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mwvm
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#1
24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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midi contoller where you don't need a encyclopedic memory?

been on a bit of a soul searching mission....

i've went from software to hardware and back to software...

i do like tweaking with a mouse but hardware being the tactile beast it is makes things more intuitive, enjoyable and inspiring to play...

but i can't have all the sound i need with a laptop!!!

is there midi controller out there that replace that hardware feel?
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24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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Are you looking for a replacement for synthesis?
A control surface for your daw?
A controller for VST FX devices?
etc etc?

It's hard to recommend when we've no idea what you mean?
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#3
24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
been on a bit of a soul searching mission....

i've went from software to hardware and back to software...

i do like tweaking with a mouse but hardware being the tactile beast it is makes things more intuitive, enjoyable and inspiring to play...

but i can't have all the sound i need with a laptop!!!

is there midi controller out there that replace that hardware feel?
If you use Reason, the Nektar Panorama might be worth a look:

Panorama USB Controller

I think their philosophy is sort of addressing some of the points you raise (how to get some of that hardware feel - their whole point is to make it so that you can theoretically focus on just using the keyboard and barely even need to look at your computer).

(they also recently announced deep integration with Cubase coming soon if you use that: Cubase Announcement)

And I suspect they have other DAWs in the works too - at NAMM they apparently had a Nektar Panorama controller hooked up to BitWig, for example. And outside if that, it is actually sort of nice as a general MIDI controller (fairly easy to edit/etc.).
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwarzwald View Post
Are you looking for a replacement for synthesis?
A control surface for your daw?
A controller for VST FX devices?
etc etc?

It's hard to recommend when we've no idea what you mean?
Vstis vsts specifically.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
Vstis vsts specifically.
A lot of MIDI controllers can do this. Setting them up is a snap and most have presets you can save.

I have a Samson Graphite 49 and I like it. 49 keys with velocity and aftertouch, 9 sliders, 8 knobs, 16 buttons, and 4 velocity/pressure sensitive drum pads. Also on the low end of the price scale are the M-Audio Axiom range which is nice (keys are a bit weighty for my taste) and the Akai MPK range.

If all you want are some knobs, you could grab a Korg NanoKontrol for cheap. I have one of those too and it works well. No presets, but 4 scenes and a software editor.

Now truth be told I have a fair bit of hardware so I generally only run to the control surfaces when I'm mixing. I use the NanoKontrol for this which most people will say is less than ideal because it's sliders have a very short travel and can be nudged easily. But it works for me.

But when I was totally ITB, control surfaces made using VSTis a lot more fun. If you use Ableton Live, you can create macro knobs which can control multiple functions then map them to a controller. I used this to create super synths with multiple instances of one or several VSTis. (i.e. like a 10 oscillator monosynth, for example, using 10 instances of Omaha.)
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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I have an emu midi controller were i can save presets but its still a pain in the arse remembering what knob does what.

makes thing a pain tbh. A chore switching the daw on.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
I have an emu midi controller were i can save presets but its still a pain in the arse remembering what knob does what.

makes thing a pain tbh. A chore switching the daw on.
The Korg Kontrol 49 has little LCD screens above the knobs you can add labels to. I pretty much map as I go and find that works best for me because as you said, sometimes remembering what knob does what is a pain. But then again I'm doing mostly studio work. For live stuff I'd probably make overlays that I could put on top of my controller.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
I have an emu midi controller were i can save presets but its still a pain in the arse remembering what knob does what.

makes thing a pain tbh. A chore switching the daw on.

Have you looked into the Novation SL series, or Mackie C4's? Both have screens and LED lit rotary encoders for easy managing of what's controlling what, and what the value is?

Maschine also has this capability as an external controller, plus with it, you also get a limited but intuitive DAW, or a very hands on sampler/drum machine to integrate into your existing DAW.

If you're looking to control VSTi's like synthesizers, I use Alkex Instrument's Professor to control Arturia's Prophet V, and Korgs MS-20LC to control their MS-20 VSTi. Similarly, I have a Behringer BCR-2000 mapped to Arturia's MiniV, and I've made a 1:1 overlay by photoshopping the template used by the Chromacontrol. Rhodes Chroma

Those are the only VSTi instances where you can successfully have 1:1 control, unless you buy multiple BCR's to control multiple synths, which I've tried doing TWICE, and not been satisfied.

60works makes a MiniV 2.0 controller for 1:1 control over the MiniV.

And a few people allow open source designs for control over a few other VST's, but these require DIY building, which IDK if you're into...

Arturia Spark is another option for control over x0x sequencing and vintage drum machines. It's also a sampler, but its deeper functions still require you to look at the screen to successfully maneuver.


Livid Instruments offers modular VST cases with brains preinstalled inwhich you only have to buy and connect modules. FOr under 800 you could build a unit to control 2 Synths (or multiple FX units) however you'd still have to map and create overlays for these units for them to work. And in my experience, mapping requires templates saved if the VST effect doesn't have a learn function or controller save function, which can be a pain because it limits you to only using that template.

If you're using Ableton, everyone knows Push should give you a decent amount of hands on-ness.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwarzwald View Post
Have you looked into the Novation SL series, or Mackie C4's? Both have screens and LED lit rotary encoders for easy managing of what's controlling what, and what the value is?

Maschine also has this capability as an external controller, plus with it, you also get a limited but intuitive DAW, or a very hands on sampler/drum machine to integrate into your existing DAW.

If you're looking to control VSTi's like synthesizers, I use Alkex Instrument's Professor to control Arturia's Prophet V, and Korgs MS-20LC to control their MS-20 VSTi. Similarly, I have a Behringer BCR-2000 mapped to Arturia's MiniV, and I've made a 1:1 overlay by photoshopping the template used by the Chromacontrol. Rhodes Chroma

Those are the only VSTi instances where you can successfully have 1:1 control, unless you buy multiple BCR's to control multiple synths, which I've tried doing TWICE, and not been satisfied.

60works makes a MiniV 2.0 controller for 1:1 control over the MiniV.

And a few people allow open source designs for control over a few other VST's, but these require DIY building, which IDK if you're into...

is another option for control over x0x sequencing and vintage drum machines. It's also a sampler, but its deeper functions still require you to look at the screen to successfully maneuver.


Livid Instruments offers modular VST cases with brains preinstalled inwhich you only have to buy and connect modules. FOr under 800 you could build a unit to control 2 Synths (or multiple FX units) however you'd still have to map and create overlays for these units for them to work. And in my experience, mapping requires templates saved if the VST effect doesn't have a learn function or controller save function, which can be a pain because it limits you to only using that template.

If you're using Ableton, everyone knows Push should give you a decent amount of hands on-ness.
i had a bcr2000, hated it lol....

i'm liking what i see with the novation automap, thanks, i was unaware of such a thing.... looks great, just need to convince myself £300+ for a keyboard that doesn't actually make a sound is worth in
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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I looked at a lot of Midi controllers before I decided to buy one last year. I decided on the Novation Impulse because it seemed to have all of the features I wanted. The Novation had just been released so there weren't any reviews based on use over any length of time. I thought, well, Novation is a great company with a good reputation so, I bought one. Over a period of several months the board would just stop working. If I unplugged the USB cable and reconnected it everything would work okay. Several LEDS and Pads would randomly not light or dim. I thought it was my laptop causing the problem so i went to a powered USB hub and it would still shut down. The company I bought it from sent me a new one saying the first was defective. During the first month of having the new one It shut down several times so I returned the Impulse and bought a Roland A800 Pro 61 keys. The Roland has a great keybed, feels solid, layout of knobs and sliders is nice. One of the best things I like about the A800 Pro is the control over the velocity settings. This board has more velocity settings than any other board I check out. The size is smaller than the other boards also. I would definitely check this one out. Solid build, nice layout, good options, and no problems.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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stick a remote zero SL to your keyboard. the version 1 should be cheap enough second hand by now. to try.

if you can't get those working for you, you will have little joy with anything else. deep control of a DAW is very difficult. imo only novation with their Automap server has brought all that complexity anywhere near the affordable end. and even this is a way from being idiot proof. you need to have a degree of dedication to these kinds of projects.

I only ever deeply customize and Automap plug-in for ones I find indispensable. an example might be the Hz on a band of a parametric. how are you going to easily cover 20 to 20,000 on a knob without it making very course jumps?. well you can account for that with the novation. this is partly why I tend to use Metric Halo channel strip as often as I can. because I have it under control. I will only do a plug-in when I'm forced to.

The thing about the Novations is this. if you want deep control and you use a Novation and get frustrated, you can console yourself with the knowledge that the only way you could make it better is by possibly spending a lot more money for something else. which might not work that well in any case.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
I looked at a lot of Midi controllers before I decided to buy one last year. I decided on the Novation Impulse because it seemed to have all of the features I wanted. The Novation had just been released so there weren't any reviews based on use over any length of time. I thought, well, Novation is a great company with a good reputation so, I bought one. Over a period of several months the board would just stop working. If I unplugged the USB cable and reconnected it everything would work okay. Several LEDS and Pads would randomly not light or dim. I thought it was my laptop causing the problem so i went to a powered USB hub and it would still shut down. The company I bought it from sent me a new one saying the first was defective. During the first month of having the new one It shut down several times so I returned the Impulse and bought a Roland A800 Pro 61 keys. The Roland has a great keybed, feels solid, layout of knobs and sliders is nice. One of the best things I like about the A800 Pro is the control over the velocity settings. This board has more velocity settings than any other board I check out. The size is smaller than the other boards also. I would definitely check this one out. Solid build, nice layout, good options, and no problems.

my emu would go off from time to time.

the only concern from your post is if i bought 2nd hand i've not got the option of taking it back.... people sell on "faulty" goods it's par for the course
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Originally Posted by Muser View Post
stick a remote zero SL to your keyboard. the version 1 should be cheap enough second hand by now. to try.

if you can't get those working for you, you will have little joy with anything else. deep control of a DAW is very difficult. imo only novation with their Automap server has brought all that complexity anywhere near the affordable end. and even this is a way from being idiot proof. you need to have a degree of dedication to these kinds of projects.

I only ever deeply customize and Automap plug-in for ones I find indispensable. an example might be the Hz on a band of a parametric. how are you going to easily cover 20 to 20,000 on a knob without it making very course jumps?. well you can account for that with the novation. this is partly why I tend to use Metric Halo channel strip as often as I can. because I have it under control. I will only do a plug-in when I'm forced to.

The thing about the Novations is this. if you want deep control and you use a Novation and get frustrated, you can console yourself with the knowledge that the only way you could make it better is by possibly spending a lot more money for something else. which might not work that well in any case.
well - y'know i'm not really into deep editing.

if i can set up a soft synths and use tweak without looking at pc that'll be a big creative step... so it's more hands on...the added bonus of a transport bar for a sequencer? that'll do me.

coarse of tweaking or the example you mentioned is very much post recording/mixing and a mouse will suffice for that....

post recording, even automation is easier using a mouse sometimes.... especially setting up level/panning etc. it's not a hindrance at all.

i suppose the more hands on ableton live thing is different beast altogether - but again that doesn't interest me
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
well - y'know i'm not really into deep editing.

if i can set up a soft synths and use tweak without looking at pc that'll be a big creative step... so it's more hands on...the added bonus of a transport bar for a sequencer? that'll do me.

coarse of tweaking or the example you mentioned is very much post recording/mixing and a mouse will suffice for that....

post recording, even automation is easier using a mouse sometimes.... especially setting up level/panning etc. it's not a hindrance at all.

i suppose the more hands on ableton live thing is different beast altogether - but again that doesn't interest me
maybe you just mean level cutoff and resonance controls ?

even then, the problem is often bidirectional communication between the controller and the DAW.

you need a screen on a controller to tell you what that information is.
plus, the controller needs to get to the parameter you're interested in. then control it at the right resolution.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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Originally Posted by Muser View Post
maybe you just mean level cutoff and resonance controls ?

even then, the problem is often bidirectional communication between the controller and the DAW.

you need a screen on a controller to tell you what that information is.
plus, the controller needs to get to the parameter you're interested in. then control it at the right resolution.
well, not really, osc controls,filter, lfo, env etc...i actually quite liked the way a waldorf biofeld worked with 4 encoders and some screen shifting...

my understanding of what of the novation sl does is that it allows you to view 8 parameters on an lcd???
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25th February 2013
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Have you looked at the Arturia Laboratory 61 key midi controller. It comes with a loaded software program and the layout of the controller is set up like an analogue synth. The keys are not the best but the midi controller is built like a tank. The controllers are also assignable.
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25th February 2013
Old 25th February 2013
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well, not really, osc controls,filter, lfo, env etc...i actually quite liked the way a waldorf biofeld worked with 4 encoders and some screen shifting...

my understanding of what of the novation sl does is that it allows you to view 8 parameters on an lcd???
16 on the older version. There isn't really a viable alternative. maybe their little nocturn would be better if you just want to map a few controls. There will always be times it's frustrating, but with the Novation system you can at least get most of the things done.. whereas the others, you can't. though you may get (some) done. so I don't dissuade people who want to buy X product.

I have a CME keyboard for example.. the older UF6 version. sometimes it's really handy for handling this or that from the controls on it. but there's no way I could do anything near the Novation, unless I had something similar to Automaps Server.

M-Audio Axiom for example, seems more dedicated to protools. That's where it's Plug-in mapping works. maybe if you use protools you'll be ok. but I'm unsure about third party plugin support.

Novation is multiple DAW and cross platform aware.

There are very good Novation tutorials on youtube, which walks you through exactly how the system works.
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26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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You might be looking for a Mackie C4 as I mentioned earlier if you want a high quality Novation SL Zero.



I can assure the the Novation Sl Zero MK1 has MIDI conflicts, firmware upgrade bugs, a USB port that wears out easily, and it's driver stability is questionable due to it connecting successfully to your computer consistently. I hear that they fixed a bunch of these issues in MK2, I can't attest to that.

Although, I'm currently selling my SL, so that should tell you how annoying it was. But I'm a no-nonsense kind of person, I spent my first years creating music with buggy equipment and there came a point where I just said no more, I'm no longer going to deal with bugs, if something has the slightest hindrance to my workflow via technical issue, it's out.
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26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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16 on the older version. There isn't really a viable alternative. maybe their little nocturn would be better if you just want to map a few controls. There will always be times it's frustrating, but with the Novation system you can at least get most of the things done.. whereas the others, you can't. though you may get (some) done. so I don't dissuade people who want to buy X product.

I have a CME keyboard for example.. the older UF6 version. sometimes it's really handy for handling this or that from the controls on it. but there's no way I could do anything near the Novation, unless I had something similar to Automaps Server.

M-Audio Axiom for example, seems more dedicated to protools. That's where it's Plug-in mapping works. maybe if you use protools you'll be ok. but I'm unsure about third party plugin support.

Novation is multiple DAW and cross platform aware.

There are very good Novation tutorials on youtube, which walks you through exactly how the system works.
Thanks for this. Much appreciated.

I think the sl will at least improve my current setup.

A typical song i make is mainly audio. 16 tracks of audio, 4-6 vstis but i do rely on vst fxs alor and i've never mapped fx in the past. I'll also rewire reason and ableton. (i use simplerand some reason synths)

all the midi is done in cubase. If i map common vstis and vsts plus the reason/ableton stuff how problematic will this be?


Mackie is too expensive btw
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26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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Thanks for this. Much appreciated.

I think the sl will at least improve my current setup.

A typical song i make is mainly audio. 16 tracks of audio, 4-6 vstis but i do rely on vst fxs alor and i've never mapped fx in the past. I'll also rewire reason and ableton. (i use simplerand some reason synths)

all the midi is done in cubase. If i map common vstis and vsts plus the reason/ableton stuff how problematic will this be?


Mackie is too expensive btw
it actually maps quite well in cubase so I hear. Reason also works well.

my advice is, the Automap default for any plugin will be laid out based on the plug-ins sequence.. this means if ana Automap wrapped plug-in button is presented to Automap as 1 and a knob as 2. you might get a button and a knob on the SL, both mapped to knobs.

basically, it will likely be wrong because the plug-in maker hasn't tried to cater for any particular controller. so my advice is, look at the Automap server application and select (clear all controls). this will empty that plug-in.

then map your own. just try a couple first.

then select (set as default for this client).
always do this when you make any changes.

Then do a save as in Automap client at some point. make a sub folder called My Automap assignments. and just call it what the plugin is called with a 01 at the end. then next time you do that, raise it to 02 03 etc.

this way you have full backward saved history.

that (My Automap assignments) is your critical information. you don't want to have to do any remapping again. this is how you avoid having to.

don't install anything till you watch through the videos and understand what you need to do.
don't rush it. also consider paying extra for the Automap Pro version .. it's worth it for the extra functionality.

also contact them to ask the most reliable and stable version for your system.. then stick with that as long as you can.
don't upgrade it unless you are sure the one you upgrade to is stable. if you use a USB HUB, use a Belkin 4 port HUB.
the SL wants proper consistent 500ma at 5V power.. the Belkins give you that.

also get a few right angled USB cables like these.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5ft-USB-2-...item4ab19f1c9a

you'll be glad you did.

even if I no longer used an SL for Automap, I wouldn't sell it.. because it does a bunch of other important things in stand alone. which a C4 won't do .. nothing wrong with a C4, but it's a different beast.
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26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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I use a novation remote SL exclusively for controlling a Matrix 6r and a Microwave V1. Building a template is pretty painless and I don't really see any problems with automap in Cubase.

