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:
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.
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.
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.