MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

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MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

I was hoping to do this with my Line6 Helix, but so far no method has been suggested that doesn't also interfere with my normal use of this device, so I need to look elsewhere for this functionality.

Both of the bands I play in use a MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X to provide audio backing (mainly drums) and MIDI control of various on-stage devices. At the moment I control this from the keyboard of the MacBook. I would like to be able to start and pause Logic playback using a footswitch. I don't need a massive/comprehensive multi-function device, just something that does these two things (on Logic they are both activated by pressing the space bar, once to start, again to pause and again to restart from the paused position). Ideally a single footswitch and even better if it had an LED to show it is running. Connection to the Mac can either be via USB or MIDI DIN cable (MIDI DIN preferred). 

Anything like this available? The simpler the better.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by Martin Walker »

Maybe I'm having a brainstorm, but I wonder if MIDI is perhaps a red herring in this case, as Stop/Start controls in any DAW tend to be mapped to specific keys on the computer keyboard.

With this in mind, you could buy any cheap computer accessory that offers extra keys (a £10 USB-connected numeric keypad for instance) and then solder the appropriate contacts inside that between your chosen key and a push on/push off stomp pedal footswitch.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by shufflebeat »

Page turners can also give you an option to assign pedals to specific keyboard buttons, space bar, enter, p-up, p-down, etc. which can often in turn be assigned to functions within a DAW.

Wireless number pads are great:

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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

Thanks.

That's a nice bit of lateral thinking. However any extra device that I'm going to be "piggy-backing" my footswitch(es) off needs to fit inside an already fairly full 3U rack case with absolutely zero chance of something inadvertently pressing any of the keys.

I'm not keen on wireless devices especially as they will probably require battery power and run out at the most inconvenient moments, and it's not as though getting power to it is going to be a problem. So something like the numeric keypad that connects by USB could be a possibility if it's cheap enough for me to ruin a couple experimenting.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Streamdeck do a pedal if I recall correctly, but if I also recall correctly it's fairly big and a bit on the pricey side.
I think The Elf might have looked into it at some point?
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

blinddrew wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 4:44 pm Streamdeck do a pedal if I recall correctly, but if I also recall correctly it's fairly big and a bit on the pricey side.
I think The Elf might have looked into it at some point?

Do you have a URL for that. Google is not showing anything remotely like a pedal.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by Drew Stephenson »

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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

blinddrew wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 5:11 pm Voila! https://www.elgato.com/en/stream-deck-pedal

Thank you. Looks suitably robust too and has the advantage of being both cheaper and with a wired connection compared to the alternative dedicated controller I have had suggested (elsewhere).
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 4:44 pm Streamdeck do a pedal if I recall correctly, but if I also recall correctly it's fairly big and a bit on the pricey side.
I think The Elf might have looked into it at some point?

Yep, I have one. It's tad clunky, but it's solid and works well enough. The worst thing is that the pedals are hinged at the front, so it requires pushing forward on the far edge of the pedal to make the contact. For me that's a bit of a problem when sitting. I sometimes find myself futilely pressing the front edge of the pedal.

That said, I use buttons on my Helix, which works just fine, and I have no problem with it interefering with my other uses of the Helix, so I'm wondering what the problem is with doing that?
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

The Elf wrote: Thu Sep 29, 2022 4:37 pmYep, I have one. It's tad clunky, but it's solid and works well enough. The worst thing is that the pedals are hinged at the front, so it requires pushing forward on the far edge of the pedal to make the contact. For me that's a bit of a problem when sitting. I sometimes find myself futilely pressing the front edge of the pedal.

That said, I use buttons on my Helix, which works just fine, and I have no problem with it interefering with my other uses of the Helix, so I'm wondering what the problem is with doing that?

Thanks for the heads-up regarding the StreamDeck Pedal. It is currently looking like potentially the best solution, but if I do get one it will be from Amazon who won't quibble in the slightest if I can't get on with it and need to send it back.

So how do you have your Helix set up?

Mine is configured with preset up/down on FS1 and FS7; 4 presets on FS2-FS5; and 4 Snapshots on FS8-FS11; Tuner is on FS12; and technically FS6 is spare (except it's not as I'll get to further on).

Each song uses one preset and I switch between sounds in a song using the 4 Snapshots (it's the only way the switch sounds glitch-free). Snapshots are generally for verse/chorus/solo/special effect (or similar) so I need to be able to access them at random rather than being able to step through them in a linear fashion.

