What's the best way to use an expression pedal?

Hello, friends -

I’m in the middle of setting up GP for the first time for playing keyboards in a cover band, and I’ve set myself some pretty ambitious goals: my inputs will be two MIDI keyboards, a vocal microphone, and a monitor mix from the house, and my outputs will be a mono send to the house plus a stereo in-ear monitor mix for myself (which will be a mix of my own instruments and microphone plus the monitor mix from the house plus the GP metronome clicking in my ear when I need it). I’m implementing eight “zones” per keyboard for a total of 16 simultaneous VST instruments.

All of this I’m doing in the global rackspace, so that my 16 basic instruments will always be available in every song. Individual rackspaces will then replace some of the instruments with different sounds needed for particular songs.

I intend to use only a single sustain pedal and a single expression pedal. I’ve written a script to share the sustain pedal intelligently among all 16 instruments which I’m pretty pleased with and will share with the community at a later date.

Now I’m trying to figure out what to do with the expression pedal, which I intend to use for volume control for a subset of my 16 instruments (specifically, I’ll have the pedal only affect the instruments that we would expect to have the ability to crescendo, such as strings, organs, synths, and horns, but excluding those that shouldn’t, such as pianos and percussion).

Which of the following options makes the most sense to you?

  • Send an expression pedal message (CC11) to whichever zones I’ve selected (which then relies on the particular VST instruments to handle that message appropriately)
  • Control a GP audio mixer or gain control plugin to affect the volume level of whichever zones I’ve selected (but note that I’m also using the faders on my MIDI controllers to control the zone volumes so there will be more choices to make about how the pedal and the faders should interact)
  • Simply control my global master output level. (This option doesn’t appeal to me because, for example, in a situation where I’m layering piano with strings, I’ll want the pedal to affect only the strings and not the piano.)
  • Something else I haven’t considered yet?

Thanks for your help, everyone!

Solomon

That’s clearly the best option to me, at least the one I recently adopted for my own needs. My GP Mixer is in the Global Rackspace even if my VST are in the Local Rackspace. And its control is not VST dependent no bad surprise of a VST not responding to CC7 or CC11.

Thanks. That makes sense to me as well.

Do you additionally use faders for volume at the same time?

Let’s say my strings fader is at -1dB and my organ fader is at -9dB, and then I adjust the expression pedal to -3dB. I don’t think I want both faders to jump straight to -3dB to match the pedal (meaning that the organ would suddenly be too loud). Maybe I want to add the pedal gain to the fader gain, so that the strings go to -4dB and organ goes to -12dB? And if that’s the direction I’m going, then do I want to actually modify the fader widgets (so that when I move the pedal, I can see the faders moving up and down) or leave them as they are (so that they remain in agreement with the physical faders on my controller)?

I think I might try starting with that first option, where the pedal causes fader movements to happen. This means that every time the pedal changes value, I’ll subtract its old value and add its new value to the relevant fader widgets. Once I get on stage and find out how this feels in real life I may change my mind. :slight_smile:

In fact it seems I am following a way quite similar to yours, but due to other difficulties, I have not yet had the time to go where I want. In order to prepare what you seem to describe here, I made this where the white fader is supposed to be controlled by the expression pedal:

But, for a good start I would start with something simpler like controlling with your expression pedal a gain mixer placed after your VST mixer.

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That looks amazing! It looks like you went to some effort to ensure that the pedal value will never exceed the maximum fader value; what’s the purpose of that?

The purpose of that is to keep the ratio of other faders (i.e. the mix) unchanged while moving the master.

Oh, I see it now. You’ve got the volume pedal and the highest fader always in sync. Nicely done.

I’ve achieved the same goal (keeping the mix unchanged) in a different fashion. Check it out (in the global rackspace):
volume_pedal_magic.gig (226.8 KB)

By the way, how did you create that preview of your attachment with the animation and the source code all visible?

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I developed the code from an idea of @LeeHarvey, I use the ScreenToGif application for the screen video capture that I know from @schamass… everything comes from the GP community here! :wink:

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