Controller

    MIDI, OSC or Eucon-Protocol

    Kawai VPC1

    A special piano controller with real mechanics. I have an extra page for the VPC1:

    the Kawai VPC1

    Seaboard RISE

    My control board for the Modular Synth. With Keywaves!
    Of course I have an extra page:

    the Seaboard RISE


    Novation Launchkey Mini mk3

    ... super small (33cm wide), 689 g light and under €100.- ... and yet it is an excellent and full-grown controller! The mini keyboard is not "for playing", but rather for controlling.

    The main distinguishing feature are the 16 pads, which at 2 cm in size are probably a bit small to play drums with - I mainly use them as buttons, to switch presets and control the sampler and looper. The modwheel and pitchbend strips are pleasant and much better than small hardware sliders.

    Die MIDI-Drehregler sind die kleinsten, die ich je hatte. Sie lassen sich aber hervorragend regeln! Gerade für Ausgangs-Volumen bevorzuge ich Hardware Drehregler anstelle korrespondierender Encoder oder iPad Slider - und man hat die Hardware Regler "immer an der Hand" (das schafft bei mir Platz auf dem iPad). Nicht alle Buttons sind frei zu belegen: Shift, Transpose, die Oktavierungsschalter (+/-), ARP und FixedChord sind auf ihre Funktionen festgelegt (und bei 25 Tasten sind die +/- Oktavschalter wirklich sinnvoll). Insgesamt ist es ein wirklich brauchbares Teil mit erstaunlich vielen Möglichkeiten. Zwei Buttons (Play/Rec), zwei Switches (>/Mute), zwei Control-Strips (von denen sich einer [Pitchbend] automatisch auf die Mittelposition [64] zurückstellt), 8 Drehregler, 16 Pads, 25 Tasten und ein Pedal bilden ein mächtiges Paket. Das Launchkey Mini mk3 fühlt sich deutlich besser an, als andere Mini-Controller - die Verarbeitung scheint solide. Die beiden grossen Switches mit Druckpunkt (>/Mute) sind etwas zu schwergänging. Man muss sich daran gewöhnen da ziemlich draufzuhacken. Eine Besonderheit ist der MIDI Ausgang (als Miniklinke) - das ist in der Mini-Welt wohl einmalig. Mir wäre ein Expression Pedal Eingang jedoch wesentlich lieber gewesen.

    Die Schattenseiten:
    1. Die fehlende MIDI-Implementation-Chart ist inakzeptabel, weil es sich um einen MIDI-Controller handelt. Das Novation diese Daten auch auf Anfrage nicht herausgibt, ist ein Armuts-Zeugnis. Wäre eine MIDI Chart vorhanden, kämen natürlich Anfragen, die beantwortet werden müssten. Wahrscheinlich ist dann der günstige Preis nicht zu halten - aber es gäbe einfache und kundenfreundlichere Lösungen (z.B. die Veröffentlichung mit dem Hinweis, dass dazu keine Fragen beantwortet werden). Der Controller ist gut, aber mit solchen Firmen habe ich nicht gern zu tun.

    2. Der "Custom Mode" ist ein Witz und sollte eher "Basic"- oder besser "Toy Mode" heissen! Der "Editor", die Components App, zeigt die mageren Möglichkeiten: Es stehen nur 14 vorausgewählte Farben zur Auswahl - und nur On/Off. Somit besteht keine Möglichkeit, die Pads farblich blenden und flashen zu lassen (eine der wichtigsten Funktionen, um dem Spieler zusätzliche Informationen zu liefern!). Auch gedimmte Farben und Kanalumstellungen bei den Pots sind nicht möglich. Der MIDI Kanal kann nur für "all Pads" gewechselt werden. Über Sysex geht zwar etwas mehr, aber es reicht nicht und erfordert eine unverhältnismässige Datenflut. Die wesentlich einfacheren CC-Adressen des DAW Mode scheinen im Custom Mode zu fehlen. Den MIDI Ausgang betrachte ich als Teil des Custom (Toy-) Mode, weil damit direkt (ohne Computer) ein MIDI Eingang einfach gefüttert werden kann. Der Custom Mode ist wirklich absolut unbefriedigend.

