Switch Doctor & JP-2C question
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Thread: Switch Doctor & JP-2C question

  1. #1

    Join Date: Nov 2015
    Location: PA, USA

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    Switch Doctor & JP-2C question

    PSA - I just went to the Decibel Eleven website as I finished writing this post and talk about luck - they have a clearance sale running and still have the Switch Doctor available, brand new for $150 shipped in the US. Seems like a no-brainer purchase at that price so I grabbed one.

    I bought my JP-2C used and it was missing the footswitch, so I bought a new one from Mesa and am realizing now that it was probably a waste of money because it lacks a button for either the FX loop or the Shred mode. I know zero about MIDI and after digging around I am finding out that with a MIDI foot switch controller I can do all with it that the OEM footswitch can and much more, like change amp channels and reverb and FX loop and reverb simultaneously.

    I have a few pedals also and see that there's a few products out there with loop switching plus MIDI to control the amp, trying not to spend a ton and the Decibel Eleven Switch Doctor and Boss ES-5 seem like they would fit the bill.

    Am I thinking correctly that the Switch Doctor should be able to do some or most of what the Boss ES-5 can do? My needs are full control of the amp settings that can be MIDI controlled (which unfortunately does not include EQ) and also some control over engaging the handful of pedals I have. Ideally, I'd like to be able to assign one button to set the amp how I want and engage the 1 or 2 effect pedals I want like a delay or flanger - and not have to tap dance. This should address that, right?

    Hoping somebody with MIDI know-how can help me out here - thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Slydawg; 04-20-2019 at 07:17 PM.

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  3. #2

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
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    Only two things I'd add:

    1) the GEQ, if you can control it with a footswitch, should be somethiing you can control with a MIDI pedal.
    2) Generally, amp modes have NOT been footswitch- or MIDI-controllable on Mesa amps because since they're rewiring how a preamp operates they often impact channel volume, and you can't adjust knobs with MIDI. You can switch between channels with Shred on one but not the other, but I'd be shocked if you can footswitch Shred on and off with MIDI on a single channel.

    EDIT - huh, according to the Mesa site, you may actually be able to control Shred via MIDI:

    MIDI Switchable/Programmable via Control Change and Program Change messages (MIDI IN, MIDI Thru/Out, MIDI Channel & Store Switches) – Controls Channels 1, 2, 3, EQ 1, EQ 2, Shred, Reverb & FX Loop
    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  4. #3

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: IL

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    Paging Vince; he does a lot with MIDI on the JP2C and a Boss MS-3. Even I don't remember what can and can't be switched via MIDI on that one. I know on the TC series, you cannot switch the channels from "Normal" to "Bright", because as Drew says, changes to teh preamp like that aren't switchable at all via footswitch. However, the Shred settings are a little different than that.


    Just looked at the Switch Doctor. It's a little lighter in features than the ES-5, but for the money you bought it for, it's an absolute steal! Bear in mind that if you're going to do 4CM, that ties up one loop for that. You'll be able to then use 3 other pedals (or 3 other groups of pedals) to be turned on/off simultaneously, in addition to all the MIDI stuff the JP can do.

    You'll need to set the MIDI channel on the JP2C (or see what the default is), and then just send out PC changes along with the patch changes. Programming the JP2C should be like the TC, in which case it's easy but not intuitive. Hit me up if you need help with that. I can check tomorrow night to see if the JP differs much than what I'm already used to with the TC.

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  6. #4

    Join Date: Nov 2015
    Location: PA, USA

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    Thanks fellas - so to answer Drew, I am pretty certain the MIDI cannot save any knob or EQ fader positions. That would be really awesome if it could, but pretty sure it doesn't - you can basically control all the stuff that is switched or toggled only, channels, FX loop, reverb, shred mode.

    That being said, it's still great that Mesa put that capability in there, and it really makes it a great live rig. I'm jamming covers with some new friends after many years of basement noodling, so I'm having fun setting up a real pedal board for the first time. I think the items I bought will cover my needs. I was also looking at the Boss ES-5 but this was less than half the price.

    The Switch Doctor is still available for $150 with the 1 year warranty and that that's on the lower end of what I see them going for used, I'll post up another thread so it gets more visibility. They have a loop extender also to increase the unit's capacity which is cool, that unfortunately sold out already.

  7. #5

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Arizona
    ME: Ibanez
    Rig: Mesa JP-2C

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    You can do a lot with MIDI with the amp, for sure, and the JP2C is really simple and easy to use with MIDI. Channels, EQs, FX loop, Reverb In/out, and Shred mode can all be switched via MIDI, and it stores 127 presets. The pull pots and channel settings cannot be recalled via MIDI.

    The functionality is that you hook up a MIDI pedal to the MIDI IN on the back and make sure it's transmitting on the same channel as the head is set to. I think the head is set to either "Omni" or channel 1. Most would have no reason to change this so we'll assume that's the case. Just make sure the MIDI pedalboard so that it sends program changes on MIDI channel 1 and you'll have instant connectivity.

    Quick run-through: Click on the first preset button on the floorboard first, which tells the JP2C which preset to go to. Then you can make your adjustments on the JP2C such as setting it to Channel 2, 1st EQ in, FX loop in, Shred mode on, Reverb off. Find the MIDI switch on the back (you'll get used to where this is from the front, it's right next to the Multi-Watt switch), flip it up for 2 seconds, and the head stores these parameters in program change 1. Every time you click on that preset switch, those parameters will be recalled, regardless of where the switches on the front of the head are pointed.

    If you want to use the MIDI features of the JP2C with a pedal that has a stompbox mode, the manual for the JP2C lists the MIDI control change values for each parameter (Shred for example is #27, with MIDI values 0-63 turning it off and 64-128 turning it on). So you can set a single stompbox button to MIDI control change 27, and then set the high and low toggle to say 1 and 127. You can then use the shred mode like a tubescreamer and click it on and off with a single pedal switch. My MS3 does this and gives me 4 stompbox options per preset, but not all MIDI controllers do it.

    Quick note on the BOSS gear, with the MS3 it was not terribly intuitive to set up MIDI, maybe the ES-5 is easier but I don't know. Most MIDI controllers are easier to set up, so it is odd Boss made this somewhat difficult. You have to go into the menu and make sure it's transmitting a program change, shortened to "PC" in the menu, to the preset you want. Button 1 is not always program change 1 in Boss gear. My old Line 6, Lexicon, ART, and TC Electronics MIDI footcontrollers were all easier for this one step.

    Hope this helps, there are a ton of great MIDI controllers and switchers out there, and a lot of awesome old used ones on Ebay and Reverb too.

    TL/DR - Plug in a MIDI footcontroller, use the switch on the back of the JP2C to store the settings you want. Profit.

  8. #6

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: IL

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    The ES-5’a MIDI functionality is basically the same as the MS-3’s, so yeah, it takes a little reading to see what’s doing what. Once you figure it out though (as you’ve found), it’s pretty damn awesome.

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