The soundies’ or sound engineer often has huge pressure put on them from not only the musicians performers buy also the audience gathered around the FOH desk!
    In a past life I have been a musician running multiple modified guitar synths with guitars using multiple VCAs and analogue pedals and just to look at some performers now using both feet whilst playing. And adjusting the FOH simultaneously so to me being able to manipulate other tasks is pretty much the norm!
    I do not own a DLive [oh I wish] however the circumstances do not permit that.
    I do recall both hands on a 40 channel mixing desk in a studio and also a foot moving a fader at the other end of the desk!
    If there is a few things that I have noticed from live sound is the need for monitor engineers to now perform multiple adjusts in-ear per song at performers requests.
    Also being able to setup extremely quickly in this digital era and arena with one plug cat 5/6/~10/E or what ever I have noticed the sound ops or engineers or musicians out FOH can be that member of that performing group.

    So.. @dave are you thinking like a pedal board that plugs into a mixing desk?
    I use a pedal board, with a mixing desk built in! It used to be a Zed10fx but as performing it is not acceptable to lean down whilst standing to make tweaks to the FOH desk at your foot level!
    I’m now playing a stringed instrument and operating foot controllers and the occasional tweak via Bluetooth.
    @dave, I don’t think that you are far away from wanting more than a tap tempo PLUS a few VAC controls PLUS scene change PLUS reverb time PLUS Ping from side to side…. and what ever else! Multiple pedals, and I’m not talking high end digital consoles but at middle level and up.
    I doubt if you will see this type of scenario on high level mixing desks but who knows?
    That’s about me.

    Profile photo of

    Should read VCA
    Speeling mistake 🙂

    Profile photo of Dave

    @nzdave A literal, foot-operated, pedalboard at FoH? I don’t think that’d work very well with how it’s setup where I work —- that part of the floor is in pretty severe shadow, so I wouldn’t really be able to see what I was doing. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear about how it went for you, what worked well, what didn’t, etc.

    I have thought about getting an AxeFX (or something similar) to play with on my own, and bringing that and a volume knob hooked up to one of its expression pedal ports to work, just to run FX through it and see if I’m right about wanting an expression, well, “knobs”, in this scenario, at FoH. Unfortunately I’m not rich enough to get what would amount to a toy for me (I’m really not that good of a guitarist) at the moment, so the grand FX Experiment Extravaganza of 2021 will likely be delayed until 2022 (or 2023, or 2024…).

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