Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Pedal
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Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Pedal
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Well it occurs to me that other than using this pedal, I don’t know enough about its background. Perhaps another writer will fill in the original ship date. Suffice it to say that it has been on the market for at least a couple of years, and that it is priced at the bottom of the pack. However, its features and durability place it more toward the upper middle of the pack, if you are willing to put up with a few quirks. There are more capable MIDI pedals on the market, but they are easily twice to six times the price. It is no wonder that this pedal has become very popular – so popular that the FCB1010 group on yahoogroups has nearly 12,000 members, as of March 2009.
The first version of the pedal essentially worked, but there were a few minor bugs in the firmware, most notably having to do with the Expression pedal functionality. Behringer responded by releasing new firmware that attempted to rid it of bugs, and add some new features. Unfortunately this took several releases to get right, and the pedal was in shipping during this experimentation. Thus, a new pedal could have Version 1.0, through 2.5 in about six different steps. To keep costs down, Behringer left out a way to reprogram the firmware in the board, so replacing the firmware must be done by replacing the EPROM. The units, as built in China, have copious quantities of hot glue all around and on the original EPROM, so it may be a minor challenge getting the old one out. The good news is that Behringer have been forthcoming with EPROMs for those who have had their pedals for less than a year, and for a very minor fee for the rest of us. In addition, a number of folks who can program EPROMs offer the service for a minor charge.
Most users discover that the pedal is shipped with the Expression Pedals needing calibration. Calibration is a software-controlled setting of the expression pedal’s range. In addition, some units are shipped with a mis-aligned LED that operates the expression pedals. Those users have had to open the unit and tweak the position of the LED to restore normal function of the expression pedals. These procedures are detailed below.
One of the other irritants has been the display and LEDs. The way the pedal works, the LED that is on is above the last pedal pressed. But since you can program a button to send only Control Change data, you can use them to turn effects on and off. Thus you can choose a preset, then turn on an effect, and not have a visual cue as to which preset is enabled. The display is not programmable, and in fact only displays which bank you are currently working with.
Despite the obvious quirks and minor irritations, the pedal has a reputation as being one of the best on the market. This is due to a very capable MIDI implementation (although it is difficult to understand for the MIDI newbie), and a very reliable physical build. The pedal can send info to up to five separate devices. It can send Program Changes, Control Changes, and Note messages. It can store up to 100 presets. It supports the full 128 Program Change messages. It can send up to five different Program Change messages, two Control Change messages, and Note messages at one time. In addition, both expression pedals can send Control Change data for each preset.
The pedal has ten preset buttons, a pair of up and down buttons, and two expression pedals. The unit is quite large at 27” long, x 8 ¾” deep, and 2 3/8” thick. The unit weighs 7.7lbs.
Each button has an LED above it. In addition there is a display that indicates which bank is active, and some status lights that provide mode and status information while programming.
There are two 1/4" jacks on the back for the two relay contacts that can be programmed, as well as a MIDI In and MIDI Out jack, and of course the power input jack.
BEFORE beginning ANY programming on the FCB1010, it is extremely important that you verify (and upgrade if necessary) the firmware. The minimum firmware version would be 2.3. The most current version is 2.5.1.
Please visit the FCB1010 Yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fcb1010 and download the free Windows Editor. Even if you don't use it, just loading it up and looking at it, will help you to understand it's capabilities and how to program it. For the Mac, a non-free editor, called "iFCB", is available from Wabbit Wanch Design at http://www.wabbitwanch.com/iFCB.html .
Manual Programming Example
This exchange is from the FCB1010 user group on Yahoogroups. These instructions walk you through programming one Program Change message as a means of illustrating how programming works on this pedal.
First, here are the steps to set up a program change from the manual:
Preset programming: Generally UP confirms and DOWN cancels the current changes.
1. Select the preset you would like to edit.
2. Press the DOWN button for 2-3 seconds, to enter the preset configuration mode.
3. The green LED for switch 1-2 will flash now. If you want to use the relay switches in this preset, you can activate/deactivate them by pressing pedal 1 and/or 2. Once set, press ENTER/UP to confirm.
