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Customised Mackie Control with DAW Sync and Full Plug-in Control
Old 30th October 2019
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Customised Mackie Control with DAW Sync and Full Plug-in Control

I've been designing a new control map and workflow system for Studio One using a customised Mackie Control script.
It's called 'QMap' and it's finally about ready to be released on the unsuspecting public..

It will work 'out of the box' with full functionality on any X-Touch Universal/Extenders and original MCU/Extenders.
I'll start implementing a cut down version for those devices that use the Mackie Control protocol but have fewer buttons etc
than the fully fledged devices, such as the Icon Platform series.
This will be extended in due course to any device that has motorised faders.

This started out as a simple xml remap and then evolved into a more sophisticated system utilising a combination
of Studio One settings, customised javascript, device files and xml maps plus 30 integrated custom macros.
It's all these things working together that makes the functionality described below possible.

I have included everything I expect from a modern controller, so here's what will appear in the first release version,
which will be available within the next couple of weeks on a dedicated website:




'WYSIWYG' DAW SYNC

Studio One's mixer slaves to MCU banking and MCU channel scenes slave to the DAW track scenes, which in turn are controlled from the MCU.
You can create scenes as part of your regular session setup, create new ones on the fly from global lists using dedicated controls, or both.

This means you can control exactly what you see on screen/on the controller at any time without picking up the mouse,
as it should be.



Fully-Featured Plug-in Control Mode

Finally..
All 8 encoders, 8 faders and 8 pot-buttons are available for plug-in control, saved for every instance in every project,
past present and future, for any and all plug-ins. All controls are automatable simultaneously.
You can achieve a second layer of control independent of plug control by assigning the main unit's faders, encoders and buttons
to channel macros and these are stored on a per-song basis.

If you have a particularly feature-rich/control heavy plug (eg. the bx_digital V3), you can unfold this onto an extender
using the extender's 8 encoders, faders and pot-buttons giving you a massive 48 controls for one plug.
This will be saved for all instances of that plug-in for all projects as above,
but it's a bonus insomuch as it can only be done for one plug-in (although this should work on a per extender basis
but I need to get a second extender in to confirm!).

There is a fourth layer of control available to all buttons on the main unit and extenders allowing you to map them globally
(to channel polarity for example, stored per song), and there is yet another layer which is achieved simply by holding shift
and pressing the main unit pot-buttons, which are assigned to user-editable macros/direct S1 commands.
These are saved across all sessions.

Finally for Plug-in mode, there is an intelligent display function - by default the displays show what's on the pots,
hit the Name button and you get shown what's on the faders, hit flip and you'll see what's on the buttons.



Who the hell uses a master fader in a DAW?

Not me..
So the 9th fader gives you control over the selected channel's volume at all times,
as well as being instantly available for track automation, just like a Faderport classic or X-Touch One,
with the added bonus of being able to rotate through a channel's automation parameters in close up,
or see them all at once using dedicated controls.



Multi-Select of events and tracks from the controller

This is a huge leap in productivity as it allows you to multi-select events on the same track to left or right
or multi-select events across different tracks easily from the controller, with event volume controls positioned
directly next to them for super-quick clip gain edits.
You can multi-select tracks themselves upwards and downwards to create temporary groups for level etc adjustments,
or make them an actual group with one-touch control using shift to dissolve a group.

There are also dedicated controls for creating buses and vcas for those selected channels.



Navigation/Zoom View improvements

You can now easily switch between scene, section and marker navigation, and every view you'll ever need
has been condensed into just two buttons, one of which is a multi-function button that has 3 different actions
based on what is selected; section, loop or event.
The other button zooms to the selected track/s and resets with each new selection,
or snaps the current scene to fit using shift.



Updated & Refined Send mode

Now, going into Send mode puts send pan on the pots and send level on the faders,
whilst hitting flip puts channel pan on the pots and send pan on the faders,
allowing for maximum flexibility when mixing and writing automation.



Redesigned, Sleeker On-Screen-Display

Slimmed down, interactive and has full parameter feedback that updates instantly.

