Digitech GNX4 MIDI Drums Through Your DAW

Have you ever wanted to use your Digitech GNX4 as a MIDI drum machine from your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)? Recently I was working on a MIDI drum pattern and I wondered if it would be possible to send a MIDI track from my DAW to the GNX4 to perform and record it. Typically I use one of several drum kit VSTs within the DAW to generate my drum audio, but I was looking for some variety in the drum sounds. The good news is that I was able to send the MIDI track from the DAW to the GNX4 and record its playback in the DAW. Follow the steps in this post to generate Digitech GNX4 MIDI drums through your DAW.

29 May 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Skill Level : Intermediate

Before we begin, I use Tracktion Waveform 11 Free as my DAW. I have not tried this GNX4 configuration in any other DAW. If you used another DAW, and got it to work correctly, please let me know the configuration steps.I will gladly update this post, giving you full credit, so that we can help others get up and running easily on varied software products.

Dealing with Audio Latency

Latency is a factor in this configuration, so playback can and will be affected by the latency you are going to experience. Even at 16ms, the fastest setting I have available to me while working on my Mac, there is a small delay while recording the GNX4’s output. When you record, be sure to set some lead-in space before the start of your drum MIDI and also at the end of the track to pick up any audio trails of the drum instruments.

I initially got this configuration to work on my 2011 iMac running High Sierra. When I wrote this post, I was using my iMac booted into Windows 10. The latency values in Mac went down to 16ms. On the same computer, running Windows 10, my lowest latency was 256ms in Windows Audio (Exclusive Mode). That is a HUGE difference in combating latency while recording.

What You’ll Need to Play Digitech GNX4 MIDI Drums Through Your DAW

  • Tracktion Waveform 11 – while free to use, it does require an account at their web site
  • Digitech GNX4 connected to a PC or Mac via USB
  • GNX4 drivers, if using Windows. Mac users do not need any drivers
  • Ability to configure your DAW software for MIDI and audio inputs/outputs
  • Ability to configure the GNX4 MIDI channel and USB audio sources
  • MIDI files of drum kit instruments

Steps to Configure MIDI Drum Playback

  1. Create a new project in your DAW.
  2. Add a new MIDI track and name it “MIDI Source”. Create a MIDI pattern in the “MIDI Source” track, or insert one you have available.Waveform 11 - Create MIDI Track
  3. Ensure your GNX4 is powered on and connected to your computer via USB so that we can configure it as an input device.
  4. In Settings>Audio Devices, set your Digitech USB 1-2 as your input device. Set your speakers/monitors as your output device. Set your audio buffer as low as possible. 160 ms was the lowest I could set without Waveform telling me I was exceeding capabilities.Waveform11-GNX4_Audio_Input_Properties
  5. In Settings>MIDI Devices, enable anything Digitech USB-related. Waveform gives the devices an alias, which is shown in the screen shot below. We’ll need this alias later, so I point it out for your information.Waveform11-MIDI_Device_Settings
  6. Now we’ll switch to the GNX4 unit and complete the configuration there.
  7. Let’s set the MIDI channel for the GNX4. Press the Utility button to the right of the data wheel until the display shows “MIDICHNL”. Turn the data wheel until it shows “AL”. This sets the GNX4 to Omni mode where it can handle MIDI on any channel.GNX MIDI Config
  8. Now set the USB source option for USB channel 1-2. Before you begin, make a note of what the initial value is so that you can change it back when you’re finished. Press the Shift button under the built-in recorder on the GNX, then press the CF USB 1-2 SRC button. Use the data wheel and change the value to “DRUMS ST”. Press Shift to exit.GNX4_CF1_2_Drums_ST
  9. Return to your DAW now. Configure your MIDI track’s output setting on the far right-hand side of the track. I had to choose “Digitech Mac USB-2” as my default MIDI output. To test, press play on your DAW’s transport. If the GNX4 is receiving the MIDI, its level meter (at the top right-hand side of the built-in recorder) will show flashing lights. You will not hear any sounds in the DAW yet, but you will know that your signal is getting to the GNX4.Waveform11-Setting_MIDI_Source_In_Track
  10. Create a new audio track and name it “GNX4 Drums”. Set its input source as the USB 1 channel and its output to the standard 1+2 output. Turn on your live input monitoring and press play on the DAW. You should be hearing your GNX4 playing the MIDI file.
  11. Arm your “GNX4 Drums” track for recording and record your MIDI file. Your track should display a dynamic waveform of the recorded audio.Waveform11-Drum_Audio_Track_Settings
  12. If you want to try other GNX4 drum kits, feel free to change them and see what sounds the best to you. There are several stock kits available and auditioning them all may prove useful to you in your DAW’s mix.
  13. You may need to experiment with an ideal latency recording setting, and also setting it much higher for playback. In Mac, I needed to record at 16 ms and play back at 256 ms. In Windows 10, changing the latency for playback didn’t seem to be needed.
  14. At this point, the tutorial is complete.

