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Channel Strip Control Surface Control Surfaces
Old 11th September 2007
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
Hi,

Better late than never - here's the first drawing of our channel strip control surface. As you can see there's not much detail yet - but you get the concept.

The knob layout is based on the Duende channel strip, but it's gonna be compatible with most common plugin channel strips.

No buttons. To increase compatibility we'll use a touch sensitive LCD display. This is a 16:9 wide 10.2" LCD with 800x480 resolution.

As you can see on this print-out there's empty space to the right of the screen and knobs. We're considering a motorized fader and transport controls here. But it's a decision still to be made. It makes the box bigger and more complicated. I'm torn between functionality (transport controls would be great!) and the fact that we could make it really slim if we just have the channel strip function.

All input, ideas, suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated!

/Olov

Good to hear this idea is still alive...I thought you might have given up on it.

I think the layout looks really good and the fact that it will be compatible with more than just the Duende is a definite plus. But will it only be compatible with channelstrip VSTs or will I be able to use it with say my UAD LA2A or 1176 as well.

And if it's going to be compatible with other channelstrips besides the Duende wouldn't it make sense to include small LCD's underneath each of the frequency encoders, since different channel strips are going to have different bands. Encoders with LCD displays built in, like the keys on the new Fairlight controller would be perfect for this application.
Old 11th September 2007
  #62
Lives for gear
 

Sounds like an awesome idea!
Old 11th September 2007
  #63
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 

What a great concept!
Make it compatible with most of the standard VST + TDM plugins (EQs, comps + channels strips) and it will be a great product!

The only thing that bothers me is, how do you toggle between the channels? IMO it's very important to be able to navigate quickly through the channels and find the right plugin on the right channel. And even more important:
The plugin should pop up as soon as you select or edit it!

Thanks!
Old 14th September 2007
  #64
Gear Nut
 

Okay, here's the latest drawing. We're skipping the fader and transport controls, plenty of other brands do these. This is gonna be a slim, dedicated channel strip control unit.

We got this idea on how to make it intuitive for different plugins. Let me know what you think about this: say you buy the unit kinda pre-fabbed. There's the box with the screen but then you get to choose between different layout plates. You're gonna have to plug the pots into this panel yourself (we're gonna try to make this easy) and screw it onto the main unit. This way you'll get a unit that is always custom made for your favorite channel strip plugin. Of course this is bad if you like to switch between different type of plugins - but we believe that most people have one favorite plugin that they use on every channel. When new plugins are released you can easily get a new layout plate.

What do you think?

Old 14th September 2007
  #65
Gear Nut
 

Oups, I didn't realize the picture was that big...
Old 14th September 2007
  #66
Lives for gear
Can you explain in more detail what you mean by plugging in the pots ourselves?

From what I've gathered here on GS is that most people like to use different plugs for different situations and that an uninterrupted workflow is important. Wouldn't switching between plates everytime you switch plugins be kinda time consuming?
Old 14th September 2007
  #67
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Plugging pots yourself?

I don't want to be a party killer here, but that's gonna be insanely expensive if you want to do it right

Take a look at a half-ok attempt here:
http://www.mawzer.com/?lang=english

But:
- it's not flexible enough
- it's not professional enough
Old 14th September 2007
  #68
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB872 View Post
From what I've gathered here on GS is that most people like to use different plugs for different situations and that an uninterrupted workflow is important. Wouldn't switching between plates everytime you switch plugins be kinda time consuming?
I agree, it only makes sense if you use one type of channel strip plugin all over the place.
Old 14th September 2007
  #69
Lives for gear
Since all the pots are staggered I think a simple solution would be to run a horizontal LCD strip underneath both the EQ and Dynamic section with the corresponding value lining up with it's pot. And I think it would be wise to add 4 buttons to your design, < fx bin > and < track >, with LCD scribble strips above.
Old 14th September 2007
  #70
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 

I think people need a surface with fixed knobs for each parameter.

You need:
4 bands of EQ with Gain/Freq/Q/OnOff and perhaps another knob for changing the filter type

compressor with Thres/Ratio/At/Rel/MakeUp/OnOff

1 aux send with level/Pan/PrePost/OnOff + a +1 and -1 switch for the different aux buses.

The auxes should correspond with you host DAW and the other controllers should be intelligent enough to work with supported channelstrip (or EQ or compressor) plugins.

I don't know if that's possible!
Old 14th September 2007
  #71
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BradM's Avatar
Wouldn't a lexan template overlay like the MCU has be a better idea?