4. The green select LED will now light up. The red LED's in the buttons indicate the MIDI commands that are to be transmitted when you select this preset. In factory condition, these will be : PROG CHG 1, EXP A and EXP B. If you want to transmit other commands in this preset, press the relevant functions (pedals) until the red LED lights up (2-3 seconds).
5. To set the parameters of the MIDI commands, press the function you would like to edit briefly. The red LED in the pedal of the selected function will start to flash now. Confirm with ENTER/UP.
6. Fig. 2 shows the parameters that need to be set. Fill in the required values, and always confirm with ENTER/UP.
7. When all values have been entered, leave the preset programming by pressing the DOWN button for 2-3 seconds. Your preset is stored now.
Referring to the steps above, follow this procedure:
First power up your FCB1010.
In step 1 above, you press a button, and the LED comes on. For the sake of argument, and to help clarify things (you'll see why) please choose button 5. So now button 5's LED is on.
In step 2 above, you hold the Down button for a couple seconds, and you should see (step 3) the green LED for the switch flashing. Ignore them for now and press the UP button.
Step 4, you should see the green LED by Select is On. You should also have at this point the LED on button 1 should be on steady, and both LEDs on buttons 8 and 9 should be on steady. What these LED's are indicating are that you have one MIDI channel configured to transmit your program change messages (that's why the first button's LED is on), and that the preset you are configuring includes both expression pedals (that's why the LED's on buttons 8 and 9 are on). This, for me, was the most confusing aspect of programming this controller - the LED's are indicating different things during the process of programming - sometimes indicating which button was pressed, but also indicating MIDI channel, Control Change info, Expression Pedal status, etc.
Step 5. Here it gets interesting. We're going to set up Program Change 5 on button 5 here, and the LED on button 1 is on. So, you press button 1 until it begins to flash. Why? You started this process by pressing button 5, so the FCB knows you are configuring preset 5 all the way through the process. You also have to remember this! You only have one MIDI channel configured (if it's still in Factory configuration), and it's status and programming are on the first button. So you press button 1 to start configuring what goes out on that channel. So now button 1 is blinking, right? Press the UP button and you should see the display change to indicate what program change message is configured to go out on that channel. The left number is steady, and the right number is blinking. If you started on FCB bank 0, the left number will be 0. If you started on FCB bank 9, the left number will be 9. But this two digit number is the program change message that will go out when you press button 5 (remember, we're programming button 5 here). So I expect you see 05 in the display, with the 5 flashing. To program this Program Change, select any two numbers, and press the up button. So if you want button 5 to send out Program Change 5, press the 0 button and then the 5 button to choose that. Obviously, you can choose to set button 5 to ANY program change message from 00 to 127 at this step.
Once you set the program change value and pressed the Up button, the LED's go back to showing the programming status. If you are done configuring what you want to go out on MIDI channel 1, you can press the down button for a few seconds to exit programming mode. But you can choose any other active function to program at this point. As we noted earlier, buttons 8 and 9 have their LED's illuminated as well. That tells you that you could choose to press one, wait for it to begin blinking, and set up an expression pedal. But for the moment, please exit programming mode (press Down for about 3 seconds) and go see if you get anything to respond to the button you just programmed.
At this point, you should have had your "AHA!" moment, and now understand the way all programming works on this pedal - choose a preset, go into programming mode, choose the feature you wish to program, program it, and exit programming mode.
Calibrate the Expression pedals BEFORE you attempt to use them. Here's the procedure for firmware versions PRIOR to 2.4:
1. Keep footswitches 1 and 3 pressed while switching on the unit (This bit you can't do standing up!). Release the switches when the display blanks. The LEDs on the footswitches, the ones on the display and each segment of the two numeric displays will turn on and off in sequence.
2. Wait until all footswitch LEDs are on. Depress all footswitches one at a time, including UP and DOWN, until all LEDs are off.
3. Wait until relay switch test is finished. (There will be a couple of mechanical clicks, and the display will end up reading "F1" (at least, it did on mine)). [Also, if you have connected a MIDI cable between the MIDI in and out, the display will show "A1" before this, meaning the midi ports work correctly.]
