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Old 10-27-2010, 12:54 PM
poserp poserp is offline
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Default Numerology navigation via midi

A general question that applies to all midi controllers -- what sorts of navigation tasks can be assigned to midi functions?

For instance, say I have a midi controller with 20 buttons and 36 knobs. In the Mononote I'd probably assign the buttons to Mute and the knobs to Note and Gate time. This is cool, in that I can control the first 16 steps of a sequence, but what happens if I want to control 32 steps, 48 steps, etc? Is there a way to use a button on my controller to, for instance, increment/decrement by multiples of 16 within the Mononote so I can use the knobs and buttons to control the other steps?

Based on what I've seen in the videos, this is possible using the Launchpad but I don't know if the Launchpad is simply sending MIDI or if it's using some other control scheme.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:27 PM
jim jim is offline
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Originally Posted by poserp View Post
A general question that applies to all midi controllers -- what sorts of navigation tasks can be assigned to midi functions?

For instance, say I have a midi controller with 20 buttons and 36 knobs. In the Mononote I'd probably assign the buttons to Mute and the knobs to Note and Gate time. This is cool, in that I can control the first 16 steps of a sequence, but what happens if I want to control 32 steps, 48 steps, etc? Is there a way to use a button on my controller to, for instance, increment/decrement by multiples of 16 within the Mononote so I can use the knobs and buttons to control the other steps?
You can if the controller supports multiple 'scenes' of some sort. In that case, you would setup one scene to control 16 steps, flip to another for the next 16 and so on. It is definitely not ideal, but it does work.

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Originally Posted by poserp View Post
Based on what I've seen in the videos, this is possible using the Launchpad but I don't know if the Launchpad is simply sending MIDI or if it's using some other control scheme.
The current Launchpad mapping can control sequences up to 32 steps. It could be extended to support more, but past 32 it gets harder and harder to keep track of where you are in a sequence.

The Launchpad's MIDI implementation is very simple: it just just sends out note on/off messages for each button (and CC's for a few), and listens to note messages to turn the LEDs on and off. There's a few hundred lines of C++ code in Numerology that maps those buttons to sequencers, keeps track of the current 'state' of everything and so on. It could use a few tweaks --- such as supporting Gate and CV seq, but it works amazingly well -- better even than I thought it would when I started working on it.

Cheers,
Jim
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:47 PM
poserp poserp is offline
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You can if the controller supports multiple 'scenes' of some sort. In that case, you would setup one scene to control 16 steps, flip to another for the next 16 and so on. It is definitely not ideal, but it does work.
Yeah, the issue for me is running out of midi CCs. If I want to control 128 notes in a sequence I have to use all the midi CCs on a channel just for one function (mutes, note, gate, or whatever), so more functions require using other channels. Thus a single MonoNote could use three midi channels' worth of CCs if I wanted to map out 128 steps of note, gate, and velocity control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jim View Post
The current Launchpad mapping can control sequences up to 32 steps. It could be extended to support more, but past 32 it gets harder and harder to keep track of where you are in a sequence.

The Launchpad's MIDI implementation is very simple: it just just sends out note on/off messages for each button (and CC's for a few), and listens to note messages to turn the LEDs on and off. There's a few hundred lines of C++ code in Numerology that maps those buttons to sequencers, keeps track of the current 'state' of everything and so on. It could use a few tweaks --- such as supporting Gate and CV seq, but it works amazingly well -- better even than I thought it would when I started working on it.

Cheers,
Jim
So, if I set up my controller to send the same midi messages as the Launchpad, can I access those features?

EDIT: I.e., can I activate "Enable Launchpad Support" and then use another controller (like an MPD32) that transmits the same midi messages as the Launchpad.

Last edited by poserp; 10-27-2010 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:56 PM
jim jim is offline
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Yeah, the issue for me is running out of midi CCs. If I want to control 128 notes in a sequence I have to use all the midi CCs on a channel just for one function (mutes, note, gate, or whatever), so more functions require using other channels. Thus a single MonoNote could use three midi channels' worth of CCs if I wanted to map out 128 steps of note, gate, and velocity control.
Yup -- and if you tried to map everything that the current Launchpad mapping handles -- even just over 32 step sequences, you'd quickly go nuts. The Launchpad mapping covers hundreds of parameters for *all* note sequencers automatically for any session --up to the built-in limitation of 16 stacks, 4 note sequencers per stack.

