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I really need an introduction into Midi mapping...
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author I really need an introduction into Midi mapping...
paosciante
Hi!

Ive recently started using a hybrid setup between my eurorack and software (loving CV tools and Reaktor). I am planning on building a live setup with a small eurorack case and a latptop with some midi controllers. At the moment, as midi controllers I have a Beatstep Pro and I recently bought a Korg NanoKontrol2 I have just started learning.

Soooo my main problem is I don't really understand midi. I know there are 16 channels per port, and I do understand what midi CCs and notes do. I have also learned what MCU means and how it works. Problem is I am having a lot of toruble understanding some of the more basic (maybe philosphical?) stuff related to midi controllers and how to get them to do whatever you want.

I would like to be able of using the NanoKontrol2 as a hardware controller for my software. At the moment, I dont care too much about MCU and controlling track faders or pans, instead, I want to map CV tools ADSRs to the NanoKontrol2 faders, its knobs into Abletons reverbs and delays parameters. Would it be possible to use the same hardware device to control other settings? As far as I have read, by changing midi channels on the controller, I can have as mani midi CCs controlled through the maximum number of physical controllers (knobs, faders, switches, etc). Is this correct?

Does this mean that in case I could change the midi channel on the Nanokontrol (which I cannot find how to do anywhere!), I would have 8 faders, 8 rotary knobs, and 24 buttons per midi channel? So I could, for example, have 16 different VSTs or plugins or Reaktor ensembles with up to those faders, knobs and buttons?


What I really want to know is how people are setting up their custom midi mappings. If I have a 16 knob controller, am I limited to only controlling 16 virtual parameters? Is in it possible to have a different set of mappings and hardware controls per VST or plugin?





I also have a Beatstep Pro, where changing midi channel is super easy, but until next week I wont be back in front of it, but I am assuming the same principles would apply to any midi controller seriously, i just don't get it


Sooo please! Someone who understands all this digital witchcraft! Could you send me to a good tutorial? Give a good explanation? Send me to some good manuals or essays info? I really feel like I am starting from the veeery beginning here and info seems limited or very cryptic


Thaaaanks! If you are around Madrid, Ill get you a drink!

It's peanut butter jelly time!
Panason
The cheap Korg stuff is extremely basic and doesn't even have a proper user guide. Get rid of it and get the Nektar Panorama P1.

Better controllers let you have multiple assignments (usually called "Pages" or "Templates" ) so you can switch from controlling one thing to another by pressing a button.

A controller without a screen is mostly useless for this.
ranix
I disagree with the above and think it's ridiculous advice.

I don't use Ableton so I can't help you set up midi controllers for use with Ableton but if I were you I'd search "ableton midi mapping" on youtube or google and watch videos until I understood how to do it.

Off the top of my head I would expect that you can map inside Ableton without changing the settings on the controller. There's usually a way to do "smart mapping" or similar where you can use the mouse to click the software control you want to map, then press the button or turn the knob on the midi controller. The DAW will understand that you want to control that parameter with that button or knob.

I have no experience with Ableton so I'm not sure it has such a feature, but I'd expect it to.

I don't use advanced DAWs with this kind of functionality and simply connect the MIDI controller directly to a hardware instrument or via a pass-through. If you remember MIDI is actually designed for that use case and not for controlling your DAW, and that the DAW controls are an afterthought tacked on by the DAW manufacturer, that might help
Panason
ranix wrote:


I have no experience with Ableton so I'm not sure it has such a feature, but I'd expect it to.


You didn't even understand the question.
Panason
paosciante wrote:
Would it be possible to use the same hardware device to control other settings? As far as I have read, by changing midi channels on the controller, I can have as mani midi CCs controlled through the maximum number of physical controllers (knobs, faders, switches, etc). Is this correct?

Does this mean that in case I could change the midi channel on the Nanokontrol (which I cannot find how to do anywhere!), I would have 8 faders, 8 rotary knobs, and 24 buttons per midi channel? So I could, for example, have 16 different VSTs or plugins or Reaktor ensembles with up to those faders, knobs and buttons?


You may be able to set this up with the nanokontrol but you'll find in practice that it's not much fun for more than 2 instruments because you won't remember what the controls do if you have a break for a few days/weeks.

