Posts Tagged ‘timeline’

Using MIDI to Control Your Strymon Pedals – Part 1

Posted by Hugo

TimeLine MIDIIf you have a Timeline, BigSky, or Mobius, you will notice that there are MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports on the back of your pedal.  These can be used to control the pedals from an external MIDI controller that is programmed to send MIDI messages that can change presets and control parameters on the pedal from the controller.

What is MIDI (briefly)?

If you are not familiar with MIDI, it is a communication language that is used for MIDI equipped hardware to talk to each other.  This allows one device to send a MIDI message to another device as a digital signal to pass along real time musical information.  There are several different types of MIDI messages that can be sent on up to 16 MIDI Channels.  These messages are sent via the MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports on compatible devices.  It is important to also remember that MIDI does NOT transmit audio; only digital MIDI messages.  Today we will focus on MIDI Program Change to recall and change presets on the pedal.

MIDI Connections

MIDI messages are usually sent across MIDI cables that connect to the MIDI IN and MIDI OUT ports of MIDI compatible devices.  Most devices, like our pedals, utilize a 5-pin MIDI cable, but there are some 7-pin MIDI connections and some devices can communicate with MIDI over USB and other connections.

It is normal practice to connect a cable from the MIDI OUT port of a device like a MIDI controller to the MIDI IN port of the receiving device like one of our pedals. 

MIDI cable plugged into Strymon pedal and MIDI controller

There are also some devices and MIDI interfaces that will tell you where to connect the cables with text on the ends that may say TO MIDI IN or TO MIDI OUT.  Just be sure to check the MIDI device or its documentation for the correct connection setup.

If you would like to control two or more Strymon pedals with a MIDI connection, you can start by connecting the MIDI OUT from the MIDI Controller to the MIDI IN port of the first Strymon pedal.  Then, connect the MIDI OUT from that first Strymon pedal to the MIDI IN of the next Strymon pedal and do the same for any additional MIDI equipped pedals you would like to control.

Connecting multiple Strymon pedals together via MIDI

Now, in order for the MIDI messages from the controller to be passed on to each device in the MIDI chain, you must enable MIDI Through on each pedal before the last device in the MIDI chain.  On the Strymon pedals, this is found in the GLOBLS menu in the MIDI TH parameter.  Set MIDI TH to ON and this will enable MIDI Through on the pedal.

Set MIDI Through on TimeLine, BigSky, Mobius

MIDI and TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius

With TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius, MIDI can be used to control the presets and parameters of the pedal externally from a MIDI Controller or from another MIDI equipped Strymon pedal.  You would just need to make sure that the MIDI controller and the Strymon pedals are set to communicate on the same MIDI Channel.  MIDI Channel 1 is set as the default MIDI Channel on the Strymon pedals.  To change the MIDI Channel, go into the pedal’s GLOBLS menu by pressing and  holding the VALUE encoder button down for a few seconds.  Then, turn the VALUE encoder to the MIDI CH parameter and press VALUE once again.  Here you can select the MIDI Channel you would like to use to control the pedal through.  Once selected, you can exit this menu by pressing the VALUE encoder, then, the TYPE encoder buttons.

Set MIDI Channel on TimeLine, BigSky, Mobius

MIDI Program Change

MIDI Program Change by itself can provide access for up to 128 different presets by sending MIDI Program Change numbers 0-127.  This will correspond to the first 128 presets on TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius.  The presets on these pedals all correspond to MIDI Program Change messages.  For example, on TimeLine and Mobius pedals:

  • Preset 00A = MIDI Program Change #0
  • Preset 00B = MIDI Program Change #1
  • Preset 01A = MIDI Program Change #2
  • Preset 01B = MIDI Program Change #3
  • etc…

On BigSky, each Bank has 3 presets (A, B, and C) instead of 2 (A and B) like TimeLine and BigSky.  Here is how the presets on BigSky correspond to MIDI Program Change messages:

  • Preset 00A = MIDI Program Change #0
  • Preset 00B = MIDI Program Change #1
  • Preset 00C = MIDI Program Change #2
  • Preset 01A = MIDI Program Change #3
  • etc…

As an example, you can program a switch or button on a MIDI controller to send MIDI Program Change #0 to a Strymon pedal and it will recall the first preset (00A) on the pedal.  Keep this in mind when programming the rest of the controls on your MIDI controller so that you can recall the presets that  you like using MIDI messages.  We will cover additional MIDI messages in a future blog post on using MIDI with our pedals.

