Idiot's Guide To The FCB1010

Overview

The FCB1010 is a MIDI controller pedal.  It is used to control other MIDI gear like guitar modelers, MIDI capable guitar amps, rack mounted effects units and synthesizers.  The most common use is to change sound presets in another piece of MIDI music gear.

The FCB1010 has 10 number buttons, two expressions pedals and some other controls and options.  A common use is to press a numbered button the FCB1010 and have your guitar modeler change to another sound preset (sometimes referred to as a patch).  Button 1 might be a clean guitar sound and button 2 overdrive/distortion.  Common examples of guitar modelers used with the FCB1010 are Line 6 POD gear and Behringer V-Amp units.  If your gear is MIDI capable, the FCB1010 can probably control it.

When you press a button the FCB1010, it sends one or more MIDI commands to your connected MIDI gear.  The most common and useful command is a Program Change command, generally referred to as a PC command.  PC commands are used in MIDI gear to change the current preset/patch.  When the FCB1010 sends a PC command, your MIDI gear will receive it and change to the preset selected by the command.  The process is very fast, so you will not lose any measurable time in the change.

To make the FCB1010 work with your gear, you will need to do a few things.

You can program your FCB1010 in one of two ways.  The most basic is to use the FCB1010 buttons to program it's MIDI features.  This is sometimes referred to as the "Riverdance", as it takes a number of button presses to program a single function.

The other programming option is to use a software editor.  There are editors for both Windows based PCs, as well as Mac based versions.  To use a software editor, you will generally need the following:

It will also take some patience, as some trial and error is to be expected before you get your gear working like you want.  The software editor is the quickest way to get all going and allows a simple approach for backup and restore should other things fail.

First Steps

The brain inside your FCB1010 is a small firmware chip.  Many versions of firmware chips have been made by Behringer.  Chip version much earlier than the 2.3 series have enough bugs and problems that you should consider getting a firmware upgrade.  See here to find out what version you have, whether you might need to upgrade. and how this is done.

Assuming your firmware is OK, you will need to calibrate your two expression pedals.  Many FCB1010 units ship with expression pedals that do not work correctly.  The calibration process will fix this, and only takes a few minutes.  See here for a step-by-step outline of this process.

The steps below outline the process for programming a preset for the FCB1010 to control a preset/patch on a single piece of MIDI gear.  The process for dealing with more MIDI gear is similar and will be covered later.

Set the MIDI Channels

The MIDI channel on your FCB1010 must match the MIDI channel used on your other MIDI gear.  If they are not the same,  MIDI commands sent buy the FCB1010 will just be ignored by your MIDI gear.  Try MIDI channel 1 on both for a start.

To set the MIDI channel on your FCB1010, do the following:

  1. If FCB1010 is turned on, turn it off
  2. Press and hold the Down button while you turn on the FCB1010.  Keep holding it down for about 5 seconds. When you see the small green light come on, release the button
  3. Press the UP button once.  The green light will have changed to the MIDI Function selection.
  4. Press the 1 button.  The 1 button LED and green light will begin to blink.  The display will change to show you the current MIDI channel for PC command.
  5. Press the UP button once.  The green light will move to MIDI Chann and the display digit will begin to blink.
  6. Press the 0 button and then the 1 button.  This will change it to MIDI channel 1.  The display should now show 01.
  7. Press the UP button once.  The green light will move to the MIDI Config selection.
  8. Now press and hold the Down button for about 5 seconds.  The display will change to 00.

You have now programmed the FCB for the first PC command to MIDI channel 1.  To set a different channel, the steps are basically the same except you enter a different number in the sixth step above.

Program a Preset

Now lets program the 1 button to select preset 23 on your MIDI gear.