However, the hardware is certainly not top-notch. I've owned two used and they both had problems. LCD backlight failure seems to be pretty common and I've never been able to find a replacement.
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#22
26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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it actually maps quite well in cubase so I hear. Reason also works well.

my advice is, the Automap default for any plugin will be laid out based on the plug-ins sequence.. this means if ana Automap wrapped plug-in button is presented to Automap as 1 and a knob as 2. you might get a button and a knob on the SL, both mapped to knobs.

basically, it will likely be wrong because the plug-in maker hasn't tried to cater for any particular controller. so my advice is, look at the Automap server application and select (clear all controls). this will empty that plug-in.

then map your own. just try a couple first.

then select (set as default for this client).
always do this when you make any changes.

Then do a save as in Automap client at some point. make a sub folder called My Automap assignments. and just call it what the plugin is called with a 01 at the end. then next time you do that, raise it to 02 03 etc.

this way you have full backward saved history.

that (My Automap assignments) is your critical information. you don't want to have to do any remapping again. this is how you avoid having to.

don't install anything till you watch through the videos and understand what you need to do.
don't rush it. also consider paying extra for the Automap Pro version .. it's worth it for the extra functionality.

also contact them to ask the most reliable and stable version for your system.. then stick with that as long as you can.
don't upgrade it unless you are sure the one you upgrade to is stable. if you use a USB HUB, use a Belkin 4 port HUB.
the SL wants proper consistent 500ma at 5V power.. the Belkins give you that.

also get a few right angled USB cables like these.
5ft USB 2.0 A male to right angle USB B male LEXMARK EPSON HP printer cable 1.5M | eBay

you'll be glad you did.

even if I no longer used an SL for Automap, I wouldn't sell it.. because it does a bunch of other important things in stand alone. which a C4 won't do .. nothing wrong with a C4, but it's a different beast.
thanks again pal..... you've really helped me out and given me some reassurance in the product

i've bought one... didn't go the ebay route as i wanted a warranty.

just waiting for it to arrive and let the fun begin....cos at 33 years old, doing this type of thing for 18 year you'd think i'd not bother if it wasn't fun in anyway
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26th February 2013
Old 26th February 2013
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yw. have fun with it. maybe post something about how it's going.
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#24
28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
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yw. have fun with it. maybe post something about how it's going.
Well I must admit the sl itself feels okish. It's more the LCD that I bought it and it works well.

Not really sure it's worth 320 quid but that'll be apparent over a longer period.

The automap has crashed cubase once lol. When saving a synth setup. It is a breeze setting up too. I just use the incinerator each part of a synth and then scroll through different pages.

The actual auto side of things will be more handy for vsts than vstis. Instruments need setting up to individual needs . Vsts unless they're complex should be fine which is a relief.

I also like the way it automatically changes when you access the GUI of whatever vst you're working with.

It took a night to set up 5 main synths I use.im happy with it.
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28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
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Agreed, there is Novation and then there is everything else, but I like the way that C4 is setup, looks sweet. I have a BCR2000 for controlling my DW8000, put them together and...



Sorry, couldnt resist.
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28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
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my understanding of what of the novation sl does is that it allows you to view 8 parameters on an lcd???
Yup.

#27
28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
  #27
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ROLAND RAZZ is offline
I like the KORG, Novation, and M-Audio stuff
#28
28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
  #28
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwvm View Post
Well I must admit the sl itself feels okish. It's more the LCD that I bought it and it works well.

Not really sure it's worth 320 quid but that'll be apparent over a longer period.

The automap has crashed cubase once lol. When saving a synth setup. It is a breeze setting up too. I just use the incinerator each part of a synth and then scroll through different pages.

The actual auto side of things will be more handy for vsts than vstis. Instruments need setting up to individual needs . Vsts unless they're complex should be fine which is a relief.

I also like the way it automatically changes when you access the GUI of whatever vst you're working with.

It took a night to set up 5 main synths I use.im happy with it.
glad it works ok for you. the knobs and faders are touch sensitive on one I think. so you can just touch a fader or knob, and the screen will jump to the control. handy for not having to move anything and note the value before you do. among other things.

the price I see on Remote Zero SLs is Novation ReMote ZeRO
£194.34. keyboards would be more.
#29
28th February 2013
Old 28th February 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdog View Post
Agreed, there is Novation and then there is everything else, but I like the way that C4 is setup, looks sweet. I have a BCR2000 for controlling my DW8000, put them together and...



Sorry, couldnt resist.
Lots of positive reasons to buy a C4. at some stage I will probably get one.
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