Pyramid as a master controller: simplest way to use it?

I currently play keys in a jazz/funk/fusion band. We don’t play to a click, so I don’t use sequenced parts or anything timed other than tapping tempo for delay effects. I want to get into other solo keys stuff, and a Pyramid looks good for that, but I’m wondering how useful it would be to fix the one problem with my keyboard rig in my jazz band.

My main keyboard is a Nord Stage; its song mode has only 5 parts, and each can send MIDI messages to only two external devices. I also have a Moog synth, some MIDI-controlled Strymon effects pedals (with a separate MIDI controller stompbox that can send program change messages to them), and I’ll be adding a polysynth module and a MIDI router that uses presets soon.

I’d like to be able to change the preset on my Nord and have program changes go immediately to each of the four other sources that need it. That’s easy if I only need to change presets on two of my four sources at once, but I can’t do any more than that without using two Nord presets. (Sure, I could switch the Nord for a workstation keyboard that can send a bunch of program changes at once, but the good ones with weighted keys are heavier).

What I’m hoping for is a simple way to use the Pyramid as a master controller. Either with a single button press on the Pyramid, a single tap of a footswitch, or in response to a single MIDI message, I’d like the Pyramid to send out MIDI messages to various devices, and not send out further MIDI messages until the next time I need to. I don’t really need the Pyramid sequencer to be running, but as long as it’s not actually doing anything to my devices, I don’t care either way.

Reading the manual, it looks like one possibility is to:

  • Create a track for each device I want to control
  • Create a pattern per track per unique sound, containing the MIDI message(s) to send to a device (e.g. on the polysynth track, one pattern for a pad sound during a chorus and a second pattern for a lead sound for soloing)
  • Set all the tracks to TRIG mode, so any MIDI data being sent will only be sent once per sequence
  • In Track mode, create sequences; each one will select all the patterns to be triggered at the same time
  • In SEQ mode, set PERFORM to INSTANT, so the messages will get sent just when I need

As for controlling this, the PYRAMiDi chart seems to be saying that the Pyramid can’t control which sequence is playing via incoming program changes, but I can either:

  • Use the same dual-switch footpedal I’d intended to use on my Nord to send Previous and Next Sequence messages (and I could use a track to change programs on the Nord too and REALLY have the Pyramid control everything)
  • Use the 16 buttons on the Pyramid to select one of the first 16 sequences (and again send MIDI program changes to the Nord)
  • Have the Nord send the MIDI CC to select a specific sequence when I change Nord presets, and have the Pyramid control everything else

For the experts on the Pyramid, is there anything I’ve missed here or any better way to do what I want to do, to use the Pyramid as the brains behind controlling my other devices without thinking about running sequences too?

Thanks for the help!

There may be more than one way to do it, but I’d be inclined to set up tracks for each part with the PC set, for example track 1, sends on midi ch1, PC1, set it unmuted for SEQ1, and so on, remembering that you can have multiple tracks for the same midi channel, then when you want say track 6, midi ch1, PC6 etc you make sure that the SEQ2 has track 1 muted and track 6 unmuted.

Then as you already said it should just be a case of setting whatever SEQ as active for the setup you want.

Untested, but I think it would do what you want.

Sounds like a complicated solution… for what seems relatively simple problem.

could you not use a ‘scriptable’ midi box. Something like blokas midihub or the bome box.
Then either trig from master keyboard or get something like a launchpad to so the triggering.

I’m sure it can be done with a pyramid, but if your not using it for what it’s designed for, you can have some bumps in the road.

Agreed there are easier ways to do it than the Pyramid, but (and I realize I didn’t write this in my post; though I was thinking about it) if I want the Pyramid for use as a sequencer for some independent synth/keys stuff AND it will do the job, even if a bit more cumbersome, for my band, I’d rather that over a second device.

Thanks for the advice, both of you; it definitely sounds viable.

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Hello, I use one project by song, and when I load my project, it sends the program change to each of my 4 NordLead channels, as well as my Prophet 12 and BassStation2. No need to use the SEQ mode. As soon as it gets the PC message, programs won’t change until you load a new project or pattern with a different PC message.

Thanks! That won’t fully help, as I change presets during a song, and it doesn’t seem like I can switch patterns for all tracks at once without switching to a new sequence in SEQ mode. Maybe I can do that without the sequencer running? Though it doesn’t matter, as if I’m setting up everything to switch sequences anyway, I might as well keep the sequencer running. I also have effects I need to sync, so I’d need a master clock sent as well. If the Pyramid doesn’t send master clock when it’s stopped, that’s another reason to run it.

This shouldn’t be that hard anyway; I just create one template song with tracks set up correctly and make a few patterns specific to that song’s needs; once I’ve done it once, it should be quick to do it for other songs.

i would do it with Axoloti.