Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Official support for: meldaproduction.com
dmbaer
KVRian
1377 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Post Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:08 pm

In the latest MSF sound design guidelines, we have this:

Recommendation #3: Attach some MIDI Main controllers to some of your device controls

Main controllers provide a solid abstraction for any MIDI controller out there. When a user opens your instrument, it's worth making them "do something". Assuming the user sets up the main controllers properly, he would open your instrument and right there the faders/knobs on his MIDI keyboard would access important controls on the easy screen. Which ones? That's up to you of course. I'd recommend specifying at least 4, ideally 8 main controllers. To map a multiparameter to a MIDI controller, you can do that manually from MIDI settings, or just ctrl+alt + right click on a control on the edit screen and select Attach MIDI controller, then select one of the main controllers, which are on the right of the menu.


I look at the use of these a little differently, and I’m wondering if others have given this new feature any thought. This feature is an extremely important one, IMO, but its usefulness would be diluted if everybody uses them differently.

In Zebra 2 point something, u-he introduced a backward-compatible modification. Whereas they had CC2 and CC11 (breath and expression pedal) as standard modulators before, they abstracted that and allowed the user to define what CC stand in for those two CCs. Not all that many rigs have an expression pedal, and breath controllers are pretty rare. However, the sound designer needs a stationary target. The u-he solution was simple, yet clever and solved this dilemma. The sound designer could use CC2 and CC11 in their presets and the user could supply a standard alternative when breath and/or expression wasn't available.

I see MSF main controllers in the same way. We have the first three defaulted to mod wheel, breath and expression (CC1, CC2 and CC11). So, now if I design a device, my inclination will be to use the first three whenever possible. For example, in a classic subtractive synth device, I would probably have main controller 1 (MC1) control filter cutoff and MC3 control vibrato. I’d also let CC74 control cutoff, but most folks don’t have MPE keyboards. I’d want something in addition to pressure controlling vibrato, since aftertouch is poorly implemented and essentially unusable on a lot of keyboards.

But what’s all this in the guidelines about “ideally 8 main controllers”? Are we talking about using them more like assignable macro knobs in a lot of other synths? I’m not sure.

So, I’d love to hear some others thoughts on this and get a dialog going.

Chandlerhimself
KVRian
1186 posts since 19 Dec, 2013 from Japan

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:57 pm

I'm not to sure really. I'm guessing its a way to let the user assign the controller they want to the presets, so they don't have to remap everything for every preset. Maybe I'm wrong about that though. Anyone else have any ideas on what its use is?

DarkStar
KVRAF
9267 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:58 am

As I understand it, the big plus is that I can create Devices and automate them using Main Controllers 01-16.

Then you can set up the Main Controllers to suit your own hardware once (and save the mappings as a preset). Load a Devices and the mapping preset and off you go. Previously you would have needed to look at all the Controller mappings and reassign them to your own controller hardware.

I view "at least 4, ideally 8 main controllers" in the recommendation just as encouragement to use them.
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

dmbaer
KVRian
1377 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:29 am

DarkStar wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 2:58 am
Then you can set up the Main Controllers to suit your own hardware once (and save the mappings as a preset). Load a Devices and the mapping preset and off you go. Previously you would have needed to look at all the Controller mappings and reassign them to your own controller hardware.
When discussing this, I think it's important to distinguish between sound designer and user. There are potential benefits to both groups but different ones. I think the benefit to the sound designer is that they can designate a MIDI controller without worrying about whether the user has that controller. So, MC2 defaults to breath controller CC2. But most users don't have a breath controller device. What do they have? Depends on their MIDI keyboard controller. But the user can, on a global basis, define (for example) a slider that's MIDI CC20 to be MC2 (overriding the default CC2 setting). The sound designer can have confidence that the user can use the device they created. But it's the users responsibilities to do one thing: make those global MC assignments. Without doing that, the sound designer's efforts are wasted.

So, again, all this is great. But it's going to be kind of a waste unless widely adopted by sound designers and used with a least a bit of consistency. That's why I asked the question. How do folks plan to use the MC feature (or do they plan to ignore it)?

DarkStar
KVRAF
9267 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:58 am

Yes, in my reply "I" was the sound creator and "you" were the user.

Let's do a thought experiment.

