Pedal control of S-GEAR 3.x

Hi All,

I recently discovered S-GEAR from Scuffham Amps and I’m in the process of converting from Amplitube 5. Everything is going well, except for real-time use of the Wah Thing. It took a bit of sleuthing, but I finally figured out that:

  • VST Param 422 = Wah On (0) and Off (127)
  • VST Param 424 = Wah Manual (a/k/a ‘pedal position’)

These parameters appear blank in the parameter list, although one can see them move once the mystery is solved. They are also for the Wah Thing in Position 1 on the pedal board; I don’t know if they change if the pedal is moved.

@Brad and others: Is this Scuffham’s fault, or something that Cantabile is not seeing? If it’s the former, is there a way to list them in Cantabile for future use? The amp and Convolver settings of S-GEAR are labeled, but not the others. S-GEAR has tutorials for Cubase and Logic that clearly show the wah parameters as being in the list of controllable items, so someone has done the work to link them in these DAWs.

I don’t think I can answer your specific question, since I don’t have the latest version of S-Gear, but always like to hear from a fellow S Gear devotee. I’ve been on ver. 2.71 for several years. Didn’t Mike build a Learn Midi function into Ver 3? I’m guessing not since you would have used that. What happens when you bind those parameters manually inside the rack?

S-Gear is quite good and was my go-to for years but last year I moved to Overloud TH-U for gigging. Every function has an easy Learn Midi function, and it’s more versatile than S-Gear in terms of effects, tones, and now their latest Fluid Capture (which may be hype, I haven’t bothered to demo it yet). It’s also a fast workflow, at least for me. Most important to me is the low CPU hit, stability, and versatility for a cover band. You might want to check it out if you haven’t already. But when it comes to modelers of course each player has their personal preferences and it’s all about “feel”… I always did love S-Gear’s feel. Frankly, these days, we can get good tones for gigging from almost any modeler; Pre and post EQ and preamps are quite helpful. For recording, it’s a little more dependent on the tone I’m after, and I’ll choose from Nembrini, Neural DSP, S Gear or TH-U. Of course NAM is something to look at too.
I’m sure others will chime in with ideas specific to your issue.
Best of luck,

I have given up on the Wah thing - haven’t really managed to get it to work consistently. I don’t think it is fully baked yet. There are other nice VST wah effects - when I need one, I patch one in front of S-Gear…

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@twaw I tried the Learn MIDI feature, but it didn’t seem to do the trick. Yes, I can bind the features manually and they work. The only real issue is that they are #422 and #424 out of 500 parameters, so they are waaaaaaay down the scrolled list. If they were named, I could probably see them in the bindings.

I’m really happy with S-GEAR at this point. It takes me about 1 minute to dial in the sound I want. Way more suited to my workflow than Amplitube 5 – which has become something of a messy smorgasbord over the years. I wish they had a way to hide the pieces that I never use, because it’s like 90% of them. But that would probably break their business model (Ooh, shiny new things!). :wink:

@Torsten I’m having zero problems with the Wah Thing in my setup (knock wood!). The S-GEAR wah is better than the one that comes with RealGuitar VSTs (which is no slouch, either). Do you have the latest updates and everything?


Are you using VST3?
Try using the VST2 version.

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My main problem is that S-Gear doesn’t work as a MIDI target in my DAW - the only way to address Wah movement would be through VST parameters. But that doesn’t allow recording the wah movement in a MIDI track.

That’s why I find the implementation somewhat half-baked. Using a separate wah plugin that does appear as a MIDI target solves this…

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Hi Guys,
S-Gear most certainly is capable of running CCs. My method in Cubase is to insert S-Gear into a Group so that any number of takes on different tracks can address the plugin. I’m using VST2, BTW. VST 3 doesn’t do program changes.
Create a MIDI track. S-Gear will appear as a destination. This is CC1 hitting the Gain knob.

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Thanks for the info. FWIW, the VST3 does program changes just fine for me.

My original question was, if a certain parameter (Wah manual/pedal) isn’t explicitly listed in the available parameters, is there a way to add the info for future use? I still would love to know if this is possible. I agree that the VST support for S-GEAR 3 is minimal.

