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Feature Request: Custom Instrument Maps for VSTi's

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With so many VSTi's available that do not send the patch names in a way that CW can read them (some work in SAVIHost, but not with CW), it would be VERY useful if users could map the patch names to banks and patch numbers, instead of selecting by archaic and meaningless numbers.

Further, if this would be in a simple text file format or easily imported from such, users could make, upload and share these for the plethora of VSTi's out there.

Edited by John Kalabric
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1 hour ago, John Kalabric said:

. . . instead of selecting by archaic and meaningless numbers.

By this are you referring to midi ports and midi channels?

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1 hour ago, Josh Wolfer said:

I wish. +1 million. It's been requested many times before. 

Up vote it (as I think you may of) and possibly post a map here (for when the feature is enabled) to bump this thread and keep it in the eyes of the feature devs of Cakewalk.

1 hour ago, User 905133 said:

By this are you referring to midi ports and midi channels?

Well, actually I am talking explicitly about VSTi's which do not really have physical MIDI ports. I know for physical MIDI ports CW already has the feature. I am requesting it to be brought across over to VSTi's as well.

EDIT: Maybe I misread what you were asking. I mean Bank and Patch numbers. Not midi ports.

Edited by John Kalabric

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On 8/10/2020 at 12:12 PM, John Kalabric said:

Up vote it (as I think you may of) and possibly post a map here (for when the feature is enabled) to bump this thread and keep it in the eyes of the feature devs of Cakewalk.

Well, actually I am talking explicitly about VSTi's which do not really have physical MIDI ports. I know for physical MIDI ports CW already has the feature. I am requesting it to be brought across over to VSTi's as well.

EDIT: Maybe I misread what you were asking. I mean Bank and Patch numbers. Not midi ports.

And not just patches.  Controllers and note names  (for keyswtching) as as well.

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On 8/9/2020 at 8:20 PM, John Kalabric said:

With so many VSTi's available that do not send the path names in a way that CW can read them (some work in SAVIHost, but not with CW), it would be VERY useful if users could map the patch names to banks and patch numbers, instead of selecting by archaic and meaningless numbers.

Further, if this would be in a simple text file format or easily imported from such, users could make, upload and share these for the plethora of VSTi's out there.

I couldn't agree with you more.  The patch names and numbers were all available and you were able to set them in Cakewalk 9. I think the developers have to go way back and recover GUI interface ergonomics. Also missing are the tools in "staff" view and "piano roll" view, and the mute, solo, record and other stuff is missing inside these views. The app has been trashed in my opinion. Cakewalk 9 and Audacity can beat this app up, hands down.

 

CW9 Patches.jpg

CW9 Piano roll editor.jpg

CW9 Staff view.jpg

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These MSR buttons and tools in Piano Roll view you mean?

image.thumb.png.279155c0d8cea6e0b76ed98d7dec83e8.png

They are there in Staff View too:

image.png.e6cb8d53aec5541e39aa16f5c08a9bf3.png

Edited by Kevin Perry

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1 hour ago, Nathan Champaigne said:

I couldn't agree with you more.  The patch names and numbers were all available and you were able to set them in Cakewalk 9. I think the developers have to go way back and recover GUI interface ergonomics. Also missing are the tools in "staff" view and "piano roll" view, and the mute, solo, record and other stuff is missing inside these views. The app has been trashed in my opinion. Cakewalk 9 and Audacity can beat this app up, hands down.

CW9 Patches.jpg

 

What you are showing in the above screenshot, is using instrument maps on physical MIDI out ports. In your case, a "USB MIDI Interface". As far as I know, these still work.

What my post / feature request is speaking about, is that we can not do the same for our virtual instruments, which are of course are becoming more more prevalent.

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Just to be clear, your basic request is for the ability to create and use Instrument Definitions for soft synths (currently only available for synths accessed via ports and channels) as clarified in the following quote.  It makes sense to me if it can be done, esp. for custom patches and patch banks (in addition to factory patches/banks).