Have any questions? Post them below! Need some help setting up MIDI with your Strymon rig? Send us an email at and we’ll help you out.

Pedalboard Feature: Matthew Stevens

Posted by Angela

matthewstevens300Jazz guitarist Matthew Stevens  just released his debut album Woodwork, after working on numerous albums with Walter Smith III, Justin Kauflin, and Harvey Mason. Recently, Matthew has been touring with Esperanza Spalding and will be doing several solo shows around the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Learn more about Matthew and his gear below!

What kind of pedalboard is this, and what is your signal path?

This is a Pedaltrain board that has been added on to and customized by Matt Brewster who owns 30th st. Guitars here in New York. My signal path is Guitar > Boss TU2 > Fulltone OCD > Strymon Deco > Boss DD7 > Earthquaker Disaster Transport Jr. > Tech 21 Boost R.V.B > Strymon blueSky > 2 Vox AC 30s W/ Green Back Speakers. I’m very happy with it and have been especially blown away by the tape saturation on the Deco—it’s the most natural sounding and responsive overdrive I’ve ever used.


Can you tell us about your debut album Woodwork?

WoodworkCover300It feels good to share an album that I feel captures the musical world that I am trying to create with such a fantastic group of musicians (Gerald Clayton, Eric Doob, Vicente Archer, and Paulo Stagnaro). I wrote all the material except for a cover we do of a Bowie song called “Sunday” and produced the record as well, so I was in control of each element of the process. I wanted to feature the guitar as the main voice, like the lead singer of the band, and the result is what I feel is the truest recorded representation of my musical voice to date.

You have been involved with numerous albums for many different artists, how different was it to work on your own album?

It was very different. Just the amount of responsibility alone was far greater. When you are working on someone else’s album, your primary responsibility is bringing to life that person’s musical vision, followed by being prepared to play at your best and to use your voice to enhance the overall sound of the music. When recording your own album, not only are you responsible to be playing at your best, but you have to be deeply in touch with what the overall aesthetic is that you are trying to create and to be able to lead everyone else in the right direction towards realizing that sound. And that’s not even getting into the logistics which even with the help and support of a label is still a lot to manage. All that being said, making this record has been the most fulfilling thing that I’ve done in my career thus far.

You currently are on tour with Esperanza Spalding. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?

It’s been a lot of fun! So far we’ve done about 6 shows with this new project and we are heading out for about a total of 6 weeks on the bus this summer in the U.S. Esperanza wrote some amazing music and with the core power trio of guitar, bass, and drums, it really reminds me of a cool mix between Joni Mitchell, Creme, the Police and Esperanza’s own very personal sounding music. It was also a blast to get the chance to work a bit with Tony Visconti, who co-produced the record.

What is hot right now in the Jazz scene? Is there any particular Jazz clubs that need to be put on the must go to list?

Well, my personal favorites are the Village Vanguard, The Jazz Standard and the 55 bar in NYC, The Blue Whale in LA, The Bohemian Caverns in DC, Snug Harbour in New Orleans, Wally’s Jazz Cafe in Boston, The Rex in Toronto, and the Green Mill in Chicago. If you ever have the chance to go to any of those clubs, I wouldn’t miss them!

Do you have a bit of advice for an up and coming Jazz guitarist?

My bit of advice would simply be to practice diligently every day for as long as you can possibly concentrate, and also to listen to a lot of music (jazz and otherwise) and to make a study of it’s history, and vocabulary.

This Week’s Preset – Eli Maiman’s “Shut Up and Dance” and “Different Colors”

Posted by Michael

This Week's Preset - TimeLine Delay
This edition of This Week’s Preset is brought to you by Eli Maiman from Walk the Moon, who shares three different TimeLine presets that can be heard on Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” and “Different Colors.”  A big thanks to Eli for sending in these presets — we know you’ll dig them!


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This Week’s Preset – Joe King’s “Starlight”

Posted by Michael

This Week's Preset - BigSky ReverbRemember a few weeks back, when we asked you to send us your favorite Strymon presets?  Well, we’ve received some amazing submissions – one of which we’re sharing with you today.

