Originally Posted by Formerly Given To Fly
I am interested in why you "prefer the old MIDI way of doing things." The way I understand MIDI as it usefully applies to the guitar is its ability to control many parameters of many pieces of analog and digital gear with the touch of a 1 button. (Just an example.) I have heard people say basically what you said about MIDI too. They loved it. With MIDI 2.0 on the horizon, I suspect it will become more relevant again.
So, why did you like about MIDI?
O this is an very easy one to answer:
I didn't have a lot of expensive rack gear but my effects and my preamp were all MIDI-compliant. So all I needed was one decent MIDI controller (in my case I used an ART Ultrafoot, which had a lot of buttons for preset and TWO expression pedals) and you could assign any parameter to them in any preset.
So I played in a band that did originals and covers. with one button tap I could get that weird mid notch in "Satch Boogie," that crazy 13ms delay filter in "Leave Me Alone" by Extreme, change my delay level (so I could add delay to any preset and just bring it in or out with one of pedals, turning one preset into two), or use it as a solo volume boost if I didn't have a sound engineer to turn me up for solo time. I could customize delays (like in Hina by DLR band with the left channel coming out dry and the right channel delayed, creating that awesome poly rhythm which I cannot do with my Flashback X4). Note, however, I do have an active expression pedal on the board and it is just for the tc electronic Flashback X4 because I can turn on a preset and take that delay completely out or turn it all the way up, which is how I typically use it; but it is a pain to keep it consistently calibrated whereas with MIDI I could set it once and never look back.
On top of all that I could make a preset for each song we played, and get as close to the studio tone as possible. I could play a three-hour show of covers and originals with just one bank of presets and the two expression pedals and never worry about anything. It just worked. In the end I just had a standard Alesis Quadraverb and an A.R.T. Multiverb III and that was enough, because I could change gain, EQ (even really crazy EQ), and effects on the fly and never miss a beat.
The only hard part was setting each preset up an naming it because the input stuff was all done through the front panels of these rack units and they were cumbersome as hell, BUT you only had to set it up once and you had it forever after that.
Pedals are cool because you can swap them out but if you think I want to bend down and change the chorus or reverb or phasor knobs between songs you'd be wrong. With the old MIDI control I could just set it up once and pick the preset for the tune that was coming up, then tweak the parameters on the fly during the song without even really looking away from the audience. It was heaven.
Yes, I know the newer gear does this, too; but I don't want all that amp modelling stuff. I just want FX variety and control and now that I've built up a serious pedal collection (at least I think it is) I don't want to tear it all down and start over with a Helix or an Fractal or a Kemper or something like that.
I don't play out anymore anyway so the point is kinda moot.
And let's be fair: collecting pedals is fun!