New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

For the Voluum™ Digitally-Controlled Analogue Volume Effects Pedal

New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby sascha » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:23 am

Dear Sonuus Team, dear James,

Finally got my new board wired up recently, first one with the Voluum on it, see pic at the end of this post :D
Underneath, there’s a Truetone CS12 powering everything and a ProStage Remote Wah that can be MIDI-controlled by the Voluum. A friend soldered the special MIDI Out cable described on Voluum manual page 39. Now, the custom made yellow box can control the Voluum with the two footswitches on the right side; while the two footswitches on the left go to the ES-5 Control In. From there, they’re assigned to control additional Voluum features. Most of the time, top left is Voluum Compressor on/off, bottom left is LFO on/off, and top/bottom right is Voluum preset up/down. Love it! Will make some videos showcasing the board and the Voluum on my YT channel soon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BH9fgCSuEM).

The board sounds great, and so does the Voluum. The combination of Voluum + ES-5 offers tons of options. Like, by combining the ES-5 mixer and the Voluum, you can get programmable control of gain and volume for any drive pedal that you put in an ES-5 loop. Or, you can assign ES-5 buttons to switch on and off the Compressor on the Voluum. Or toggle between Tremolo at 2x / 4x the speed of the ES-5 Master BPMs. Or put the Voluum in preset bypass mode, and use a bypass preset that deactivates Volume Pedal functionality, but makes the Voluum send expression control data to the Line-6 M5: Now, everytime you put the Voluum in bypass, it automatically becomes an expression pedal for the M5. Great! Also, the editor software is fantastic. Played the board on two gigs with Canadian singer-songwriter Karyn Ellis (http://karynellis.com/), sounded great, and we got lots of compliments, even on guitar sound :)

Now, where there is bright light, there will also be some shadow ;)
Here’s some observations, bug reports, and ideas for future firmware updates, please excuse the long rant. (Voluum is on firmware version 1.5.01)


1. Sending MIDI expression only goes up to 126
When I set my Voluum to send MIDI expression, the MSB CC value won't go above 126. I recalibrated the pedal twice, and made sure range is set to "0 to 127" in the editor. When in 14-bit mode, maximum is MSB=126 and LSB=127. When in 7-bit mode, well, maximum is 126. This is very messy when trying to do Whammy effects with the Line6 M5; your octaves will not be in tune anymore. Do I have a faulty unit, or is this a firmware bug?


2. Receiving Effect Enable Controllers is buggy
It’s a great feature that the effect blocks of the Voluum can be enabled individually through CC controllers. This works mostly fine, but theres some quirks. First one that I encountered: When you send an effect enable CC with a ES-5 patch change, Voluum will ignore it. I recorded the patch change on Cubase; as the MIDI list editor shows, ES-5 sends bank select LSB and MSB simultaneously, then Program Change, then the CC (in my case: CC #80 at value 127, assigned to switch on the Voluum Compressor). Voluum will ignore the CC, Compressor stays disabled. Though, when I have a footswitch assigned to send CC#80=127 in the same patch, and I hit this footswitch, the Compressor will be activated. So, appearantly something goes wrong when a Program Change message is directly followed by a effect enable CC. Interestingly, this ALWAYS goes wrong with effect enable/disable CCs after PC, but NEVER with Tuner enable/disable or Bypass on/off after PC. So it cannot be a general "poor buffering of CC incoming right after PC" problem, but must be some more specific bug.


3. Receiving Effect Enable Controllers is even buggier
Second Effect Enable CC problem: Sometimes, you have to hit a “send effect enable” footswitch 3+ times until Voluum reacts. I haven’t fully understood the problem yet, but here’s an example:
Patches 111 and 112 on my ES-5 both call up Preset P00 on my Voluum; which is a basic volume pedal preset with all other Voluum sections disabled. Also, both patches 111 and 112 have the ES-5’s external footswitch #1 assigned to “enable/disable Voluum Compressor”. Now, while in patch 111, I press Ext FS #1; ES-5 sends CC80=127, Voluum Compressor becomes active. I change to patch 112; Voluum Preset P00 is reloaded, resulting in Compressor being off again. Now, when I press Ext FS #1 again, ES-5 will send CC80=127 again. Nothing happens. I press FS #1 for the 2nd time, ES5 will send CC80=0, again nothing happens. Pressing FS #1 for the 3rd time (again CC80=127), the Compressor will finally be activated. Strange, huh?


