Always consult the Owners Manuals first

RJM Mastermind

From Axe-Fx II Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This guide covers setting up the GT with the Axe-Fx II. Instructions for connecting to the Axe-Fx III will be added after RJM has released stable firmware.


About the RJM Mastermind GT

The Mastermind GT is a powerful MIDI controller with a dedicated graphical display for each switch (a.k.a. "scribble strip" or "mini display").

The Mastermind GT is available with 10, 16 or 22 buttons.

More information on RJM's website, in the manual and in RJM’s wiki.

The instructions below apply mostly to other RJM controllers as well.

Connecting the GT and supplying power

The Mastermind GT requires a 12VDC supply with at least 2A of current capacity.

A 5-pin MIDI cable is required for bidirectional communications, meaning that the GT can send AND receive data through a single MIDI cable connected to its MIDI Out port and the MIDI In port on the Axe-Fx.

Power can also be supplied through the same MIDI cable, a.k.a. "phantom power". This requires RJM's phantom power box, powered by the power supply. The box connects to the GT with a 7-pin MIDI cable and to the Axe-Fx with a 5-pin MIDI cable. Important: always connect RJM's power supply directly to the phantom power box! Do NOT connect it to the phantom power port at the rear of the Axe-Fx II.

Alternatively, a custom 6-pin XLR cable can be used to connect the GT to (another version of) the phantom power box. This connection is much sturdier than MIDI. The box connects via 5-pin MIDI to the Axe-Fx.

Visit RJM's webshop.

Adding expression pedals, external switches and pedals

SP1-RJM expression pedal from Mission Engineering

GT-specific expression pedals, made by Mission Engineering, are available from RJM. The pedal's LED is synchronized and powered through a single TRS cable. Another TRS cable connects the switch on the pedal to a switch input on the GT.

Visit RJM's webshop.

Dual-button external switch from RJM

Dual foot switches with LEDs are available from RJM. These behave just like the GT's onboard switches, but without the mini displays. The LED is synchronized and powered by the GT through a single TRS cable.

Visit RJM's webshop.

Powering effects pedals

The RJM has two 9VDC ports which can supply DC power to outboard gear, such as a tuner and low-power effects pedals. The ports are not isolated. The maximum capacity for both ports together is 100mA.

Setting up the GT with an Axe-Fx II or Axe-Fx III

The GT is an extremely flexible and capable controller. You decide how to set it up, based on your preferred workflow. Many possibilities exist.

The walkthrough below helps you set it up. Use the software editor for easy editing. Some of the settings are based on the author's (Yek) personal preference.

Before you start

Verify the following:

  • The GT has the most recent firmware installed.
  • You have the most recent version of the software editor on your computer.
  • The GT connects to the Axe-Fx.
  • The GT connects to the software editor.

Settings on the Axe-Fx

Preliminary note

The recommended settings below are based on an Axe-Fx II and firmware 3.4.8 for the Mastermind GT.

Different settings will be required for the upcoming firmware 4 for the Mastermind GT, and the Axe-Fx III.

Axe-Fx II

Verify these settings in I/O > MIDI on the Axe-Fx II:

MIDI CHANNEL = "1" (default).
PROG CHANGE = "On". This makes sure that the Axe-Fx processes incoming MIDI Program Changes from the GT.
DISPLAY OFFSET = "0". If set to "1", set the parameter 1st Preset is 0 to "On" on the GT.
IGNORE REDUNDANT PC = "On". When set to "On", the Axe-Fx will not reload a preset when receiving a Program Change which is identical to the currently selected preset, avoiding the audio gap that comes with preset changes. However, the Axe-Fx will reset effect blocks in the preset to their saved states (if CC on Preset Change is set to "On" on the GT), effectively resetting the current preset which can be handy.
SEND REALTIME SYSEX = "All". This makes sure that the GT receives tempo ands tuner information from the Axe-Fx II.

Axe-Fx III

To be added.

Perform a factory reset

First step is to perform a factory reset of the GT in Setup > System Functions.

Settings on the GT

Selecting the device

After a factory reset, select your Axe-Fx as the device which the RJM should control. This is done in Setup. Replace Device 1 (default: "Rack Gizmo") with your Axe-Fx model.

Make sure to select the correct model to prevent issues. Do not select a "Slave" device, unless you want the GT to determine which effects are on/off instead of the Axe-Fx.

Other device-specific parameters

In the Edit Devices menu, verify the following settings.