The X-Touch LCDs are somewhat lacking, as we all know, so having a pragmatic OSD
that you could actually use was an important addition.
The original was 220 pixels high, the new one is 160 pixels, yet displays more info than the original
without being cluttered, and is themed to match a physical graphic overlay that is being produced.
(This will not be free, obvs, but it'll be priced to move, as it were.. !


Pre-mapped Plug-ins

Using the Control Link system within Studio One is pretty painless, but can be laborious when none of your plugs are mapped,
so a large amount of plug-ins will be pre-mapped and this library will be added to continually.
The plugs included pre-mapped will cover a huge selection if not all of UAD, Softube, T-Racks, Valhalla etc,
all mapped intelligently with proper thought put into real-world usage,
not just a pot slapped here, a fader slapped there kind of mapping.
This is a huge time-saver for when you just want to get on with it.

--------------------------------------------------------

The map will come as a small and simple installer that makes the whole thing plug and play.
Run the installer, add as external device within S1 and you're good to go.

--------------------------------------------------------


There are a host of other nice features that make using a controller in Studio One a real joy,
but everything will be outlined on the website along with videos breaking down the control behaviours
and how you can customise stuff further to your particular needs (from within Studio One - no code editing required!).

This is just a cheeky slutz first look at features that have already been implemented and thoroughly tested.
This is a mix template, first and foremost, but there are plans to release one geared more towards recording,
one for music creation, one for editing and so on.


Any questions on functionality I'll be happy to answer
Old 30th October 2019
  #2
Gear Nut
 
lixisoft's Avatar
 

Very intrigued...........subscribed and awaiting further info.....
Old 30th October 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Yes please!

I do use the master fader on my X-Touch as it is the only way to control output volume without reaching to the back of my monitor speakers. I monitor in the DAW and my MOTU interface doesn't have a master volume control and I don't have the money or space for a monitor controller.
Old 30th October 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Hi guys,

@ lixisoft I'll release some preview 'proof of concept' vids from the promo rushes so you can actually see it working.

@ Treebase DMX thanks for pointing out that not everyone has alternatives to internal monitoring (or an interface with main output controls, although that sounds like a nightmare!)

There are various solutions to this, but best practice (even without the restrictions you face) is to use an Aux Master (a bus channel that all your tracks and buses feed to as if it was the main, which in turn feeds the actual main).
From there all you do is assign a VCA to it.
Now when you want master volume control just hit the VCA bank, adjust and switch back.

If you have a big project with lots of bus channels this is the method you would use anyway to put the most heavily used of them within easy reach at the touch of a button.

The master output is never visible in any track or console scenes and can't have a VCA assigned directly to it, but to be honest the 'workaround' is actually an improvement in routing flexibility all-round, so it's worth doing anyway even if you do have monitor control etc.

Cheers!
Old 30th October 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Thanks! The MOTU interface does have a Master knob but it does nothing when monitoring in the DAW. I may be missing something as the MOTU CueMix software is awkward and I never spent much time trying to work everything out with that.
Old 1st November 2019
  #6
Gear Head
 

Will this be useful for someone using a Faderport 8 in Studio One?
Old 1st November 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
I'd love to say yes, but there's only one encoder on the new faderport series, which means you'd lose the send mode with send pan/level available at once and two thirds of the plugin control set (encoders and encoder buttons).

A good degree of modification would be possible though, yes.

I'm still trying to fathom why they only put one knob on a daw controller for their own daw, especially when studio one's control link functionality is so strong.

I refuse to believe that was a designer's decision, it doesn't make any sense, so most likely it was a corporate one, and it was an error, imo.

Don't get me wrong, I genuinely believe that S1 will be the new Cubase as it were, I think it's an amazing product and in time will come to dominate the daw market, and will be the platform that finally sidelines ProTools.

Let's not forget though that Presonus basically bought Studio One, daws are not in their DNA and it shows with a product like the Faderport 8/16.
However.
Having said that, the faderport 8/16 as it comes is still the best choice for people to use that own a Faderport 8/16, if that makes sense.
I could get the plug control working on the Faderport 8/16 though I think.

The original faderport was amazing, they just don't seem to have understood why it was so good.
Tip: it wasn't because it only had one knob..