If the sound designers do not use the Main Controllers, then when I load a device I will have to assign the knobs on my MIDI controller to the important parameters and resave the device (if possible). It is very unlikely that the designers will use the same MIDI CC numbers as those on my controller. And it is even more unlikely that different designers will use the same CC numbers.

If the designers do use them, then all I need to do is set up the mappings to my MIDI controller once, save the plug-in state ( [Settings] >> Set default settings) then forget about it. I can then load any "Main-controlled" device and twiddle the controller knobs straight away.

For info, these are my mappings:
Image

PS: Main Controllers are in all the plug-ins, not just MSF.
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

dmbaer
KVRian
1377 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:03 pm

DarkStar wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:58 am
Let's do a thought experiment.

. . .
Yes, your thought experiment is exactly the idea here, I think. While it's probably a sure thing that every rig has a mod wheel, everything else is an unknown. Even with the mod wheel, some MIDI keyboards have them spring-loaded. If your hand isn't on it, it returns to zero (and sends data to that effect), so some users effectively do not even have a usable mod wheel.

Now, for real-time adjustments (as opposed to set-and-forget macro knobs on presets), most sounds do not require more than two or three. So using the first three MCs for that purpose should be the preference - it's those first three that have default assignments, recall. Assume the first one that defaults to mod wheel will almost always be the actual mod wheel. Assign that to what makes the most sense: on a subtractive synth patch, have it control cutoff adjustment, but on an organ patch, have it control vibrato. But if all sound designers use this mindset, the users of their soundsets will have a consistent set of behavior from diverse sound authors.

At least that's my take on how this can best work.

But sound designers certainly don't need sixteen real-time adjustment controls. So I assume another intended use for MCs is the equivalent of macro knobs like those found in numerous other synths. Here I have no idea what recommended practice should be. Some synths have sound design guidelines for this.

I recall that the documentation for Alchemy (boo, hiss ...) defined a strongly recommended use for their eight macro knobs: the first two were to affect timbre, the next two ... well, I don't recall the specifics, but you get the idea. I mentioned that notion to Vojtech and he *hated* the notion as being too restrictive.

User avatar
MeldaProduction
KVRAF
11702 posts since 15 Mar, 2008 from Czech republic

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:09 am

The idea is that the user buys a MIDI controller with faders/knobs, assignes the faders to the Main controllers (saves it as preset / default setting, just for future sake) and then whenever he loads an instrument, the controllers will already be mapped to some controls on the easy screen, so he'll be able to just start playing and use the knobs/faders without using a mouse.

Of course since there's like infinite variety, the instrument designer has no idea what will be assigned to what. But that's the way it is, nothing we could do about it. I think specifying some rules about "Main 1 controlling a filter cutoff" etc. is a bit too much. But we can make a recommendation. I think that's what dmbaer is asking for right?
Vojtech - MeldaProduction
Image

dmbaer
KVRian
1377 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:13 pm

MeldaProduction wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:09 am
But we can make a recommendation. I think that's what dmbaer is asking for right?
Partly, that's what I'm asking for. But I'm also interested if others have even taken note of this new feature and plan to use it. I have some definite ideas on how to apply it, but if I do something completely different than everybody else, that's kind of a waste.

I see a lot of potential benefit here for both developer and consumer. But if this is new feature is mostly ignored or used with chaotic inconsistency, then we lose the advantage. So, I'm wondering how others are approaching it.

jmg8
KVRAF
2230 posts since 9 Jul, 2015 from UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:27 pm

You might describe my approach as chaoticlly inconsistent, however I am just putting there the most important 8 parameters, in order. So MC1 will be the most important parameter, and so on. Luckily that will mostly mean that filter cutoff and the other common parameters will make their way to MC1, which will be good for mod wheel. But I'm trying not to think about it too much. My MIDI controller doesn't even have a mod wheel, rather 8 macros. But as a user it wouldn't bother me if filter cutoff was often found on macro 1, that's fine.
i7/16gb/win10,64bit/Live10/MTotal. + Surface Pro 4 (i5)

User avatar
MeldaProduction
KVRAF
11702 posts since 15 Mar, 2008 from Czech republic

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:44 am

jmg8 wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:27 pm
You might describe my approach as chaoticlly inconsistent, however I am just putting there the most important 8 parameters, in order. So MC1 will be the most important parameter, and so on. Luckily that will mostly mean that filter cutoff and the other common parameters will make their way to MC1, which will be good for mod wheel. But I'm trying not to think about it too much. My MIDI controller doesn't even have a mod wheel, rather 8 macros. But as a user it wouldn't bother me if filter cutoff was often found on macro 1, that's fine.
Exactly!
Vojtech - MeldaProduction
Image

DarkStar
KVRAF
9267 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:30 am

Just dreaming, thinking out loud: how about being able to pop up a window showing the parameter mapped to each Main Controller? All the info is already available to the plug-in - in the parameters' Map.