On 8/9/2020 at 10:42 PM, John Kalabric said:

Well, actually I am talking explicitly about VSTi's which do not really have physical MIDI ports. I know for physical MIDI ports CW already has the feature. I am requesting it to be brought across over to VSTi's as well.

EDIT: Maybe I misread what you were asking. I mean Bank and Patch numbers. Not midi ports.

To clarify: when you referred to ". . . selecting by archaic and meaningless numbers" earlier, I was asking if you were saying the midi port/channel selection process was archaic and meaningless.  You have clarified this--it refers to selecting banks and patch numbers devoid of patch names.

Thanks.

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3 hours ago, Nathan Champaigne said:

 Also missing are the tools in "staff" view and "piano roll" view, and the mute, solo, record and other stuff is missing inside these views. 

For me, I also like having the old-style tools in the Staff View windows.  However, that should be in its own feature request thread.  

Edited by User 905133
to simplify my reply
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Remember that it's going to depend on the soft-synth too: for example, Cakewalk's older Dimension Pro doesn't support patch changes (probably doesn't need to); neither does Big Tick's Cheeze Machine II (where it would make sense).  So it's not a panacea.

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1 hour ago, User 905133 said:
3 hours ago, Nathan Champaigne said:

 Also missing are the tools in "staff" view and "piano roll" view, and the mute, solo, record and other stuff is missing inside these views. 

For me, I also like having the old-style tools in the Staff View windows.  However, that should be in its own feature request thread.  

The Tool menu is easily called up in all of those Views with the "t" key. One key press and the tool menu pops up under the mouse cursor. Or learn the corresponding hot keys for each tool (F5-F10) and switching tools is even quicker and easier.

I understand how moving from Pro Audio 9  to CbB can be confusing. All of the old functionality is still there plus a whole lot more. The learning curve however, is steep.

Now back to the OP. I love your idea. +1

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On 8/10/2020 at 11:23 AM, Josh Wolfer said:

I wish. +1 million. It's been requested many times before. 

 

6 hours ago, Base 57 said:

Now back to the OP. I love your idea. +1

So for now, the count stands at 1M & 2 (ie counting me as well);)

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17 hours ago, Promidi said:

And not just patches.  Controllers and note names  (for keyswtching) as as well.

Controller names are just a standardized names, they can serve different purposes in virtually every synth. Maybe you mean that we could create separate controller names for each synth and save it as a controller definitions?

As for keyswitching I heartily hope it's already on the todo list.

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On 8/12/2020 at 10:35 AM, chris.r said:

Controller names are just a standardized names, they can serve different purposes in virtually every synth. Maybe you mean that we could create separate controller names for each synth and save it as a controller definitions?

As for keyswitching I heartily hope it's already on the todo list.

Yes, I am meaning create separate controller names for each synth and save it as an instrument definition file for a given vst.

Note: It is already possible to have a global list of controller names defined.... but these same defined names appear on the dropdown regardless of what the instrument is.

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On 8/9/2020 at 10:42 PM, John Kalabric said:

Well, actually I am talking explicitly about VSTi's which do not really have physical MIDI ports. I know for physical MIDI ports CW already has the feature. I am requesting it to be brought across over to VSTi's as well.

EDIT: Maybe I misread what you were asking. I mean Bank and Patch numbers. Not midi ports.

Interesting proposal. But I believe that this issue, and the solution for bank and patch numbers in virtual instruments lies in the MIDI standard and the VST instrument coding. Cakewalk and other DAWs are already capable of sending standard bank and patch change messages. But the VSTi's must be capable of knowing what to do with the message.

VSTi's can support standard .fxb and .fxp files, with 128 patches per bank, but only if the developer has  incorporated that feature, in addition to whatever proprietary internal patch bank/browser system that was implemented. Sometimes these internal banks can hold thousands of patches, so there is no way to have a one-for-one map to cross reference to .fxb banks.  And each developer usually has a different internal method, as they are virtually free from being bound to the the old MIDI standard for this aspect of patch handling.