Because the whole surface control set of the x-touch and similar controllers will be changed, you need a graphic overlay, I'm waiting for a test template to arrive to make sure it's a perfect fit (for the x-touch initially), but these are not cheap to produce, they're not simple stickers (and a one piece overlay wouldn't really work with the Faderports).
Old 1st November 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Test samples of the overlay to check sizing, text spacing, colours etc..

Nice to see something in the flesh!
Attached Thumbnails
Customised Mackie Control with DAW Sync and Full Plug-in Control-_20191101_162907.jpg  
Old 2nd November 2019
  #9
Gear Addict
question about the X-touch, are the endless encoders smooth or stepped?

I have an old school MCU and they are stepped, so I haven't used them for anything besides panning because the resolution isn't fine enough for plugin control.

Would consider replacing the MCU for your script if the X-touch encoders are smooth.
Old 2nd November 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
 

The encoder resolution is the same as the MCU. The X-Touch is inferior hardware, barely acceptable.
Old 2nd November 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Sorry but that's completely inaccurate.
It's like the fiction spouted by someone a while ago that the faders were low resolution or some other nonsense.
Where do you guys get this stuff from

They're endless encoders with the same midi resolution as any other endless encoder.

When I add video you'll see how fine the stepping can be, which obviously depends on what they're assigned to.
Old 3rd November 2019
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treebase DMX View Post
The encoder resolution is the same as the MCU. The X-Touch is inferior hardware, barely acceptable.
I’ve used both extensively and you are COMPLETELY WRONG.
Old 4th November 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Sure, ok.

How much would you like to bet on it..?

I've got video evidence being recorded and cut now.

Get yours ready..
Old 4th November 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blayz2002 View Post
I’ve used both extensively and you are COMPLETELY WRONG.
Good ol' internet forums...
Old 4th November 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Sorry but that's completely inaccurate.
It's like the fiction spouted by someone a while ago that the faders were low resolution or some other nonsense.
Where do you guys get this stuff from

They're endless encoders with the same midi resolution as any other endless encoder.

When I add video you'll see how fine the stepping can be, which obviously depends on what they're assigned to.
Who are you replying to??
Old 4th November 2019
  #16
Here for the gear
Will this be able to VCA Spill !?
Keep up the good work!
Old 4th November 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Treebase DMX View Post
Who are you replying to??
Not you!!

Didn't even see your reply when I was answering the guy that felt THE NEED TO SHOUT.

(He's wrong, btw... video is uploading now.. ready in about 30 mins)
Old 4th November 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FliZeR View Post
Will this be able to VCA Spill !?
Keep up the good work!
Would you be so kind as to enlighten me what the term 'vca spill' means, precisely?
I hope the answer is yes but I'm not familiar with that term!
Old 4th November 2019
  #19
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Would you be so kind as to enlighten me what the term 'vca spill' means, precisely?
I hope the answer is yes but I'm not familiar with that term!
Sure!
Let’s say you have 12 drum channels..
You want to control them all, so you create a VCA fader to control all faders with just the one VCA fader...
“VCA spill” is like:
You select the VCA fader and click spill.
That “spills” out all channels connected to that VCA fader..
It’s like hiding all other channels and just showing the drum channels.
It would be a huge workflow enhancement and a much faster way of navigating around a large session, when you lets say, only have 8 faders.
Old 4th November 2019
  #20
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Quetz's Avatar
Well, I have a few options for you.

So, one of the core aspects (should there only be one core?!) of my beloved QMap is that it is very much centred around a scene-based workflow, which in essence is exactly what you are describing.

I'm using the term 'scene' to describe any set of tracks that we can choose, that once 'activated' will cause the controller channel view to follow/sync to that view of those tracks.
This can be done in three ways.
So, you could simply make 'actual' scenes using the tracklist, set a load of these up at the beginning of starting a new project (or include them in a template), so then you have your scene called 'All drums', and whenever you punch in that scene, you have your drums.
Those same tracks can still be part of another scene, scenes aren't exclusive, tracks can be a part of any number of different scenes.