So, the spare FS6 button. I have no problem assigning my sequencer stop/pause command to it. However it's not possible to also remove the default Preset/Stomp function (nor is it possible to change the "scribble strip" label), so when I hit it to start the sequencer the Helix also goes into "Stomp" mode and I loose access to my snapshot buttons, and can only get them back by pressing FS6 again, which of course puts the sequencer into pause...

I'm currently about to investigate if it is possible to access the button part of the external EXP pedal sockets separately (possibly by wiring a momentary switch across the ring and sleeve of the jack plug). Line6 says you can't plug a footswitch into the EXP sockets on the Helix Floor, but I'm prepared to experiment.

Ideally I'd have like to be able to do everything from the Helix without need external footswtiches whether they are connected to the Helix or direct to the sequencer as I'm trying to cut down on on-satge clutter, and the less possibility of our singer inadvertently stepping on an extra pedal and turning off the backing, the better!

Also I'd really like to swap the functions of FS1 and FS7 and if it was possible remove the default function from FS6 that with FS12, so that the footswitches I actually use whilst playing are all on the bottom row. Sadly this doesn't appear to be possible, which is stage for a device that prides itself on it customisability.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by MarkOne »

This sounds like a job for a Teensy microcontroller a cheapo m-audio foot switch a usb cable and a bit of coding.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by Jimmy B »

Another alternative for consideration might be the Line6 FBV Express Mark 2.
https://uk.line6.com/foot-controllers/fbv-express-mkii/
As well as the intended functionality of controlling various Line6 gear, if you buy the mark 2 version it has a fully configurable USB midi interface , which can also be incredibly useful when using e.g. Amplitube or Guitar Rig. I've only tried it with PC, but I assume that it can also work with a Mac.
It's about the same price as the stream deck pedal, so I believe that it's good value for money.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by N i g e l »

shufflebeat wrote: Tue Sep 27, 2022 4:03 pm Page turners can also give you an option to assign pedals to specific keyboard buttons, space bar, enter, p-up, p-down, etc. which can often in turn be assigned to functions within a DAW.

Wireless number pads are great:

Image

Ive got a £5 wired number pad with a long cable for a PC KB PS2 socket.
Its good & universal but was replaced by a FADER PORT.
that has a foot switch input and is USB powered but works with long USB cables as its not data intensive.

It also has an external power input, which is required if you want the fader to be active/motorised.
Note that the modern version is different.

As thats PC compatible digi-gear, check compatibility with your system 1st
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by sonics »

N i g e l wrote: Fri Sep 30, 2022 12:06 am Its good & universal but was replaced by a FADER PORT.

I use one of these (FaderPort "Classic"). As mentioned, it works without the PSU but the fader won't move. Excellent device. I'm not sure how configurable it is since I only use it with Studio One.
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by muzines »

In a similar manner, I use a Behringer X-Touch One as a small on-desk controller for Logic, and I have a cheap sustain pedal connected to it's pedal input, and I use that for various things (mostly triggering Keyboard Maestro macros etc). Works great...
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Re: MIDI Pedal for Starting/Pausing Logic

Post by BigRedX »

Well, I bought the Elgato Stream Deck Pedal. This has three foot switches and connects via a supplied decent quality 2.5mm USB cable. Together with the Keyboard Maestro utility, it has allowed me to set up two different pedal configurations for the slightly different requirements of the two bands I will be using this with.

The first has Start/Pause (space bar) on the centre pedal and a trigger for a macro I have created which closes the currently open Logic project, selects the next song in the list and opens it, on the right pedal.

The other has Start/Pause on the centre and then using markers in Logic for each song, the left and right pedals move backwards and forwards to the beginning of the next marker in the time line, allowing me to step through to the start point of each song.

As mentioned, the pedals themselves are slightly different from the typical musical device footswitch in that they are hinged at the front (rather than the back) so you have to push down the whole pedal to get the action to register. This shows the pedal's intended design for working out of sight with streaming software as you can rest your feet on the front of the pedals without triggering anything. Other than that the unit appears to be sufficiently robust (USB connections not withstanding) for gig use.

I've tested it out on my desktop Mac and everything appears to be working fine, and all I have to watch is that I have the correct Finder Window selected before I start, otherwise my Macro will open something other than the next song. This won't be a problem on the Laptop I use for gigs as I only ever have one Finder Window open at any one time. The big test will come at the next band rehearsal in 2 weeks time.
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