MIDI Bass Pedals with the DMC

I’ve always been fascinated by bass pedals.  No idea why, but the thought of being able to play a low pedal tone while I play over the top just intrigues me.  Since the DMC boards can read a whole bunch of switches and then send out MIDI, it seemed like a natural fit.  Connect the MIDI port to a synth or a laptop and you’ve got a set of faux-Taurus pedals for a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

I found a junked organ and removed the bass pedals.  Each pedal has its own switch and its own wire, and there’s a common wire.  On the original organ, closing a switch to the common triggers a bass tone.  The original design of the organ pedals gives “low note priority,” so the common contact is run in series to each switch.  When a lower pedal is pressed, the common to the upper switches is opened, and only the lowest pressed pedal makes contact.  Wiring all the switch common contacts together makes the pedals polyphonic when connected to the DMC.

The implementation is simple:  Wire one switch contact to each terminal of the DMC, and the common wire goes to ground.  That’s it.

The firmware is super-simple.  Watch a switch, and if the switch is pressed, send the MIDI note on for that note.  If the switch is released, send MIDI note off for that same note.  Repeat for the other twelve switches.

Future mods include transpose and octave shift buttons – press the transpose button, then step on the key you’d like to serve as the root note.  Octave switching works the same way, but I think I might use two buttons to shift up and down quickly.  I’ll probably also put a 1/4″ jack for an expression pedal to control the MIDI volume.


New Strymon Firmware Posted

Lots of stuff happening really quickly over here.  We’ve got new builds of firmware for the DMC-4 and -6.

The DMC-6 firmware is just full-time looper control.  The bottom / front row of the DMC mimics the Timeline switches:  Record / Play / Stop.  The top row adds access to the “hidden” looping functions:  Half / Reverse / Pre+Post.

The DMC-4 firmware is a little more involved.  The DMC-4 uses the upper-left switch to cycle between three modes, which are indicated by one color of an RGB LED.

Blue mode gives bank up + bank down + program 00 (Bank 1A.)  The bank switches auto-scroll if the buttons are held.

Green mode adds looper record + looper play (hold for stop.)

Red mode offers looper half speed and reverse.

Both firmwares are posted on the Files page.

Strymon Timeline Update!

Thanks to one of our customers, we’ve been able to do some serious testing with the Strymon Timeline.  The TL has some quirks with regards to MIDI, but it’s working great now.

The following video demonstrates bank switching, looper transport control (rec / dub / play / stop,) and looper mode control (half, reverse.)

It’s a little jerky due to the hand-held cam, but it’s a pretty good illustration regardless.

The pedal is a DMC-4 squeezed into a DMC-2 box the first DMC-3.   It’s similar to the DMC-4, but one of the switches is omitted, and the firmware is slightly altered to make it work.  For those interested, the controls function as follows:

Blue Mode:

Left switch:  Bank down (hold for bank scroll down)

Right switch:  Bank up (hold for bank scroll up)

Green Mode:

Left switch:  Record (overdub if playing or recording)

Right switch: Play (hold for Stop)

Red Mode:

Left switch:  Half Speed

Right switch:  Reverse

On the DMC-4, the controls are the same but with some extra stuff for the 3rd button.  The 3rd switch enables a “favorite” preset in blue mode, looper stop in green mode, and looper pre/post in red mode.  The “Favorite” preset just changes to program 00, Bank 00A.

I’m hoping to post some more video of the Timeline in action later this week.