This Week’s Preset is extra special – not only is it a customer submission, it includes three different presets!  These presets come from Joe King, who demonstrates how he captures the lead tone from Muse’s “Starlight” during live performances using BigSkyTimeLine, and Mobius.  Check out the video below to hear the preset and learn how Joe dials in this unique sound.

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This Week’s Preset – Kevin Armstrong’s “Passenger” Preset

Posted by Michael

This Week's Preset - TimeLine DelayThere aren’t many professional guitarists who can claim to have worked with as many musical icons as Kevin Armstrong. In a career spanning 35 years he has clocked-up miles with some of the most influential artists of the era as a guitarist, songwriter, producer and musical director.

His credits include the likes of Thomas Dolby, David Bowie, Iggy Pop (with whom Kevin will be touring in June 2015), Morrissey and Sinéad O’Connor  – not to mention his stint playing for the original Jonathon Ross show’s live band where he played with greats such as Tom Jones, Roy Orbison, and Sir Paul McCartney.

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TimeLine / MultiSwitch looping demo videos

Posted by Ethan

TimeLine - Looper Pedal - Live Looping
Our TimeLine delay pedal provides you with twelve different delay machines, each with extensive control over sonic character and feel. Under the hood is a 30-second stereo looper, which can be routed pre- or post-delay—allowing you to record delay to your loop, or saturate your recorded loop in echoey goodness. When in TimeLine’s looper mode, you can access Record/Overdub, Play, and Stop for a fun and effortless looping experience.

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This Week’s Preset – We Want to Hear From You!

Posted by Michael

Over the last few months, we’ve been cooking up new presets for BigSky, TimeLine, and Mobius to share with you on our blog series – This Week’s Preset.  The original idea stemmed from our desire toThis Week's Preset - BigSky Reverb connect with our friends and fans creatively – through new, exciting, often experimental sounds.

However, this time we want to hear from you!  Send us your own preset, whether it’s your go-to favorite, something you’ve been experimenting with, or one you came up with at 3AM during a Netflix binge.  It can be a preset or favorite setting from any Strymon pedal, and you can share it with us however you like – whether it be in our blog comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, or by emailing

Our favorite presets will be selected to appear in upcoming installments of This Week’s Preset!

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Gear Guide: How to Update Your Firmware

Posted by Hugo

With the release of our new MultiSwitch, we have created new firmware for TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius to allow you to access the new features that MultiSwitch offers. The Strymon Preset Librarian software can be used to update the firmware on your TimeLine, BigSky, or Mobius directly within the application.  Below are instructions that illustrate how to update your pedal with the Librarian software.


In order to connect your pedal to the Librarian you must use a robust MIDI to USB interface with developed drivers for your computer’s specific operating system version.  Some MIDI Interfaces that will work with our products are the Roland UM-ONE, Yamaha UX-16, and M-Audio MIDISport Uno.  Make sure to connect the MIDI OUT from your interface to the MIDI IN port of your Strymon pedal and the MIDI IN from the MIDI interface to the MIDI OUT port on your Strymon pedal.


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TimeLine Looper Revisited

Posted by Michael

While I can’t say I possess the looping skills of the guy across the office (State Shirt), I am definitely a fan of looping – whether done live or in the studio.   This week, let’s take a look at some artists who are putting TimeLine’s built-in Looper to good use.

Mikhail Medvedev builds an amazing ambient song using just TimeLine and his guitar.

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(Even) More, More, More

Posted by Angela

Several months ago we featured our first Instagram Video is a Tease blog. At the time I didn’t think I’d be doing another one, but as I continue to watch Instagram videos, I still find myself saying to some of them “more, more, more” when the 15 seconds is up.

Here is a new batch of Instagram videos that just as you close your eyes and start getting into it, the video ends and leaves you yearning for more.

» Click here to read the rest of the article »

This Week’s Preset: TimeLine – “Stranger” from Boy & Bear

Posted by Angela

Remember our Pedalboard Feature a few months back with Killian Gavin, guitarist for Boy & Bear?  This Week’s Preset comes straight from Killiankilliangavin, who shares with us the TimeLine presets he used for Boy & Bear’s song “Stranger.”

TimeLine Preset “Double”

When recording “Stranger,” I used two different settings.