Name. Keep the default device name or change to your liking.
MIDI Ch = "1". Change this when the Axe-Fx is set to another MIDI channel.
Direct Send = "Off". When set to “Off”, the GT will make attempts to reduce the number of MIDI messages sent to the Axe-Fx. It will gather up CC and PC messages and eliminate duplicate messages. It will also sort CC messages into numerical order before sending. When set to “On”, the GT will send messages in the order requested by each action list, and it will not try to filter out duplicate messages. Use this to solve issues.
Sync Names = "Off". Set this to "On" if you want preset and bank names to be synced with the Axe-Fx dynamically in real time. If you use Get Preset Names regularly, there's no need to turn on this setting.
Port = "MIDI Out".
Preset Offset = "0". Adjust this only if MIDI PC OFFSET on the Axe-Fx has a non-default setting.
Max PC Number = "127".
Number of presets. Depends on the Axe-Fx model.
Bank Type = "MSB".
Flat Numbering = "Off". This setting controls how you specify presets and banks to devices that support MIDI banks. When checked, you can specify preset numbers for this device as a single preset number. When not checked, you select presets using a PC number and bank number. I think this settting is ignored when having selected an Axe-Fx as device.
Init PCs - None. Do not execute.
Init PCs All 0. Do not execute.
Init PCs Sequential. Do not execute.
(Send) CC on Preset Change = "On". When set to "On", the Axe-Fx will receive CC messages every time the preset changes, and when an IA button is pressed. When set to "Off", the Axe-Fx will only receive CC messages when an IA button is pressed. This setting needs to be turned on to make sure that buttons assigned to External Controllers stay in sync.
Send PC = "On". This makes sure that the GT transmits Program Changes to the Axe-Fx.
Send Redundant PC = "On". When set to "Off", the same PC message will never be sent to the Axe-Fx more than once in a row., to avoid audio gaps. Setting this to "On" causes the GT to send a PC message to the Axe-Fx when requested, whether it’s a duplicate or not. Note: you might think that turning this off is the better option here, but it's on for a reason: re-sending a duplicate Program Message message from the GT will not cause the Axe-Fx to reload the preset (because Ignore Redundant PC is set to On on the Axe-Fx), but effects will return to their saved states. This provides an easy way to reset the current preset without an audio gap.
Ignore Incoming PC = "Off". This makes sure that the GT will respond to incoming Program Changes. Which is required when using a tablet with an app, like BandHelper, that switches presets.
Ignore Incoming CC = "Off". This makes sure that the GT will respond to incoming MIDI Control Changes. Which is required when using a tablet with an app, like BandHelper, that switches stuff on/off.

MIDI settings

MIDI Rx (Receiving) Ch = "1". Set this to the same MIDI channel as the device connected to the GT's MIDI Input. Any Program and/or Bank changes received on this channel will cause the GT to jump to the selected preset and send all of the MIDI messages corresponding to that preset. This parameter defaults to “None”, which means that the GT will NOT respond to incoming bank or program change messages. Note that there's no need to set this parameter for bidirectional communications.
Bank = Song = "Off". This setting affects what MIDI bank and Program Change messages do in Song And Setlist Mode.
MIDI bidirectional = "On". The Axe-Fx and GT support bidirectional communication, allowing two-way communication through a single 5 pin or 7 pin MIDI cable. Bidirectional MIDI only works with the first device in your MIDI chain. Turn this off when using unidirectional communication.
Remote = "Off". Set this to "On" to enable the GT's Remote Mode, which allows more than one GT to be connected together and have them all synchronized together.
MIDI Merge = "Off". When set to "On", all MIDI messages that are received through the Remote In or USB B ports are retransmitted through the MIDI Out port.
MIDI Clock = "None". Determines whether the Mastermind GT acts as a MIDI clock Master or Slave. "None" (default) disables MIDI clock support.

System functions

Usually there's no reason to execute any command in this menu.

Init Preset Names. Initializes all of the preset names in the system to their default names: “Preset 001”, “Preset 002”, etc. The numbering of these names starts with 0 or 1, depending on the 1st Prst is 0 setting.
Reset Pedal Groups. Resets the Pedal Groups (before firmware 4.x).
System Info.
Debug Log.
System Test.
Update Button Firmware.
Factory Reset.

Display settings

Enter the Display Settings menu.

Bright and Contrast display settings.
Bold = "On". Use or not use a bold font on the buttons.
Page Name = "Off". Determines if the name of the page is displayed at the top on the main display. Note: when only the bottom row of the main display is being used and the top row stays empty, check this setting.
Reverse Menus = "On". This reverses the order of items displayed in the Preset Menu, Song Menu etc.
Song Name Only = "On". Set this to "On" if you don't need to see preset titles in Song Mode and to make the song title use the entire main display.