If you want direct hardware programming over most of a sequencer module, I highly recommend you get a launchpad. When I started writing the mapping for it, I quickly realized that this very inexpensive controller can handle quite a bit more than any fader based controller simply due to having a built-in 'display' -- the colored LEDs on every button. Those LEDs provide feedback both for whether a button is on and off, but by carefully choosing how colors are used, for navigation as well -- after a few minutes, most users can quickly tell what mode they are in by looking at the pattern of colors on the grid.

Fader and knob based controllers work best by selectively choosing a couple dozen things to control and just mapping those -- things the that grid cannot handle well, such as volume and pan, or values on the FaderBox, etc.

At one point I was working on a 'control everything' mapping for fader-based controllers, but it required an on-screen display to keep you informed of where you were and what the values of things were. Having to look up constantly from the controller to check things on the screen pretty much destroys the hardware interaction. After working a bit with the Launchpad, I realized that despite its limitations, it makes for a much better sequencing experience overall. And it is much better that I spend my limited resources focusing on making a single controller work extremely well than by providing so-so support for several devices.

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Originally Posted by poserp View Post
So, if I set up my controller to send the same midi messages as the Launchpad, can I access those features?

EDIT: I.e., can I activate "Enable Launchpad Support" and then use another controller (like an MPD32) that transmits the same midi messages as the Launchpad.
The controller would have to map *everything* -- all 64 grid buttons plus 8 navigation buttons and 8 'scene' buttons, and respond to all incoming messages and light up accordingly -- i.e. a 100% duplicate of the launchpad. It could be done in software -- perhaps with an iPad app, but I haven't seen it yet.

Best,
Jim
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Old 10-28-2010, 02:12 PM
poserp poserp is offline
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The controller would have to map *everything* -- all 64 grid buttons plus 8 navigation buttons and 8 'scene' buttons, and respond to all incoming messages and light up accordingly -- i.e. a 100% duplicate of the launchpad. It could be done in software -- perhaps with an iPad app, but I haven't seen it yet.

Best,
Jim
That's cool, I was thinking about writing some sort of sequencer software myself that could function with a minimum of 8 knobs/faders and 8 buttons. But the only way that works is if you use the computer screen as a heads-up display and that might kill the experience.

I might make a run at getting my MPD32 to become a "Launchpad" -- it has 64 pads (16 x 4 banks) and 24 buttons (8 x 3 banks), so the control compliment is sufficient. It doesn't provide "feedback", so those messages would be ignored. The main issue, then, would be any responses that Numerology is expecting from the "Launchpad" when Numerology sends it a command. Certainly the MPD doesn't do anything w.r.t. the "double buffering" that the Launchpad supports for controlling the LEDs underneath the buttons.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:56 PM
jim jim is offline
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Originally Posted by poserp View Post
I might make a run at getting my MPD32 to become a "Launchpad" -- it has 64 pads (16 x 4 banks) and 24 buttons (8 x 3 banks), so the control compliment is sufficient. It doesn't provide "feedback", so those messages would be ignored. The main issue, then, would be any responses that Numerology is expecting from the "Launchpad" when Numerology sends it a command. Certainly the MPD doesn't do anything w.r.t. the "double buffering" that the Launchpad supports for controlling the LEDs underneath the buttons.
I don't think it would work for several reasons, but here are two critical ones:

- Without the LED feedback, there's no way to know what the state of anything is. The mapping is quite complex and those colored LED's are absolutely critical for knowing what is going on. For instance, several buttons are 'dual mode', with the mode indicated by the LED color. For example, without them, there is no way to distinguish between the "Random Jump" page and the "Pitch Glide" page.

- Numerology is currently hard-coded to look for a MIDI device called "Launchpad" to communicate with. At some point I will have to relax that a bit in order to support multiple Launchpads, but that's still a ways off.

Best,
Jim
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