You need to read Ableton's User Guide about MIDI mapping but yes, most things on the screen can be controlled with MIDI notes or MIDI CC messages and Live should remember what MIDI channel the message should come from for each control. But of course if the nanokontrol cannot be set to send to other MIDI channels then you can't. It seems to be more of a basic DAW controller than a fully programmable MIDI controller. In my opinion if you're at all serious you should get a better machine for this job.

Sound On Sound magazine online is probably a good resource to learn the MIDI stuff - it's really simple and it sounds like you got the idea of how it works already.
shred
There's a Korg Kontrol editing software which can be downloaded from Korg's website where you can, presumably, set the Midi port per "page". Looks like the nanoKontrol2 has 8 "pages" which would mean 8 pages of all of the front controls (knobs, faders, etc.)
ranix
Panason wrote:
ranix wrote:


I have no experience with Ableton so I'm not sure it has such a feature, but I'd expect it to.


You didn't even understand the question.


Quote:
I would like to be able of using the NanoKontrol2 as a hardware controller for my software. At the moment, I dont care too much about MCU and controlling track faders or pans, instead, I want to map CV tools ADSRs to the NanoKontrol2 faders, its knobs into Abletons reverbs and delays parameters.


herp derp
paosciante
Hey thanks to everyone for taking your time!

I have been searching some generic midi stuff on several forums and online magazines/blogs, as well as looking at some youtube tutorials.

It seems like I can sort of do what I want with the Nanokontrol2, but its true that as I cannot easily change its midi channel without opening the software editor, I can only have a maximum of 8 knobs and 8 faders to map (so no scenes, or banks, or anything) if I am in CC mode. If using it in MCU mode, I do have banks. I need to try this out once I am back from my extremely short holiday (which Ive spent on the internet reading about midi Dead Banana ) but it seems that if I am in MCU mode, I could have the first bank for controlling 8 tracks (volume, pans, solo, mutes), and I could use the next bank (which should be assigned to tracks 9-16) as one midi template for my CV tools adsrs controls (I am looking forward to controlling the two envelopes with the 8 faders) and LFos (have 8 knobs to play around), and have the next bank (tracks 17-24) for controlling reverb and filters inside Live. If this works, it would suffice as I am trying to limit myself as this will be for my live (as in playing, not the software) setup where I dont need to have control over a million things.

If this doesnt work, I will probably get rid of the nanokontrol and buy a Novation Launch Control XL, which seems much convenient with those 24 knobs, 8 faders and very easy access to changing midi channels/control maps



All this is really dependant on my understanding being correct: So each Midi channel is like a different midi map/scene/template with up to 128 controls (if you have access to 128 hardware controls). So if you want you could have midi channel 1 mapped to the mixer in Ableton, midi channel 2 mapped to control some reverbs and delays, midi channel 3 to control the parameters on a virtual synth, midi channel 4 the controls of a virtual drum machine, etc all with the same set of hardware knobs. Is this correct? Is this the "only" (I am assuming by scripting or max4live you can do whatever, but thats a different game) way of getting a lot of parameters mapped to a limited set of hardware controls?


Thanks in advance, and dont fight over midi controllers, they arent worth it w00t
Astrolabe23
paosciante wrote:


What I really want to know is how people are setting up their custom midi mappings. If I have a 16 knob controller, am I limited to only controlling 16 virtual parameters? Is in it possible to have a different set of mappings and hardware controls per VST or plugin?






I have achieved deeper midi control over ableton using a software from Isotonik Studios called Preditor. By using a compatible midi controller I can have a dedicated control set up for every different VST or Ableton device. All I have to do is click on the device onscreen and my controller recognizes the plugin and updates the controls. It takes a bit of time to initially set up but it almost eliminates the need for manual mapping because it's stores everything in the live scripts. It makes my Behringer BCR-2000 work like a Push and automatically work for any device or VST that I select. It also enables the Behringer to switch between multiple pages so you can control everything on even the largest VST's. The nicest thing is that it overcomes the limitations of standard midi mapping over multiple devices. It speeds things up because I don't have to do any manual midi mapping. I don't know that I have fully explained it well but you can get more info and see videos at their site. If you have one of the compatible controllers, I highly recommend this for a serious improvement and super tight integration when midi controlling Live. The only drawback I can site is that it only supports a limited number of midi controller models and it's not beginner level easy "plug and play" to start using. It requires some setup and mapping to work with your set of VST's, but it worked perfectly for me by following the setup instructions provided.


https://isotonikstudios.com/product/preditor-2-control-surface-automap ping-utility/
Blairio
Astrolabe23 wrote:
paosciante wrote:


What I really want to know is how people are setting up their custom midi mappings. If I have a 16 knob controller, am I limited to only controlling 16 virtual parameters? Is in it possible to have a different set of mappings and hardware controls per VST or plugin?