Other settings in the main menu

Max Pages. Sets the maximum number of button pages in use, to limit unnecesary scrolling.
Preset 2nd. This determines what happens when you press a Preset button a 2nd time. Choose between:
"Same": no action.
"Previous": recalls the previously selected preset.
"Global": recalls the defined Global preset.
"Reload": recalls the current preset.
Sysex messages. Here you can define custom SysEx messages which can be assigned to buttons.
Edit Macros. Create and edit button macros.
Pedal Group. Create Pedal Groups to make a single pedal perform multiple tasks (before firmware 4.x)
Start Last Preset. This determines whether the GT will switch to the last loaded preset after powering on.
Startup Macro = "None".
Auto Taps = "0".
AutoTap Macro = "0".
Show Tempo = "Off". When set to "On", the tempo is displayed briefly on the main display every time the tempo changes by more than 2 BPM. When set to "Off", the tempo is never displayed on the main screen, only on any tap tempo buttons you’ve defined.
Calc Tempo ... = "Off".
1st Preset is 0 = "On". Set this to "On", when Display Offset is set to 1 instead of 0 on the Axe-Fx. It determines the number of the first preset in the system, either 1 (the default) or 0. This can be used to adjust the GT’s numbering scheme to match the Axe-Fx. This parameter only changes the preset numbers, not the name, so the default GT names (Preset 001, Preset 002, ...) will not change.
Hold mSec. Try "350". This determines the time for the button's Hold function to engage.
1st Repeat mSec. Try "1000". This determines how long it takes for a button to start repeating. Use this to finetune Bank Up/Down behavior.
Repeat mSec. Try "400". This determines how long it takes for a button to continue repeating. Use this to finetune Bank Up/Down behavior.
Auto Page = "On". When set to "On" (default), selecting a new preset will cause the button page to change. When set to "Off", the current button page will not change unless you press a Page button or execute a Page action.
Instant Bank = "Off". When set to "On", the GT will automatically switch presets when you press the Bank Up or Bank Down buttons. Instead of flashing the preset buttons, asking you to select a preset in the new bank, the GT will switch banks and load the preset that appears on the currently selected preset button. For example, if you are on preset 3, and there are 6 presets per bank, pressing bank up will automatically switch to preset 9.
Page Preview = "On". When set to "Off", the visible button page does not change until you select a new preset. When set to "On", the visible button page changes as you move up and down through the banks. The button page associated with the first preset in a bank is the one that will be displayed for that bank.

Creating and editing buttons


Depending on the hardware, there are 10, 16 or 22 buttons available (plus external switches). But you're not limited to this number. The user can switch between multiple layouts per preset, referred to as Pages. There are 16 pages available. Page Up, Page Down and Page Menu buttons let you navigate between pages. You can also jump to a specific page using the button action System > Page (see below).

The menu Edit Pages lets you fill these pages with buttons. The parameter Max Pages in the main menu then lets you set a limit to the number of pages in presets to prevent unnecessary scrolling through empty pages.

To make a button appear on each page, mark it as "Global".

Each preset can also have a dedicated page with preset-specific buttons. This is called a "Local" page. Especially handy for programming song-specific scene buttons, with names.

IA Mode

When turned on, this reveals the IA buttons hidden “underneath” non-IA buttons. This function is similar to the MFC-101's Reveal function. IA Mode allows Preset buttons to perform double duties: selecting presets as well as selecting scenes (after pressing the IA Mode button).

Normal and Hold modes

Each button has a Normal and a Hold mode.

The period of time for the assigned Hold function to kick in is set with the Hold mSec parameter in the main menu. Try "350" for quick response. If the editor doesn't allow this value, set it on the hardware itself.

Hold is especially handy for secondary functions, such as switching an effect between X/Y or two channels, or changing an effect's Rate, etc.

Button names

Special characters in button names:

\ (backslash) forces a line break.
^ (carat) forces a line break and displays the 2nd line inverted.
| (vertical line) hides subsequent characters.

Button types

Off. Disables the button.
Preset. Selects a preset.
IA. General purpose (instant access) button that can execute a list of button actions, see below.
Bank Down/Up. Previous/next bank of presets.
Page Down/Up. Previous/next button page.
Preset –/+. Moves down/up one preset.
IA Store. Stores the current IA state to the current preset (important for buttons which have Update On Preset Change enabled. When depending on Axe-Fx presets, you probably do not want to set and store buttons states with IA Store.
Page/IA Store. Selects the next button page, or, when held for 2 seconds, stores the current IA state to the current preset (important for buttons which have Update On Preset Change enabled.
IA Mode. see below.
Pedal 1 or 3. Shifts the function of expression pedal 1 or 3 to the next pedal in its group (before firmware 4.x).
Label. No function except to display text.
Page Menu. Pops up a menu of all pages.
Preset Menu. Pops up a menu of all presets.
Song Menu. Pops up a menu of all songs.
Setlist Menu. Pops up a menu of all setlists.
Preset Number. Pops up a number keypad, allowing you to directly type in a preset number.
Setup Mode. Activates Setup Mode.
Previous Preset. Switches back to the last selected preset.
Device PC -/+. Decrements/increments the current program number of a specific device. This allows you to scroll through the list of presets on a specific device without affecting the other connected devices. The button will always display the device’s current PC number (and bank number if appropriate).