4. Leaving Preset Edit Mode
When you send a Program Change command, you want your pedals to react, right? Else, you might get into trouble on stage. Now, when Voluum is in Preset Edit Mode (maybe because you just wanted a tiny bit more tremolo depth during a song), it will ignore incoming PC messages. Maybe this was implemented with a good reason: To avoid that you unintentionally lose your recent edits. But IMHO making live performance reliable must have priority over making preset editing foolproof. In other words, incoming PC messages should always kick Voluum out of Preset Edit Mode.
Speaking of "unintentionally losing your recent edits": That’s exactly what happens when you activate the Tuner ... there, it makes no sense IMHO. Tuner on/off should NOT end Preset Edit Mode, while incoming PC should :)


5. A “Freeze Pedal Control” function would be great
The Voluum is not only a fantastic low-noise volume pedal, but also one of the most flexible MIDI expression pedals around. I used to have three big pedals on my boards: Volume, Line6 Expression for my M5, Wah. With the Voluum, I’m down to one. Now, it would be great to be able to toggle from a “Volume Pedal Mode” to an “Expression Pedal Mode” without the Volume jumping up to 100% from wherever the Volume Pedal was set before. There could be different approaches how to achieve this:
Suggestion A: Add a 4th bypass mode called “Freeze Bypass”. In that mode, activating Bypass will not actually bypass the Voluum; but rather, Voluum will stay on the same preset, with the last pedal controlled values before pressing Bypass – i.e., no matter whether the pedal controlled Volume and/or LFO speed and/or sent a certain CC, those values will be frozen. Instead, moving the pedal now will control a specified external CC (MIDI Channel, CC# and Range for this programmable per preset). After un-bypassing, the pedal has to cross the point where it was set before bypassing to become active again (to avoid volume jumps). So, you could set up Voluum preset 01 to be a standard volume pedal, but when bypassed, it becomes an expression pedal for the M5, while the volume stays at where you had set it before; and preset 02 to be a Tremolo with pedal controlled speed, that turns into a Timeline expression pedal with frozen Tremolo speed when bypassed.
Suggestion B: Add a “Freeze local pedal” CC controller that will make the Voluum do basically the same as with activated "Freeze Bypass" as described above.


6. More flexibility in assigning Footswitches would be great, too
Currently, there's 6 functions that you can assign to external footswitches. The built-in one can either do Bypass=>FootswitchPresetSelectMode=>Tuner, or only Bypass (when “FS Preset Select Time” is set to “off”). Suggested enhancements:
– optional “Bypass=>Tuner” mode for the built-in FS, without the FS Preset Select Mode in between (most people with a MIDI controller will never use that mode anyway)
– add enabling each of the 5 effect sections of the Voluum as functions for the external footswitches (currently only possible via MIDI)
– add had hold functionality to external footswitches. Like, kick FS1 for 1 preset up, hold FS1 to scroll up presets. Or kick FS1 to enable/disable compressor, hold FS1 for n seconds to enable/disable gate.


7. MIDI controllable volume trim would be awesome
In general, the Voluum adds a programmable volume level per preset to your setup. That’s fantastic. Now, it would be great to have a MIDI controlled volume trim independent of the other Voluum functions. Why? Say, you have a ES-5 or ES-8. You want to create patches for creative band rehearsals; i.e. patches that allow some spontaneous changes WITHIN the patch to find out what works good in a certain song, rather than unflexible presets. In such a patch, you want to assign FS A to Voluum Tremolo on/off, FS B to Voluum Compressor on/off, and FS C to a +6dB solo level boost; and you still want to use the Voluum as volume pedal. Currently, this is not possible: ES-5/ES-8 can't assign footswitches to the internal mixer level, so you cannot take the boost from there. Of course you could switch to a different Voluum preset that has the +6dB boost; but then, you would not be able to carry over the current on/off settings of Trem and Comp; also, you would need to sacrifice TWO footswitches (since currently, ES-5/ES-8 cannot toggle between two PC commands with one Footswitch). You could switch the volume control method from “pedal” to “MIDI”, but then you would lose Volume pedal functionality. You could use a workaround and utilize the LFO section as MIDI controlled boost (MIDI controlled LFO, Square Wave, 0% Duty Cycle, desired min/max dB values for Depth Hi and Lo :ugeek: ), but then again you would lose the Trem in this preset.
Bottom line, at the moment, you cannot boost/cut the Voluum’s Volume via MIDI by n dB within one preset without losing other core functionality. (At the moment, I resorted to using the Timeline’s +/- 3dB analog boost/cut, controllable via CC#23). Would be REALLY cool to have that functionality 8-)