    "Custom" bedeutet bei Instrumenten ja eigentlich "individuell angepasst" ("aufgebohrt"), aber Novation will wohl nur weitere Customer (Kunden) gewinnen. Der Custom Mode ist so eingeschränkt, dass das Launchkey Mini mk3 damit nur ein simples Spielzeug ist. Dazu passt dann auch der eingebaute Arpeggiator und der Fixed Chord Mode - deren Knöpfe ich natürlich auch lieber als adressierbare MIDI-Controller hätte.

    Fazit:
    Wenn man in der Lage ist, die Daten des DAW Modes zu entschlüsseln und selbst die Steuerung zu programmieren, ist es ein toller Controller! Es ist aber ziemlich komplex und ungewöhnlich - die Pad-Farben werden z.B. über Velocity-Werte von Note On-s gesteuert. Es gibt pro Kanal 128 farbliche Abstufungen. On/Off, Dim, Flash und Blend werden auf benachbarten Kanälen geregelt, Flash benötigt einen zweiten Farbwert (kann auch Off [0] sein). Die Programmierung ist also etwas aufwändiger, wenn man sich eine eigene Steuerung schreiben will. Es ist aber machbar.

    Für mich ist das Launchkey Mini mk3 die ideale Ergänzung zum iPad (welches ich als Haupt-Controller verwende). Die Pots verwende ich für Ausgangslautstärken und die Pads zum Schalten von Presets. Die Preset-Bänke schalte ich mit dem grossen Pfeil-Switch und den darunterliegenden "Stop Solo Mute"-Switch nutze ich als Mode-Switch. Da ich keine DAW damit steuere nutze ich den REC-Knopf in den Presets als "Store-Mode" (solange er gedrückt ist) und der Play-Button ist für mich ein willkommener "Shift"-Switch, um weitere "Mode-Ebenen" hinzuzufügen. Weil es sich anbot habe ich auch einen "Sequencer Mode" programmiert. Dort ist der grosse Pfeil On/Off, der Play Button (links) down/backward und der Rec Button (rechts) up/forward. Beide Buttons gleichzeitig gedrückt schalten in den up-down Mode der Sequenz. Mit dem Sustain Pedal kann ich Sequences wechseln. Ich bin vom Launchkey begeistert und vom Verhalten der Firma enttäuscht.

    Novation Website



    Euphonix Artist Mix

    Eucon Protocol, 10 bit Resolution

    The Euphonix MC Mix (now Avid Artist Mix) is an excellent and affordable controller with Motorfaders and the fast Eucon-Protocol. When the controller is used with different software, the controllers jump to the positions of the active software. Anyone who has ever worked with high-quality machines can no longer be satisfied with a MIDI control (7bit). The Eucon protocol provides 1024 levels and the Ethernet connection is 250x faster than MIDI. The improvement in the transmission of slider movements is comparable to the sound improvement in the step from 44.1 to 96 kHz.

    For applications that can not work with the Eucon protocol, it is possible to use the MackieControl protocol, which is MIDI, but it still feels better than most other MIDI controllers , The silent iPad, however, is the simpler and also elegant, perhaps more modern solution for the control - the faderbank then remains just for other tactiles.



    Avid Artist Mix



    Tablets and Smartphones

    ... already better than on the Enterprise!

    Unnoticeable, a big change has taken place - similar to the central heating, the central CPU (the computer) moves into the spatial background and with it also far more than just the sub-noise. What a blessing! Smartphones and tablets are perfect controllers and can be upgraded with the appropriate apps. Not only do they replace the MIDI controllers, they pass them on thanks to the free "formability" of the interface, the resolution (approx. 10bit) and the speed (Pico instead of milliseconds), and they are absolutely silent.


    For me, tablets are mainly control devices. I prefer the sound processing with more powerful CPUs or with the synthesizer. The software is controlled via various tabs, including preferences and FX peripherals. Instead of a mixer or a motor-faderbank now an iPad already is enough, in order to mix a live sound at the highest level. In some cases I switch the A/B/Mono/Main/Direct Studiomonitoring with the iPhone and it does not even need any cables. Is this already paradise ?!

    For haptics and tactiles still remains the Motorfaderbank - also in 10bit (see above).

