I always knew that Live was awesome tool for real-time performance and composition, but it wasn’t until I saw Realtablists’ Albeton Live 5.2 set [Whoah!] and DJ Enferno’s videos [O-M-G!] that I decided that I should stop procrastinating and buy an FCB1010.
I work as a HiTech specialist in a music chain here in Melbourne so following my own advice, I RTFM. And then I RTFM again…had another cup of coffee…and RTFM again…Yes, it’s true. The FCB1010 is a pain to program and the manual doesn’t explain programming it clearly or effectively. What’s with that family tree diagram…anyway…
After searching these forums I managed to piece together all the pertinent information required to program the FCB1010 to send MIDI Control Command messages (commonly known as CC messages, sometimes called CC numbers).
The advantage of using CC’s rather than MIDI notes is that the FCB1010 won’t advertently play notes…unless of course you’re trying to recreate a Moog Taurus pedal…(hmmm….). For an excellent explanation of MIDI CC’s visit http://www.tweakheadz.com/midi_controllers.htm
So much thanks goes out to everyone who has previously posted their tips to this forum. This is just a distillation of those posts and links - it is from those articles I’ve put together this step-by-step guide. And considering I spent six-or-so hours trying to figure out how to program the damn thing, I thought it would only be fair to share these steps so that anyone else thinking of buying an FCB1010 won’t spend six-or-so hours trying to program it.
Firstly, this guide assumes that your FCB1010 is fresh out of the box. If it isn’t just do a factory reset (…fortunately this is something that IS accurately explained in the FCB1010 manual).
It also assumes that you’ve connected the FCB1010 to you computer via a MIDI interface and have already set this up in Live’s MIDI preferences. Oh, and that the FCB1010 is powered on. ;p
A quick note, in the instructions PUSH refers to a quick push of the pedal, HOLD means hold the pedal down for about 2.5 seconds. Now, onto programming.
1. Select the bank to program by tapping the UP/ENTER or DOWN/ESCAPE pedals. In this example, let’s use Bank 05. Ensure that 05 appears in the numeric display
2. Select the pedal to assign a MIDI CC message to. Let’s use pedal #1. Pedal #1’s red LED should light up
3. Push the DOWN/ESCAPE pedal until the green LED for SWITCH 2 starts flashing
4. Push UP/ENTER to confirm that you want to edit pedal #1
5. Now, you’ll notice that pedals #1, #8, and #9 all have their LED’s activated. This means that pedal #1 has these MIDI functions already assigned to it. It is necessary to disable these MIDI functions before programming the FCB1010 to work properly with Live. So, to turn them off you must HOLD THE PEDAL DOWN UNTIL THE RED LED TURNS OFF. Do this for pedals #1, #8, and #9. Pedal #1 – which you’re editing – now has NO CC#’s or MIDI notes assigned to it.
6. Next, you have to assign a MIDI CC to pedal #1. Do this by holding down pedal #6 labelled CNT 1. Pedal #6’s LED should light up and stay on.
7. Push down pedal #6 so that its LED starts flashing.
8. Push UP/ENTER to confirm that you want to change the value for CNT 1.
9. A number should start flashing in the numeric display above the UP/ENTER pedal. This shows the current CC# number that pedal #1 is assigned to. For use with Live, this needs to be assigned to an undefined CC# which are CC#’s 22-31, and 84-90. For this example, let’s use CC#22, so enter this either by pressing the #2 pedal twice, or by using the Expression Controller A.
10. The numeric display should now read 22 and it should not be flashing. Press UP/ENTER to confirm this selection
11. Next, the numeric display should be flashing with a value. This is the velocity setting, which for our purposes you should set to 127 in the same manner described in step 9
12. The numeric display should now read 127 and it should not be flashing. Press UP/ENTER to confirm this selection. The LED for pedal #6 should stop flashing and remain lit.
13. The next step is to save the new settings. To do this, hold the DOWN/ESCAPE pedal until the Bank number appears in the numeric display, which in this case, should be 05. The LED for pedal #1 should remain lit.
14. The quickest way to confirm that the setting has been saved is to assign pedal #1 to a parameter in Live. So, assuming that you’ve already got Live open and your FCB1010 is connected, click on Live’s MIDI button in the top right hand corner.
15. Select a parameter to which you’d like to assign Pedal #1. In this example, let’s assign it to the record arm button of audio channel #1.
16. Press down on pedal #1. The number x/22 should appear on the record arm button where x represents the MIDI channel the data on which the FCB is transmitting on, most likely it’ll be channel 1, 2, or 3. Of main concern is that the number 22 – this is the CC number you’ve just programmed into pedal #1 on the FCB1010.
To assign the rest of the pedals, all you have to do is repeat steps 2 to 13. This is a bit time consuming but having been through it myself, it’s definitely worth the effort.
I haven’t yet explored assigning MIDI CC#’s to the expression pedals, although I’m sure that opportunity will present itself in the near future. And I’m 99.9% sure it’ll be done the same way as I’ve described above.
Currently I have pedals 1-4 to record-arm four audio-tracks whilst pedals 6-8 are used to trigger clip recording. Pedals 9 & 10 are used to navigate up and down scenes. Unfortunately this leaves nothing left to launch scenes. I could have used pedal 4 but that would mean losing a channel…so…I looked for another solution…
As part of my real-time looping setup, I’ve also got a Korg Microkontrol for playing synth plugins & recording them as MIDI loops, and playing/looping drums via Impulse. Then I remembered - the Microkontrol can also accept a pedal, normally used for sustain.
After consulting the manual, I found that you can edit the settings so that the footswitch can send out a MIDI CC# message! Yup, at the moment I’m using a Boss FS5L to trigger scene changes. The only hitch is that I have to push the footswitch twice for the scene to change…I’ll have to try other pedals to see if they work any better…any suggestions would be welcome. Although having to press it twice isnt’ that much of a hassle, actually I think of it like a failsafe…
I’m not sure if this will work on other MIDI keyboards, but provided that you can configure incoming pedal/footswitch messages to send a MIDI CC message to Live, it should work. The M-Audio & Evolution controllers should allow you to do this as they also have the Enigma Librarian, and I imagine that the Novation controllers should be able to do this as well.