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Curious- Why Use a Control Surface?

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6 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

The documentation says "if you want to use Active Controller Technology, ....select either the Cakewalk Generic Surface or the ACT MIDI Controller." I detest when manuals say something like this. "If you want to use XXX, then do this" when I have no idea if I want to use XXX. I never heard of ACT until I started using Cakewalk. If it said "if you want to use ACT, which is necessary for controlling plug-ins" then I would know what to select.

If I need to change it to "ACT MIDI Controller" or "Generic Surface," will the transport and faders still work when I don't have a plug-in in focus? 

Only if you've defined mappings for your transport & faders.... if your controller is emulating a Mackie, you can probably map the transport, but faders probably won't work.
 

6 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

 If so, why install Mark's thing? I was under the impression that "MMcL Mackie Control" had special mappings for the nK2. Do I lose that if I switch to Generic Control Surface?

The ONLY reason for installing the MMcL Mackie Control version would be to have a second (but independent) Mackie Controller alongside the Cakewalk Mackie Control. 

So in my studio, I use the Cakewalk Mackie Control for my MCU + XT + C4,  and the MMcL Mackie Control for the nanoKontrol 2 stuck on the wall.  This means when I change banks of tracks on the nanoKONTROL 2, my MCU +XT + C4 don't change with it. Of course if I change a fader for a track that they're BOTH looking at, then yes, both of them will change.

The "special"mapping for the nanoKONTROL 2 was allowing the Cycle (loop on/off) button to be used as a shift key for the other functions. These aren't needed on the MCU as it has all the extra buttons, whereas the nanoKONTROL 2 is pretty sparse in that respect.
 

6 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Is what I'm trying to do the realm of "want to use Active Controller Technology?" I'm getting the feeling it does. The documentation also goes on and on about importing ACT data, tells you where to go to find new ones, but then gives no hints as to what folder to install them in. It says that Cakewalk already comes with "built-in mappings for all relatively recent Cakewalk plug-ins." Relative to what? I tried opening PX-64 and wiggling the faders and knobs on the Korg, and CbB obediently moved the faders and pan in the Console. This was while the plug-in had focus.

I don't even remember how I installed Mark's control surface driver or definitions or whatever the nomenclature is. If CbB has been updated to incorporate his features, do I still need to select MMcL Mackie Control?

(if you get the idea that I find the documentation frustrating, you're right. If not for the forum, it would be so much harder 😂)

ACT allows you to define mappings to parameters on the fly.  You can't do this with the Mackie Control.

With the Mackie Control, Synth/Plugin parameters are either assigned automatically (i.e. in order that the plugin reports them), or can be mapped within MackieControl.ini.   I wrote the C4Mapper utility to edit MackieControl.ini for you.

Also, when editing synths with the Mackie Control / C4,  it works on the Synth Rack... not on the active track. 

To be honest though, unless you've got a Mackie Control compatible control surface with a display over each track, it's gonna be pretty hard to use as you'll be essentially driving blind unless you memorise where all the parameters are.  I keep meaning to get around to writing a display emulator, but I never seem to have the time nowadays!

The other thing with synths, is that there's so many parameters available that it makes editing almost impossible. Even with my C4, which has 32 knobs, it doesn't even cover the parameters for a single oscillator on most VSTi's.

Effects are much less of an issue.  I use my C4 all the time for EQ's and compressors, and I've set up mappings to make sure the knobs are in a similar position for each plugin so it's dead easy to jump to the right one.

But with the nanoKONTROL 2..... I guess that leaves you with a choice... do you want to use the nanoKONTROL for transport / faders, or do you want to use it as an ACT controller for synths?

If you want both, you might want to consider getting another nanoKONTROL 2 (or something similar from another manufacturer so the MIDI devices don't get confused) and use one for transport and the other for ACT.
 

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hello following this thread with interest..

hey  msmcleod are you saying i can control/manipulate vst plugins with my behringer x touch?

Edited by Bassfaceus
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15 minutes ago, Bassfaceus said:

hello following this thread with interest..

hey  msmcleod are you saying i can control/manipulate vst plugins with my behringer x touch?

I've not got an x-touch to try it out on, but it should work as long as the x-touch isn't sending lots of extra messages as part of its emulation.

I'm not sure whether the Cycle button or the Scrub button is best for the SHIFT key - you'll need to give it a try.

How well it will work is down to the x-touch's emulation implementation.  The PreSonus FaderPort 16 works pretty well, but it does get confused at times as to which mode it's in.

[Edit] - Documentation can be found here:
https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentation?product=Cakewalk&language=3&help=NewFeatures.31.html


 

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@razor7music, thanks for starting this post.  It has generated a really great discussion with many, many good questions and answers.

