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Noob MT question - FCB1010 and Chords

General discussion about MIDI Translator

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Noob MT question - FCB1010 and Chords

Post by danielhogancamp » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:51 pm

So here's the goal:

I'd like to be able to drive soft synths in Ableton 6 with an FCB1010. What I'd really like to do is set up separate "banks" if you will within MT for different keys, thus locking in the respective majors and minors, and control them with the 1-7 pedals on an FCB 1010. The plan would be to develop say two separate chord voicings (ie one for verse one for chorus) and drive them by switching from bank 1-2 of the FCB. MT's role would basically be to hold a group of translators (one for each pedal) that represented a chord voicing.


Say we open up a "key of G" transator.

FCB Bank 1 Pedal 1 = G major in the lower register
FCB Bank 1 Pedal 2 = A minor in the lower register
FCB Bank 1 Pedal 3 = G major over B in the lower register

FCB Bank 2 Pedal 1 = G major with a more full voicing
FCB Bank 2 Pedal 2 = A minor with a more full voicing
FCB Bank 2 Pedal 3 = G major with a more full voicing

The end use application for this project is to drive backing synths (ie pads, organs, strings) while I play guitar.

I'd also like the chords to sustain after each press until I press another pedal.

Can this be done? Any help would be appreciated.


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Post by florian » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:29 am

Hi Dan,

this can be done with MT. If I understood correctly, you want to send MIDI commands to Ableton Live to play chords on its built-in synths?

In general the way to go is this:

For a start, Midi Translator classic will be enough (but will work with the Pro version, too).

MIDI Setup
  1. Install a virtual MIDI driver (see a list here: )
  2. In MT, choose the FCB1010 as MIDI IN and select a virtual MIDI port (e.g. Yoke 1) as MIDI OUT.
  3. In Ableton, select that same virtual port (e.g. Yoke 1) as MIDI IN. Do not select the FCB as MIDI IN, you may run into unwanted problems.
Create Translator Entries
  • For every pedal on the FCB, create one Translator Entry in MT
  • Click the Edit button: the Incoming Trigger will be the corresponding MIDI message from the FCB (use the MIDI capture checkbox and press the button on the FCB).
    I assume that it will send a controller message with last value 7F when pressing down, and value 00 when releasing the key. MT will automatically create a variable for the last field then, oo.
  • As response to the MIDI trigger, the Outgoing Action, will be the MIDI message for the chord. For this, you should know a little bit about MIDI...: a message of e.g. 90 40 7F will start playing note number 0x40*), meaning note E3 with velocity 0x7F (=decimal 127, the maximum velocity). To stop the note, you have to send the same message with velocity 0: 90 40 00. To send a note one semitone higher, send this: 90 41 7F.
    So, assuming that the Incoming trigger sent 7F for down and 00 for up, just use the variable from the Incoming Trigger message as velocity:
    90 40 oo.
  • Now to play a chord, just concatenate multiple MIDI messages in the Outgoing Action MIDI field:
    90 40 oo 90 43 oo 90 47 oo
    This will play 3 notes, should give a minor chord.
This setup should allow you to play chords when pressing down the pedal. The chord will end when you release the pedal.

In order to let it play until you hit the pedal again, you need the Rules feature from the Pro version. I suggest giving this setup a try and let us know here how it works. Especially I don't know exactly what the FCB is sending.


*) 0x means hexadecimal notation. The help button in Edit Translator shows a small hex<->decimal converter

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Post by chris_dan » Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:05 am

Hi Florian and Dan,

I just picked up the FCB1010 and it's a great controller. As I bought it used it still has the original version of firmware v1.0. I hope to have the UnO firmware chip by the end of this week which expands the midi capability. I haven't done a whole lot with the pedal as of yet but with the most basic rev of firmware the unit has ten programmable pedal per bank and there are 10 banks....10x10=100 unique patches!

For each push of a pedal it will transmit 5 program change (PC) commands, 2 on/off control change (CC) commands, 2 variable control change (CC) commands (0-127) via the expression pedals, 1 midi note on/off command and activate 2 relays either latching or momentary. Coupling this with MT_pro I'd say the possibilities are endless. With the new rev of firmware all the above capabilities have been further enhanced.

With respect to Dan's question having 5 unique PC commands per pedal and piping the output into MT_pro one should be able to build a fairly "lush" sounding chord. If you were to use the midi note on/off pedal it does respond like a traditional midi keyboard....key down, midi note on, key up, midi note off. With the original rev of firmware the velocity is static at a value of 63. With the new version the velocity is programmable.


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