1.) The basic delay sound I used for the song’s guitar tracks was a simple Double Delay, in series to two amps. I often use two delays to give a bit more spread/width in my sound.  Playing live, I’ve found the Dual delay on the TimeLine really handy to achieve this.

Dual – delay time is roughly 540ms. I tap it in live.
Time 2 – 1/2
Repeats – Track
Mix 2 – Track
Highpass – Off
Config – Series
Tap – Qtr

“Double” is the name I gave it.



TimeLine Preset “Synth”

2.) The second setting on this song I created was a synth-like sound. You hear it on the guitar melody line in the chorus. Really cool sound. The only extra thing to note is I used a Strymon Ola Vibrato in front of the TimeLine to add swirl and modulation — fast speed, medium mix.

Ice – 200ms
Interval – Oct.5th
Slice – Medium
Blend – Dead middle of the range | || |
Smear – Fully smeared |||| |||| |||| ||||
Highpass – Off
Tap – Qtr



Below is an audio sample from Boy & Bear’s “Stranger”

Thanks to Killian Gavin from Boy & Bear for sharing This Week’s Preset with us!  Remember to share your own presets with us by either posting them in the “comments” section or posting to Twitter using hashtag #strymonpreset !

This Week’s Preset: TimeLine – “Synthy Triplets”

Posted by Ethan

This Week's Preset - TimeLine DelayDon’t be afraid to make your guitar sound like a synth from time to time! TimeLine‘s Filter machine gives you the ability to create all sorts of interesting and adventurous delay sounds.

For this example, I’m using the Saw LFO to give my guitar a more synth-like feel, and a 3/1 speed to have the LFO play triplets off of my delay time. I’ve left the Grit at zero to keep the sound mostly clean, and employed a bit of slow, mellow modulation to add a bit more dimension.

Listen here:

Preset details:

The image below shows the knob settings and secondary parameters. Dial it up on your TimeLine and give it a shot.

This Week's Preset - TimeLine - Synthy Triplets

Download the preset:

Using the Strymon Librarian? Download the preset and load it into your TimeLine.

What do you think?

Made your own tweaks to this preset? Post them below. Are there other preset types that you’d like to see in upcoming blog posts? Let us know what you think. Thanks!

This Week’s Preset: TimeLine – Crush’d Guitar

Posted by Ethan

This Week's Preset - TimeLine DelayToday we’re going to focus on crushing some bits. Basically making things sound as bad as possible—but in a good way of course. Here’s how to turn TimeLine into a full-fledged bit crusher.

I’m going to bring the sample rate down to 2KhZ (you could go lower if you really want to mangle the sound), and the bit-depth to 10-bits. The Lo-Fi machine allows you to dial the delay time all the way back to 2ms in order to corrupt the sound in real-time. Make sure to set your Mix to full-wet (100%), and in the parameter menu set the Lo-Fi Mix to maximum to only hear the lo-fi signal.

In this example I’ve maxed out the Grit in order to dirty up the sound even more. There you have it—a bit crushed distortion!

Listen here:

Audio clip starts out with TimeLine bypassed. Effect is engaged at 0:03.

Preset details:

Here are the knob settings and secondary parameters. Dial it up and give it a try.

This Week's Preset - TimeLine - Crush'd Guitar

Download the preset:

Are you using the Strymon Librarian? Download the preset and load it up into your TimeLine.

What do you think?

Made your own tweaks to this preset? Post them below. Also be sure to let us know if there are other preset types that you’d like to see in future blog posts. Thanks!

Gear Guide: Backing Up and Restoring Presets on BigSky, Mobius, and TimeLine

Posted by Hugo

BigSky, Mobius, TimeLine - preset librarian

If you have a BigSky, Mobius, or TimeLine, you can save the custom presets you’ve created onto your computer using the Strymon Preset Librarian software.  You can also use our Librarian software to load these and other saved presets for your pedals from your computer to the Strymon pedals. You can download the Mac or PC version of the Strymon Preset Librarian software at the link below:

Strymon Preset Librarian — Download Latest Version


Setting Up Your MIDI Interface

Once you have downloaded and installed the Librarian software, you will need to connect your Strymon pedal to a computer using a dedicated MIDI interface that uses developed drivers for your computer’s specific operating system.  We recommend the Roland UM-ONE and the Yamaha UX-16.

