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Justin P Brown

Zoom R8 & Control Surface Use

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I have connected the Zoom R8 to CW as a control surface (preferences>Midi>Control Surfaces & set up in/outputs), but when selecting 'Zoom R Series 1' at the bottom of the CW utilities menu there are no controls available. A small window opens stating 'R Series Sonar Plug-in  1.2.0.0 64bit edition'. The presets field of this window opens to reveal a blank white menu. Is this because it is not supported or do I need to configure?

I have discovered that it's not possible to record drums in real time on the R8 (the drum pad native functions are changed when the R8 is in record mode), so I want to assign samples to the built-in pads of the R8 & use them to record real time into Cakewalk. I am a beginner in recording & so don't know whether this is possible, but the R8 is supposed to be able to be used to control certain aspects of a DAW.

Enlightenment much appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

I had success using AZController to set up my nanoKontroller both with the Cakewalk interface and parameters on my favorite plug-in.  I don't have the links handy, but he has some videos that helped me get started and he has a website that should be easy to search for.  Maybe it will help you with the Zoom.

I should add that with the nanoKontrol, all of the sliders and buttons are configurable with the Korg Editor. I am not sure Zoom let's you do that or if they even publish what data the controls use.

I looked at the Zoom site a few hours ago and saw that as of February 2020 they still seem to be testing their software with other music programs.  You might want to see if they are testing Cakewalk and if not perhaps you could ask them to include it in their tests.

Not sure if you saw this SOS Article, but it does say: 

Quote

In the past, I have had problems getting Zoom's products to interface with and control my Cakewalk Sonar DAW. When reviewing the R24, I eventually gave up trying — even though there is a Sonar-specific plug-in option in the Driver Installation. Hoping for better luck with the R8, I was disappointed when I experienced the same problems. 

To me this tends to confirm my initial thought that the window you described was coming from the Zoom software.  Perhaps they need help developing their driver options.  The R8 looks handy; maybe you can help them out.

I looked for a document with a table of data output by the R8's controls--would be handy to map the R8 control data to anything else.  I couldn't find such a table.  Perhaps you could record the midi output of the R8 (each control, one at a time) to make your own table--especially if they don't have a utility like Korg and other do to set up the controls yourself? 

 

Edited by User 905133
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ACT is not used to send MIDI note data to a synth. ACT is used to control knobs and sliders on a plug-in UI. It may be possible use ACT to "play" the pads on a plug-in UI but I have not read about anyone using it that way.

Synths like SI-Drums expect to receive MIDI data directly from the controller. This is done by defining the controller as a MIDI input device and setting the controller as the input on the synth's instrument or MIDI track.

FWIW, I can find no reference to the drum pads on the R8 playing instruments in a DAW. It appears the device can act as a DAW audio interface and transport control only. That said, I have never used one and may have missed something in the documentation and my web search.

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Yeah, you will likely need a regular keyboard or pad controller to drive soft synths.

FWIW, SI-Drums is velocity sensitive but most of the kit pieces have only 3 or 4 velocity layers.

Until you get a proper MIDI input device, forget about clicking the plug-in UI with a mouse; use your PC keyboard and the virtual controller built into the DAW for real time input or enter the notes directly in the step sequencer, piano roll or staff view.

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10 minutes ago, Justin P Brown said:

Thanks. I installed, set up the AZ Controller & checked the videos. The drum pads on the R8 don't respond to thr AZ Controller software. The faders, rotary knob & many of the buttons do. I think it will not be possible to record drums in real time using the drum pads of the R8. It seems they're switched off in order to prevent this.

Glad that part of it helps!  Its been a while since I setup my AZController preset/configuration.  IIRC it shows what midi is being received.  Do the drum pads show they are sending out data there? 

image.png.b0c479de0fecf15f8a2c1dbd399d5d78.png

If the drum pads are sending out sysex data, that could mean additional programming is needed.  If data shows up from other parts of the R8, but not the Drum Pads, maybe there is a way to turn them on--either through the Zoom itself or a Zoom/R8 utility .  If not, I'd ask Zoom. Not sure if they have a user's forum.

