It all started with Empress. At least, I think it did.
Empress released a couple of pedals that had these quarter-inch “control ports” that you could assign to a variety of functions using a setup menu. Stuff you’d expect, like expression pedal or tap tempo. Or… MIDI. You set up the pedal for MIDI, then interface with your controller using a little “MIDIBox” peripheral to convert the 5-pin current loop signal over to the 1/4″ voltage-mode signal. Worked great, and didn’t increase the size of the pedal.
A few years later, Joel over at Chase Bliss Audio started making this pedal called the Warped Vinyl. Really cool stuff, with a digital control processor interfacing an all-analogue chorus circuit. He added some very basic MIDI support using a 1/4″ jack as well. Joel eventually approached me about improving his MIDI implementation and we worked together to add in more functionality.
The Chase Bliss stuff really started to take off, so we added support for MIDI over quarter-inch starting with our Gen3 controllers back in 2016. Every Gen3 controller ever made has at least one 1/4″ jack that will send MIDI, and many of them have two or four outputs.
We’ve added support for a lot of other brands that use 1/4″ MIDI, including Empress, Bondi, Meris, and Alexander. We also recommend to any manufacturers new to MIDI consider 1/4″ support, since there is a huge installed base of customers that already have controllers that support it.
That’s great, I hear you say, but I have like 8 of these Chase Bliss pedals now! What the heck should I do? The easiest solution would be a MIDI controller with a lot of 1/4″ outputs that you could just plug in to all your pedals.
So. We made one. Introducing the qCONNECT, our Multi-output MIDI Controller. The qCONNECT has full MIDI input and output, USB MIDI, and 8 1/4″ jacks in a compact enclosure. The qCONNECT is capable of acting as a standalone MIDI controller or as an intelligent MIDIBOX / preset expander for an existing system.
The qCONNECT costs about the same as one of our other small controllers, but it has a set of features that make it work great with 1/4″ MIDI devices.
Full details here. We’ll have a few videos up in a couple of weeks that cover everything from configuration and use to best practices for wiring your MIDI pedalboard.