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Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini Control Surfaces
Old 2nd January 2017
  #1
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Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini

Take this for whatever it’s worth to you. If you use Cubase, you should check out the Novation Launchpad Mini. I don’t know about other DAWs, but the Cubase Generic Remote utility makes this an incredibly capable and flexible tool.

For starters, it gives you 80 buttons, and that is in just one profile. Given that you can create and scroll through virtually endless profiles, well, do the math. Any button can be assigned to any command, macro, controller, etc…. This wasn’t what Novation really had in mind, based on the discussions I’ve had with their support desk, but I’ve been getting great results and I thought I’d pass this along.

I am using 3 of them. My template has close to 100 audio/MIDI tracks, 16 groups, 8 dedicated FX busses and 13 VSTis. I can access any one of these with a single push of a button. I can also turn sends or inserts on/off, have transport control, workspaces, cycle markers, change views, address specific mixers, change targets and do most of my common audio/MIDI tasks with the same facility.

With 3 of them, all of these things are available at once: no scrolling or pages. They are less than $100 per unit, BTW. At 7.5” X 7.5”, they fit just about anywhere.

Combined with 3 BCRs, 2 BCFs, a touchscreen and 2nd USB keyboard that just runs macros, I barely need to touch my trackball. Workflow is intuitive and quick. A little bit like the old days.

I hope someone finds this useful. My wrist is loving it.
Attached Thumbnails
Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini-cam02758.jpg   Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini-cam02761.jpg   Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini-cam02762.jpg   Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini-cam02789.jpg  

Last edited by Deleted User; 14th January 2017 at 03:25 AM..
Old 2nd January 2017
  #2
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Yutaka's Avatar
 

Ah, I've been thinking to do the same thing. Thanks for sharing, harleysr!

I have been using the Logitech G510 for key commands (18x3 = 54 commands) but 80 buttons per profile is better. Good to hear that it's working well for you.

Old 2nd January 2017
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
Ah, I've been thinking to do the same thing. Thanks for sharing, harleysr!

I have been using the Logitech G510 for key commands (18x3 = 54 commands) but 80 buttons per profile is better. Good to hear that it's working well for you.

I looked a at few alternate keyboards for the macro element, as I wanted something in a small form factor. Realizing I had a spare SIIG in my travel kit, I just tossed it into the mix, so to speak. Hey, it was free, and just the right size The HIDMacro program allows me to use the keystrokes from any additional USB keyboard as a macro trigger. So, the one (pictured) with the labels only triggers macros, while my "normal" QWERTY does just what it's supposed to. Actually, you can use as many additional USB keypads as you want. I may get a small numeric keypad to place on the other side of the rig.
Old 12th January 2017
  #4
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Thanks for the post – as a result, I started creating a Generic remote using the Novation Launch Control XL.

I’m 90% done … I’ve mapped the buttons to transport etc) , but is there an easy way to pass continuous controllers of the knobs and sliders so they pass through to all VST plugins rather than specific ones in the lower window of the generic remote editor?
Old 12th January 2017
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8thwave View Post
Thanks for the post – as a result, I started creating a Generic remote using the Novation Launch Control XL.

I’m 90% done … I’ve mapped the buttons to transport etc) , but is there an easy way to pass continuous controllers of the knobs and sliders so they pass through to all VST plugins rather than specific ones in the lower window of the generic remote editor?
8thwave, you could simply use different MIDI channels for different templates on LCXL, and make the Generic Remote respond to a specific channel only. You can switch templates on LCXL at anytime, so you can just make the user template #1 for controlling synths (MIDI ch 1), #2 for Generic Remote (MIDI ch 2), for example.
Old 13th January 2017
  #6
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Thanks Yutaka - I'll experiment!
Old 14th January 2017
  #7
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For me, the key has been to create different "profiles" in the Generic Remote. When you have the editor open, just look to right in the lower section. You can create and name each profile.

One issue I had with this was that I prefer to categorize and alphabetize the profiles. In Cubase, you can't just drag them into whatever order you want. That will take an XML editor, which is what I did. Once you know what you're doing, you can quickly assemble multiple profiles that have certain thing in common (like what the top/side sections do on my LP Mini) and save a lot of wear and tear on your wrist. It also ensures consistency. You can then put the profiles in any order you prefer. If you do this, make a backup of the XML file before you edit it.