Other button settings

Global. This makes a button appear on each button page.
On/Off color. Choose your colors wisely. Names of bypassed effects and non-current presets should still be visible, while engaged buttons should jump out. Example:
Presets: Off = dark red, On = green.
Scenes: Off = dark purple, On = purple.
Effects: Off = dark aqua, On = green.
Group. Button groups allow you to set up your buttons so that only one button in a group is allowed to be turned on at a time. Activating one button will turn off the other buttons in this group. General groups setting cabs be set in Edit Groups in the main menu:
Allow Off. When set to “On”, it is possible to turn off all buttons in the group. Pressing a button that’s already selected will turn if off. When set to “Off”, one button in the group will always be turned on. Pressing a button that’s already selected will have no effect. The preferred value depends on the button function.
Group Actions. Each group can have its own actions. These actions only work when Allow Off is turned on. When all buttons in the group are turned off, the actions are executed using their Off values. When any button in the group is turned on, the actions are executed using their On values.
SndOffMsg (Send Off Messages) = "Off". When set to “On”, any button in the group will send its message(s) when turned on and when it’s turned off. When set to “Off”, a button will send its message(s) only when it is turned on, and never when it is turned off. The preferred value depends on the button function.
IA Cycle. Lets you use a single button to step between 4 effect settings, or switch multiple effects in 4 steps, etc.
IA Link. When duplicating functionality through multiple buttons (for example: scene buttons on multiple pages), this parameter makes sure that the states of both buttons are synchronized.
Send on preset change. When set to “On”, this button will send its messages every time the preset changes. When set to “Off”, this button will only send its messages when it is pressed. For regular operation keep this off! Use this only when assigning a button to an External Controller on the Axe-Fx, to keep things synchronized.
Update on preset change. When set to “Off”, this button only changes state when it receives a MIDI message from the device it is associated with, or when the button is pressed. When set to “On”, the button can also change state when a new preset is selected. This parameter also sets button according to their stored state using IA Store (see above). For regular operation keep this off, and use this only to fix button synchronizing issues.
Tempo. When set to “On”, this button is marked as a tempo button, flashing the currently set tempo. If UpdOnPrst is also turned on, this button will flash in time with the internal tempo clock. If UpdOnPrst is turned off, this button will only flash when instructed by the connected device.
Momentary. Turns on when pressed and turns off when released.
OnMsgOnly = "Off". When set to “On”, this button will only send messages when it is turned on by a preset. When a preset turns this button off, this button will not send any messages. This setting does not affect what happens when the user actually presses the button.
Button Actions. For some button types, such as "IA", the following actions are available:
CC Toggle.
CC Momentary.
PC. Transmit a Program Change.
Note. Send a MIDI note.
Sysex. Transmit MIDI SysEx commands, defined in the SysEx entry in the main menu.
System. This provides additional functions:
IA Mode. Turns on IA Mode.
Macro. Activates a macro.
Page. Switches to a specific page.
Preset. Switches to a specific preset.
Setlist. Switches to a specific setlist.
Step. Executes a step in an IA Cycle.
Tuner. Turns on the GT's Tuner display mode.

Preset buttons

Preset buttons select presets on the GT, which in turn select presets on the Axe-Fx.

These buttons can be used in more ways:

  1. As IA buttons in IA Mode (see above).
  2. Hold function.
  3. Pressing the button a 2nd time. See below.

An alternative way to select presets, is to assign the button action of an IA button in Hold mode to System > Preset. Set this Hold button to "Momentary".

Global Preset button

The "Global Preset" is a preset that can be recalled at any time by pressing a Preset button a 2nd time (if configured as such).

Previous Preset button

By assigning a button to "Previous Preset", you can return to the last selected preset.

Preset Number button

By assigning a button to "Preset Number", you can turn the GT into a number keypad, allowing you to directly type in a preset number.

Scene buttons

By assigning IA buttons to Scenes on the Axe-Fx, you can switch between scenes. The GT recognizes this, and automatically takes care of grouping the buttons (without making use of a button group).

