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Midi knob resolution using Max for cv
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Midi knob resolution using Max for cv
Hi, I'm interested in using a Max oscillator of some variety to supplement the CV available in my eurorack. Beap seems to be the most straight forward method of doing this. One thing I'm noticing is that when I change the frequency of the oscillator it jumps in fairly large discrete increments (4-6hz per step in the lower range). My guess is that the total range of the oscillator from 0hz to 20khz is 128 as necessitated the amount of available midi data sent from the controller that I'm using (the bitstream 3x). Is this the case? Furthermore, if using a mouse and pressing command (on a Mac) simultaneously, to adjust the frequency, I can achieve a higher resolution adjustment. I'm curious, do there exist control surfaces, the Monome Arc (or preferably cheaper and with more knobs) or maybe Push, that enable more precise adjustments of various parameters? And furthermore if in Ableton, or whereever, is there an easy way to specify that I'm using such a device and not a midi controller?
When I got my first monome arc, the very first thing I realized was that the resolution is one of the most important characteristics of it - and that i'd never want to use a normal 128-step midi controller again (especially for tasks like controlling oscillator frequency or scrubbing playheads of samplers). However, arcs are expensive and there's a lot of things I want to control, so it wasn't feasible to get enough arcs to control everything I have and so I was looking for other solutions.

The solution I found is the Midifighter Twister, but what I did with it should be possible with most midi-controllers that have encoders - because most of them can be configured to send relative control changes (i.e. a message saying "the knob was turned 1 step into clockwise direction" or something similar) rather than absolute ones. I'm not sure how fixed the protocol for this is, but the twister sends a midi control change with number 65 for a change in the clockwise direction and a 63 for a change in the counter-clockwise direction i think.

With a very small bit of logic in max, you can transform that to any resolution you want. I've added a bit of a convenience layer through a java-program that does the midi-communication and transforms everything into osc-messages that are very similar to those the arc sends and also transmits the action of pressing the knob in to osc. The osc-messages are then received by a max for live patch which has a number-box for each encoder of the twister that holds the "current value" of the encoder. Whenever I receive a change-message, it updates the number and clips it at 0 or the maximum value (which I set to 10000). For as long as the encoder is pressed, each change is multiplied by some factor, so that you can navigate the whole range rather quickly (basically like the encoders work on elektron devices). I then set up the freely assignable mapping to controls of live via the live object model and can thus use a 10000 step resolution controller for any device in live. I added led-feedback to the twister, but again, that's super easy to do, you basically just multiply your current value by (128 / maximumValue) and send that to the twister.

The midi-osc-conversion layer is of course completely optional - i just like working with osc more and make all my devices speak osc. It has the advantage of never having to worry about midi channels and (if you run multiple programs that could be midi hosts like live and max) stealing of midi devices by the wrong midi host. The only program that does midi in my system is the java-program, everyone else is set up to not ever grab any midi device and just respond to osc.

I'm very happy with that solution. I still have my arc and love it (there's of course a lot more to it than just the resolution), but for simple tasks, I now have two twisters worth of high-res knobs.
Thank you. I've been eyeing up a Monome Arc and Grid for some time and will sooner than later purchase both. I have the same concern with regards to the arc being only four knobs and wanting more control over various parameters. Those Midifighter Twisters look solid. I've never used touchosc on the iPad but intuition leads me to believe that I'll much prefer a tactile control surface. I'll likely follow your route, if I can figure out the programming end of it, as you seem to have answered all of my questions.
I have three MFTs but lately I use the encoders on two Faderfox UC-4s instead since in relative mode they can be set to do optional acceleration (faster turns = skipping some values), which helps when you have to scan across thousands of steps - otherwise you are turning frantically over and over for very small changes. The twisters are great for getting a bunch of relative controls in a small footprint though, and that max logic solution mentioned by x2mirko would help tremendously.

I thought I'd be happy with Lemur/TouchOSC for finer control, but this is an area where touchscreen just don't feel like instruments. I don't mind using them for file manipulation / granular work a la borderlands but I need physical controls for most parameters - staring at a screen makes me pay less attention to sound.

Arcs, yes, so tempting, so expensive....
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