Studio One 3 Configuration for Amplitube Pedal Board Control

As I post about Studio one here or there, and use Amplitube quite heavily, I have gotten quite a few requests in regards to setting up Studio One with an external device to control the Plug-In. My most recent request was in a blog comment so I’ve decided to just create a post covering the bare minimum basics. The following example uses the latest version of Studio One (3), Amplitube 3, a Roland GR-55 guitar synth controller, and a MOTO Express interface. That said, the fundamentals will apply to any hardware as long as you have input/output capability within Studio One. So let’s dive in.

Step 1: Configure your Device



Launch into Studio One then navigate to the configure external devices. Here we will setup the GR-55/Controller to route from the MIDI interface into the Studio One environment.


The Options window will launch with External Devices selected. Click the Add button.


This is what throws most people. Studio One is a little different (at least in my experience) with past DAWs in that they make a clear distinction between devices in the form of Keyboards, Instruments, and Control Surfaces. While I’ve never really delved into the actual functional characteristics of these classifications, to me they are all still just MIDI based devices. In a nutshell, Studio One assumes Keyboards are for input … so a MIDI controller can fall under this category. Instruments are outboard gear, and control surfaces appear to be more for transport/mixer control. If your current device is in the list of manufacturer folders, select it. Otherwise select to Add a new keyboard then Enter the Man/Model and device name. In the lower panel select the MIDI input port where the device is connected then click OK.


This is the view of a device that was previously added. Note how the devices are grouped by manufacturer. Now close out of the Options/External Devices dialog.

Step 2: Setting Up Your Tracks

Things become very simple now.



Create an audio track for the guitar input then add AmpliTube to the insert route for the audio channel.


Now add an instrument track (this is the key part) and select the GR-55 input device we created. Next for Output you will want to select “Existing Instrument” followed by selecting the AmpliTube VST instance followed by the operating/intended channel for control. Click OK.


Now you can see both your audio channel, and the controller channel active in the interface. Within the controller channel you will note that the link to Amplitube3 and channel are visible.

Step 3: Map MIDI controllers to Amplitube

Launch into the Amplitube3 instance then drop a pedal on the floor. In this example I’ll use the staple Wah 46.


Right mouse click the element within the interface (switch, knob, pedal) and select Assign Midi -> Learn […]


The plug in is now awaiting input. Simply touch your external controller pedal and the dialog will close followed by the pedal responding to your external controller. Close the running Amplitube instance.

Step 4: Have Fun

That’s it! The only thing to point out is the record/monitor options in Studio One. You have two options here. You can either …


Leave both tracks Armed for record where the MIDI data will be laid down alongside the audio track (along with options for later editing). Or…


You can simply leave the controller in monitor mode while recording audio. This will allow you to go back and “draw” the control curves manually. Sometimes I have a very specific series of things I wish to accomplish that just aren’t practical with only two feet … this is an example of when I will just lay down the track then add the control data after the fact.

That’s it. Go forth and create.

MIDI Pedalboard Pedal Design

In response to a recent comment I have provided the following layout for my pedal design for anyone interested.

I’m cheating on the pedal a bit and have no forward stop other than the actual potentiometer throw distance so there is the chance I could really do damage if I laid into a pedal. I had planned on adding stops at some point but just left it as is for now.

Dimensions and basic stats for the pedals.
Dimensions and basic stats for the pedals.

Here are some stats on the pedal layout


  • Length: 11 5/8 inches
  • Width: 3 1/2 inches
  • Pivot Point: 3 3/4 inches from the heel of the pedal.

Rack/Gear Position

  • The pin that holds the rack gear to the underside of the pedal is exactly 3 1/2 inches back from the toe.
  • As far as placement of the mating gear to the potentiometer I basically placed it to meet the rack when the pedal was parallel with the deck. On my design this means the center point of the potentiometer is 1 1/4 inches from the underside of the pedal

Pedal throw

  • Back of pedal will rest on the deck in toe up position where the underside edge of the top is 2 1/8 inches above the deck
  • In the toe down position the underside edge of the top stops at about 3/8 of an inch above the deck. A simple rubber footer would probably be an effective stop there.

Once you have everything assembled I would recommend sending the midi signal out to something like MIDIOX and testing the throw to find the zero point in the heel position.

Constellation – MIDI Pedalboard Extension

One more quick post for the day. Awhile back I posted about a secondary pedalboard I had been working on. I completed it a few weeks ago and have been working out some kinks. Here’s a shot of ‘Constellation’ sitting in front of my original ‘BigFoot’ pedalboard. I’ll have a post about the construction and wiring of Constellation in the next few weeks and hopefully some audio samples showing off just exactly why I need all those blasted buttons.