You could likewise have a scene called 'guitars' or even sub-sections of guitars, in fact you can have as many different scenes made of as many different types and numbers of tracks as you like, they don't have to be audio tracks, could be 4 audio, a vsti, 2 vcas, 3 busses etc, whatever makes sense for a particular project.
The reason I like this approach so much is because we're constantly being force-fed an old paradigm, as if we all had LFACs in our rooms.
It doesn't make sense nowadays.
Why would I want to always have audio tracks 'over here', and groups 'over there'. Often I want to see the channels of drums and their sub-groups if any and the drum bus in front of me, and just that!
The 'Global View' scene on MCU controllers which just spreads every channel in your session out across some imaginary huge console you don't own, when you have to page in banks of 8.
This approach is a hangover, it doesn't make much sense any more, because we're not bound by the physical layout of big consoles.
This map is not just a set of controls, you see, it's an ideology.

Anyway, back to it, sorry haha!!
You can address these scenes by either cycling through them or assigning the ones you think you'll access the most to dedicated buttons on the controller (shift and any of the 8 pot-press buttons).

So that's one way.

The second way is using folders. When tracks are in a closed folder, the controller doesn't see them, which is perfect, but you can still select them and open/close them, from the controller.
You could simply organise your entire session into folders, and sub-folders, instead of or as well as traditional scenes, then by opening and closing these you create your discrete channel view sets, which the controller will slave to.

I've put the folder controls on one button - without shift toggles existing folder tracks open and closed, and with shift packs a set of tracks you've selected into a new folder.
This is possible because there are dedicated controls (well, using shift, we don't want 200 buttons to deal with after all) for multi-selecting tracks and/or events, you can multi-select (and multi-deselect) in any of the four directions.

You can just select one of course, as well.

The third way is by using groups, or I should say busses, actually it probably works with groups as well, I haven't even checked, having more options than you need is a rare luxury in controller-land!
You can simply select a bus channel and hit what used to be F6 and it will reveal/pop open any channels routed to it.
It's not as flexible as the other ways but can be handy sometimes.

From those options, you'll be able to quickly and easily achieve the layouts you want with the controller following your choices the whole time.
The method that does exactly what you want though (lays your drums and only your drums out whilst hiding all other channels at the same time) is with a true scene.
Opening a drum folder for example wouldn't close all other folders and hide all other tracks not in folders.
Old 4th November 2019
  #21
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Well, I have a few options for you.

So, one of the core aspects (should there only be one core?!) of my beloved QMap is that it is very much centred around a scene-based workflow.

I'm using the term 'scene' to describe any set of tracks that we can choose, that once 'activated' will cause the controller channel view to follow/sync to that view of those tracks.
This can be done in three ways.
So, you could simply make 'actual' scenes using the tracklist, set a load of these up at the beginning of starting a new project (or include them in a template), so then you have your scene called 'All drums', and whenever you punch in that scene, you have your drums.
Those same tracks can still be part of another scene, scenes aren't exclusive, tracks can be a part of any number of different scenes.

You could likewise have a scene called 'guitars' or even sub-sections of guitars, in fact you can have as many different scenes made of as many different types and numbers of tracks as you like, they don't have to be audio tracks, could be 4 audio, a vsti, 2 vcas, 3 busses etc, whatever makes sense for a particular project.
So that's the 'traditional' scene.

You can address these scenes by either cycling through them or assigning the ones you think you'll access the most to dedicated buttons on the controller (shift and any of the 8 pot-press buttons).

So that's one way.

The second way is using folders. When tracks are in a closed folder, the controller doesn't see them, which is handy, but you can still select them and open/close them, from the controller.
You could simply organise your entire session into folders, and sub-folders, instead of or as well as traditional scenes, then by opening and closing these you create your discrete channel view sets, which the controller will slave to.

I've put the folder controls on one button - without shift toggles existing folder tracks open and closed, and with shift packs a set of tracks you've selected into a new folder.
This is possible because there are dedicated controls (well, using shift, we don't want 200 buttons to deal with after all) for multi-selecting tracks and/or events, you can multi-select (and multi-deselect) in any of the four directions.

You can just select one of course, as well.

