ENGL Savage 120 MkII - MIDI confusion

T00DEEPBLUE

New member
I'm trying to figure out how the MIDI function on this amp works but the manual doesn't explain its functionality very well as it seems to have been poorly translated from German to English. Leaving me with more questions than answers.

Question 1:

How does the write/copy button work?


My interpretation from the manual is that you can save a preset by adjusting the tone shaping buttons to get the desired sound, then holding down the write/copy button for 3 seconds to store it. The status LED flashed 3 times to confirm the settings are stored. That makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is when I try to store another preset on another channel, it keeps overwriting the previous preset. Making it absolutely useless.

How do I load previously saved presets? How does the copy function work? How can I select what presets I want to use and assign them to the amp's channels?

The manual condenses down the functionality of the write/copy button into a single dense, convoluted paragraph full of semi-broken English.

Question 2:

I'm using a Harley Benton FLX8 Pro loop switcher and MIDI controller to try and control the amp's channels. I've been trying to send MIDI commands.

The ENGL manual says that the parameters being used are call "MIDI Controller #x" (x referring to the parameter in question). The manual for the footswitch says I can sent up to two program change or continuous controller messages with every footswitch press. Which mode do I use? Program Change or Continuous Controller? There's no such thing as "MIDI Controller" in the FLX8 Pro's manual.

Question 3:

There's 14 different MIDI commands you can send to the Savage. How am I supposed to control them when the FXL8 pro can only send 2 MIDI messages per button press? I haven't been able to get the loop switcher to control a single MIDI parameter yet despite following the manual for the foot controller correctly. I don't understand what it is I'm doing wrong.

Pease help.
 

T00DEEPBLUE

New member
Okay never mind, I've figured everything out after several hours of trial and error.

The manual sent me down a huge rabbit hole of misdirection where it implied that I needed to send a dozen continuous controller (CC) messages for every single parameter of the amp if I ever wanted to change channels in conjunction with button settings etc.

Turns out that thankfully, this is not the case. It's actually much less of a nightmare than that.

In case anyone else here owns a Savage MKII and is trying to program the MIDI using a standard MIDI controller or loop switcher and gets stuck/confused, here's how I programmed everything to work:

Ignore anything to do with CC for now. All you want to do is set up your MIDI controller so that it sends a Program Change (PC) message to the amp. The PC value can be anything from 1 to 128. Each PC value will represent a preset combination of buttons and channel settings that you can configure yourself to be whatever you want.

How do you set up the PC messages to be whatever you want?

This is where the write/copy button on the amp comes in clutch.

Set up your MIDI controller so that it sends a PC message with a value of 1, (it has to be some kind of value so just pick any, it doesn't matter for now) Then dial in your amp's tone and button settings to whatever you want. Channel select, pre-shape, contour, rough/smooth, etc. Then when you're happy with your settings, hold down the write/copy button on the amp for 3 seconds and watch for the the status LED to flash 3 times.

Congratulations! You've just programmed PC value 1 (or whatever PC value you've set on your MIDI controller) to be that specific combination of channel and button settings.

Now you can set up all the other PC values to be whatever combination of settings and channels you desire! Want to a bone-crunching metal tone with the depth boost, the gain boost and the noise gate on? Easy. Just program your MIDI controller to send whatever PC message you want (let's say PC value 2). Select all the tone-shaping options on the amp you desire for that br00tz tone, then hold down write/copy when you're finished.

Now PC message 2 is your br00tz tone. Any time you send a PC value of 2 from your MIDI controller, the amp will instantly recall the settings you saved for that br00tz tone.

Keep going until you've saved all the tone settings you want so you're able to recall them at any time by sending the appropriate PC value. You can save and recall up to 128 different amp presets. More than pretty much anyone is ever going to use.