I have achieved deeper midi control over ableton using a software from Isotonik Studios called Preditor. By using a compatible midi controller I can have a dedicated control set up for every different VST or Ableton device. All I have to do is click on the device onscreen and my controller recognizes the plugin and updates the controls. It takes a bit of time to initially set up but it almost eliminates the need for manual mapping because it's stores everything in the live scripts. It makes my Behringer BCR-2000 work like a Push and automatically work for any device or VST that I select. It also enables the Behringer to switch between multiple pages so you can control everything on even the largest VST's. The nicest thing is that it overcomes the limitations of standard midi mapping over multiple devices. It speeds things up because I don't have to do any manual midi mapping. I don't know that I have fully explained it well but you can get more info and see videos at their site. If you have one of the compatible controllers, I highly recommend this for a serious improvement and super tight integration when midi controlling Live. The only drawback I can site is that it only supports a limited number of midi controller models and it's not beginner level easy "plug and play" to start using. It requires some setup and mapping to work with your set of VST's, but it worked perfectly for me by following the setup instructions provided.


https://isotonikstudios.com/product/preditor-2-control-surface-automap ping-utility/


I have a Roland A500 Pro controller keyboard which has a couple of dozen pots, faders and switches - all assignable. I have templates loaded into it for all my synth modules. So far, so cool. The only downside is that these templates have to be built in the computer using Roland software, and then exported out to the A500 Pro.

It is a pest, but I think unavoidable. You need the screen real estate of a computer monitor to leverage all the stuff an A500 (or any complex controller) is capable of.
Panason
Panason wrote:


A controller without a screen is mostly useless for this.
paosciante
Wow, that Isotonik Preditor looks amazing!


But I believe something like the Remote SL mkI could actually do the job. It has two screens and plenty hardware knobs.

I don't mind manually mapping everything, it actually feels therapeutic and a nice way of spending a sunday afternoon.

Im really inclining into getting a Remote Zero Sl mkI, I really like its form factor and even its 90s aesthetics hehe. Ditching automap (I have read its a bit cluncky and it wraps all yourr vsts in an awkward way), and just doing manual maps for my vsts and effects.

As I say, I am not looking into a full on studio solution (although if this does the job, I am willing to take the time to map everything I use when producing and mixing). This is atm so I can build a live rig I can use with my band and I can get the laptop to one side and avoid clicking and staring at the screen during concerts. I am really only using CV tools, some Reaktor ensembles where I am doing very limited live tweaking, playing around with some efx and filters and some muting tracks.


Cheers! And thank you to everyone whos taking the time! Your the best we're not worthy
ersatzplanet
paosciante wrote:
It seems like I can sort of do what I want with the Nanokontrol2, but its true that as I cannot easily change its midi channel without opening the software editor, I can only have a maximum of 8 knobs and 8 faders to map (so no scenes, or banks, or anything) if I am in CC mode.


You *MAY* be able to use a MIDI channelizer box between the Nanokontrol2 and the computer. The MIDI channelizer is a small box that takes a MIDI input stream and changes its channel to a different MIDI channel. These are typically used to change channels on controlling keyboards or sequencers that are used as masters that don't already have that function. Sometimes also called MIDI Mappers. Some can also change note ranges to multiple channels.

The problem is that most of the more inexpensive ones only deal with note numbers and not CC data. Also depending on what the CC data is doing when the channel is changed, problems may arise. The previous channel's data will freeze when the new channel is chosen for instance because it no longer exist and is being remapped to a different channel.

This would be a VERY crude work around. A controller with multiple pages that still sends the data from the other pages while you edit new ones would be the way to go.
paosciante
Sounds a bit complex for what I am trying to aim, specially taking into account Im trying to solve a problem created by using a very basic and economical device. It feels like the nanokontrol2 with its lack of scenes and very limited editing options is tailored for very specific purposes, therefore, I believe I am going to look for a different midi controller and just use the nanokontrol for faders and whatnot. I actually like it as a very small device I can carry around when traveling
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