8. Another small bug: LFO Duo Mode and MIDI
I love the dual LFO mode; especially with two square wave LFOs, with different time subdivisions and playing with the phase setting, you can create great almost sequencer-ish choppy rhythms (Boss SL-20, anybody?) ... BTW, odd subdivisions like x1/3, x3/4, x1.333, x 1.5 would be great to sync these rhythms to MIDI Clock. Back to the bug: I can’t get the dual LFOs to work sending MIDI to separate CC#s. I’m using the editor software, starting from both LFOs set to MIDI-send off. Now, when I assign a CC# to either one of the two LFOs, Voluum will start sending LFO MIDI on that CC#; but it's already a mix of both waveforms. When I assign a CC# to the second LFO, Voluum will stop sending LFO MIDI (unless second CC# equals first CC#). It would be great if you could use this really independently; like, LFO 1 does internal tremolo, LFO 2 modulates a filter via MIDI at the same speed and waveform, but with 50% shifted phase. Of course it would be even cooler to be able to have the two LFO send on different channels, but I would already be completely happy if the Duo LFO MIDI would work as intended :)


9. Sending Envelope via MIDI
As already suggested in another thread, it would enhance creative MIDI use if the Voluum could send envelope data via MIDI. In the best case, with some controls (range, attack/release). And of course only if explicitely enabled, or else it would spam the MIDI chain with unnecessary data. This could be used for turning any MIDI delay into a ducking delay, or for touch wah/envelope filter functionality, and much crazier stuff.


10. MIDI SysEx
Also, already discussed in another thread: Currently, the Voluum filters all SysEx data passing through its 5 pin MIDI. It would be really cool if the next firmware update would allow SysEx to pass through :)
And even better, if the built in USB-to-5-pin MIDI interface could also transmit SysEx.

Thanks for reading :D
Sascha


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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby james » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:51 am

A great post, thank you!

I will spend some time looking at this more carefully, but here are a few quick comments:

1. Sending MIDI expression only goes up to 126


I'm getting the same. It is probably a bug, we will check.

2. Receiving Effect Enable Controllers is buggy


Patch change takes some time, so I'm not surprised MIDI for enabling the controllers has problems immediately after a patch change. It is probably being processed before the patch change has completed. We'll look to see if this can be deferred until the patch change is complete.

4. Leaving Preset Edit Mode


Ignoring MIDI program change was by-design. As you suggest the reason was to avoid loosing changes if you somehow receive a program change you didn't expect.

But you are right about the tuner, this shouldn't cancel the edit.

We'll investigate both of these things.

7. MIDI controllable volume trim would be awesome


A trim per preset? Or a global trim (so it remains set when you switch presets)?
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby james » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:57 pm

Another update... some bugs have been fixed (will release soon for testing once a few other things have been checked).

1. Sending MIDI expression only goes up to 126


FIXED: this was caused by the new scaling that was added that allows you to rescale the controller value. Caused by rounding issues, should now be correct. This also affected the LFO effect controllers and the Volume effect controllers that were sent.

2. Receiving Effect Enable Controllers is buggy


FIXED: Controllers were assigned higher priority than program changes (because these are received far more frequently, so it makes processing a little faster). However, if program change and controllers are received at almost the same time this priority would reorder the messages so the controllers were processed first. Now controllers have lower priority so the program change will be handled first. A side-effect is if you send a controller then program change, it is possible the program change will be handled first. I don't think this will cause any issues?

3. Receiving Effect Enable Controllers is even buggier


This might be because the controller hasn't changed it's value. We're looking into it.

8. Another small bug: LFO Duo Mode and MIDI


FIXED: When the MIDI controller for LFO2 was updated, it actually updated LFO1 by mistake. It now udpates the correct LFO so everything should work as designed.
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby sascha » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:25 pm

Dear James,

thanks for the quick reply ... great that some stuff could already be fixed! You guys are extremely fast and really listening to your customers, thanks. Can’t wait to get that update :-)

Best wishes
Sascha
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby sascha » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:52 pm

PS: I would love a MIDI controllable volume trim on the Voluum either way, per preset or global. +/- 12 dB would be enough. Well, global would even work a bit better for me :-)
Either one, in conjuction with "Voluum accepts CC messages received right after PC commands", would allow some cool uses; like:

I could create a Voluum Setlist with very few presets that would be my standard setup:
P00: standard preset (Normal volume pedal functionality; gate, comp and LFO disabled, but with useful settings to enable them if needed via MIDI; LFO in a basic sine wave setting at 2 x MIDI Clock tempo; Voluum sending CC Expression to my Remote Wah which is bypassed normally)
P01: same as P01, but LFO enabled
P02: same as P02, but LFO at 3x MIDI Clock
P03: same, but LFO at 4x MIDI Clock
P04 to P07: same as P00 to P03, but with square wave trem
P08: "Slow Gear" (Envelope controlled volume swells)
P09: all Voluum sections disabled, expression control of M5 (used as Bypass-Preset)

Now, I could use these 10 Voluum presets for almost any ES-5 patch that I would want to create; I would just send CC enable commands for the effects (Gate, Comp, Trem) needed in the specific patch, Trem speed would adjust to the ES-5 Master BPMs, I could set up Trem and Comp to have Trem Depth and Compression level controllable via MIDI. And I could use the volume trim to set a specific level for each ES-5 patch. And also, assign some ES-5 footswitch to increase that level by a few dB for a solo boost. This would work either way with a MIDI volume trim on global or on preset level.