Another trick is to click on one of the items in the lower columns of the editor and type the first letter: c for command, m for mixer, ect.... This works for the selections in all columns, BTW. It's a time-saver.
Old 14th January 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
8thwave, you could simply use different MIDI channels for different templates on LCXL, and make the Generic Remote respond to a specific channel only. You can switch templates on LCXL at anytime, so you can just make the user template #1 for controlling synths (MIDI ch 1), #2 for Generic Remote (MIDI ch 2), for example.
To do so, you would have to make a duplicate top section in the editor for each MIDI channel, if I am understanding your suggestion correctly. The list will be enormous and, in my opinion, unwieldy. I experimented with this and found it to be buggy. The two-way communication was trashed when switching between MIDI channels on the hardware.

I found going in the other direction, with the hardware sending a single set of instructions that the profiles in Cubase could apply (via profiles) to specific plugs to be very reliable and effective.

If you are using this for plugins, bear in mind that each profile will refer to a specific plugin on a specific insert of any channel. If you have a particular EQ on the first insert of a bunch of channels, you'll be able to jump from channel to channel and control the same functions on each one. If one of the channels has that EQ on insert 2, the hardware isn't going to communicate with it properly.

If you are using the hardware to control something that is common to all channels, (mute button), it will work on any channel that has the feature you are mapped to. It also allows you to run macros created in Cubase. Anything that has is listed in the key commands can be mapped.

Last edited by Deleted User; 14th January 2017 at 03:21 AM..
Old 14th January 2017
  #9
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Thanks harleysr, I'm still new to all this, so I really appreciate that you are taking time to explain and sharing your tips.

Now I see I can just directly assign the profiles to specific buttons and switch between them - that's so much easier, and much more manageable. Totally missed it.

I couldn't really figure out the insert situation before, but that makes sense. I only use bx_digital for EQ most of the time, so this should work well for me.
Old 14th January 2017
  #10
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Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
Now I see I can just directly assign the profiles to specific buttons and switch between them - that's so much easier, and much more manageable. Totally missed it.
Yes, very handy. I have all the buttons on the right side of the BCFs set up for either hitting several favorites, or, using the <Preset> button, to scroll through them one by one. The factory Preset mode on the Behringer stuff is useless, in Cubase, as the hardware doesn't update from the software when switching presets. By using the profiles on the Generic Remote, it works perfectly: the hardware snaps to whatever is chosen on the screen. Frankly, the BCF/BCR units from Behringer are capable of much more than many people realize.

I have one BCR dedicated to the Cubase channel strip. Every insert, send, EQ band, on/off switch. volume, pan, etc.... Now, the built-in EQ on the the Cubase strip is post inserts. I often prefer to EQ at the top of the chain. I created a macro to instantiate a UAD/Waves/Liquid Mix EQ on the first insert of a highlighted channel. It then switches to a BCR profile for the Cubase strip, but the EQ knobs and switches now control the 3rd party EQ. A different button will take me back to the stock controls. I love this.
Old 16th January 2017
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
I created a macro to instantiate a UAD/Waves/Liquid Mix EQ on the first insert of a highlighted channel.
I suppose this is where you are using HID Macros you've mentioned earlier? I just started to have a look at it, and looks like the mouse clicks happening at their set coordinates can be triggered using a script, but how are you doing this?

Old 16th January 2017
  #12
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BTW, for anyone new to Generic Remote concept in Cubase, I just found a nice video tutorial on YouTube :



If you have any extra MIDI devices doing nothing, take a look.
Old 18th January 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
I created a macro to instantiate a UAD/Waves/Liquid Mix EQ on the first insert of a highlighted channel.
I suppose this is where you are using HID Macros you've mentioned earlier? I just started to have a look at it, and looks like the mouse clicks happening at their set coordinates can be triggered using a script, but how are you doing this?

At this time, I create the external (to Cubase) macros using a macro app called TinyTask. I use the HID program to turn a second USB keyboard into a trigger for the macros. Quite simple, actually.

