What do you use your MIDI footswiches/expression for (apart from looping)


I’m just learning the Octatrack and have connected a Pod HD500 to use as a MIDI controller, mainly for looping/pickup machines.

It has 10 footswitches and an expression pedal and the MIDI configuration is pretty good (can send note out, cc’s etc.) I’m still getting my head around the pickup machines so I’m not sure yet how many I’ll use for that (i.e. not sure whether to have 3 switches to record the separate inputs or just 1 for combo record).

I want to have switches for channel up/down/mute but that will leave at least 5 or so spare and an expression pedal. Any favourite uses for pedals (esp. the expression)?


Scene select, crossfader on expression pedal, mutes, arm one shots…


aha thanks! I was wondering how I’d use it across multiple channels but the scene/crossfade is perfect. Haven’t used one shot trigs yet so I’ll check them out. Just starting to get my head around this amazing machine.


The footswitch signal to start REC on a pickup machine also works for a flex. I use it for that.


Many midi pedalboards have banks, yours doesn’t?


It’s not just a pedalboard, it’s a guitar FX unit. It has banks for the internal effects presets but I think the MIDI assignments can only be set in one way.


Thanks. Is that the combo record signal? I’m still not sure if I should be using that or the specific ab/cd/src3 ones (I’m likely to want to use it to sample different inputs).


Look up the midi implementation chart at the end of the manual. All the information you need to make your decisions is in there.

I never print out manuals because of the convenient search functionality a pdf provides, but I have printed out all of the midi implemention charts of all the gear I use. It’s all in a binder for quick reference and it helps a lot when designing and debugging the midi network routing.


I used the instructions in this section of the manual, and then forgot about it. It just works, now.



Cheers! I hadn’t got to that bit, just the initial pickup machines info in the manual and a couple of online tutorials. I’ve got it working with the MIDI controller now but I’m getting the feeling that I might be rushing working out the pickup machines.

I’ve only had the Octatrack a week and it looks like pickup machines work in different way to the other machines so it might be a bit confusing until I’ve worked out the basics. I’m going to try out pinup57’s method for making Flex machines work in a similar way until I get my head around the machine a bit more.


That would need a more sophisticated foot controller I believe, because you need to send several midi messages with the same switch


The Pickups can be quite confusing. One thing that helped ma a lot was when I realized that they behave differently depending whether the sequencer is running or not.

If it’s running, they obey the current BPM, unless you explicitly hit a key combo.

If the sequencer is not running, then the Pickup will set the BPM itself as soon as you close your initial loop.

This drove me nuts until I worked out why it was behaving this way.


Gotcha. I hadn’t spotted that when quickly scanning down.

Even if I can’t do it in this way I think I’d like to try and use the Flex machines to loop things, even if there are limitations (fixed length loops, no overdubbing, having to use extra buttons to manually start loops after recording, etc.)

At this stage I think I just need to be able to easily get ideas down while I learn the Octatrack and I can worry about more performance friendly ways of doing it using the pickup machines when I’m bit more competent. At the moment the separate transport and differences to the rest of the machine are bit too much to get my head around.


Yeah that threw me as well!

I got them syncing ok but seemed to be too many ways I could screw up. I’m going to search to see if I can hack something together using a flex machine, even if it’s more limited I’ll be learning how the main sampling features work instead of getting confused about the differences at this stage :slight_smile: