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What Do You Use To Control PT LE Automation? Control Surfaces
Old 22nd August 2007
  #1
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Question What Do You Use To Control PT LE Automation?

FYI: I already posted this thread in the Electronic Music forum but it didn't seem to have any takers so I brought it over here as well.

As I recently discovered, mapping midi controllers to record automation in PT LE is not really possible. I can play my virtual instruments with my current controllers but it won’t record the button turning in the automation lane. I think this is totally absurd that Digidesign doesn’t make this easy, but oh well, maybe the reason for this goes over my head, certainly doesn’t surprise me….. Anyway, this leaves me in search of a controller that supports HUI, I believe. Correct me if I am wrong here.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
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All I really want is a knob that will control the automation lane. So if I set the automation lane to a filter in a virtual synth, I want to set track to WRITE and than hit play, turn knob and have motions automated.<o:p></o:p>
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I have seen the obvious choices such as the Mackie controller and the Alphatrack. Let me know if there are any less obvious ones I may have missed Just wondering what you all use and prefer. <o:p></o:p>
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I would also like to know if getting a more complex controller such as the Mackie Universal would be useful for electronic music and virtual instrument control. The old style Mackie controllers are fairly cheap these days. Thanks slizzites!

<o:p>Also, remember all I care about is a controller that can control whatever automation parameter I have selected at that time in the automation lane. I have heard that the Alphatrack and Mackie only can control EQ and Compression plugz et cetera, I am not sure if this is true or why but it deters me from them. At this point I guess these reports are false. </o:p>
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<o:p>I really need to record automation for virtual instruments. That is ALL I care about. My number one concern. Thank you.</o:p>
Old 22nd August 2007
  #2
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I think you need to dig into the PT manual a bit more. The automation is very deep.

Nearly every parameter for every plug is automateable.... even wrapped VST plugs. But the parameters you want to automate need to be enabled. This is done on the automation menu in each plugin window. You can also set PT to arm all parameters as default in the preferences.

Using a controller to move a parameter will also work as long as the parameter is enabled and you're writing automation. Also be aware that the main automation arm window (command-f on mac, ctrl-f on pc) will dictate what you will write in a pass. Make sure "plugin" is enabled there.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #3
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv View Post
I think you need to dig into the PT manual a bit more. The automation is very deep.

Nearly every parameter for every plug is automateable.... even wrapped VST plugs. But the parameters you want to automate need to be enabled. This is done on the automation menu in each plugin window. You can also set PT to arm all parameters as default in the preferences.

Using a controller to move a parameter will also work as long as the parameter is enabled and you're writing automation. Also be aware that the main automation arm window (command-f on mac, ctrl-f on pc) will dictate what you will write in a pass. Make sure "plugin" is enabled there.
Dude I know everything you just said. I thought I made that clear in my first post by talking about the "automation lane". I mention setting the track to WRITE et cetera. Of course I know the parameters need to be enabled.................

I have been spending so much ****ing time with this lately it is driving me ****ing NUTS! Nobody seems to have a straight answer and everyone assumes I don't know ****.

I can control all my ****ing virtual synths with my midi controllers. I HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR.

However, PT LE will not record ANY automation in the automation track when I am tweaking the parameter with a midi controller despite having all the things said above ready. It doesn't record even if I mouse the parameter.

I CAN ONLY DRAW AUTOMATION FOR PLUGS.

I want to use the knobs. Anybody here want to help me?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #4
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Easy, cowboy. No one's trying to hurt your feelings here. In fact I was trying to help. I know you're frustrated but try to chill a bit when asking for free help, eh? I didn't fully understand what you meant by "automation lane" but with context and a reread, I gotcha now.

I only use a BCF2000 in HUI mode which is faders and pans only, so that's about the extent of my experience with controllers and PT. Can you record midi from your controller to a track and route that to your plugins?

Let's try to work through this without resorting to self-censorship and extended use of the shift key while typing, cool?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuehler View Post
I can control all my ****ing virtual synths with my midi controllers. I HAVE MADE THAT CLEAR.

However, PT LE will not record ANY automation in the automation track when I am tweaking the parameter with a midi controller despite having all the things said above ready. It doesn't record even if I mouse the parameter.
Your virtual synths are probably responding to pre-defined MIDI continuous controller messages, which your hardware controller(s) is/are able to send and PT is happy to route. However, I don't think PT itself even sees those messages, except to route them along from source to destination.

The support list for external controllers in PT is short. I still run 6.9 and see very few choices (Command8, HUI and MotorMix). Maybe PT 7 improves on this a bit. Look in the Peripherals setup option in your PT rig (location changed from version 6 to 7, so I'm not sure where it lives now).

That said, I am able to assign any knob on my controller to any parameter on a plug (be it effect or virtual synth) and write the resulting automation data to a track. The catch is that I'm using a Digi 002. Maybe you can pick up a used one (or a Command8) for a reasonable price.

Good luck in your search,
++aldo

Last edited by ElMosca; 22nd August 2007 at 07:43 PM.. Reason: syntax, typo
Old 22nd August 2007
  #6
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Yeah sorry for getting pissed but I have been trying to sort this out for a while and I always end up being told something I already know and it appears that MANY people do not get what is going on or understand and they probably should if they plan to use virtual instruments in Pro Tools.

Essentially if one were to be into electronic music and want to go the Pro Tools route they would really want to understand this because it appears that Pro Tools will litteraly only record automation if you are using one of their officially supported control surfaces which tend to cost as much or more than Pro Tools itself....

Anyway, I guess I have to get a surface that supports HUI but I am still not sure because it appears nobody knows for sure if there is a way around it.

I just hope I am not spending 600$ for one freaking knob that can track automation in Pro Tools when I don't have to.

Unfortunately there is a awefully small group of people using Pro Tools for electronic music.

Again sorry for getting frustrated. I just want to get moving with my current project. Going to buy a Mackine Control now and hope I am not wasting money and am getting what I need but I can't be sure which is really too bad.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #7
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At the risk of pissing you off even further, I've gotta give you my honest 2 cents - being someone who has worked with Cubase (SX3) and works with PT LE daily and owns a Mackie MCU and extender:

PT LE sucks for automating VSTi's and effects. To give you a for instance, PT LE will not allow me to automate my UAD-1 effects. If you go into the plugin's menu (like Improv described), the UAD-1 effect parameters simply don't show up. This is not an issue in Cubase (SX3 at least). I had a session where I really wanted to automate the RE-201 Space Echo on some tracks and it's impossible to do in PT, so I ended up bouncing all the tracks and importing them in a Cubase session.

I don't work with VSTi's but the only option you have with the MCU is the knobs, and PT LE doesn't let you flip the pots/faders like you can in Cubase SX3 (I don't want to upset you further into assuming you don't know what this means, but it means you can use the faders instead of the knobs to control parameters in Cubase; can't be done in PT **ducks**).

The other thing is, in PT LE, you can't use the controller you really should look into, instead of the MCU, which is the C4; that's made for VSTi's, a bunch of knobs to control the parameters of your VSTi's - Digidesign does not support it (Cubase does). An MCU with a C4 in Cubase SX3 to control automation and plugins and VSTi's = FIRE, much nicer than trying to work in PT LE for this.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #8
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I'd still be curious to see if recording MIDI CC to a track that is routed to the softsynth works. Anyone do this? I don't have a MIDI knob box to try it out.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuehler View Post
it appears that Pro Tools will litteraly only record automation if you are using one of their officially supported control surfaces
The MCU in HUI mode, with the included skin for PT has dedicated buttons for Write, Read, Latch, Touch automation. If you're mixing a project in PT LE and let's say you want to change the automation of one track from "read" to "latch", all you do is press and hold the "latch" button on the MCU and press down on that channel's pot on the MCU and bang, you're in latch mode, and so on and so forth. Cool, BUT - this only works on the 8 pots on the main MCU unit, not the extenders, so if for example you just enabled latch automation on track 3 and want to do the same on track 32, you have to bank over to get there and do this. No biggie for me, but just wanted to point out you can automate your basic mixing controls in PT LE fine with the MCU (faders, solo, mute and all the automation controls with dedicated buttons for them).
Old 22nd August 2007
  #10
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Ooops, sorry. Looks like the C4 in Cubase is not supported (went to check, I don't have the C4 and was a bit shocked it's not supported, but if you use Reason, it works there! LOL!)
Old 22nd August 2007
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv View Post
I'd still be curious to see if recording MIDI CC to a track that is routed to the softsynth works. Anyone do this? I don't have a MIDI knob box to try it out.
Yes, that works nicely. I used my microKORG as controller plugged into an old MIDIsport 1x1 USB interface. I played notes and twirled the five knobs on the microKORG.

Once you recorded the CC data, you can even display and edit it graphically on the MIDI track (pull down the notes/regions/blocks menu under the track name to see/select from the list of available controller data).

Cheers,
++aldo
Old 22nd August 2007
  #12
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I have programed my UC-33e for controlling PT.

There is a PDF you can download @ digidesign that says exactly what parameters you can control, i don't remember the name of it though.
The parameters you can control are limited and you can't choose what cc you want to adress to what parameter.
You have to emulate one of the control surfaces.
You probably already know this. So i guess you know everything now, there is nothing more you can do!!!

I must say i NEVER use the controller for PT, it is much faster to work with a mouse.
The only way i think it would be faster is if you had like 4 control surfaces. This way you wouldn't have to switch to other channels.

Ableton is heaven when it comes to controlling.

Stop the frustration, i've been their to. Enjoy your mouse or buy an Icon!
Old 22nd August 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElMosca View Post
Yes, that works nicely. I used my microKORG as controller plugged into an old MIDIsport 1x1 USB interface. I played notes and twirled the five knobs on the microKORG.

Once you recorded the CC data, you can even display and edit it graphically on the MIDI track (pull down the notes/regions/blocks menu under the track name to see/select from the list of available controller data).

Cheers,
++aldo
Yeah I do that sort of thing with my Nova, too, but have you ever automated a plugin's parameters this way?
Old 22nd August 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backplay View Post
I must say i NEVER use the controller for PT, it is much faster to work with a mouse.
I agree with you that automation is faster with a mouse but it isn't possible to draw what I want in PT LE. I have tried.

This is mostly becuse in electronic music there are a lot of filter sweeps and the like that may sound like they are tied to tempo but when I do that it never sounds that great.

It is like there is a certain point where the filter hits that sweet spot so I guess the automation would be a parabolic curve.

Anyway, I used Reason all the time and automate all the time and it records my motions and I can't get the best results mousing it just has to be done with the ears and not the eyes in real time. So that is where I am coming from with this thread.

Unfortunately Reason sounds crap compared to say Albino and others soft synths so that is why I am using PT LE in the first place. Also, I live in an area where everybody and all the studios use Pro Tools and that also influennced my decision. I know PT LE isn't the best for electronic music but I assumed it would be able to do more than Reason but maybe I am wrong...Well actually it can do a lot more, just not until I pay a couple grand more and than another couple grand....da.da.da.da.da.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #15
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(It doesn't record even if I mouse the parameter.)

The controller is not the problem if the above statement is true.
There is a global bypass for automation write and read, and no its not in the mix window on the channel. If you can draw the automation and it plays back, then its the write that may have a wrong setting.
Does your controller work the parameters just moving them with no automation.
You don't need a digi box to have a HUI.
It should work. Will look into this when I sit at the computer.
Old 22nd August 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuehler View Post
I agree with you that automation is faster with a mouse but it isn't possible to draw what I want in PT LE. I have tried.

This is mostly becuse in electronic music there are a lot of filter sweeps and the like that may sound like they are tied to tempo but when I do that it never sounds that great.

It is like there is a certain point where the filter hits that sweet spot so I guess the automation would be a parabolic curve.

Anyway, I used Reason all the time and automate all the time and it records my motions and I can't get the best results mousing it just has to be done with the ears and not the eyes in real time. So that is where I am coming from with this thread.

Unfortunately Reason sounds crap compared to say Albino and others soft synths so that is why I am using PT LE in the first place. Also, I live in an area where everybody and all the studios use Pro Tools and that also influennced my decision. I know PT LE isn't the best for electronic music but I assumed it would be able to do more than Reason but maybe I am wrong...Well actually it can do a lot more, just not until I pay a couple grand more and than another couple grand....da.da.da.da.da.
Well the way i do it sometimes, for example with filters on the PSP Nitro or the filters on Albino, is to create a midi track, assign the midi controller to the midi track with the corresponding cc. And just record the automatisation on the midi track instead of the instrument track.
This way i can always use the midi controller to record automatisation. Because with the Nitro i can't record the automatisation on the aux track.

Hope this makes sense.

You are wright, sometimes you just can't get the auto wright by just doing it with the mouse!
Old 22nd August 2007
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backplay View Post
Well the way i do it sometimes, for example with filters on the PSP Nitro or the filters on Albino, is to create a midi track, assign the midi controller to the midi track with the corresponding cc. And just record the automatisation on the midi track instead of the instrument track.
This way i can always use the midi controller to record automatisation. Because with the Nitro i can't record the automatisation on the aux track.

Hope this makes sense.

You are wright, sometimes you just can't get the auto wright by just doing it with the mouse!
Beautiful, I will be doing that right now. Thanks.

I ordered a Mackie Control anyway, hopefully it will be useful if only for some crazy Muting automation for stutters and the like.

Motorized faders are little bit crazy to me but my buddies will crap their pants
Old 22nd August 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Improv View Post
Yeah I do that sort of thing with my Nova, too, but have you ever automated a plugin's parameters this way?
This technique will only work with soft instruments (or anything else, provided that you can route the output of a MIDI track to it).

So, no, this won't work with your BF76, or [insert your favorite Waves plug here].

Best,
++aldo
Old 26th October 2007
  #19
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Help if you can

Just wondering if someone could fill me in on the Digidesign R1 remote. I'm running a pt6.9 le into a mixer without internal sub busses and i want a cheap way to sub stuff in pt with a control surface. I can't get any kind of decent info on this thing, if someone knows anything about this unit or a better way to sub 8 channels for less than 100 bucks let me know, but any info on the R1 would be great.

Thanks
M
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