David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
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location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: FAMC, MIDI, review, photos, @gear info

FAMC Liquid-Foot+ 12+

The FAMC Liquid-Foot+ 12+ MIDI controller looks rather striking with its thirteen multi-colored LCD displays. But the beauty of this unit is more than skin deep.

The LF+ 12+ is highly configurable to meet one's performance needs. In addition to organizing by set lists, songs and presets, you may also define multiple pages of button assignments. A page lets you assign up to two (tap and press) functions to each button. This is a hugely powerful concept that, for the first time in (so far as I'm aware) any MIDI controller, gives you complete flexibility in laying out the controls at your feet.

The set of built-in commands, in addition to all of the expected tasks (sending MIDI commands and sysex data; selecting preset or IA functions) allows you to exert an unprecedented level of control over the behavior of the unit. You can set the color and text of the per-button LCD displays; define up to four program steps to be executed upon subsequent taps of a button; trigger, toggle or resend any IA action; force, override or resend the current state of expression pedals (up to four) plugged into the LF+, and much more.

There's a command to return to the previous preset, which you might use to jump from a variety of solo settings back to a rhythm setting, for example.

There's even a command to return to the previous page. At first thought, this might seem to be a lot like the previous preset command. When you review what you can do with a page, though, the previous page command opens up all manner of navigation possibilities. One thing I'm considering is to add a configuration page behind each FX footswitch; a long press on the FX button would bring up a page specific to that FX. For example, the configuration page for echo might have several buttons to configure tempo delay divisions (half, quarter, dotted quarter, etc.) and a few more to alter the delay feedback. A final button on the configuration page would return to the main performance page.

The LF+ 12+ is built like the proverbial tank, using a folded steel enclosure. The rear panel has connectors for power, MIDI in and out, USB, four expression pedals, and RJ-45 expansion connectors.

The expansion connectors let you chain together several LF+ controllers. I believe that you can have either multiple masters (which would give you access to the same controls at different locations on a stage) or a master with multiple slaves (which expands the number of available footswitches, up to 60).

An editor program is already available. The first release ran under Windows; a Mac version followed a week later. I have successfully run the editor under WINE on Linux; although WINE doesn't yet provide access to the Linux host's USB ports, one may tranfer sysex files (read and written by the editor) via MIDI to and from the LF+.

The editor is a nice convenience upon which some users will rely heavily. However, it's not at all difficult to program the LF+ using its built-in menu system. The per-button LCDs conveniently display the function of each button while in programming mode. Those of you who are used to the commodity MIDI controllers will be relieved that you can program the LF+ without stooping to its level.

The LF+ has flexible power requirements. It accepts 9-12 volts AC or DC either via a standard 5.5 x 2.1 mm barrel connector or via MIDI phantom power using the pins 6 and 7 standard.

The MIDI output connector is a 7-pin DIN which carries not only the phantom power and MIDI out data from the LF+, but also MIDI in data to the LF+. If you have a compatible device (or an adapter harness in your rack), a single 7-pin DIN cable is all that's necessary to provide full connectivity.

The LF+ includes a guitar tuner display that's compatible with certain devices capable of sending tuning indication back to the controller.

While the LF+ is not inexpensive, it is priced on par with other pro-quality controllers. Moreover, the LF+ is a tremendous value in that it provides features and capabilities unmatched by any other device on the market.

 {FAMC Liquid-Foot+ 12+}
January 29 2012 03:02:28 GMT