  1. Press the 1 button.
  2. Press and hold the Down button on the FCB1010 for about 5 seconds.  This puts the FCB1010 in programming mode for preset 1.
  3. Press the UP button once.
  4. Usually one or more buttons will now have their LEDs on.  The green light will be at select.
  5. If the 1 LED is not on, press and hold the 1 button until the LED comes on.
  6. Press the 1 button again, and it should begin to blink.
  7. Press the UP button once.  The display should begin to brink showing the current PC command.
  8. Press the 2 button.  Press the 3 button.
  9. Press the UP button once.
  10. Now press and hold the Down button for about 5 seconds.

You have now programmed the 1 button to send a PC command of 23 on MIDI channel 1 to your MIDI gear.  

You can program the other buttons in a similar fashion.  Select the desired button in step 1 above.  You can change to a different preset for your MIDI gear in step 8.

Set Expression Pedal A for Volume

Volume control is the most common use for Expression pedals.  MIDI volume is handled via MIDI Change Controller (CC) commands.  When you press the expression pedal, a CC command is sent based on how far down the pedal is pressed.  Each CC MIDI command includes two parts. The first is the CC that is being changed and the second the value it is being changed to.

MIDI volume is standardized as CC#7.  This is what most MIDI gear supports, but check your documentation to be sure.

  1. Press the 1 button.
  2. Press and hold the Down button on the FCB1010 for about 5 seconds.  This puts the FCB1010 in programming mode for preset 1.
  3. Press the UP button once.
  4. Usually one or more buttons will now have their LEDs on.  The green light will be at select.
  5. If the 8 LED is not on, press and hold the 8 button until the LED comes on.
  6. Press the 8 button again, and it should begin to blink.
  7. Press the UP button once.  The display should begin to brink showing the current CC command for expression pedal A.
  8. Press the 0 button.  Press the 7 button.
  9. Press the UP button once.
  10. Press the 0 button twice (which sets the minimum volume to zero)
  11. Press the UP button once.
  12. Press the 1 button.  press the 2 button.  Press the 7 button.  This sets the max volume to 127, which is generally what you want.
  13. Press the UP button once.
  14. Now press and hold the Down button for about 5 seconds.

You will also need to set the MIDI channel for Expression A to the same channel you selected above.

  1. If FCB1010 is turned on, turn it off
  2. Press and hold the Down button while you turn on the FCB1010.  Keep holding it down for about 5 seconds. When you see the small green light come on, release the button
  3. Press the UP button once.  The green light will have changed to the MIDI Function selection.
  4. Press the 8 button.  The 8 button LED and green light will begin to blink.  The display will change to show you the current MIDI channel for expression pedal A
  5. Press the UP button once.  The green light will move to MIDI Chann and the display digit will begin to blink.
  6. Press the 0 button and then the 1 button.  This will change it to MIDI channel 1.  The display should now show 01.
  7. Press the UP button once.  The green light will move to the MIDI Config selection.
  8. Now press and hold the Down button for about 5 seconds.  The display will change to 00.

You have now programmed the FCB1010 to use Expression Pedal A for volume control.  The process for expression pedal B is similar expect you will be using the 9 button in steps 5 and 8 and step 4.

Common Problems

Do did all the above and it still does not work.  The most common problems are:

 

More Advanced Steps

The FCB1010 is a fairly capable device.  It has 10 banks of 10 presets each, for a total of 100 presets.  Each preset can send up to five separate PC commands on five separate MIDI channels.  This means you could control 5 separate MIDI devices with each preset.  

It also includes switch functions that allow your FCB1010 presets to also control non MIDI gear (like the channels on your guitar amp) that can be controlled by 1/4" sorting jacks.  This would allow you to have one FCB1010 preset set your amp for the clean channel and another preset the distorting/overdrive channel.

The FCB1010 can also send up to two CC commands for each preset (these are separate from the expression pedal commands).  This can be very useful to turn specific effects on/off within your MIDI gear.  For example, Behringer V-Amp users might want button 6 to turn the distortion on/off for each preset.

 


            Click here to return to the main FAQ page

            Click here to return to the Yahoo FCB1010 Forum.  

            Click here to go directly to the Files section of the Yahoo FCB1010 Forum.