This is a lesson based around use of the popular Behringer FCB1010 MIDI foot controller surface for hand-free control of the freely available and very capable, Mobius looping software from Jeffrey Larson at Circular Labs.
The Behringer FCB1010 Foot Controller has 100 memory positions to store MIDI controller data for up to 5 separate MIDI devices, and provides a versatile way of sending MIDI signals (via an interface) to any computer software capable of receiving such. It also provides switch functionality in order to control multi-effects and amplifier channels. This lesson will concentrate on is MIDI functions.
Programming can be carried out in two ways, either via free software such as the ‘PC Editor for FCB1010’ (catchy name!), available here (Mac owners go here for iFCB commercial editor) or manually, which is the method I will be covering in this lesson.
The Mobius programmable looper is software for the real-time creation and manipulation of audio loops. It was inspired by hardware loopers of the past such as the Gibson Echoplex. You can think of Mobius as eight synchronized stereo loopers that can be used in any combination with extensive MIDI and computer keyboard control.
Mobius is available to use standalone, or as a VST plugin for your DAW. I will be covering standalone use in this lesson, but I am already experimenting with the VST version inside Ableton Live, which will form the basis of a future lesson.
Mac/Windows versions of Mobius are available for free download.
You will also need some sort of ASIO supported Audio interface or soundcard. Without ASIO drivers, you will find that Mobius (or any audio recording software for that matter) will be extremely hard to use due to excessive latency (or lag) issues when processing audio.
And finally a MIDI interface. I use the M-Audio Fast Track Pro for integrated low-latency audio and MIDI connectivity in one box.
Programming the FCB1010
The FCB1010 is capable of transmitting numerous different kinds of MIDI data such as Program and Control changes. But for use with Mobius, it must transmit MIDI NOTE On/Off information. To program the controller in this way, do the following:
- Select the preset (1-10) you wish to edit with the UP and DOWN pedals (I use Preset 1).
- Then keep DOWN pressed for a few seconds. The device will now enter PRESET programming mode. The green SWITCH1/SWITCH2 LED in the display will flash.
- Press UP/ENTER. The SELECT LED in the display will light up.
- Press footswitch 10, keeping it pressed for a few seconds. This will activate the NOTE function. Then, press footswitch 10 quickly once more. The footswitch LED will flash.
- Confirm your selection by pressing UP/ENTER. The NUMBER LED will light up.
- Press the number footswitch 1-10 (or move the expression pedal) to which you wish to assign this MIDI NOTE.
- Confirm your selection by pressing UP/ENTER or cancel by pressing DOWN/ESCAPE. The SELECT LED in the display will light up.
- To assign other numbered footswitches to MIDI NOTES, just follow steps 4-7 for each one.
- When finished editing, exit PRESET programming mode by keeping DOWN/ESCAPE pressed for a few seconds.
- You’re done! :-)
Now although that may seem complex, once you have done it a few times it will feel much more natural to you. Promise!
Setting up Mobius
Once you’ve downloaded and installed your particular flavor of Mobius, you will need to set up your audio and midi devices. I am using a Macintosh computer, but the Mobius interface is the same if you are using Windows.
Also, before setting up your audio and MIDI devices in Mobius, make sure that you have correctly configured your audio devices in your operating system Sound control panel and have all the correct drivers installed.
NOTE: While writing this lesson, I have discovered that by installing the Jack Audio Routing software and choosing this as my default Audio In/Out I can get lower latency on my Mac G4. I use Jack OSX available here. This lesson doesn’t include instructions on setting up Jack as you may not need it in your setup.
Assuming that is done, you can go ahead and set up Mobius. This video assumes you have read all of the above!
For reference, here are my current pedal assignments although I do experiment and change things around occasionally:
So, enjoy! Experiment! Loop and be merry. Peace.