4. Press DOWN once.
5. Adjust the left expression pedal (A) to the lowest value. Once adjusted press UP.
6. Adjust the left expression pedal (A) to the highest value. Once adjusted press UP.
7. Adjust the right expression pedal (B) to the lowest value. Once adjusted press UP.
8. Adjust the right expression pedal (B) to the highest value. Once adjusted press UP.
9. Select a patch which has both pedals set to their full range, and check the expression pedals now send 0-127 (0x00-0x7F)
For firmware versions 2.4 and later:
1. Press buttons 1 + 5 while powering your FCB1010 up (VAL 1 LED on).
2. First bring the expression pedal A to the up position and confirm with UP (VAL 2 LED turns on), then put the pedal A down and also confirm with UP (VAL 1 LED turns on).
3. Now proceed with moving expression pedal B to the up position, and confirm with UP (VAL 2 LED turns on).
4. Finally push expression pedal B down and confirm pressing UP. Now the pedals of your FCB1010 are calibrated and settings are automatically stored.
The FCB1010’s firmware is contained on its internal EPROM, a standard type 27C512 (64kB) or 27C256 (32kB). The EPROM is an OTP (One Time Programmable) type. To upgrade the FCB1010 to a newer firmware revision, the old EPROM inside the FCB1010 must be replaced by the newer EPROM. Care must be exercised when removing the original EPROM. Behringer uses quite a bit of hot glue to secure components in place. Instructions for replacing the EPROM can be found on Behringer's website.
It is also possible to obtain third-party EPROMs made specifically for the FCB1010.
UnO http://www.ossandust.be/index.php is a popular general purpose EPROM replacement, which fixes some 'bugs' in the standard Behringer firmware, while adding some features.
EurekaSound! http://www.eurekasound.com/ sells the EurekaPROM for the FCB1010, which has configurations that target specific effects boxes along with a programmable configuration. While this PROM limits flexibility somewhat, it is very user friendly and much easier to set up.
Setup with G-Major
There are two features in the MIDI/IO Menu on the G-Major that will enable your FCB1010 (or other controllers) to communicate with your G-Major.
1. MIDI Channel: First and foremost, the G-Major has to be able to communicate with the FCB1010 Controller. You can change the MIDI Channel that the FCB1010 is sending MIDI data on as long as you set the G-Major to the same channel in the as the G-Major. Personally, I would simply set the G-Major's MIDI channel to 'OMNI' which will receive everything you send it. This way, you can accidentally change the MIDI channel on the FCB1010 (or any other controller) and it'll still respond to MIDI commands.
2. MIDI Program Change: This MUST also be turned on for the G-Major to respond to external controllers (FCB1010). A lot of people miss this step. At this point, you should be able to change presets on the G-Major with your FCB Controller. Make sure this is working before you proceed any further.
CHANGING PRESETS: In the MIDI/UTIL Menu on the G-Major, there is a Program Bank option that allows you to determine which bank of presets you wish to use. There are 100 Factory presets in the G-Major. These CAN NOT be edited! User presets are blank and can be edited and saved for future use. If you want to make changes to a factory preset, you can edit it, then save it to a User preset. The G-Major allows you to select presets within either the Factory presets, User presets, or both. Here are the options as they show up in the G-Major's MIDI/UTIL Program Bank menu:
1. Factory: Allows you to select only factory preset from an external controller. This works fine if you like the factory presets and don't need to make any changes to the presets.
2. User: Allows you to select only saved User presets. I use this option as I prefer to customize all of my presets.
3. Custom: Allows you to select between Factory or User presets. Decide which group of presets you wish to use and select the appropriate option within the Program Bank menu.
USING THE FCB1010 EXPRESSION PEDALS: Within the G-Major, you can assign up to four Modifiers. A Modifier is an external controller that can control various effects parameters. In this case, we'll use the two expression pedals on the FCB1010 as Modifiers. The left expression pedal will be MOD 1 and the right expression pedal will be MOD 2. Here's how you set them up:
1. On the G-Major, press the MOD menu button.
2. Select MOD 1 using the CONTROL PARAMETER wheel.
3. Turn the inner EDIT wheel clockwise and you'll see your control options, which are OFF, LEARN, PEDAL, and CC1-128. Select the LEARN option.