On most MIDI interfaces, the MIDI OUT cable connects to the MIDI IN port on the pedal and the MIDI IN cable connects to the MIDI OUT port.  However, some MIDI interfaces (such as the Roland UM-ONE or the M-Audio MIDI Sport UNO) have arrows or text on the cables to indicate the direction of the data to tell you where to connect the cables to on the pedal.

After you have installed the Strymon Librarian software and connected the pedal to your computer through a MIDI interface, launch the Librarian and click on the SETTINGS menu option to choose your MIDI IN and OUT Ports and run the connection test. The test bar should turn green and display “success” indicating the software does detect your connected MIDI interface.




Backing Up Your Presets with the Librarian Software

The main Librarian screen features both a Device List and a Work List. All changes are made on the Work List side and can be “synced” up to the hardware device using the <=SYNC button between the two list windows.  After you have successfully set up your MIDI interface in the MIDI Settings window, hit the Fetch button to load the presets from your pedal to the Device List and Work List.


Once the Librarian software has finished loading your presets to the Device and Work lists, you can save all of the presets from your pedal to your computer as single .syx file by clicking the Save All button at the top of the Librarian.  A window will popup to specify a location to save the presets to.

TL Backup Location

You can also use Save One button on the right side of the Librarian to save a single preset from your pedal to your computer.  Just highlight a single preset in the Work List, then, click on the Save One button to save that preset to your computer.


Loading Presets to Your Pedal

To load a single preset or bundled preset file to your pedal, click on the Fetch button to load your pedal’s presets to the Device List and Work List if you have not already done so.  (It is important to remember to hit the Fetch button every time you start the Librarian software before managing your presets.)  Hit the Open button to load a preset bundle file (.syx) from your computer to the Work List.

Preset bundle load

Once loaded to the Work List, any presets that are different than what is in the Device List will show as red in the Work List.  To load these changes to the pedal’s memory, press the <=Sync button.  WARNING: Loading a preset backup file will overwrite ALL of the presets on the device’s memory with the presets from the backup file.

You can also load a single preset to the pedal by clicking on a preset you would like to replace in the Work List to highlight it, then, clicking the Load One button to select the new preset to load to the pedal.  The new preset will show as red in the Work List and clicking on the <=Sync button will write this new preset to the pedal’s memory.



If you run into trouble with communicating the Strymon Preset Librarian with your pedal, this is typically due to the MIDI interface being used between the computer and your pedal.

First, make sure to download and install the latest drivers for the MIDI interface from the manufacturer’s website to ensure proper communication with that device.

Also, make sure that your connections are correct:  MIDI IN cable to MIDI OUT port and MIDI OUT cable to MIDI IN port.  In some cases, the MIDI cable ends tell you where to connect them (TO MIDI IN and TO MIDI OUT, for example).


For further details on the Strymon Preset Librarian, please check out the Strymon Preset Librarian Usage Instructions FAQ. And if you have any questions about managing your presets, please feel free to post in the comments below or send us an email at :)


Artists Feature: Ambient Music

Posted by Angela

Ambient music can be anywhere from relaxing to inspiring to mind boggling (in a fun way). While listening to a good ambient song, we can sit back, close our eyes and have the most interesting images fly through our heads. Below is just a small sampling of some of the great artists out there who are teasing our minds with their ambient goodness.

Don’t close your eyes for this one. Hammock stimulates your ears and eyes with their haunting tale “Cold Front” from their album “Departure Songs.”

Mikhail Medvedev doesn’t just have an amazing cat, he has created a beautiful song called “Memories.”

You can learn a lot from Andy – really you can.  His site has video tips to help you if you are just starting to tinker in ambient sounds.  Andy has so many good videos to feature, but we had to go with “Famine and the Death of a Mother” from his new album “This Is For Our Sins,” which captures a sense of isolation and loss.

Jeffrey Niemeir teases 15 seconds of ambient beauty.

This is a perfect one to close your eyes to and let the song take you away. “Gravitáció” by …A Többi Néma Csend is a perfect journey through your mind. Maybe a gallop on the beach or a run through the poppies, On Mountains provides the soundtrack for a gorgeous day.

Want to hear more? Also check out Ivan Ujević, Chords of Orion, and Jon Carolino. If you have any of your own ambient songs or enjoy someone else’s that you’d like to share, please post the link below.

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