The GT also adds a missing feature to the Axe-Fx II: naming scenes. Create song-specific presets with a "Local" page and add Scene buttons with song-specific names.

An easy way to have scene buttons on the main page, is to use Preset buttons in "IA Mode" to switch scenes. The scene buttons become available after pressing the IA Mode button. Tip: rename the IA Mode button into "SCENES" to make things more obvious.

Effects buttons

IA buttons can be assigned to effect blocks, turning them on/off, or changing settings.

Tip: use the Hold function of an effect button to switch the effect between X/Y or Channels.

Tuner button

Program a Tuner button to see the Axe-Fx tuner. This requires two commands:

  1. Button action = System > Tuner
  2. Tuner CC.

Note: to be able to see tuner data on your GT, SEND REALTIME SYSEX must enabled on the Axe-Fx.

Tempo button

Program a Tempo button to see the Axe-Fx tempo flash on your GT. To do this, mark "Show Tempo".

To be able to set the tempo, also assign the MIDI CC for Tempo to the button.

If "UpdOnPrst" is set to "On", this button will flash in time with the internal tempo clock. If "UpdOnPrst" is set to "Off", this button will only flash when instructed by the connected device.

Note: to be able receive the tempo from the Axe-Fx SEND REALTIME SYSEX must enabled on the Axe-Fx.

AMP select buttons

To switch between two Amp blocks and switch their X/Y states too, like a traditional amplifier foot switch, configure two buttons as follows:

Amp 1: Normal: CC 37, 0-127, assign to a group. Hold: CC 100, 127-0.
Amp 2: Normal: CC 38, 0-127, assign to the same group. Hold: CC 101, 127-0.

GT presets

GT presets link directly to Axe-Fx presets.

They follow the same order, unless you specifically link a GT to a different preset on the Axe-Fx. If you changed the link and want to restore the logical order, execute Init PCs Sequential in the Edit Devices menu.

If you move an preset on the Axe-Fx, the link with the GT preset will be broken. Repair this by manually editing the preset on the GT.

Syncing preset names between the Axe-Fx and GT

The GT interacts dynamically with the Axe-Fx, but this doesn't include preset names.

Two methods are provided to sync preset names on the Axe-Fx with the GT:

  1. Download current names: Use Get Preset Names in Edit Devices. You can download all or a subset.
  2. Dynamically (real time): Turn on Sync Names in Edit Devices.

Editing GT presets

You can specify:

  • Which button page should be loaded upon preset recall: any of the 16 general pages, or the "Local" page.
  • Tempo.
  • Specific pedals behavior.
  • Switches behavior.
  • Specific preset actions.

Setting up GT presets with specific buttons

If you need to have song/preset-specific buttons, define a "Local" button page. One of the advantages is that this lets you define named scene buttons, specific to the preset or song.

Be aware that when you move presets on the Axe-Fx, the link gets broken ands needs to be repaired.

Expression pedals and external switches

Configuring and calibrating expression pedals

The Edit Expression Pedals menu lets you configure and calibrate pedals.

Name: a pedal can be assigned a specific name.
CC: assign the MIDI CC through which the pedal communicates with the Axe-Fx. Commonly CC 16 is used for External 1 on the Axe-Fx II, and CC 17 for External 2.
CC Num. 2: assigning a 2nd CC lets you control two settings at the same time, enabling crossfading for example.
Send on Preset = Off: You can make the GT poll and process the pedal's position upon preset changes, or leave that to the Axe-Fx.
Switch Group: see Pedal Group (before firmware 4.x).
Calibrate: this calibrates a connected pedal.
Min/Max Value =: these let you adjust the operational the range of the pedal.
Switch actions =: this lets you define specific actions for the expression pedal.

Switching a single pedal between multiple tasks (Pedal Group)

Firmware 3.4.9 and earlier:
To make a single pedal do double duty, within a single Axe-Fx preset: configure Pedal 2 (same as Pedal 1, use the CC of another external controller), and use "Pedal Grouping". This enables switching pedal functionality within the same preset. Program an IA switch to switch the pedal between two tasks. To clear all Pedal Groups, use Clear Pedal Groups in the System Functions menu.

Firmware 4.x:
Pedal grouping has been replaced with the possibility to switch expression pedal settings on the fly (System > ExpPedal).

Configuring external switches

The Edit External Switches menu lets you configure and calibrate external switches.

See editing buttons above.

Songs and sets

Songs on the GT consist of one or more presets. Songs make it easy to reorder stuff, i.e. for a gig, without breaking links.

Other functionality

The GT has more features, not being discussed here, such as macros, MIDI Clock, Sets and SysEx.