Always consult the Owners Manuals first

Pedals and switches

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Ev-1-both.png Switches.png

Number of onboard jacks for expression pedals or switches

  • Axe-Fx III: 2.
  • Axe-Fx II Mark I/II: 1.
  • Axe-Fx II XL/XL+: 2.
  • FX8: 4.
  • AX8: 2.

Modifiers and external controllers

Pedals and switches can be connected directly to certain functions, or be assigned to an external controller which operates as a source of a modifier parameter. Read more about modifiers and external controllers.

Pedals and external switches

AX8 and FX8

The jacks are meant to connect expression pedals such as the Fractal Audio EV-1 and/or external switches.

An expression pedal should have a linear resistance taper, max resistance of 10 kOhm to 100 kOhm, and requires a TRS-to-TRS cable. The pedal must be calibrated before use (I/O > PEDAL).

An external switch can be a momentary or latching one, and uses a TS-to-TS cable.

Use the I/O > PEDAL menu to let the hardware know what type of external switch you're connecting:

  • when a latching (aka "toggle") switch is connected, set TYPE to “LATCHING”.
  • when a momentary switch (such as a sustain pedal) is connected, you have two options:
    1. set TYPE to “MOMENTARY” and the device will recognize alternate stomps as ON and OFF, creating a “virtual” latching footswitch.
    2. set TYPE to “CONTINUOUS” if you want the switch to turn on when you press, and off when you release it.
"The Pedal inputs are not configured to handle two switches". source
"The FX8 pedal assignments are always global." source
"Pedals are always running. If nothing is plugged in there is a pull-up resistor that pulls the pedal value to 100%." source

The FX8 also has provides relay outputs which can be used to switch amp channels and such. Read this.

Axe-Fx III

The Axe-Fx III has two expression pedal or switch inputs. An expression pedal should have a linear resistance taper, max resistance of 10-100 kOhm, and requires a TRS-to-TRS cable. The pedal must be calibrated before use (I/O > Pedal).

An external switch can be a momentary or latching one, and uses a TS-to-TS cable. Use I/O > Pedal to let the hardware know what type of external switch you're connecting.

The Owner's Manual contains tutorials about connecting, calibrating and configuring a pedal, either connected directly to the device, or via another controller.

Unlike the previous generation of hardware, the Axe-Fx III now allows selecting a pedal or switch directly as a modifier source (without assigning it to an external controller first).

The FC-6 and FC-12 controllers also allow connecting expression pedals and switches.

Axe-Fx II

The Mark I and II models have a single PEDAL jack. The XL and XL+ have two. An external switch can be a momentary or latching one, and uses either a TS or TRS cable.

Use the I/O > PEDAL menu to let the hardware know what type of external switch you're connecting:

  • when a latching (aka "toggle") switch is connected, set TYPE to “LATCHING”.
  • when a momentary switch (such as a sustain pedal) is connected, you have two options:
    1. set TYPE to “MOMENTARY” and the device will recognize alternate stomps as ON and OFF, creating a “virtual” latching footswitch.
    2. set TYPE to “CONTINUOUS” if you want the switch to turn on when you press, and off when you release it.

MFC-101

Read this: MFC-101.

What are TRS and TS cables

Axe-Fx III Owner's Manual:

"TRS” stands for TIP-RING-SLEEVE and describes the configuration of a 1/4" end plug or jack with three connectors. Normal guitar cables are “TS” (Tip-Sleeve) since they lack the ring required for a third contact. Expression pedals require TRS cables because full control voltage is transmitted to them on one contact (the tip), while less than full voltage is returned to on another (the ring) so the host device is able to sense and utilize the pedal position. The third contact (sleeve) is connected to ground."

Setting up a global volume pedal

This is covered in the Owner's Manual.

Note: the FX8 lets you specify the exact position of the volume control.

When the pedal is not connected

When a pedal is not connected, the device needs to know what value to use. Disconnecting a Volume pedal should not mute the device, for example. The desired Initial Value can be selected in I/O. Note: this applies only to pedals that have been assigned to an external controller through an "external controller", so not to pedals that are directly connected to the device.

Overrule the bypass state of effect blocks with an external switch

You can use an external switch to set the bypass state of an effect block and maintain that state when switching presets.

  1. Connect the switch to a PEDAL jack.
  2. Assign that PEDAL to an External Controller.
  3. Assign the Bypass Mode parameter of the effect to that External Controller (modifier menu: Source). Repeat this in each preset which you want to control.
  4. Now the switch will control the effect's engaged/bypass state, regardless of the effect's stored state, and stay in sync.

Using a pedal to control the wet level of effects

You can use an expression pedal to control the overall "wetness" (effect level of multiple/all effect blocks):

  1. Connect and calibrate your expression pedal.
  2. In I/O set one of the EXTERNAL controllers to "PDL" (let's use EXT1 in this example)
  3. Create your preset with the reverb and delay at their most extreme (wet) settings.
  4. Open the DELAY block for editing.
  5. Select the INPUT GAIN parameter and press ENTER to show the MODIFIER screen.
  6. Set the SOURCE of the modifier to EXT1. Press EXIT 2x to return to the grid.
  7. Select the REVERB block and repeat steps 4, 5, and 6.
  8. Save the preset.
  9. The pedal will now blend between full wet and full dry. source

Using a pedal to morph between clean and dirty tones

Tutorial by Cooper Carter for G66.