The third way is by using groups, or I should say busses, actually it probably works with groups as well, I haven't even checked, having more options than you need is a rare luxury in controller-land!
You can simply select a bus channel and hit what used to be F6 and it will reveal/pop open any channels routed to it.
It's not as flexible as the other ways but can be handy sometimes.

From those options, you'll be able to quickly and easily achieve the layouts you want with the controller following your choices the whole time.
The method that does exactly what you want though (lays your drums and only your drums out whilst hiding all other channels at the same time) is with a true scene.
Opening a drum folder for example wouldn't close all other folders and hide all other tracks not in folders.
You know... this sounds absolutely fantastic!!!
I’m subscribing to this channel and looking forward to the release!!

Good luck, and keep us informed when you release this beast
Old 4th November 2019
  #22
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Quetz's Avatar
FML.

Since when did YouTube trash all your uploads to 360p forever. Jesus.
Old 4th November 2019
  #23
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
FML.

Since when did YouTube trash all your uploads to 360p forever. Jesus.
Any link to your videos!?

2 days ago I got the new Softube Console 1 Fader...
I think I’m gonna send that one back right away, and buy a Behringer x touch!?
What you think will be the best setup, with x-touch extenders and so on?
Old 4th November 2019
  #24
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Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FliZeR View Post
You know... this sounds absolutely fantastic!!!
I’m subscribing to this channel and looking forward to the release!!

Good luck, and keep us informed when you release this beast



!!!Watch this Space for New Video this Week!!!
Old 5th November 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by FliZeR View Post
Any link to your videos!?

2 days ago I got the new Softube Console 1 Fader...
I think I’m gonna send that one back right away, and buy a Behringer x touch!?
What you think will be the best setup, with x-touch extenders and so on?
I only have one extender, I wouldn't mind one more to spread an extra plug out onto, but one main unit and one extender is an extremely effective and still fairly compact setup.

Then all you have to decide is extender on the left or on the right!

Edit: I had another look at the Icon Platform M but with only 9 buttons or so beyond the meagre transport controls, there's really not much that can be done with it, although it can still be given a new lease of life with plug-in control, it just wouldn't benefit from all the other goodies.
Old 5th November 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 

When I was researching for a DAW controller I quickly ruled out anything made by Icon... The company inspires zero confidence and the quality doesn't seem to be there at all judging by user comments I have seen around the net. The X-Touch isn't great but at least has a 3 year warranty.... I only bought it because the other options are just ridiculously expensive for that they are ....and older second-hand Mackie machines tend to have the P+G faders which always fail and have been discontinued.
Old 5th November 2019
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Not you!!

Didn't even see your reply when I was answering the guy that felt THE NEED TO SHOUT.

(He's wrong, btw... video is uploading now.. ready in about 30 mins)
I don’t know what you’re talking about? Yes I did shout, to contradict this ridiculous comment “ The X-Touch is inferior hardware, barely acceptable.” made by another forum member. I’ve been using it for a few years now and have used Mackie’s and iCon’s and the X Touch cannot be described as inferior.

I don’t have any videos no, because I no longer have the Mackie or iCon.
Old 5th November 2019
  #28
Gear Nut
 
Eevi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Sure, ok.

How much would you like to bet on it..?

I've got video evidence being recorded and cut now.

Get yours ready..
I think he was agreeing with you quoting the other user. I guess this was a misunderstanding but check for yourself above
Old 6th November 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
I finally got that, and wrote and posted (or so I thought!) the correction and an apology for misunderstanding..

Too many simultaneous replying to different threads and not enough sleep probably contributed, gawd.

I'm in complete agreement with @ blayz2002 - the resolution of the faders and encoders on the x-touch is more than good enough for even the finest control.

I'm putting together some short vids showing specified features one by one this time, plug in control will be first so everyone will see the level of control up close and can decide for themselves.

It probably seems that I'm being a bit slow but I'm adding to the feature set everyday and so that pushes things back a bit every time, but I need to draw a line under it very soon, for the first version at least.

Sorry again for the confusion with the replies!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Gear Nut
What specific hardware/controllers are you using?
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