The manual's explanation of this procedure is pretty much totally non-existent and I more or less discovered this functionality by complete accident after hours of messing around with it. Hopefully this spares whoever is reading this that owns a Savage MKII a ton of time and frustration. (y)
 
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If you press the write/copy button so it lights but doesn’t flash you can then step on the button you want it stored to, at least with the Z9 in midi mode. Then while on that button if you want to change a setting you hold the write/copy until the light flashes 3 times and it saves the new setting over the old preset. It’s very finicky about how long you press and hold, took me quite awhile to get it down. I even figured out the copy for a few minutes.

Once it’s set up it works great, next I am gonna try it with my Helix Fx as a controller. It should work in the same manner but I’m not sure the helix can send PC messages inside of snapshots without changing to a new preset. I may have to assign the changes manually with the instant change in command center if it won’t program from the write button and learn function.
 

T00DEEPBLUE

New member
If you press the write/copy button so it lights but doesn’t flash you can then step on the button you want it stored to, at least with the Z9 in midi mode. Then while on that button if you want to change a setting you hold the write/copy until the light flashes 3 times and it saves the new setting over the old preset. It’s very finicky about how long you press and hold, took me quite awhile to get it down. I even figured out the copy for a few minutes.

Once it’s set up it works great, next I am gonna try it with my Helix Fx as a controller. It should work in the same manner but I’m not sure the helix can send PC messages inside of snapshots without changing to a new preset. I may have to assign the changes manually with the instant change in command center if it won’t program from the write button and learn function.
I was confused about the red LED going solid when you pressed the write/copy button as well. Again the manual does a horrifically bad job explaining what its for.

I don't really have a need for the copy function since I can program my MIDI footswitch to send the appropriate PC value to the amp and recall whatever amp settings I want that way. So it seems pretty redundant to me that the amp can do it too. Then again I suppose not everybody's footswitch works the same or is as customisable with what PC messages you can send.
 

shadow

Member
I agree, the manual overly complicated things a bit. It's much easier to digest simple steps then a giant paragraph:

Write:
1. Select preset on your midi floor pedal
2. Adjust amplifier settings to you liking
3. Press and hold the write/copy button for at least a second until the LED flashes thrice. Done.

Copy (I might be wrong on this, haven't done it on my Invader in awhile:)
1. Select source preset on your midi floor pedal that you want to copy
2. Press and hold write/copy.
3. Select new destination preset where you want to copy to.
4. Release write/copy

I may be wrong on some of these steps, but you get the idea: it's actually stoopid simple.
 

shadow

Member
Yeah, I was wrong about copy, lol. It should be:
1. Select desired program on your midi floorboard (the one you want to copy)
2. Without touching any buttons on the amp, press (not hold) write/copy. LED lights solid red.
3. Select destination program you want to copy it to on your midi floorboard.
4. Press write/copy for at least a second, until LED flashes thrice. Done.

To the OP, I'm glad to see you put in all that hard work to fully get around the manual and actually figure it all out.
Lots of guitarists hate midi because it seems so complicated, but for amps and floorboards, it's not.
I have always been interested with midi and the flexibility it offers. Even the very simplistic setups can benefit from midi:

Want a compressor on the clean, then OD boost on your heavy rhythm? No tap dancing, just push one switch. I would rather have midi than not for even two sounds.

Concerning the Helix, I want to forego the second dsp, and just use one. 10 presets per bank = 10 snapshots per bank. No CC's, just PC's. Easy.
I have to go through the motions of all this, though, I've been stuck on ch 3, honing in my heavy rhythm rec skills, LOL. BTW, the Invader and Savage II look to have the same midi implementation, word for word.
 

travis5151

New member
Yeah, I was wrong about copy, lol. It should be:
1. Select desired program on your midi floorboard (the one you want to copy)
2. Without touching any buttons on the amp, press (not hold) write/copy. LED lights solid red.
3. Select destination program you want to copy it to on your midi floorboard.
4. Press write/copy for at least a second, until LED flashes thrice. Done.