Where To Go From Here

Now that we’ve seen that it’s possible to use your GNX4’s drummer capabilities in a DAW, I’d suggest a few enhancements. First, break the individual kit pieces into their own distinct audio output tracks. This will give you fine-grained control over each piece’s sound and allow for better mixing. Second, record multiple takes of the output audio with different GNX4 kits so that you can blend them together and see if a hybrid of the audio works in your style of music. Finally, experiment with integrating the GNX4 output with the output of other drum VSTs to create something new and unique.

Summary

I hope this tutorial has helped you and that you found it useful to learn how to play Digitech GNX4 MIDI Drums Through Your DAW.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Post References

Anderton, Craig. Digitech GNX4 Guitar Workstation: The Power User’s Guide.  Schirmer Trade Books, 2005.   Digitech. (2004). 

GNX4 Multi-Modeling Recording Guitar Workstation Owner’s Manual. Sandy, UT.

Digitech GNX4 Re-amping With Tracktion Waveform 11

In this post, we’ll look at how to configure Digitech GNX4 re-amping with Tracktion Waveform 11. The steps in this post are not limited to Waveform, and they should work in almost any other DAW if you’re willing to give it a try. Let me know if you have successfully re-amped using this post with a different DAW.

18 May 2020 – Written by Michael R. Myers

Skill Level : Advanced

The Digitech GNX4’s configuration capabilities permit users to re-amp a dry guitar signal (DI) from either the on-board 8-track recorder, or from USB configuration. This post focuses purely on the USB configuration so that a DI track in a DAW can be processed by the GNX4 and recorded as the GNX4 performs the track with the new audio output.

Before we begin, I would like to point out that using the MFX Supermodels that were available for the GNX4 would be preferred over the stock amps and cabinets. Unfortunately, they are no longer available for purchase at this time. If you can find a disc of the MFX Supermodels, your results will sound superior over the stock offerings in the GNX4. Check e-Bay for a disc of MFX Supermodels because people sometimes sell them there.

One final note…re-amping takes time and configuration effort on your part. It’s not as easy as pressing a button or switching effects. The steps need to be followed carefully so that you’ll have success with your new sound. You may want to wait until you are ready to do a batch of re-amps instead of performing them multiple times over your project’s recording sessions.

What You’ll Need to Re-Amp Your DI Tracks

  • Tracktion Waveform 11 – while free to use, it does require an account at their web site
  • Digitech GNX4 connected to a PC or Mac via USB
  • GNX4 drivers, if using Windows. Mac users do not any drivers
  • Ability to configure your DAW software for audio inputs and outputs
  • Ability to configure GNX4 to output an effected signal and a dry signal
  • Ability to configure GNX4 to input a dry signal to be re-amped
  • PATIENCE. The tutorial is lengthy and requires a lot of back-and-forth with configuration/settings.

Re-amping Overview

Re-amping a dry track gives you a lot of creative control over the sound of your guitar in a track. It allows flexibility to audition new amps and cabinets virtually for comparison to help you find “that sound” within your overall mix. Alternatively, you can make copies of your dry track and re-amp them to different amps and cabinets and then blend the results to create a sound that is unique and really stands out. The results are limitless and once you have some of your GNX4’s patches set up to your liking, you’re ready to go for future re-amping sessions. Remember to always capture dry guitar signals while recording so that Digitech GNX4 re-amping is always available for you. Now that you have a dry guitar track explanation, let’s use Digitech GNX4 re-amping with Tracktion Waveform 11.