MIDI Pedalboard Mechanical Upgrade

This is just a quick post today… lots of things going on. Awhile back I finally got around to upgrading one mechanical aspect of my MIDI pedalboard. Originally I had used a piece of flat aluminum and a wire grommet to obtain a friction/pressure point against the back of the pedal gear rail. This was the original design…

The overall problem with this design was that it was either spot on perfect where it needed to be, or off a little and caused the pedal to drift. Under the weight of the pedal when flipped upright I would find that the gear would continue to rotate. In other words, the friction point where the wire grommet met the back of the gear rack wasn’t firmly mounted and couldn’t be adjusted. So after a few long walks through the local hardware store I came up with this little gem:

The new design is much better. What I’ve done here is mounted a 90 degree steel plate on the board then mounted the wire grommet against a screw with a lock nut. Then the screw is mounted to the steel plate with a set of lock nuts. With this design I was able to adjust the pressure of the wire grommet against the rack simply by altering the back lock nuts to reposition the screw. The pedals now stay in a fixed position when I lift my foot.

LAN Based MIDI Solution

Recently I was considering purchasing a USB powered MIDI interface for my development/composition laptop. The idea here being that I would flop some 30+ foot long cables from the composition desk over to the recording desk and DAW. SoftSynths are ok but they often lack detail in harmonic overtones that will rear their nasty heads when you start pushing performances through a more realistic set of samples. I’ve been working on a few things and just got tired of exporting MusicXML to the DAW for previews. I was looking for real-time.

For whatever reason (probably my reluctance to part with cash) I decided to look and see if anybody had virtualized MIDI over LAN. I remember Steinberg made some early attempts with this type of thing long ago for net jams and MIDI has skirted around a CAT5 type connection so surely somebody just got smart and decided to ‘packetize’ the messages in a client/server app. Yes.. they did.

rtpMIDI is a really great little utility to have in your studio toolbox.

In all fairness, Mac has had this for awhile but I’m still in PC world. It’s rare I find a PC based MIDI utility that actually works… that’s why I’m posting this. In a matter of minutes I was able to setup my DAW as a server and connect to it from the laptop client. Running Finale on the client machine I was generating live MIDI over the network to my Midex8 hooked up to a Yamaha P-60. The best part? The laptop was on a wireless connection so I can freely pop into the next room to sit on the couch and still listen to performances or even edit without having to switch back to localized SoftSynth sounds or go back in the studio.

Pedalboard Kick Test

I was asked if there were any videos of the pedalboard in use. At the moment all I have is this older video of me noodling around with the system. The sound is from a room mic on the camera so it’s not the best quality but the video shows interaction between the board and DAW/VST.

Life, Projects, and Randomized Music

Since I finished up the initial pedalboard design my world has flipped, flopped, and spun in too many directions to count. A few short weeks ago my wife and I discovered we have a little one on the way. So all immediate plans to start recording have been put on hold while I prepare the house for this exciting little addition. One nice side benefit to this is that I get to move the studio (again). I always meet this task with a certain level of excitement and dread. It’s great to have a new space, but that always brings weeks of tweaks and room arranging. Hopefully this will be the last move for awhile.

On the project front I’ve started plans for two new boards which will augment my guitar rig. I don’t want to get into the details of one because it is just a little too awesome and ear-popping to give away in words alone… so more to come there. The second of these new boards is pretty simple. I’ve been playing around with Mobius and live looping with Albeton Lite. It’s quite a different animal than studio recording but I’m having some fun so far. I’ll be building a special controller for Mobius based on what feels right once I get more familiar with the system.

Now on to Conjure… my other pet project. I’ve briefly talked about this with a few people on Facebook but the Conjure project is a music composition system I’ve been working on since about Feb of 2010 but is finally getting close to a useful beta. It’s a rather complicated long-term development project but essentially Conjure is a preference engine for producing MusicXML scores. The idea is that given enough information about music theory with a combination of personal music preferences the system can create root song structures. The intent here isn’t to create complete scores as much as serving as a virtual muse. Going through the system has given me a great opportunity to relearn alot of music theory knowledge that’s been lost over the years. At this point Conjure has awareness of about 85 scales and some 60 odd chord structures and how they relate to all the standard western music keys. There is a title generation system, ensemble assembly function, GM MIDI database, drumkit constructor… and hordes of other tables cobbled together for one reason or another. Development has primary settled in with ColdFusion as the web services provider and a mix of XSL/XML/DHTML and possibly Flex for an alternative interface. The past two weeks have been consumed with providing Conjure information about song structures while I’ve just recently started refining the music key/scale selection criteria to introduce harmony and chord progressions (which will then be coupled with the structures.)

Here is an early twiddling from Conjure months ago when it was locked down to a single key but allowed to roam freely among orchestra instruments from IK Multimedia’s Miroslav Philharmonik VST plug in.