Using the DMC-6D without a computer?!

The DMC-6D is great for players integrating looping playback or backing tracks in their arsenal, but what about everybody else?  There are a lot of folks using Live or Mainstage, but it’s still a fairly small percentage of all the players out there.

The USB port on the back of the DMC-6D acts as a MIDI interface for your Mac, PC, or iPad, but it can also be used to upload new firmware into the DMC.  The stock Ableton firmware is just one possibility!

Here’s a board equipped with a range of pedals:

DMC-6D Board

 

The bottom row has a Micro POG, a Walrus Audio Voyager, and a Paul C. Timmy.  The top row holds a Polytune Mini Noir, a Strymon Mobius and Timeline, and an Eventide H9.  Those last pedals all have MIDI capability and can be controlled by the DMC-6D!

The DMC-6D can work just like our popular DMC-6 and DMC-7, but with the added benefit of the LED display.  The upper-right button changes the operating mode of the controller, and the remaining buttons select presets or control the looper on the Timeline.

MIDI Control:

The DMC-6D can scroll presets on all three MIDI pedals, and it indicates the selected preset on its display.  When you get to a sound you like, you can exit into the normal operating mode of the controller and save the combined preset in one of 20 locations.  Once your preset is saved, one tap will recall it.  Tapping the currently selected preset bypasses all three pedals.  You can save a preset on the DMC-6D that will bypass one or more of the MIDI pedals, or you can set it up so that the pedals ignore the preset – we call this “don’t care.”  By setting up a page of presets as “don’t care” for one device, you can select presets for each pedal separately if that’s your style.  So with one tap you can pull up any combination of presets or bypass on all three pedals at once, in a fraction of a second.  The DMC-6D has an expression pedal input that sends MIDI continuous controller messages (MIDI CC) to all three pedals at once, for some pretty amazing real-time control.  You can sweep the depth and feedback of your delay, change the speed of your chorus effect, and alter the delay time of your reverb all at once!  And since you can save expression parameters per preset on your MIDI pedals, you’re never locked in to a hard-coded expression setting.  The expander switch input accommodates a momentary tap tempo switch and sends taps to all connected MIDI devices.

Live Looping:

The DMC-6D has the full looper mode from the DMC-6 and DMC-7, too.  The Timeline has a very good looper, but it’s hard to cycle back and forth between presets and looping since it requires a long press-hold on the Timeline’s tap button.  With the DMC-6D, you can access the Timeline’s looper without placing the Timeline in looper mode.  The DMC-6D offers separate buttons for Record / Overdub, Play / Stop, Undo / Redo, Half-Speed, and Reverse.  You can also change the looper routing, placing it before the Timeline’s delay (“pre”) or after (“post.”)  The second expression pedal input allows foot control of the Timeline looper volume for fade and swell effects.  Not looping live?  That’s OK – looping is a fantastic tool for songwriting or working on ideas at home, too.  Many Timeline owners report that they considered the looper unusable until “unlocking” its potential with a DMC controller, so try it out!

Mac, PC, and iPad:

Want to integrate your laptop with this setup?  Easy.  You can connect to the DMC-6D to your Mac or Windows PC using USB.  Add in an iPad Camera Connection Kit and you can interface the DMC-6D with your iPad running such apps as JamUp or Amplitube for live performance.  One tap on the DMC-6D can change settings on your MIDI pedals plus switch up your presets on your laptop or iPad for unlimited performance potential.  While the stock Ableton firmware is fantastic for triggering clips, it’s not a lot of use without a computer hooked up.  The universal firmware slants back in the other direction – it’s mainly designed for controlling external devices but it does have a lot of potential with computer and iPad.

What about other devices?

MIDI is pretty universal, so if you’re not using the pedals on the board pictured above we can probably still help you control them.  The DMC-6D can send MIDI program change, continuous controller, and note on messages for different types of control.  With customized firmware, it can send MIDI System Exclusive (SysEx) commands as well.  If there’s something you need to control, please let us know and we can make it happen.

Where can I get one?

Right here!

DMC-6D_924

New DMC-3 Firmware Release

Version 1.20 is available on the Files Page.  This version allows the user to change a couple of parameters to customize the pedal to their tastes.

Blue Mode is now changed to allow either Bank Scrolling or Program Scrolling.  With Bank Scrolling, a press of the buttons increments or decrements the Timeline Bank display, then you press A or B on the Timeline itself to engage a preset.  With Program Scrolling, a press of the buttons goes directly from one program to the next, with the preset already activated.

In Green Mode, we now allow either Delayed Stop or Instant Stop on the right button.  With Delayed Stop, a press of the right button will play the loop, and a press+hold will stop.  In Instant Stop, pressing the right button plays the loop if you’re not currently stopped, and pressing it a second time stops the loop.  This is more similar to the Line6 looper implementation, and it means you lose the ability to repeatedly trigger a loop.  Instant Stop does let you stop the loop without retriggering it first, which a few folks requested.

Engaging the new modes:

  • Bank Mode + Delayed Stop:  Press Left SW at power up
  • Program Mode + Delayed Stop:  Press Right SW at power up
  • Bank Mode + Instant Stop:  Press Left and Center SW at power up
  • Program Mode + Instant Stop: Press Right and Center SW at power up
The DMC remembers the mode you were last in and doesn’t need to be reconfigured at every start.
To update your firmware, please review the instructions on the Files Page.  PC users can use the DisasterUploader, which also works in VMWare on a Mac or Linux.  Mac or Linux users may also use the Arduino IDE to update their pedals – full details on this will be coming soon.
Finally, thanks to crxshdxmmy we’ve got a nice video explaining the whole mess:

 


DMC-3 + TimeLine Videos posted

One of our customers has graciously allowed us to post some of his videos on the site.  He’s got some really good info on there and the video and sound quality are excellent.

Overview:

Bank Switching:

Looping:

On-The-Fly Mode Switching:

Just wanted to give a huge thank-you to crxshdxmmy for posting these.

 

DMC and the Strymon TimeLine

I’ve gotten quite a few questions regarding MIDI control for the Strymon TimeLine:

http://www.strymon.net/timeline/

I don’t have one to test with, but the MIDI spec is in the manual and the DMC series can handle all of the required commands with a firmware change.

TimeLine Looper Control:

The looper is pretty straightforward on the TL.  If the LPEXIT global parameter is set to “PLAY,” then sending MIDI looper commands (MLC) should allow independent looper control.

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