Steps to Re-amp Using a GNX4

  1. Configure your GNX4’s audio outputs so that you have a dry guitar signal available.  See this post’s procedure for instructions.
  2. In your DAW software, set the Digitech GNX4 as the input audio source while it is powered on and connected with a USB cable to the computer.  In the image below, the GNX4 is set as my input audio source, and the UMC202HD is my computer’s audio interface where my studio monitors are connected.  The Sample Rate only offers 44.1 and the Audio Buffer Size should be configured.  The lower the buffer number, the less latency you’ll experience.  It may take a few tries for you to find the lowest, workable buffer setting to eliminate latency. Shows Waveform11 Audio Device options
  1. In Waveform 11, you will need to set up two audio tracks.  One will be assigned to the USB 1 (USB 1/2 with effects) input channel and the other the USB 2 (USB 3/4 dry) input channel.  For USB 1’s input, I called the track “ENGL 35” for the ENGL amp preset I have at position 35 on my GNX4 patches.  For USB 2’s input, I called the track “Dry DI” to hold the GNX4’s dry guitar output that was configured in Procedure 1.Waveform audio tracksZoomed Waveform 11 track view showing input sources
  2. To record both source tracks simultaneously, arm both tracks for recording and record your audio performance.  After recording, you should see waveforms on both tracks.  You’ll notice that the dry track’s waveforms will look much more dynamic than a track with effects. Recorded audio on tracks showing waveform data
  3. Audition the tracks to verify that the first track is your GNX4’s patch output and the second track is dry guitar output.  Assuming you have a dry guitar track recorded properly, you’re now ready to re-amp it within your DAW.
  4. Now that we’re ready to re-amp the dry signal into a different GNX4 patch’s output, this part of the process requires a temporary change in audio inputs and outputs in the DAW preferences, and a temporary configuration change on the GNX4.
  5. Follow Procedure 2 in this tutorial to set up the GNX4’s USB sources to re-amp audio.  After setting the input to REAMPUSB, make sure you are on the different GNX4 patch that you want to have receive the signal.  For example, I originally recorded my patch 35, but now I want to re-amp the dry recorded signal in my DAW on patch 74.
  6. In your DAW, you have to open your audio device’s preferences and configure the input and output sources again.  This time, you are going to select the USB 1-2 as both the input and the output audio source.  USB 1 will be on the left side of the pair, USB 2 will be on the right side of the pair.Waveform 11 configuration for re-amping
  7. Make a new audio track in the DAW.  Here I named mine “Rectifier 74” for my GNX patch that I have stored in position 74.  Set the new track’s input source as USB 1.  In Waveform, I have to pan this tracks’s audio 100% to the right.  If I leave it center-panned, I will also hear the dry guitar sound in addition to the new patch 74 sound.  Panning it hard right allows me to record only the sound of patch 74. Waveform 11 New track for re-amp
  8. Arm the new track and hit your record button.  The DAW’s transport will play the dry guitar sound and send it to the GNX4 to play on the selected patch, in this case patch 74.  When you see a waveform showing on the track, you’ll have indication that your GNX4 is re-amping the dry sound.  You WILL NOT hear any audio output from the DAW or your computer monitors while you are re-amping.  As you can see, the waveforms on ENGL 35 (red track) and Rectifier 74 (green track)are heavily compressed and look similar, but they are two different sounds.Waveform11 recording new re-amped track
  9. To audition the new track’s audio, you must manually change your DAW’s audio preferences to use an output of your audio interface or the computers speakers.Waveform 11 config audio output to hear re-amped track
  10. Switch back to track view in your DAW and solo the new re-amped track’s audio.  Press Play on the transport to hear the newly re-amped audio output.
  11. At this point, you’re finished with the re-amping of the dry track.  From here, you could try a few things like using the original track (ENGL 35) and blending it with the new track (Rectifier 74).  Or you could choose one track over the other based on how it sounds with other instruments like drums and bass being mixed in.  Or maybe you want to have several options/takes available so you could re-amp the dry track on several different patches to decide which one(s) work best within your mix.
  12. Remember to follow this procedure again to reset your GNX4 back to normal when you are finished your re-amping activities.

Summary

I hope this tutorial has helped you and that you found it useful to learn how to use Digitech GNX4 re-amping with Tracktion Waveform 11.  If you have any constructive feedback, please contact me at the e-mail address listed in the heading of this tutorial.  Thanks for reading and I wish you great luck recording with the GNX4!

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.

Post References

Anderton, Craig. Digitech GNX4 Guitar Workstation: The Power User’s Guide.  Schirmer Trade Books, 2005.   Digitech. (2004). 

GNX4 Multi-Modeling Recording Guitar Workstation Owner’s Manual. Sandy, UT.