 

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I have now achieved opening the ACT MIDI Controller presets window correctly. There is no preset for the Zoom R8, so I will have to custom create one. I now need to figure out how to create a custom preset button template for a MIDI drum kit, for example the CW SI-Drum Kit. This is a long process. I hope it is possible.

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30 minutes ago, scook said:

ACT is not used to send MIDI note data to a synth. ACT is used to control the plug-in UI.

Synths like SI-Drums expect to receive MIDI data directly from the controller. This is done by defining the controller as a MIDI input device and setting the controller as the input on the synth's instrument or MIDI track.

Sometimes the notes sent by a controller need to be transposed in order to meet the expectations of a synth. This translation is performed either in the controller's setup or the DAW using a drum map.

Thanks for the info . I have set up two Controller Set Up options now for MIDI Control Surfaces.

I am at the stage where I have opened an instrument track as SI-Drums, & set the Zoom R8 so I control the track vol fader, appropriate either solo/mute/rec commands, move between tracks using the arrow U/D buttons & expand or collapse them, use the rotary selection wheel to move the line marker, & various other functions. But this is not what I need, as it's not really any faster or convenient than using the mouse for these controls. Perhaps these would be useful for recording analogue instruments directly through the R8. Anyway I digress.

I want to be able to record real time drums from the pads of R8 (as they are velocity sensitive) using the sounds of, in this case, the SI-Drums. I have set the R8 as the input on the SI-Drums track, but I can only play the drums with either the mouse of the laptop keyboard, which of course is not touch sensitive. OR, when a drum is selected with the mouse, the R8 direction U/D buttons can trigger it. Also, when a parameter is selected on the SI-Drums panel, the same buttons function.

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35 minutes ago, User 905133 said:

I had success using AZController to set up my nanoKontroller both with the Cakewalk interface and parameters on my favorite plug-in.  I don't have the links handy, but he has some videos that helped me get started and he has a website that should be easy to search for.  Maybe it will help you with the Zoom.

I should add that with the nanoKontrol, all of the sliders and buttons are configurable with the Korg Editor. I am not sure Zoom let's you do that or if they even publish what data the controls use.

I looked at the Zoom site a few hours ago and saw that as of February 2020 they still seem to be testing their software with other music programs.  You might want to see if they are testing Cakewalk and if not perhaps you could ask them to include it in their tests.

Thanks. I installed, set up the AZ Controller & checked the videos. The drum pads on the R8 don't respond to thr AZ Controller software. The faders, rotary knob & many of the buttons do. I think it will not be possible to record drums in real time using the drum pads of the R8. It seems they're switched off in order to prevent this.

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4 minutes ago, User 905133 said:

Glad that part of it helps!  Its been a while since I setup my AZController preset/configuration.  IIRC it shows what midi is being received.  Do the drum pads show they are sending out data there?

 

No, they don't respond at all. I think I'm through with investigating this any further. For now I'll record the drums in real time using my laptop keyboard, until I get a more comprehensive dedicated controller.

Thanks very much for your help, & your optimism!

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The R8 drum pads are internal sample triggers., the keystrokes are not intended to be exported outside the R8.  You assign drum patches to each pad and can then play the pads in real time during R8 track playback.  I believe you can also record keystrokes to create a drum sequence.

There use to be a Zoom Yahoo music group and a Zoom user forum.  I was the owner and moderator of the Zoom Yahoo Music Group.  I deleted the group because of a lack of activity.  The Zoom user forum moved to Facebook at the beginning of 2020.

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Hi Jim, thanks for your response. I have only just seen this message. I have been using the fb Zoom page, very helpful people. The drum pads I have found totally useless for my requirments. It's not possible to record with them whilst playing back other tracks or recording other tracks simultaneously, so you'd have to imagine the music in your mind whilst recording the a drum track to your music. I have no idea why that facility has been specificly designed that way. Building a drum track to a song blindly, in a series of small loops, & patching them together is too much of a mammoth task for me. I'd rather play perc manually or use my laptop keyboard with the perc in the daw.

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