DMC and the Strymon TimeLine
I’ve gotten quite a few questions regarding MIDI control for the Strymon 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.
Looper State Machine:
|Stop||Record||Play previous loop||Stop|
|Play||Overdub||Restart current loop||Stop|
There isn’t really an “Overdub” state, as I understand, but I’ve used it here to show that the looper is recording while playing. Pressing the Record switch while playing or immediately after recording makes the loop play and allows recording over it. For two-button external control, I do a custom implementation of the Play switch. On the first press, I invoke Play, which either plays the previous loop or exits record mode, depending on the beginning state. On the second press, I invoke Stop. If I keep the behavior of the Play control as it is on the TimeLine, you’d need a third button to be able to stop the looper since Play acts as “Play Once” most of the time.
Here’s a scenario – You press Record to begin your loop. Once you have your loop recorded, you hit Play to begin playing it back. After a few repeats you’d like to add some stuff to the loop, no problem – hit Record to enter Overdub mode, and then hit Play to exit and play back the new loop. (Right now I’m not sure if pressing Record while in Overdub exits overdub mode or not, but we’ll find out.) To stop the loop, press Play again. Pretty simple, and you can have full control over the normal TL delay while you’re looping.
For small-format pedals like the DMC-2, I can offer two different controls at a time. I’d guess that bank up and bank down would be good for most folks, but I can also do looper record / dub and play / stop. If you want more functionality, we can accommodate this. There isn’t really room on a DMC-2 for lots of buttons and etc. so there will be compromises. I have suggested that the footswitches can be used to select three different modes at power up: Hold LEFT for mode 1, RIGHT for mode 2, BOTH for mode 3, etc. but this doesn’t let you change on the fly very easily. We can put in a 3-position toggle switch to allow changing these modes on the fly, but this is not real easy to change in a gig situation. My recommendation is if you need more functionality than you can get with two buttons, get more buttons! The DMC-4 isn’t much bigger and it has four buttons. If desired, one of these buttons could be used to select between two or more modes to expand the capabilities of the pedal.
The DMC-6 would allow full looper control, and could have several modes selectable at power-up or with a footswitch.
The other question I’ve been asked a lot lately pertains to the orientation of jacks and switches on the smaller DMC-2 controllers. The short answer is “yes.” I can put the various jacks and switches in just about any orientation, but I’ll need a sketch to make sure I get it right.
Right now the TimeLine is in pretty short supply, so I don’t have one to test here. We’ll be working with a few of our customers to get TL control tested and working, and we will make the TL firmware available here on the site for everyone in both binary and source format for you tweakers.