The solution is to save your 128 favorite patches as ".fxp" to a custom ".fxb" bank stored in a folder that the plugin dev has accounted for. The dev also has to  code the plugin to accept bank and patch changes.

I initially struggled with this concept as I transitioned from years of using external MIDI instruments, external MIDI ports and cables, instrument definitions, MIDI SysEx transfers, etc.

Here is an example based on the SynthMaster One User Guide.

 

 

SynthMaster One MIDI Bank Suppport.PNG

 

SynthMaster One Manage MIDI Banks.PNG

Edited by abacab

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Perhaps I'm coming at this from an entirely different direction, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to send bank and preset numbers to a VSTi.

Live performance?

I vastly prefer the VSTi's I have (e.g. all the Arturia stuff) that present the presets as a single huge searchable library, rather than arbitrarily breaking them up into 32 or 128 entry 'banks' or 'cards' or 'ROMs'  (e.g. the KORG stuff). Though I suppose I could see a point to having the ability to pick favorites from the library and have them as a 'quick access list' sort of thing.

But for what I'm doing at least, I've never wanted to change presets on a VSTi mid track. If I need two different sounds from the same synth, I'd do two instances on two separate tracks. The EQ and other mixing-foo for one preset would almost certainly not be correct for a different preset. Sure, one could automate changes to the EQ and other FX when the preset changes, but I think it'd be easier just to go the "two separate instances" route and not have to do any of that.

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16 minutes ago, John Bradley said:

Perhaps I'm coming at this from an entirely different direction, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to send bank and preset numbers to a VSTi.

Live performance?

I vastly prefer the VSTi's I have (e.g. all the Arturia stuff) that present the presets as a single huge searchable library, rather than arbitrarily breaking them up into 32 or 128 entry 'banks' or 'cards' or 'ROMs'  (e.g. the KORG stuff). Though I suppose I could see a point to having the ability to pick favorites from the library and have them as a 'quick access list' sort of thing.

But for what I'm doing at least, I've never wanted to change presets on a VSTi mid track. If I need two different sounds from the same synth, I'd do two instances on two separate tracks. The EQ and other mixing-foo for one preset would almost certainly not be correct for a different preset. Sure, one could automate changes to the EQ and other FX when the preset changes, but I think it'd be easier just to go the "two separate instances" route and not have to do any of that.

Yes I agree, but I just wanted to share how it has already been done. Coming from a MIDI hardware only background, to an in-the-box VSTi only setup, I  no longer have use for bank/program changes. I believe using multiple instances on different tracks is more effective, especially if you are using samplers. The load times could be problematic if you are loading large samples when changing instrument programs on the fly. In the old days, the sample ROM was relatively small in hardware ROMplers.

Edited by abacab

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30 minutes ago, John Bradley said:

Perhaps I'm coming at this from an entirely different direction, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to send bank and preset numbers to a VSTi.

Live performance?

I vastly prefer the VSTi's I have (e.g. all the Arturia stuff) that present the presets as a single huge searchable library, rather than arbitrarily breaking them up into 32 or 128 entry 'banks' or 'cards' or 'ROMs'  (e.g. the KORG stuff). Though I suppose I could see a point to having the ability to pick favorites from the library and have them as a 'quick access list' sort of thing.

But for what I'm doing at least, I've never wanted to change presets on a VSTi mid track. If I need two different sounds from the same synth, I'd do two instances on two separate tracks. The EQ and other mixing-foo for one preset would almost certainly not be correct for a different preset. Sure, one could automate changes to the EQ and other FX when the preset changes, but I think it'd be easier just to go the "two separate instances" route and not have to do any of that.

Agreed.

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29 minutes ago, John Bradley said:

Perhaps I'm coming at this from an entirely different direction, but I'm not sure why anyone would want to send bank and preset numbers to a VSTi.

How about capturing patch changes when recording midi data during the compositional process: press a button on a keyboard and the patch number gets recorded onto the track.

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