Let a single pedal control different effects

Method 1 (i.e. control either Wah or Whammy):

  1. Insert a Wah block.
  2. Insert a Pitch block, directly above or below the Wah in a parallel row. Connect it back to to the main row.
  3. In the Modifier menu of BOTH effects (Wah: Frequency; Pitch: Control): set Source to External 1. Enable Auto-engage.
  4. Add a Mixer block to the main row, just after Wah and Pitch.
  5. Edit Mixer: enter the Modifier menu of the Gain parameter for the row that connects to the Wah. Set Source to another external controller (which will be attached to an IA-switch to switch between Wah and Whammy). Set Start Value to 100% and End Value to 0.
  6. Do the same for the row that connects to the Pitch block. But: set Start Value to 0% and End Value to 100%.
  7. Program an IA switch to switch between Wah and Whammy, using the Mixer rows. Use the CC of the external controller that you specified while editing the Mixer block, and send "127" for the Wah, and "0" for the Whammy.
  8. That's all. Moving the pedal should activate both the Wah and the Pitch block. But thanks to the Mixer block you'll only hear one of these effects. If you're hearing the Wah and the Whammy effects simultaneously, you need to press the IA-switch to get the Mixer block to work

Method 2 (i.e. control Volume and Wah): (source: Bakerman)

  1. Place a Volume block on the grid.
  2. Assign an IA switch to an external controller's CC.
  3. Assign another external controller the Wah and Volume control knobs.
  4. Set the first external controller as a Bypass modifier for both blocks and reverse the slope of one (start 100, end 0).
  5. Now the IA switch will toggle between Wah/Volume and the pedal will control both.

Method 3 (use scenes to switch the pedal to another effect, i.e. Wah, Whammy and Volume):

  1. Put Wah and Pitch and Volume in one column (parallel).
  2. Assign an external controller (pedal) to the effects. Set to Auto-Engage in Wah and Pitch.
  3. In Wah and Pitch turn down Level in the block's Y state.
  4. Scene 1 is for Wah. Set Wah to X, set Pitch to Y, bypass Volume.
  5. Scene 1 is for Whammy. Set Wah to Y, set Pitch to Y, bypass Volume.
  6. Scene 3 is for Volume. Set Wah to Y, set Pitch to Y, engage Volume.
  7. To make this work with effcts without X/Y support, use a scene controller.

Controlling multiple effects simultaneously with a pedal or switch

It's possible to use your expression pedal for multiple purposes while staying in the same preset. Suppose you have one expression pedal and you want it to use as a wah as well as a Whammy, without switching presets:

  1. Insert a Wah block.
  2. Insert a Pitch block, directly above or below the Wah in a parallel row. Connect it back to to the main row.
  3. In the Modifier menu of BOTH effects (Wah: Frequency parameter; Pitch: Control parameter): set Source to the External controller that's attached to your expression pedal. Set auto-engage to Fast, Medium or Slow.
  4. Add a Mixer block to the main row, just after Wah and Pitch.
  5. Editing the Mixer: enter the Modifier menu of the Gain parameter for the row that connects to the Wah. Set Source to the external controller that is or will be attached to an IA-switch (which switches between Wah and Whammy). Set Start Value to 100% and End Value to 0.
  6. Do the same for the row that connects to the Pitch block. But: set Start Value to 0% and End Value to 100%.
  7. Program an IA-switch on your MIDI controller to switch between Wah and Whammy, using the Mixer rows. Use the CC of the external controller that you specified while editing the Mixer block, and send "127" for the Wah, and "0" for the Whammy.
  8. This is it. Moving the pedal should activate both the Wah and the Pitch block. But thanks to the Mixer block you'll only hear one of these effects. To bypass the effect hold the pedal in toe-down position. If you're hearing the Wah and the Whammy effects simultaneously, you need to press the IA-switch to get the Mixer block to work.

You don't have to use a Mixer block (available on the Axe-Fx only). Here's how, or or read this for another solution:

  1. Do the same as above but leave out the Mixer block.
  2. Set Bypass mode of one block to Thru and the other block to Mute.
  3. Assign an External controller (attached to a switch) to the Balance parameter in each block. Set Start Value to 100% and End Value to 0 in one block, andvice versa in the other.
  4. Set Input Select in Drive and Amp blocks after Wah and Pitch to Left or Right, instead of Sum L+R.

Example of a preset where a single pedal controls Wah, Whammy and Volume.

PEDAL jack scenarios

Switch presets

The PEDAL jack lets you use a single switch to switch presets. This works fine if you have just a few presets to switch between. The Axe-Fx III, II XL(+), AX8 and FX8 have more than one PEDAL jack. You can assign one to increment presets and the other to decrement presets. You can use a PEDAL jack to switch scenes, see Scenes.

Axe-Fx II, AX8 and FX8:

  1. Connect a single (pref. momentary) switch to the rear.
  2. Set it to Momentary in I/O.
  3. Set PRESET INCR to ON.
  4. Set the range of presets that the switch can switch between through the Start/End parameter. Or set these to the same preset, to recall a specific preset.

Axe-Fx III:
This is configured in the Global Controllers menu.

Engage or bypass an effect

The PEDAL jack can be used to connect a switch to engage or bypass a specific effect. In I/O assign the effect block's CC to PEDAL.

Switch an effect between X/Y or switch channels

The PEDAL jack can be used to connect a switch and change an effect between X and Y or between channels. In I/O assign the effect block's X/Y CC or channel to PEDAL.

Troubleshooting

Zipper noise

If moving the expression pedal creates choppy sounds or zipper noise, increase the Damping parameter in the Modifier menu. source

Checking the ADC of the pedal ports

The Axe-Fx III lets you to check the ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) levels of the pedal ports (Utility menu).

More information

Tutorial videos by Bernd Klitz.