Edited by Jim Fogle
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On 9/3/2020 at 11:00 PM, Starship Krupa said:

Quick tech question concerning the nanaKontrol II interface...
I'm assuming it does not use motorized faders to be that slim, but here's the question. Once you set up the parameters on a track of the volume where you want it, you save the project, exit and work on a different song. Then you re-open the previous song, how does the controller(assuming since the controller doesn't have motorized faders) know where the levels of the song are at the beginning of the song since the faders are now in a different position??? Or since the faders are now at a different level, will the song start at those levels instead of the level you had saved??

thanks for answering my question:)

 

 

 

So....okay, this is relevant to my interests. My nanoKONTROL II probably gets the most use as a remote transport controller. I can set up my tracks and monitor mix, get myself comfortable behind the drum kit, then use the nanoK II to start and stop recording, play back the last take, etc. Sometimes I use the faders and pan knobs when mixing.

Since you say control synth(s) plural, and you use the transport, how does this work? My guess is that Cakewalk passes the input from the Arturia to your synth if its UI has focus? And then if you switch to a different synth, with differently mapped controls, the controller input will automatically switch to that synth. The Arturia's transport buttons stay permanently mapped to the main Cakewalk transport. Do I have that right?

If so, what I want to learn how to do is, for instance, map the controller for Breaktweaker. Breaktweaker is like a DAW-within-a-DAW, with multiple tracks, its own transport, etc. Not all of the buttons and knobs have a 1:1 correspondence, so I might want to map, say, the "Marker" button on the Korg to do something different.

Then when I close the Breaktweaker UI (or maybe switch focus to a different plug-in's UI), I don't want the controller to affect its settings any more, I want to switch back to controlling Cakewalk's transport and channel strips.

Even after careful study of the Reference Guide, I still don't know how to get started. I read the section on ACT.  I have my controller in SONAR mode and Control Surfaces set to use @msmcleod's MmCl Mackie Control. That got it to work for how I'm using it now.

 

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7 hours ago, Einstein R said:

Quick tech question concerning the nanaKontrol II interface...
Once you set up the parameters on a track of the volume where you want it, you save the project, exit and work on a different song. Then you re-open the previous song, how does the controller(assuming since the controller doesn't have motorized faders) know where the levels of the song are at the beginning of the song since the faders are now in a different position??? Or since the faders are now at a different level, will the song start at those levels instead of the level you had saved??

Good question.

What happens is that everything in your just loaded project stays as it was until you move a fader. Then the setting (only that setting, not all of them) will jump to the fader's location. For this reason, I don't just leave mine sitting around where I can accidentally bump a fader. Also, of course, save early and often, and use of mix saving could also be insurance.

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On 9/7/2020 at 5:12 AM, Starship Krupa said:

Good question.

What happens is that everything in your just loaded project stays as it was until you move a fader. Then the setting (only that setting, not all of them) will jump to the fader's location. For this reason, I don't just leave mine sitting around where I can accidentally bump a fader. Also, of course, save early and often, and use of mix saving could also be insurance.

Thank you....

that's kind of what I expected it to behave as:)

 

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My main reason to go control surface was the jog / shuttle . Back in '90s, Cakewalk was only used as MIDI sequencer. I used stacked Alesis ADAT to do multi track audio recording. controlled by Alesis BRC controller. I got used to the jog wheel so much to jump among locations in a song.

When I switch to "all in the box" early 2000 (Sonar 2XL era), I found mouse and keyboard didn't catch my efficiency as when I work with BRC. Thank God, Cakewalk (in partnership with Peavey) offered their first dedicated control surface with not only the jog wheel, shuttle and transport buttons, but also the glorious of 9 motorized faders! And they all are assignable. It doesn't take long for me to order the Peavey StudioMix and it sat perfectly on my mixing desk. I even buy another one for my secondary DAW, and both of them are still in used until today.  In addition to the Peavey StudioMix, I also utilize Frontier Tranzport (wireless).
As a bonus, they also give some good impression on clients. 😀

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James interesting account. I wasn't sure anyone was still using the StudioMix. I'm glad you are. It is built like a tank. It also has a find and gross scroll wheel. A very neat feature.

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Well i cant work out how to control VST ees with my Behringer X- Touch..

been mucking around for hours cant get it..

checked out the link you suggested Msmcleod but i cant work it out.

anyone got any tips for a numbskull like me?

 

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I have invested and used SC but as a DAW controller, for me a keyboard and trackball is much more intuitive, all muscle memory.  I use a Trackball mouse so movement is super precise and fast.  My biggest issue with using a SC I have to jump to a block of 8 channels at-a-time and most of the time I don't know which block or channel I'm at;  fader movement on a wrong track;

I only use the SC for tweaking vst synth, the  (sliders/knobs/pads) is essential in this application.

 

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Your problem can be easily fixed by don't use a SC (Surface Control) rather use a CS (Control Surface). 🤪

Also in Cakewalk there is an indication called "where am I" that indicates what faders are being controlled by a CS.  You can color this line any color you want so it sticks out for you. 

Also on a Mackie Control it also indicates what fader is controlling what channel via the display above the channel strip.  It is one of the main features of a MC. 

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