Programming FCB1010 UNO Chip Stomp Boxes for BIAS FX

I really like BIAS FX for headphone playing. It has some limitations and idiosyncrasies but the sound is excellent and the pricing is pretty competitive for what you get.

I decided I would like to control BIAS using a footswitch so I bought a Behringer FCB1010. This worked OK for the expression pedals and I could configure the toggles but the LEDs did not match the toggle state. So I upgraded the FCB1010 with the UNO “unofficial” firmware in order to get its stompbox mode.

Unfortunately people aren’t kidding when they say this is really really obfuscated to configure.

My goal is to configure stomp boxes to work with BIAS FX’s midi learn (which they do not do by default). In this case we need to program a CC to send for each stompbox and pedal and the patch selects are more or less irrelevant.

Global Configuration

I’m assuming the UNO is installed and the memory is initialised. You need to do this in order to enable stompbox.

  • hold “down” while turning on the box

  • turn on LED “9” (this is stompbox mode)

  • turn on LED “8” if you want the stompboxes to be on the upper row. I do not and will assume you keep them on the lower row too, it is relevant in some parts.

  • you might need to turn on LED “5” (disable repeating PCs, I didn’t but I’m using CCs not PCs so I don’t think it applies.)

  • everything else should be turned off by default

  • hold “down” to save and exit (we’re skipping a bunch of screens but that’s fine)

Patch Configuration

To configure stomp box 1.

Configure Patch Stompbox Resets

  • hold down stomp box 1 and the “down” button. It does not seem to matter if you have a patch selected or not but this might just be a display thing.
  • the lights enabled on this screen will tell you which stompboxes will be set/reset/left alone when you switch to the patch. If you set the upper row to be stompboxes then this will be buttons 6-10; otherwise 1-5.

  • hold down each stompbox button to set them to be unchanged.

  • select “up” to move to the next screen

There’s a bunch more stuff you can do here like change the CC of the pedals depending on your stomp and possibly use the set/reset behaviour to make patches out of your stomboxes. You’ll need to experiment with these settings. I haven’t worked out what it does in BIAS yet. I suspect it will not work well as BIAS does not seem to respond to on/off toggles with usually is implemented with with same CC but a 0 or 127 velocity. BIAS appears to merely change toggle state every time a CC arrives, a bit of a shame since the UI does have separate switches for on and off.

Configure Toggle Mode

  • toggle switch “8” on (toggle mode for CC1)
  • toggle switch “9” off (toggle mode for CC2)

  • toggle switch “10” on if you want a momentary switch; off if you want a stompbox.

  • press “up” to continue to the next screen

The toggle modes mean that the switch will send a primary and secondary values separately when enabled. It probably won’t matter for BIAS.

A momentary switch is something that will only stay on while you are holding it down. For some reason this was enabled for all switches by default. There is a way of turning this off globally.

Configure the Stomp Box Value

This should be pretty familiar if you’ve already used the FCB1010 with the standard firmware.

  • everything should be off except “6” which means “CC1”. Hold down switches to disable them. This says what messages will be sent. There is a pre-defined order for sending messages which is in the manual somewhere.
  • press button “6”, it will flash

  • press “up” to configure the controller number

  • use the footswitches or expression pedals to set whatever value you like (I set it to 26)

  • press “up” to configure the primary velocity

  • set it to “127”

  • press “up” to configure the secondary velocity

  • set it to “0”

  • hold “down” to save the changes

Again BIAS does not appear care about the velocities but the way I’ve done this you do need to set them so you may as well set them the standard way. Because of this you will need to manually drag the FXes into the right places to make sure the state matches the LEDs. This is the most messy limitation with this system and means we can’t really be equivalent with a real stomp box.

Conclusions

It may be that my programming can be optimised somewhat. I think the “set/reset” functionality could be promising if only BIAS had a dedicated on/off sensor.

The stomp box (or patches) should be able to be used to change the values of the expression pedals which would make it possible to have a contextual expression pedal for even more flexibility. To be honest single expression pedals are very cheap so perhaps this is overkill.

It would be nice to have some more tactile controls just to change FX plugin values but you still run into the problem where the controls are not in the right state to start with unless there is two way communication between these devices.

It’s sort of annoying that the stompbox signals can’t (as far as I know) be different on a different bank because you’re limited to a mere 5 pedals now.

After all this I would recommend that UNO’s companion editor app is used since everything I’ve done here should be perfectly easy to change using that. Only reason I didn’t use is is that there is a delay in obtaining a license key and I am impatient.

Resources

User guide: http://www.fcb1010.eu/downloads/FCB_UnO_v1_0_4_UserGuide.pdf

Demo of the same process for a G Major 2 (with less explanation about what the stages mean): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0Lp_JuOD1k

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Programming FCB1010 UNO Chip Stomp Boxes for BIAS FX

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