To the OP, I'm glad to see you put in all that hard work to fully get around the manual and actually figure it all out.
Lots of guitarists hate midi because it seems so complicated, but for amps and floorboards, it's not.
I have always been interested with midi and the flexibility it offers. Even the very simplistic setups can benefit from midi:

Want a compressor on the clean, then OD boost on your heavy rhythm? No tap dancing, just push one switch. I would rather have midi than not for even two sounds.

Concerning the Helix, I want to forego the second dsp, and just use one. 10 presets per bank = 10 snapshots per bank. No CC's, just PC's. Easy.
I have to go through the motions of all this, though, I've been stuck on ch 3, honing in my heavy rhythm rec skills, LOL. BTW, the Invader and Savage II look to have the same midi implementation, word for word.
I have a Helix arriving tomorrow for use with my Savage 120. Do I just add a PC to a scene and then press that scene, set my amp buttons and then hold the Write/Copy on the savage? Is the initial press to activate the scene with the PC enough to tell the amp what to write and listen for? Thanks for helping!
 

travis5151

New member
Yeah, I was wrong about copy, lol. It should be:
1. Select desired program on your midi floorboard (the one you want to copy)
2. Without touching any buttons on the amp, press (not hold) write/copy. LED lights solid red.
3. Select destination program you want to copy it to on your midi floorboard.
4. Press write/copy for at least a second, until LED flashes thrice. Done.

To the OP, I'm glad to see you put in all that hard work to fully get around the manual and actually figure it all out.
Lots of guitarists hate midi because it seems so complicated, but for amps and floorboards, it's not.
I have always been interested with midi and the flexibility it offers. Even the very simplistic setups can benefit from midi:

Want a compressor on the clean, then OD boost on your heavy rhythm? No tap dancing, just push one switch. I would rather have midi than not for even two sounds.

Concerning the Helix, I want to forego the second dsp, and just use one. 10 presets per bank = 10 snapshots per bank. No CC's, just PC's. Easy.
I have to go through the motions of all this, though, I've been stuck on ch 3, honing in my heavy rhythm rec skills, LOL. BTW, the Invader and Savage II look to have the same midi implementation, word for word.
Are you by any chance using a Helix with the Savage? I am having trouble getting unity gain with it in 4CM. (If you are) What do you have your levels set at for the 1/4 out and fx loop; line or instrument? Instrument seems too hot but I thought that is what you are supposed to use.
 

shadow

Member
I'm actually using an Invader 100, but the midi is the same. I am in the long process of getting my daw built and set up. I haven't even plugged my helix rack to my invader yet, lol. Just the midi functions to check it out. I'm pretty sure you are supposed to just use instrument for the input of the amp, then line level for the loop. When I set mine up, I'll post.
 

T00DEEPBLUE

New member
Unrelated to this thread directly, but does anyone happen to know which 12AX7 in the Savage II is buffering the effects loop? I find that some of the effects I use in the loop are too hot for the loop level. So I figure if I used a lower gain valve like a 5751 that it would help lower the loop level.

Anyone has any info on this, PLEASE reach out. I've looked all over the internet for answers, no dice.
 

shadow

Member
Are you by any chance using a Helix with the Savage? I am having trouble getting unity gain with it in 4CM. (If you are) What do you have your levels set at for the 1/4 out and fx loop; line or instrument? Instrument seems too hot but I thought that is what you are supposed to use.
I finally plugged in my Helix (in 4CM), and holy shit it sounds good. I don't know if it's the lack of having used fx in awhile, or the better converters/processor in this thing, but - gone is the flatness I have always associated with using a loop. I'm using monster cables, that could be it too. There's still the slight tonal change. It's tighter. But no 2D flatness. I like it. Anyways, I really didn't mess around too much with the Helix levels. I just cranked the send on the Invader all the way (actually a must, to avoid phasing), and cranked the Helix output to 3 o'clock. I used the standard 4CM in this video, and bypassed fx to hear the pure tone. I'm really liking the ODs in this thing, too. I used "instrument" level in global settings for the loop, which is weird because it should be line? I'll check again tomorrow. I am really liking the Helix with the inVader!!!