Image

-- each one lists the Tab, Panel and Multiparameter name,
-- and has a meter showing the last received CC value,
-- each device designer than then use the Main Controls as they wish.

You could add it to the Easy screen (as a special Multiparameter type???).

Image


Edit: Each button could be tinted the same colour as the target Multiparameter.
Last edited by DarkStar on Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

dmbaer
KVRian
1377 posts since 11 Nov, 2009 from Northern CA

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:12 pm

jmg8 wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:27 pm
You might describe my approach as chaoticlly inconsistent, however I am just putting there the most important 8 parameters, in order. So MC1 will be the most important parameter, and so on. Luckily that will mostly mean that filter cutoff and the other common parameters will make their way to MC1, which will be good for mod wheel. But I'm trying not to think about it too much. My MIDI controller doesn't even have a mod wheel, rather 8 macros. But as a user it wouldn't bother me if filter cutoff was often found on macro 1, that's fine.
So, let's focus on the cutoff assignment in particular. It's not clear to me what you're advocating when you say MC1 controls cutoff.

To me, a good solution is where we have a control (MP) to set the base cutoff value. We also have a MIDI controller that allows it to be opened a reasonable amount (or even reduced if that makes sense for the preset). A very bad solution is to have a MIDI controller mapped directly to the base cutoff value, at least as the only control to manipulate cutoff. The range of the MIDI controller is far to great to allow expressive playing if its range is min to max cutoff values. Also, the user would need to set the MIDI controller exactly right before starting to play. A knob or slider screen control to set the base value and a separate MIDI CC to make constrained modifications to that base value is ideal, IMO. If the MIDI CC is mapped to another screen control that moves in response to the MIDI CC being used, that hurts nothing, but it's really unnecessary.

In fact, a first-class implementation would be to provide a control to set base cutoff value and another control to set the range of the MIDI CC excursion (which could be specified as either positive or negative). Again, yet another control to shadow the movement of the CC controller wouldn't hurt but I see very little value in providing such.

So, when you say pick the most important eight things to use MCs with, how does that fit into what I've just suggested - or do you have a different view entirely?

DarkStar
KVRAF
9267 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:58 am

dmbaer wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:12 pm
In fact, a first-class implementation would be to provide a control to set base cutoff value and another control to set the range of the MIDI CC excursion (which could be specified as either positive or negative). Again, yet another control to shadow the movement of the CC controller wouldn't hurt but I see very little value in providing such.
If I understand correctly ...
That can be done right now (or at least, something similar.
-- assign Cutoff to, say, MP1
-- assign MP1's Param 1 Value to, say, MP3
-- assign MP1's Param 1 Max Value to, say, MP4
-- assign Main Controllers to each of these MPs.

Image

In the two MIDI clips above, the top two CC lanes set the Base and Max values for the Cutoff and the third lane sweeps through the range, with CC data values from 1 to 127.

Try this in MSF:

Code: Select all

$eNq9l11v4jgUhu-5FZZ725Z8QAApyagw0KmmaVlCO92rkSEHsMaxs47TQi-2t6+ckEJDCxntau-s5DkffuP4HLtf1jFDzyBTKriHzUsDI+BzEVG+9HCmFhdd-MVvuEEoMh6NyFwJuUlBKcqXKTrzsInR2TUTM8LSKZl52MJokEkJXI0lpKBuvnr49fWnglT9PaJMgfwZE8pTjIYRVUKG9BU8bDqmde441v7TIUk3Hu443fNWu4fRtz8ekpTECcszMzC6nYQJo0pBTpseNg27dekYTs+yjW71veVhy7Eu7Z5tdDSBUUDWt6P7PhPzX0UStoVRkDFFx0SSGBTIdCAYI0kKUR7xsZSp27bbRgv7bpjNxixbUr5VxneLafheoQ9DhcBgriAqLDxsnLdxaZ82fbf53pXvNg+iNfYSePqd2IGIMkbk3vLMjxKydgmVA9Qn-NdAZFzlNqOMsTsSg4dHgjHxAhIt8q+MTIy2L-I5RveZSjJ1wyNYmx6+MDF6ylX9U28a39V+jeYnizibbhLw8LcxMq2Pl7QT7G2QHtfwyW+4Q-5s+u5UQiyYCFckARROh+PxZBgOpzo77TaHctaqw1oFa9dh7YJt1WFbBduuw7YL1qnDOgXbqcN2CrZbh+36Dbc4GYb8+aTBjmy4t6N7E90CX6pVfqBU6ZywThL2SaJ1kmifJJyTROck0T1OTAiPRJxvVMLThZAxUVRwNLx7LMFuLmIJliZWXRPrzcSua2K-mbTqmugd-B026ZwwqLGaHbozs+qb6TU9AhNzqmqHrPAVB9ZvOtjPoIo2dq50oUwzCccQquarPvDoCBOI6McKgB1BpjSeSei0jiB9CUStDOsIMlwnOmMquGkewcIsVYQeaLRH3AkF94vFIXHNaATFSXHwbiC4koIxkKm-NzHQbuxh025jNORkxra17a2kFzUpnyJTf7KdmVlx4dRwYb93YVVcdGq4aOUbZ39ZDbfShviVBwb6CguSMfVIWAZ5Fb2WIks8PHpCF6isuNcPNwPBhPSw1euPDGM0yp8VLVYgIvBwny7zbgA8fKd3NSur9iBTYrHAKExg2-2EL3oTTmlcBMxDb51s0ILKVKGkTFD3DeU47xEmhC-Bw60DDYqEq70DukAB5Wgh4a8M+HyzDVcWi4oaVXmsqjyXhm4Ij0ukBfpQolKXz1VCM5LCKan+S9Eq2wNdoO2GLkdQqJiHO6qdVdXOPtCu13P+tXbXDzchiWEiXoqe9HMpg6un00qa-7uSAVlvxdy6Mi5bzlFl7YMn+se+miv6DMXVCO1PiuZbVFrycjaVUAigxdUD3x0QBUshNzcK4hu+EGhM0vRFyMjD+ZlUXMIOPRTr1sjVuAitc99PRacpEzQhCnRDog-dIM-f8t37TAXoK00TRjYBWdM4i7fL-0EjtQp8NxSZnAMaSyh+5u11TQcpkWbpruE2P7pYpn7jH9PPqlc=
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

DarkStar
KVRAF
9267 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:07 am

dmbaer wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:12 pm
So, when you say pick the most important eight things to use MCs with, how does that fit into what I've just suggested - or do you have a different view entirely?
I think that different device designers will come want different parameters to be controlled by the Main Controllers. Many piano devices could have the same set of "Main Controller controlled parameters" (we need an acronym for that phrase, I'll use MCCP for the moment, but am not keen on it). But other devices will have will use other MCCPs .

Hence my suggestion above of showing the MCCPs to the user on the Easy Screen. Each designer can do as they wish. Having said that, some standardisation for individual type of devices could help. That would need all the device designers to come up with suggestions and reach some sort of agreement - I don't reckon that that will happen.. Some brave souls will need to put in quite a lot of work and make some proposals for others to adopt.
DarkStar
Interesting, if true ...

jmg8
KVRAF
2230 posts since 9 Jul, 2015 from UK

Re: Care To Discuss MSF Main Controllers?

Post Fri Oct 18, 2019 6:47 am

I'm not really sure if I follow, sorry. I will try to explain, but not really sure if I will be answering the question properly. Maybe, you can try to reword it a little, so I understand.
In terms of cutoff min to max, well this will already be part of the MP. I wouldn't assign the frequency parameter at full range to MC1, rather it would be the MP on the easy screen that would be mapped to MC1. This MP should already have its min and max, plus transfer curve and default value already set, in a way that making it usable for the device. So its a case of simply mapping the MP to MC1 at its full range. If there is not already a cutoff type MP on the easy screen, chances are that it is because the device doesn't really lend itself well to that.
So I would just look at the device and decide what I believe to be the most important 8 MPs to change the sound in a meaningful way and then add those to MC1-8. So probably 9 times out of 10 filter cutoff lands on MC1, but it certainty doesn't have to.
i7/16gb/win10,64bit/Live10/MTotal. + Surface Pro 4 (i5)

Return to “MeldaProduction”