4. Press ENTER and the display will begin blinking "LEARNING". This means that you are in LEARN mode and you can automatically assign your Modifier.
5. Move the left expression up and down. The "LEARNING" indicator will disappear. The G-Major has now automatically recognized your left expression pedal as MOD 1.
6. Repeat Steps 1-5, except select MOD 2 instead and move the right expression pedal during the LEARNING mode. Your right controller is now assigned as MOD 2.
Once you have completed these steps, you can assign either pedal to effects parameters within the G-Major. These settings are Global, meaning that they are present within all presets in the G-Major.
ASSIGNING THE FCB1010 EXPRESSION PEDALS TO PARAMETERS IN THE G-MAJOR: This section covers setting up the expression pedals to control various effects parameters (i.e.: Chorus speed, Reverb levels, Delay time, etc.) NOTE: Only effects parameters for the 'activated' effects can be assigned. In other words, you must have the CHORUS effect button enabled if you wish to control Chorus parameters within a preset.
1. On the G-Major, press the MOD menu button. The display will show you MOD 1, 2 ,3 or 4. Do not worry about what is displayed here! This just lets you know that you are in the proper Modifier menu.
2. Press ENTER. At this point, you will see a list of the various effects parameters that can be modified. In the menu display, you will see the effect listed on the right, and the effects value on the right.
3. Scroll through the various effects parameters using the PARAMETER wheel until you find the effects parameter that you want to control.
4. Use the inner VALUE knob to scroll through the various controllers that are available. Select M1 for Modifier 1 (left expression pedal). Press ENTER. You have now assigned your left expression pedal to control the desired effects parameter. You can repeat this step, except using M2 (Modifier 2) for the right expression pedal.
Also, the controller assignment settings made here are unique to each preset and will need to be initialized for each preset within the G-Major. If you copy a preset, these settings will be copied as well. My suggestion is to set up a generic preset to use as a template for all presets, copy it to all of your other presets within the G-Major, then modify each individual preset as desired.
Using the FCB1010 with Roland GR and VG Products
First, most Roland GR guitar synthesizers do NOT support MIDI THRU. None of the following GR units have MIDI THRU:
(please expand this list if you can)
The following VG units PORTS are described:
-VGA-7 (no MIDI THRU port, but THRU setting of MIDI OUT port is possible)
-V-Bass (no MIDI THRU port, and no THRU setting found)
Put the GR at the End of the MIDI Chain
This means that if you have other MIDI equipment to communicate with, do NOT put the GR units without MIDI THRU before other target devices in the MIDI chain. The targets beyond the GR will not receive MIDI data. There is no way to "set" these GR units to pass MIDI data thru to the MIDI output.
This means that the GR must be the last MIDI device in the MIDI chain or the FCB1010 commands will not get through the GR unit to the intended target device.
GR's use 6 MIDI Channels
Second, GR units use 6 MIDI channels, one per string, even the bass units (since some basses have 6 strings). Typically GR units have channel 11 set as the default MIDI channel, which really means channels 11 to 16. This usually works out well because most keyboards will default to channel 1 and MIDI drums are almost always on channel 10.
Using and especially while programming the FCB1010, it's important to remember that although sending commands to MIDI channel 11, with a GR they can effect 12-16 also. You probably don't want to set the FCB1010 GLOBAL CONFIG to use channels 12-16 if you have a GR unit among the target devices.
Possible uses of FCB1010 with GR units
Finally, the FCB1010 is a great compliment to any GR unit with MIDI input. It can be used to call up patches, control parameters via CC commands such as HOLD, PITCH, MODULATION, WAH, DELAY and more. See the Roland User Manual for the particular GR unit, and check the MIDI Implementation list at the back of the manual for a list of parameters that can be controlled by CC commands.
The FCB1010 doesn't send PITCH signals, alas.