 

shadow

Member
Unrelated to this thread directly, but does anyone happen to know which 12AX7 in the Savage II is buffering the effects loop? I find that some of the effects I use in the loop are too hot for the loop level. So I figure if I used a lower gain valve like a 5751 that it would help lower the loop level.

Anyone has any info on this, PLEASE reach out. I've looked all over the internet for answers, no dice.
What fx are you using? Before you pull tubes, you can lower the send level by lowering the channel vol levels and crank the master to compensate.
 

T00DEEPBLUE

New member
What fx are you using? Before you pull tubes, you can lower the send level by lowering the channel vol levels and crank the master to compensate.
I'm using a variety of them. Neunaber Seraphim, MXR 10 band EQ, MXR Stereo Chorus, MXR Carbon Copy, Walrus Julianna etc.

The amp objectively sounds better with all the channel volumes maxed out. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They're lying. Turning them down is the absolute last thing I want.

I just need to know the answer to my question.
 

shadow

Member
Well that sucks that you can't turn down the ch vols because that's the only way to lower the loop level. Good luck. Strangely, I have the Helix FX loop at instrument level with my invader, and it seems to work fine. I need to mess with it more and see what's going on...
What about if you turn down the levels on the pedals themselves?
 

FLUXX

Member
Unrelated to this thread directly, but does anyone happen to know which 12AX7 in the Savage II is buffering the effects loop? I find that some of the effects I use in the loop are too hot for the loop level. So I figure if I used a lower gain valve like a 5751 that it would help lower the loop level.

Anyone has any info on this, PLEASE reach out. I've looked all over the internet for answers, no dice.
I have a Savage 120 Mk2, and it has a stock ENGL ECC83/12AX7 tubes in all the Preamp slots.
I also have an Invader 2 and it has the same pre-amp tubes. Not sure if they're re-branded Shuguang or JJs.

I'm thinking of sticking a JJ 5751 in the FX Loop slot in both amps.
I get this impossible squeal/feedback on Channel 4 of both amps with my Helix in 4CM.
 

FLUXX

Member
Well that sucks that you can't turn down the ch vols because that's the only way to lower the loop level. Good luck. Strangely, I have the Helix FX loop at instrument level with my invader, and it seems to work fine. I need to mess with it more and see what's going on...
What about if you turn down the levels on the pedals themselves?
That's only true for the Savage, not the Invader. I run my Ch vols at 11pm on my Invader 2.
If you turn the Channel Volumes all the way up, you will clip the Helix FX loop (in 4CM)

I also set my Helix Globals to "Instrument" level and I'm getting good levels in 4CM.

Are you getting any crazy feedback on Ch 4 with the Helix in 4CM?
I'm getting this irritating shrill feedback on Ch 4
 

shadow

Member
That's only true for the Savage, not the Invader. I run my Ch vols at 11pm on my Invader 2.
If you turn the Channel Volumes all the way up, you will clip the Helix FX loop (in 4CM)

I also set my Helix Globals to "Instrument" level and I'm getting good levels in 4CM.

Are you getting any crazy feedback on Ch 4 with the Helix in 4CM?
I'm getting this irritating shrill feedback on Ch 4
I'm not getting feedback at all. Loud TV volumes max, though, and I use the built-in noise gate. Even with the occasional volume cranked, no feedback at all. Gain not cranked, super saturated early on dial. Those freaking crazy honky mids I turn down to 9 oclock, that might help. It reminds me almost of a mesa mark without graphic engaged kinda honky. I've been busy with school and a new computer build from hell, but I can't wait to get more into this magic combo. Plus, with the Helix 3.15, I wanna check out the quick-turn knob thingie, and more. The other midi thru thread is concerning a bit.
 
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