This article describes how to configure a Morningstar Engineering MC8 MIDI controller to send program changes to a Red Panda Tensor. It also applies to other Morningstar controllers and all Red Panda pedals with TRS MIDI (Particle, Context, Bitmap, Raster). We have presets for the Tensor on our downloads page.
Program change messages tell the MIDI device to change programs, or presets. MIDI supports 128 program changes per bank per channel. Our pedals support a single bank. The Tensor supports 31 programs and our other MIDI-capable pedals support 128 (127 stored settings plus live).
Note that MIDI program changes are numbered 0-127 or 1-128, depending on the device or editor. If your controller seems to be "off by one," you may need to add/subtract one as you are setting up.
In addition to the pedal, MIDI controller, and power supply, you will need:
- A Mac or PC with the Google Chrome web browser installed.
- A USB Mini B cable to connect the pedal to your computer.
- A USB B cable to connect the MIDI controller to your computer.
- A TRS to TRS (stereo) cable to connect the MIDI controller to your pedal.
1. Connect your device to the editor
Connect your pedal to a Mac or PC using a USB Mini B cable and use Google Chrome to access the web editor. (Note: you can also use the Tensor TouchOSC layout to configure your pedal.)
It should say Status: Connected at the top of the editor. If not, check the connections and click the Refresh button.
It is a good idea to verify your pedal is running the latest firmware. The firmware version is listed on the Config tab of the editor. You can compare it to the latest firmware version available on our web site.
2. Configure your pedal for TRS MIDI
On the Ctrl Port tab of the editor, set CTRL Port Mode to MIDI In (TRS).
Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Save button. The right LED will blink green.
2. Set your pedal's MIDI channel
Each MIDI device should be assigned to a unique MIDI channel (1-16). The MIDI controller uses the MIDI channel to address program change and continuous controller messages to a specific device.
On the Config tab of the editor, set the MIDI Channel for the pedal. Here, we select Channel 5.
The change will be remembered when power is turned off.
4. Save some presets
Before configuring the MIDI controller, it is helpful to create some presets and save them on the pedal. If you do not have any presets yet, create a few with very different sounds to make it easier to verify that everything is working. For example, set BLEND to 100% and save five presets with the PITCH at different settings. If you are setting things up without your instrument nearby, you can create presets with the Tensor's TIME knob below, at, and above noon so that the LED changes colors.
To save a preset, click the one of the red preset buttons on the Save sub-tab of the Preset tab of the editor.
5. Configure the Morningstar MC8 TRS MIDI Out
If you have an MC6 or prefer to use the 5-pin DIN MIDI OUT, skip this step.
Connect the MIDI controller to your computer using a USB B cable and use Google Chrome to access the Morningstar Device Editor.
First, click Select device to connect and select your controller.
Select the Controller Settings tab, then expand Configure Omniports.
Set the port(s) that you will connect your pedal to MIDI Out - Tip Active. Here, we are connecting to Expression Port 1.
Click Save Settings (Requires Restart).
Restart the controller.
6. Connect your MC8 to your pedal
Connect the MIDI controller port you configured in step 5 to the pedal's CTRL port using a TRS to TRS (stereo) patch cable. The MC8 uses a 1/4" TRS to 1/4" TRS cable. The MC3 uses a 3.5mm to 1/4" TRS cable.
If you have an MC6 or are using the 5-pin DIN MIDI OUT, connect the MIDI controller to your pedal using a TRS MIDI adapter, such as the Strymon MIDI EXP cable, Conduit, or Disaster Area MIDI Box 4.
7. Configure your MC8 to send program changes
These steps are the same on all Morningstar controllers.
The Morningstar MIDI controllers are very flexible. We are going to configure button A to scroll through the Tensor's presets, but there are many other possibilities. For example, you can have separate up and down buttons, or jump to a specific preset. Refer to the Morningstar Engineering documentation to find a configuration that works best for you.
When you press a button on the MIDI controller, the editor will update to show how the button is configured. Here, Preset A is empty.
Presets can send multiple messages based on different actions. We are going to use Msg 1.
- Set Action to Press, so the program change message is sent when the button is pressed.
- Set Type to PC Number Scroll.
- Set Scroll Type to Increase and send. This will select the next preset each time you push the button.
- Set Counter to 0 --> Counter 0. You can configure up to 16 separate increment/decrement counters.
- Set MIDI Channel to 5. This should match what the pedal was set to in Step 2.
- Set Wrap-around to Yes. This will wrap around to preset 0 after we reach the maximum.
We will label the button "PRESET %E0", which will be show the current preset number on the MC8's display. "%E0" is a placeholder that will be replaced by the counter 0 value. Since we are not using toggle mode, the Short Name and Toggle Name can be the same.
Click Save Preset to save the preset to the controller.
It will work now, but the button will scroll through presets 1 to 127. The Tensor has 31 presets, so we can limit the range of Counter 0 to match. Our other USB-capable pedals have 127 presets, but you still might want to limit the range to avoid endless scrolling.
In the Morningstar Device Editor, go to the Controller Settings tab and expand the Scroll Counters section. We are using 0: Counter 0, so set the range from 0 to 31:
- Set Start Value to 31, so the first time you press the footswitch it will wrap around to 0.
- Set Min to 0.
- Set Max to 31.
Click the Save Settings button.
Your controller and pedal are now ready to use.
- Verify that you clicked Save after changing the CTRL Port Mode and that the LED blinked green. If Save is not clicked, the CTRL port configuration will be changed temporarily, but will be reset when the pedal is turned off.
- If the LED blinks red (not green) when you click Save, refresh the editor and see if an error code is displayed on the Config tab. If there is an error code, contact us including the firmware version and full error code (copy/paste the text or screen shot).
- Power cycle the pedal, reload the web editor, and confirm that the CTRL Port Mode and MIDI Channel are still set to the desired values.
- Contact us if you are still experiencing problems.