I would recommend having buttons on it that allow you to manually go to the next track while keeping the same slot active (for those of us that put the same EQ in the same insert slot all the time) and also having buttons that allow you to go up or down a slot for a given track. I personally think it would be handy to have the channel strip control not follow the channel selection in the software or other control surface all the time. My brain tends to skip around while working on a mix.

I'm assuming this box would allow you to save presets for different plugins. One feature that would be great is if you could write a software utility that would allow you delete unnecessary parameters from the mapping. For instance, take Vintage Warmer. It has all those rear panel controls. I don't need to see those. I only need to see the important stuff like attack, release, drive, output, etc. I don't need every parameter the plugin has mapped to the controller. I'd like to be able to manually pick and choose which parameters map if possible.

My thoughts.

Brad
Old 14th September 2007
  #72
Gear Nut
 

All good inputs guys! So it seems the make-your-own-layout-idea fails on being too inflexible? This is why it's good to discuss all these things on GS!

The idea to have a standard setup of knobs was the original idea. Somebody didn't like the idea cos some channel strips have more EQ bands (like the Metric Halo) but maybe this is still acceptable (filters, LF, LMF, HMF, HF).

Yes - channel select buttons will be included. The LCD will show the active plugin, if that's gonna follow what channel you've got selected in you DAW might be user defined.

Value display strips over each knob would be neat but also make the unit much more expensive. How desirable is this feature?

Again, thanks for the input. Keep it coming!

And.. we'll see what happens at AES - maybe we'll see some control surfaces like this there.
Old 14th September 2007
  #73
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
All good inputs guys! So it seems the make-your-own-layout-idea fails on being too inflexible? This is why it's good to discuss all these things on GS!

The idea to have a standard setup of knobs was the original idea. Somebody didn't like the idea cos some channel strips have more EQ bands (like the Metric Halo) but maybe this is still acceptable (filters, LF, LMF, HMF, HF).

Yes - channel select buttons will be included. The LCD will show the active plugin, if that's gonna follow what channel you've got selected in you DAW might be user defined.

Value display strips over each knob would be neat but also make the unit much more expensive. How desirable is this feature?

Again, thanks for the input. Keep it coming!

And.. we'll see what happens at AES - maybe we'll see some control surfaces like this there.
Can remember if this was mentioned, but is the layout of the controller the exact same as that of the Duende plugin?
Old 14th September 2007
  #74
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BradM's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
Value display strips over each knob would be neat but also make the unit much more expensive. How desirable is this feature?

Again, thanks for the input. Keep it coming!

And.. we'll see what happens at AES - maybe we'll see some control surfaces like this there.

I don't really care if there is an LCD read of the value. But some kind of visual indication (lights around the encoder) that tell you where you have the knob would be good. If the knob configuration is labeled on the unit or some kind of template then you know what parameter you are editing already.

A question about the Novation Remote SL. I was reading that you can choose whether or not the controller follows the selected channel. If you choose to disable the DAW follow, is there a way to use the controller to select other plugins to edit either on the same channel or other channels? I really want to just be able to pick a slot for any channel without having to pull up other windows on the computer screen.

thanks,
Brad
Old 14th September 2007
  #75
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
Value display strips over each knob would be neat but also make the unit much more expensive. How desirable is this feature?
As long as the corresponding plug in pops up on the TFT, I don't need any visual feedback!

Thanks!
Old 15th September 2007
  #76
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
This is starting to sound a bit like the shopping channel. The Novation SL, while probably worth it's price, has not gotten all good reviews. It's plastic and .. well, just look at those faders.

I been looking for a control surface for the Duende - now I'm considering building one myself.

The plan would be to get real SSL knobs and put them on rotary pots. And with a 800x480 pix LCD (the duende channel strip is 800x400) put all its 40 or so knobs/buttons together with some channel select and transport functions in a nice remote control box looking somewhat like the TC Electronics 6000 controller. The LCD would just be feeding off a graphics card in the computer and showing the channel strip GUI.

Any suggestions?

And yeah, a friend in software r&d is getting hooked on the project so it could actually happen! If we go ahead we'll post the progress here!

/MH
Going from this post, I'm assuming the layout will resemble the Duende plugin, and after taking a closer look at all the pots and what they control, you guys are probably right...the LCD strip is not needed. As long as the controller automatically maps the parameter to the category it falls in (filter, LF, MF,etc.) I'm fine with just a standard setup.
Old 15th September 2007
  #77
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetener View Post
As long as the corresponding plug in pops up on the TFT, I don't need any visual feedback!

Thanks!
I see a little technical problem:

I suppose that TFT panel is feeded by a stand-alone embedded computer; if this is true, how are you able to show the plug-in window on the controller TFT ?
The plug-in is running on the DAW host, not on the controller computer.