Aha - that was helpful! The VST3 version doesn’t have the MIDI mapping tab, so no way to assign CCs to controls. Probably due to the nastiness of the VST3 standard when it comes to handling CCs - looks like Mike Scuffham was scared off entering that rabbit hole…

So I could actually map a CC to the wah and control it consistently that way using the VST2 version.

The other nastiness about the wah thing is that S-Gear assigns different VST parameter numbers to the wah control, depending on the sequence of inserting pedals. If I insert the wah pedal first on an empty pedalboard, the wah control gets parameter number 424. But if I first insert a Drive Thing, then add a wah pedal, it the wah control gets number 434. The problem is then: when I now move the wah to the first position on the pedalboard, the wah control stays 434 - so the parameter number isn’t determined by the position on the pedalboard (which would be somewhat logical) or the type of the pedal (which would be preferrable IMO, so I could control a wah wherever it may sit in the current preset), but on the SEQUENCE in which the pedals were inserted - which is pretty mad…

E.G. the preset “Rotary Wah” from the preset library has the Wah in first position, but the “manual” parameter sits at #343 - looks like the wah was inserted as the second pedal and moved to the front.

This messes up all predictability when trying to control wah position via VST parameters - that’s why I’ve given up on the wah thing. Don’t want to have to manually check all presets for the correct position of the wah control parameter…

I may give it a go with the VST2 version and MIDI control - that looks like a more reliable option.

As outlined in the previous post - they are actually named when you have a wah in the current preset. But as written above, there is no guarantee that parameter 424 actually controls the wah - it might as well control the DriveThru gain, if that was inserted first…

Not on my system. They aren’t named at all. I had to prospect with them: a) set the Manual knob to midpoint, b) check for unnamed parameters that were not at zero; c) set up a binding to map a CC to the test parameter; d) rinse and repeat. After a few tries, I found #424 was the wah. Then it was kind of easy to find the effect/bypass switch: I knew it would be nearby.

For my purposes, the wah will always be first in line (because everyone knows that’s the ‘correct’ position :rofl:) but it’s nice to know that the pedals move +10 for each position. Strange that they stay in place, when moved later, though! I probably should just switch to the VST2 plugin, but there’s a stubborn streak in me …

Problem is that they don’t consistently do that. No way to know beforehand if the wah control is at parameter 424 or 434 when loading any preset. To be somewhat sure, I would need to re-build every preset I use to make sure the wah is in the right place numerically. Pretty much the most un-intuitive way to implement this, TBH. Clear violation of “principle of least surprise”

The VST2 version does show parameter names:

The VST3 version doesn’t, so it really becomes detective work with that one, especially since the parameters move depending on insertion sequence.

At the moment, it seems that really the only option to do something meaningful with the wah is to use the VST2 version, IMO

A royal mess-up - not really typical for S-Gear and Mike Scuffham…

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I think the problem with VST3 is that it has so many bells and whistles that it favors larger software companies, who are more likely to have in-house VST3 expertise. I suspect that Mike S. and Co. have a bit more experience in the VST2 side, and focus on getting the basic sound and features right first; then worry about VST3.

I’m going to play around with the VST2 version, and if there isn’t a huge CPU hit or anything, I’ll probably migrate over. Does anyone know if one can take a Cantabile bank that is written for a VST3, change the ID and such, and use it with a VST2? I’ve already started creating S-Gear shared racks, and I’d hate to have to create them over again.

At the moment, it seems that really the only option to do something meaningful with the wah is to use the VST2 version, IMO

It depends on how you look at it. Since the S-Gear pedalboard allows three elements, and there are only three devices at the moment, one could put the Wah Thing in position #1, the Drive thing in position #2, etc. and just turn off the unused ones. That would pretty much mimic a real guitar rig, right?

Interesting question. Not sure but I think if you delete the vst3 version, install vst2 but name it exactly the same as the vst3 was, it might work. Of course back up your song, rack, etc folders first!

Or, my preference would be to test it out… back up, create a new rack with a different name, load the vst3, build a couple test songs, then do the above and rename the vst2.

BTW I didn’t realize VST3 was potentially problematic for certain plugs. I started using SWAM Saxes recently and got a couple crashes, thought I solved that, but it’s still a bit finicky. Maybe I’ll try the VST2 version. Thanks for the info!