W. J. Melvin
W. J. Melvin Musician, producer, sound engineer, music director, composer, director of MIDI technology @beat_bars

How to control Overloud TH-U with a foot controller

How to control Overloud TH-U with a foot controller

Just like in the previous tutorial on MainStage 3, I’ll show you how to use the minimum amount of equipment (only one footswitch and one pedal) to set and control any number of effects in Overloud TH‑U (stand‑alone version).

First, however, I’ll go over a very simple standard approach to show its limitations.

Approach 1

Suppose you only have the overdrive and wah‑wah effects on your pedalboard.
You want to turn each one on and off using the footswitch and control the wah‑wah effect with the pedal.

As for hardware, you need one regular expression pedal, one double footswitch, and one USB MIDI adapter.
Once you have your MIDI foot controllers ready, open “Audio Settings”, and make sure it is active:
TH-U Audio Settings

In TH‑U, just as in its predecessor TH‑3, there are two possibilities to assign MIDI messages to effects – only for a given Preset and globally (for all Presets). The procedure of assigning is the same – right click on the effect and select the appropriate option:
TH-U MIDI Learn

You can also assign one message to control a given type of effect (and not its specific model), i.e. CC #1 will control each wah‑wah pedal, whether it’s Rox (Vox) or Cry Maybe (Cry Baby), or any new model.
To do this, open the MIDI menu and click “Learn” in the corresponding section, in this case “Wah”:
TH-U MIDI Settings - Wah

Proceed in the same way by assigning and mapping both footswitch buttons to toggle the wah‑wah and overdrive effects on and off.

Approach 2

Add the whammy pedal to the Approach 1 configuration. We also want to turn it on and off and control it using the pedal. In the standard approach described above, we would have to buy a second expression pedal, a second footswitch, and an additional MIDI adapter.

To avoid this and use only the equipment we have, we can apply one simple trick - switch between entire Programs.
A Program, i.e. a Preset, is a whole group of effects and their settings.

After adding the whammy effect to the Preset, copy and paste it into the empty slot.

Proceed in the same way as in Approach 1, assigning the expression pedal to different effects in each Preset - wah‑wah or whammy, while setting one of them on and the other off:

Preset       wah‑wah       whammy      
1 on off
2 off on


In addition, you can copy these Preset again, and in each Preset set whether overdrive is enabled or not:

Preset       wah‑wah       whammy       overdrive      
1 on off on
2 off on on
3 on off off
4 off on off


And now the most important part – how to switch between Presets.
There are 2 ways in TH‑U. The simplest way: in the MIDI settings, check “Program Changes recall presets in current bank”:
TH-U MIDI Settings - Program Change
(I described the “Program Change” message in more detail here)

In the application for configuring the MIDI controller, set the Toggle mode to “Up/Down Program #”. beat bars config

The second way is a bit less intuitive, because the MIDI specification uses messages such as Program Change to switch presets, but some controllers do not have this functionality. In such case, you can use CC event by assigning the corresponding controller numbers to call the functions “Next preset” and “Previous preset”: TH-U MIDI Settings - preset navigation

This way, having only two buttons physically available, we can switch between the entire presets, not just turn individual effects on and off.

In the next blog posts, I will describe how to configure other Amp Sims.
Stay tuned.

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