A key element is that I am now working out of a master template. It has all the tracks I can think of needing for any project, FX busses set up, etc..... AND the order and position of tracks are set. Everything is grouped logically and color coded. Very easy to navigate. I have been recording for about 40 years. Been through the "too many options" black hole. I want a rig I can bring up and get to work on, No desire to recreate the wheel every time I do something new. The reason I mention this is that my template gives me the consistency to use macros that are recording keystrokes. Everything is right where it's supposed to be and does what it's supposed to do: every time!

Some of the things I can do with the push of a single button:
Place any EQ from any vendor on insert 1, while mapping the hardware controls on the channel strip controller to that EQ (rather than the Cubase built-in EQ)
Place any comp from any vendor on insert 2
Bring up any project VSTi on the touchscreen for editing, then close it (same for any/all plugins on a given track/group)
Open Wavelab, set it to record, RTZ in Cubase and then start the playback for realtime spooling to "2-track"
Reconfigure both BCFs to run any 16 faders I want, while also bringing up the tracks in question in the project view and displaying a customized mixer with just those channels and their group channels (great for strings, horns, backups, just the guitar or keyboard tracks...... ) BTW, try it with a virtual B3 and drawbars.
Disable (not just bypass) all the plugins on a track, group of tracks or the entire project. Takes the load off the CPU. Bypassing does not.
Remove all the plugins on a given channel
The list goes on.....

The speed is fantastic and the reduction of stress to my wrist incalculable. It has made creating and mixing fun again.
Old 18th January 2017
  #14
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Thanks! Reading your post, looks like I have a lot of work to do in nailing down my workflow before getting into the kind of macro actions you are doing.

One of the reasons I wanted LP Mini for was switching the mixer configs so that I can see the parts of my project without scrolling, and I figured that more buttons would help with number of configs I can directly access. I use a big master template for working on all my projects as well, but I definitely need to be better at managing the tracks first. Another thing is figuring out left & right hand task distribution, like the commands to be used after mouse action should be executed with left hand, while the mixer commands should be handled with right hand so to keep the left hand on the LCXL (I switch it between HUI and regular MIDI mode at the moment). I have to break things down and figure out what I want to do.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences and ideas.
Old 18th January 2017
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
Thanks! Reading your post, looks like I have a lot of work to do in nailing down my workflow before getting into the kind of macro actions you are doing.

One of the reasons I wanted LP Mini for was switching the mixer configs so that I can see the parts of my project without scrolling, and I figured that more buttons would help with number of configs I can directly access. I use a big master template for working on all my projects as well, but I definitely need to be better at managing the tracks first. Another thing is figuring out left & right hand task distribution, like the commands to be used after mouse action should be executed with left hand, while the mixer commands should be handled with right hand so to keep the left hand on the LCXL (I switch it between HUI and regular MIDI mode at the moment). I have to break things down and figure out what I want to do.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences and ideas.
Some excellent observations regarding analysis of workflow requirements and physical distribution of hardware.

I have been working on this template/hardware integration for the last couple of years. Part of the process was trying things out and also noting moves I wanted to simplify. As in the military, redundant systems can be a good idea. Case in point, there are times I might want to arm tracks/record/undo/redo with my right hand, like when I'm tracking guitar. At other times, I will use my left hand. The bottom rows of the Launchpads on either side of my QWERTY have the same set of transport controls. This also allows me to use the trackball with one hand, while coordinating via the hardware with my other.

Accessing the views/workspaces quickly is key to zeroing in on elements in a project, as you know. Discovering just how powerful that feature is in Cubase was a game changer, for me. Using 3 monitors always provides a holistic view, but having the ability to instantly focus is indispensable.

As you can see from the pics, I am using 11 hardware controllers, including the Liquid Mix and macro commander (USB kybd #2 ). No one is making what I need, so I cobbled it together, myself. At first glance, it might seem extreme, but it now functions as a highly effective system ,rather than a hodgepodge. The financial investment is ridiculously small, as I've mentioned. Anyone can do this. Reading what you've observed, I imagine you'll be able to self-assess and assemble something that works for you.

The touchscreen on my left is in portrait mode because I can show more plugins on it at once. I find touch to be a highly effective means of manipulating disparate plugs. Although I did audition it as a mixer controller, I found I preferred the hardware knobs, buttons and faders the BCR/BCF units provide, particularly since I can reconfigure them with the press of a button. I mention this by way of suggesting a touchscreen as part of your plan.