Silvano
Old 15th September 2007
  #78
Gear Nut
 

Yeah, the layout is based on the Duende. We just added an extra knob for compressor attack.
Old 15th September 2007
  #79
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.bettinzana View Post
I see a little technical problem:

I suppose that TFT panel is feeded by a stand-alone embedded computer; if this is true, how are you able to show the plug-in window on the controller TFT ?
The plug-in is running on the DAW host, not on the controller computer.

Silvano
The plans at moment is that you just feed the unit from a graphics card in the DAW computer. A simple solution to keep the costs down.
Old 15th September 2007
  #80
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mile-High View Post
The plans at moment is that you just feed the unit from a graphics card in the DAW computer. A simple solution to keep the costs down.
In this case you will see the full desktop window of your PC, not the pop-up window of the plug-in.

Silvano
Old 15th September 2007
  #81
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s.bettinzana View Post
In this case you will see the full desktop window of your PC, not the pop-up window of the plug-in.

Silvano
I think we can find a way around that.
Old 15th September 2007
  #82
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TheSweetener's Avatar
 

Again, as long as the plugin pops up on the normal TFT screen, I don't need another display. What do you guys think?
Doesn't the display make the thing much more expensive?
Old 15th September 2007
  #83
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetener View Post
Again, as long as the plugin pops up on the normal TFT screen, I don't need another display. What do you guys think?
Doesn't the display make the thing much more expensive?
A display is actually relatively cheap compared to actual controls.
Old 15th September 2007
  #84
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BradM's Avatar
I just pulled the trigger on a Novation Remote SL Zero. I found a factory b-stock for $199 so I couldn't resist. There's one left in case anyone is interested. I'm really excited about this Automap thing.

Mile-High: maybe you guys want to license the Automap stuff from Novation? That's going to be hard for anyone to beat from a flexibility and ease of use standpoint.

Brad
Old 15th September 2007
  #85
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSweetener View Post
Again, as long as the plugin pops up on the normal TFT screen, I don't need another display. What do you guys think?
Doesn't the display make the thing much more expensive?
I like the idea of having a small PC screen to show the plugin GUI.
Old 15th September 2007
  #86
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeltaM View Post
A display is actually relatively cheap compared to actual controls.
Small PC touchscreens go for about $200 on ebay...which has got me thinking why not just use one of these as channel strip controller if it's possible to load up the plugin GUI on the screen on its own. Or are touchscreens not there yet?
Old 15th September 2007
  #87
Gear Nut
 

Okay, let me clarify:

Yes - the LCD screen is gonna show the plugin GUI. Either you have it follow whatever channel you have selected or you switch by using the channel select buttons.

Yes - the screen is gonna have the touch option. To press any button on the GUI you'll use the touch screen. To turn any knob you'll use the (hopefully automapped) pots below the LCD.

You could probably control everything with the touch screen alone, but the you'd lose some of the feeling you'd sought after in the first place by getting a hardware control surface.

We will probably be using this LCD-display if we can sort out the power supply.

http://www.pacer.co.uk/jkcm/cache/fl0000572.pdf

They idea is to have only one cable running to the control surface, then have this cable connected to a base unit or something similar. A bit like the Apple Cinema Display is setup with only one cable to the actual monitor. This way it'll be easier to handle in the studio.
Old 15th September 2007
  #88
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DrDeltaM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JB872 View Post
Small PC touchscreens go for about $200 on ebay...which has got me thinking why not just use one of these as channel strip controller if it's possible to load up the plugin GUI on the screen on its own. Or are touchscreens not there yet?
I've done a lot of controller design thinking as well. I came to the conclusion you still wanna grab a real knob/fader rather then a visual representation of it.

That Dexter controller for example, nice gimmick, but not so handy in a real studio application. It makes more sense for experimental electronic live acts, but not as a mixing controller.
Old 15th September 2007
  #89
Gear Addict
 
MrChang's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan View Post
I just pulled the trigger on a Novation Remote SL Zero. I found a factory b-stock for $199 so I couldn't resist. There's one left in case anyone is interested. I'm really excited about this Automap thing.

Mile-High: maybe you guys want to license the Automap stuff from Novation? That's going to be hard for anyone to beat from a flexibility and ease of use standpoint.

Brad

Brad,

I'm interested. Where did you get it for that price?

John
Old 15th September 2007
  #90
Lives for gear
Another +1 on the Novation Remote SL - i've got the 25 and just upgraded to 3.1 - fantastic bit of kit.

I've been using it mainly for synths but i'm gonna need to put some time into some templates for EQ's and comps as well.

Highly recommended!
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