BIAS FX, iPads, and MIDI controllers

  • So, I've had the opportunity to learn a good bit about MIDI controllers over the past several weeks, learning that BIAS FX on the iPad can theoretically interact with any old MIDI controller.

    And I realized, I have any old MIDI controller - my old Line 6 POD XTLive. It supposedly will send out MIDI messages for each of the footswitches and the expression pedal(s) and the messages are fairly well documented.

    So, I could use my lightning cable and iRig HD2 audio interface, but how to connect the XTLive-used-as-a-MIDI-controller-only to the iPad?

    Have any of you used this -- a Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth Wireless MIDI Interface?

    The idea would be to connect the Yamaha MD-BT01 to the MIDI ports on the XTLive, then install something like the midimttr app on the iPad to catch the Bluetooth MIDI messages.

    Thoughts? (I'm looking at you @pipelineaudio and @alderre) (and of course anyone else as well)

  • A2

    The BT01 works great here with an FCB1010 and MIDImittr on the ipad and way better with a CME WIDIBud on the computer

  • I’m just going to sit this one out. @pipelineaudio has way more insight into midi than I do.

  • @pipelineaudio Hey thanks - I'm going to give it a try! If any one reading has any tips or watchouts for this type of configuration, please let me know.

  • @alderre , np, thanks and - next time!

  • A2

    This is BT01/WIDI Bud in the hardest test there is for MIDI throughput - an expression pedal

  • I received the Yamaha MD-BT01 Bluetooth Wireless Midi Interface yesterday, and I’ve been doing some testing. Thought I’d give everyone a report.

    Here’s the configuration:

    Line 6 Pod XTLive, with the Yamaha MD-BT01 plugged into the MIDI ports on the XTLive.

    midimitter app installed on the iPad to interface with the MD-BT01.

    BIAS FX running on the iPad.

    iPad to iRig HD2 to amp (Atomic Reactor.)

    Looking back through my notes, I think everything is working. I think I can divide the results into “works fine” and “a little weird, but, ok”.

    Things that work fine –

    Connecting the Yamaha MD-BT01 to midimitter worked fine, very easy.

    The Line 6 has four effect buttons, labeled “Amp”, “Stomp”, “Mod”, and “Delay”. Each sends it’s own MIDI CC number, and each was easily assigned to any effect in BIAS FX. “MIDI Learn” worked fine, and specifically assigning the CC numbers worked fine also.

    Tap Tempo works fine, I assigned the CC number.

    Tuner works fine, I assigned the CC number (this one is a “long press”.)

    Volume pedal works fine, I did MIDI Learn for the pedal travel.

    Wah pedal works fine. I assigned the CC number for Wah activation, and did MIDI Learn for the pedal travel.

    I have a second Line 6 expression pedal, and plugging that into the XTLive allowed both Volume pedal and Wah pedal at the same time.

    And, things that are a little weird, but ok –

    The “bank up” and “bank down” buttons on the Line 6 don’t look like they send commands out the MIDI port. Instead, when you finish “banking up” and “banking down” on the Line 6, and then choose patch “A”, “B”, “C”, or “D” from that bank, a specific Program Change gets sent out the MIDI port. These are called “Channels” in Line 6, and channel 1A sends a “0”, channel 1B sends a “1”, channel 1C sends a "2", all the way up to channel 32D sending a “127”. Amazingly to me, this works right out of the box with BIAS FX. If you are on channel 2A on the POD, and press button “A”, then BIAS FX will change to Preset 2A.

    Line 6 will default the “lights” on the XTLive to how the onboard patch is set. That seems to be ok, it doesn’t seem to hurt anything, it doesn’t look like the XTLive sends out CC messages for each of the “lighted” effects. But throw out any expectation of the “lights” on the XTLive matching the effect toggle settings in BIAS FX.

    I had one instance where MIDI learn was working, but then I tried to toggle the effect, the toggle would not work. I power reset the Line 6, and stopped/started BIAS FX, and all then worked fine.

    So, was this a worthwhile spend of $50 for the Yamaha MD-BT01? Well, “if” you don’t mind learning about MIDI configuration, and “if” you have a Line 6 POD built for the floor that you want to put back into service, then yes. The Line 6 MIDI implementation seems pretty good.

  • couldn't get it to work.

    On Bias FX Mobile: I tried to use an expression pedal ( M Audio TRS ) via my BlueBoard - and also my ActitioN MIDI controller - to control both the volume effect or the wah effect. The midi mapping worked. But - on an iPad Air2 - get lots of clicks and the CPU usage readout going wild beyond 100% while the expression pedal is moved.
    Anyone have success using an expression pedal to control volume in Bias FX Mobile ?
    Out of interest I also tried mapping my expression pedal via MIDI to an input volume in iPad app QuantiLoop and it worked fine. no clicks - no weird temporary CPU max-out.

  • A2

    I did, I documented it a bit on my website...I'll try and provide more details later

  • @pipelineaudio

    see this video i recorded to demo the issues and fail when using bluebird. i appear to have a similar setup to yours - am using an Air 2.

  • A2

    Ahh yeah! Welcome to hell...

    Ok, this is a thing where the way Bias FX implements things is hard for me to deal with, there really are different things in different places than you would expect and documentation is severely lacking to me...If I remember right, there's something you do on the actual volume pedal graphic itself to make this work (and NOT as you would expect in any rational universe in the MIDI assignment window itself). Try long dragging on the volume pedal (I think)

  • @pipelineaudio Place your finger on it without moving for about 5 seconds. The MIDI learn dialog box pops. Wah works the same way.

  • @elric will try. thanks.

    it irks me that - what appears to be - by many accounts - the best sounding amp-sim on iOS - has such quirky and poor support.

    There are developers out there in iOS land making far far less income from their apps sold on iOS - that - from personal experience provide more consistent, rapid and thorough support to their user base.

    Maybe Bias are the "Apple" of the iOS Amp-sim world ?

  • @pipelineaudio By the way- reading through your blog I find it fascinating and very relevant and hopefully useful. have you thought about starting an FB group ?

    Even as an avid HELIX owner - i'm really interested in a minimal setup like you discuss - for all those open-mic things etc "cafe-duo" etc etc

  • @elric said in BIAS FX, iPads, and MIDI controllers:

    Place your finger on it without moving for about 5 seconds. The MIDI learn dialog box pops. Wah works the same way.

    Ah that seems to have done the trick. Many thanks.

  • I use another pedalboard, Line6 Pod HD500, and I use a simple cable from midi to usb, connected to a self-powered hub. In the hub you can connect the interface, in my case I have not bought any irig, but I use a Rocksmith cable that gets me out of trouble. And then from the hub to a 'Connection camera kit' bought in China, and that allows me to feed the ipad also with a lightning cable. And everything is perfect.

    Even the best thing about this HD500 pedalboard is that it has 4 folders to store presets. And each folder has 32 banks, in which you can assign 8 buttons + 1 for the TAP + 2 expression pedals, and you can even connect another expression pedal. It looks like this:

    HD500 -> midi out to usb -> hub
    Guitar ---> interface usb or irig hd / 2 ---> hub
    hub ----> camera connection kit
    power ---> camera connection kit
    camera connection kit -> ipad