Let me know how your system is progressing.
Old 19th January 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
Let me know how your system is progressing.
Will do! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on this.
Old 15th February 2017
  #17
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So - since Launch Pad mini was out of stock in the stores I've looked, I've ended up getting an Akai APC mini instead, which has the same number of buttons plus 9 faders. Here's the MIDI implementation info :

Midi Information for APC Mini

I've been wanting to add something for mixer functions, so APC mini is actually perfect - select a channel with LCXL in HUI mode with left hand, then control sends using faders + toggle plugin windows for inserts, etc. with right hand. I now have buttons dedicated for opening/closing the send effects plugin windows as well as buttons for inserts on master. It's so great to be able to open those with a press of a button no matter where the window focus is on. Also, I've set it up to show/hide the different parts of mixer racks so that I can see them one at a time. Being able to control sends (on/off and volume) using a dedicated device is great - it used to take 2-3 clicks just to turn on those things because I guess my clicking skill isn't up to par. I'm using this unit turned 90 degrees clockwise, so that the faders will go from left to right, and 1-8 would be laid out top to bottom just like in Cubase mixer.

Other than that, I have the visibility configs 1-8 and agent stuff, and commands to select different tracks to jump around in a large template. I actually like working with Generic Remote far more than key commands because I no longer have to think about some crazy key combinations that are not in use yet.

Only thing I wish Generic Remote had was ability to assign the target window associated with the commands. It is really frustrating having to click on mixer before I can use the Generic Remote commands.

Anyway, the build quality of APC mini seems okay, but I think Novation makes better quality hardware. I guess there isn't much that can go wrong in this particular unit, though, so I don't mind.
Old 18th February 2017
  #18
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Hey harleysr,

Would it also be possible to use a Launchpad to assign colors to tracks/events?

Thanks.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
So - "....Only thing I wish Generic Remote had was ability to assign the target window associated with the commands. It is really frustrating having to click on mixer before I can use the Generic Remote commands.
I created button commands for each of the 3 mixers and the Project Window. Makes navigating pretty simple. It's all in the key command list.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #20
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Originally Posted by Parzival View Post
Hey harleysr,

Would it also be possible to use a Launchpad to assign colors to tracks/events?

Thanks.
Based on my discussions with their desk, the answer is no, in the context of the Generic Remote/Cubase. It would be nice to be able to do that, though.
Old 22nd February 2017
  #21
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Based on this thread, I grabbed a Mini while they were on sale at Guitar Center last week for $79. So cool! Got it set up to do all my mundane menu tasks and macros. Way easier than trying to remember seldom used key commands. Thanks for the tip!

Any of you ever used Dragon to drive key commands with voice commands? Saw it in action the other day at a composer's studio and it was quite awesome. He could move around the room. Sit at the piano, hold a guitar, etc... Cubase just responded to him saying things like, "Cubase, goto start." or "Cubase, Record." Now that I've got a Leap Motion, a Launchpad Mini, several keyboard controllers with knobs, buttons and sliders, and an Alphatrack, the next logical step is voice command!
Old 23rd February 2017
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yutaka View Post
BTW, for anyone new to Generic Remote concept in Cubase, I just found a nice video tutorial on YouTube :



If you have any extra MIDI devices doing nothing, take a look.
Thanks for this video!!
Old 13th November 2017
  #23
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With Bome's Midi you can actually turn launchpad into a really universal controller, for instance, into a mackie controller for selection, mutes, solos and other stuff. Also you can combine it with other midi controllers.

Here I made use of my cheap gear to have full mackie:
2nd monitor shows mixer and mackie controls via MIDI Tools software,
X touch mini runs through Bome's midi for Mackie faders,
Launchpad mini runs through Bome's midi for Mackie buttons and other controls, for instance, buttons on right can bypass inserts 1,2,3 .. (yellow color for bypass). In combination with Cubase Generic Midi controller it is possible for one button to assign to open, for instance, plugin window of insert 3 on the selected channel with automatic mackie control assignment to the controls.

Everything synchronized and with LED feedback
Attached Thumbnails
Using Cubase? Check out the Launchpad Mini-launchpadasmackie.jpg  
Old 15th November 2017
  #24
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I guess I'm just stupid. I cannot figure this out for crap.