In this scenario, I could use the 2 external Footswitches directly connected to my Voluum to, by switching Voluum Presets up/down, manually switch the trem between 2x/3x/4x current BPMs and between square/sine wave form on the fly. For this, of course global trim would be better than preset trim: I might activate an ES-5 patch "Helicopter Drive", that activates Loops containing a strong boost into a overdrive, plus the Voluum on P05 (square wave trem active) with the trim set to -6dB, since the boosted drive is very loud. Now, I could switch over to P06 and P07 on the Voluum to change BPM subdivisions on the trem with the trim level staying constant :-)



7. MIDI controllable volume trim would be awesome


A trim per preset? Or a global trim (so it remains set when you switch presets)?
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby james » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:57 pm

4. Leaving Preset Edit Mode


Now long-press on the footswitch while in edit mode will not take you out of edit mode, and thus not loose your changes.

I've posted a firmware update that should fix all of the bugs mentioned (please check!). You can get it here:

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=1733

Due to other work we have going on, the other feature requests will need to be added later. But some of them, like a global volume, are hopefully not too much work to add when we get time to look at it.
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby sascha » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:01 pm

Dear James,

great, still checking, but so far everything seems to work. This is really fast and fantastic customer service, thanks a lot!

Best,
Sascha
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby sascha » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:52 pm

Dear James,

after some checking, it seems like:

1. Sending CC goes perfectly from 0 to 127 now, thanks!

2. Also, Duo MIDI LFO works perfectly.

3. Combination of Program Changes and CC effect enable controls is changed, but still buggy. It seems like the Voluum REMEBERS the previous enable/disable configuration even after a program change. Example:
- My preset P01 is Volume pedal only. P01 is Volume pedal plus LFO. P06 is only Gate + Compressor, nothing esle.
- ES-5 patch 251 sends PC=P01 to the Voluum (and no CCs), patch 252 sends PC-P02.
- When I power up the Voluum, in will come up with the previously selected preset in the correct configuration.
- Now, as soon as I send a PC (by either selecting ES-5 patch 251 or 252), it will call the appropriate Voluum presets, but with all effects deactivated.
- Once I send a CC to activate a certain section (Volume or LFO), it will stay constantly on, even after sending program changes P01/P02 to Voluum.
- However, changing Presets with the up/down buttons on the Voluum (or in the Editor) will result in the correct behaviour: P01 will have only Volume enabled, P02 will have Volume and LFO enabled, no matter what sections were active previously.
- Now, after sending PC=01, I manually select P06 with the Voluum up/down buttons. As expected, it will have only Gate + Comp enabled, just as saved. But when I then send CC="activate LFO", it will not only enable LFO, but also enable Volume and disable both Gate and Comp. That is, it will revert to the configuration I had before manually selecting P06, plus add the LFO I just activated via CC.

4. As you posted, in edit mode, a long press of the footswitch now does nothing (thus not makes you lose your edits). Of course, my preferred behaviour would be: I can still tune in edit mode, but without losing my edits :-)

Best wishes
Sascha
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby james » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:55 am

Sascha,

Thank you for checking and confirming what has been fixed. Keeping the tuner enabled while a preset is being edited is not simple, so I though it was best to avoid this just now to avoid possible bugs.

Your description for (3) has lots of detail which is great. I will investigate and see what I can find.
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Re: New Board ft. Voluum ... praise, bugs and questions

Postby canbaz » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:36 pm

Hi James,

james wrote:Now long-press on the footswitch while in edit mode will not take you out of edit mode, and thus not loose your changes.


I did not like this change, sorry :(. Entering to preset selection mode or tuner mode needed a long press on the foot switch, which was hard to do by accident. Thus this was already foolproof. There was no need to remove this function. Now I cannot enter to preset selection mode if the preset is edited. First I need to cancel the edits by bending over and long pressing on the Save button by hand and then I can long press on the foot switch.

As Sascha explained later, he was asking for keeping the edits while the Tuner is activated, instead of removing this function completely. Also he was giving an example in contrast to PC messages.
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