When I make a "generic remote" it just plays the midi notes where things like play or metronome are on the controller.
Old 15th November 2017
  #25
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For me it took quite a time to figure it out. I can give you some pointers. What do you want to achieve ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by toowrongfoo View Post
I guess I'm just stupid. I cannot figure this out for crap.

When I make a "generic remote" it just plays the midi notes where things like play or metronome are on the controller.
Old 15th November 2017
  #26
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For one thing, for the time being, I'd like my APC 40 to not just randomly have buttons assigned to notes. I know we are talking about the novation (and I have a launchpad pro too) but that would be a big help and I could just assign midi things like a cutoff or whatever my self per project.

For the LPP, I'd like to have the middle buttons be chromatic, and assign the surrounding buttons to do other tasks.

My Nektar integrates wonderfully with cubase so I don't "need" any of it, but I hate having it go to waste.

I don't want to waste your time, but I would be grateful for tips. I have a feeling once I get my head around a couple of things (like why I can't simply learn what I want) I'll be able to figure it out.
Old 15th November 2017
  #27
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Hey toowrongfoo,

It is the same thing with LP. All the buttons are notes. I found a software that translates midi messages (check out Bome Midi Translator). I learned it slowly day by day. You can program it so it receives from APC a C#2 note message and translates it to CC79 (push button or value of choosing/or increase in the CC). Other problem was with the LEDs on LP. On a press I had to re-send the same pressed note to LP on certain velocity to light the button up in the color I want (for instance, velocity 127=yellow color, etc). It takes a lot of time to re-program and have it is you like.

Anyways Bome Midi Translator will do the trick for you, but it will not be fast. You can also make a button on any midi controller to simulate a keystroke, mouse click or scroll, it has a lot of options. The Pro version has a nice demo, it just needs to be restarted every 20 mins, or buy the license.

Good luck.




Quote:
Originally Posted by toowrongfoo View Post
For one thing, for the time being, I'd like my APC 40 to not just randomly have buttons assigned to notes. I know we are talking about the novation (and I have a launchpad pro too) but that would be a big help and I could just assign midi things like a cutoff or whatever my self per project.

For the LPP, I'd like to have the middle buttons be chromatic, and assign the surrounding buttons to do other tasks.

My Nektar integrates wonderfully with cubase so I don't "need" any of it, but I hate having it go to waste.

I don't want to waste your time, but I would be grateful for tips. I have a feeling once I get my head around a couple of things (like why I can't simply learn what I want) I'll be able to figure it out.
Old 16th November 2017
  #28
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Thanks!
Old 11th January 2018
  #29
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Hi 7blanche and everyone,

I wish you a very happy 2018!

I have seven “Novation Launchpad Mini MK2” connected to a PC and controlling Cubase Pro 9. Each Launchpad is coupled to its own Generic Remote instance inside Cubase, and each button triggers a dedicated Command (Key Commands Macros containing Process Project Logical Editor presets).

It works well except for the fact that I have no LED feedback on the Launchpads Mini.

Could you please show me an example of how to program Bome Midi Translator Pro so that

– when I press a button on a Launchpad Mini it transmits the MIDI message but stays illuminated only while I press it and until I release it ? (LED trigger)
– when I press another button on a Launchpad Mini it transmits the MIDI message but stays illuminated until I press it again ? (LED toggle on/off)

That would help immensely!

Thanks so much
Old 11th January 2018
  #30
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Hey Relaxed Man,

Thanks, best 2018 to you, too !

For that you need 2 translators under the active preset - one for the message, the other for the LED feedback, for instance, for Launchpad 1st button of the 8th row:

Incoming - port: Launchpad Mini, Trigger: 90 70 pp
Outgoing - port: <custom port>, Trigger: 91 24 pp (this is for note C1, but can be anything else)

Incoming - port: Launchpad Mini, Trigger: 90 70 pp
Outgoing - port: Launchpad Mini, Trigger: 90 70 7f

Now you get the LED feedback when just pushing the button

You have to experiment with the last values for the incoming trigger 7f was for push and 00 is for release (I think).

If your'e interested I can give you my template I have setup Launchpad for drum rack, VST and VSTi quick controls (value increment and decrement +10 and -10), and additional layer for mackie with channel selection, mutes, solos and transport and plugin open.
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