MIRA

The app of the apps: Max on the Mac controlled via iPad
  • MIRA is an iPad app that gives Max programmers a huge piece of work in interface design, in which it simply mirrors some Max objects. Even if too few Max-Objects are supported - it can be done much more with it. Max would not be Max otherwise. In the photo is e.g. an audio waveform, even though MIRA can not (yet) map the Waveform object. However, multisliders can be misused with some mathematics to visualize waveforms that have enough information to display the sample. After only a few days with MIRA, I had the impression that OSC would only be used for selected things, and I'd rather turn to the blessings of object mirroring by MIRA - it is much less work on every patch! The concept of MIRA is so perfect, that it is easier for me to describe it by the (still?) negative points. It is only for Max/MSP on MACs, still the iPad is quite warm (which perhaps points to still not optimized data streams) - at the USB port of the computer discharges, despite the 5V supply, the iPad slowly (very slow). In short: MIRA is simply awesome and operational!





    On the left, the supported objects are displayed. There are already some M4L objects and I am pretty sure that M4L (Max for Live) will be treated with a special interest, because (in the combination of Cycling74 and Ableton) a very large customer group should be represented specifically with this control-surface. There is nothing else to be said about the objects, except that the number boxes can also be adjusted with a finger, thus they are not only serving for display. The problem of adjusting the dial and slider values when releasing (certainly one of the trickiest points in app programming) has already been significantly improved. Overall, the deal with MIRA is very, very pleasant. It should also be emphasized that Max patches with MIRA-Frame are automatically transferred to the iPad. So only the app has to be started on the iPad. MIRA is a giant step in the individualization of interfaces on the most popular instrument, the computer!

    MIRA not only brings Max to the iPad, but also iPad capabilities to Max. Multitouch, gesture control (wiping and tapping) as well as the gyro data, generated by the iPad through tilting, can be sent. Here it becomes very interesting. How fine these control parameters can be used, can be found impressively in some games for the iPad. Also the great ThumbJam app uses these possibilities in an inspiring way. Lastly, to the hopeful future, MIRA is not the first attempt to connect Max and the iPad. MIRA is offered by Cycling74 directly (of course via iTunes). It is something special and suggests that it is not a short Liason. For me, MIRA is out of competition and I take thank the developers and Cycling74! So - now I have to go back to work to change all my active patches to MIRA ... MIRA means a generation change for Max-Interfaces.


TouchOSC, OSCulator and Lemur

Controller apps that work with the OSC protocol

    TouchOSC

    Is a collection of 14 control elements. Both software as well as OSC (the "protocol") are to be learned within one day and offer especially for Max programmers a congratulatory expansion of their own software! Why? OSC is faster than MIDI and also offers a higher resolution. Even if MIDI (especially by standardization) is still useful for some things - moving a slider or controller with OSC can be much more comfortable...

    TouchOSC comes with a small computer software editor for the pad/pod/phone interface, which is transferred to the mobile device after completion. The ingenious touchOSC is its reduced form, which affects up to the price ($ 5). The only thing really missing is a range slider (with two values for min/max). Especially in conjunction with Max/MSP, however, excellent controls can be made - even including text transmissions ala teleprompter or karaoke help - also gyro values can be sent. Absolutely recommended and a must for anyone who already has a smartphone, iPod or tablet! TouchOSC also sends MIDI.

    TouchOSC/hexler.net

  • OSCulator

    is an excellent tool for addressing OSC messages. I use it to send keyboard shortcuts to software programs. These key combinations are offered by most software - iTunes has, for example, Start/Stop, Forward, Back, etc. With the help of Max and TouchOSC you can get more from OSCulator. Buttons can change the color and thus display the status - volume change does not have to be done step by step, by repeating the command - it can be automated by a Max-Metro-Object.

    For this, OSCulator is integrated as a third "host". The iPhone sends to Max, Max realizes all automatisms and sends to OSCulator, which supplies the desired software with commands. The colors of the buttons on the iPhone are also changed from Max so that the current status can be read - in this example "color blue" and "color gray" alternate. Osculator is an excellent tool for setting up an optimized work-bench!

    OSCultator.net

  • Lemur

    The most comprehensive package, but it gets only a brief mention by me. The reason is that the programming of lemur is quite complex and extensive training is essential. Lemur offers besides various tabs also "suitcases", which can be opened and closed within the tab. Also Lemur has its own "generators" - that is, things can be animated or a kind of gravitation can be set. So a really great and complete thing!

    Even after several years, I've never taken the time to get deeper involved, which is a bit annoying, because Lemur was the pioneer of the TouchPanel movement and offers really fantastic possibilities to program good interfaces!

    Lemur/liine.net

The Open-Sound-Protokoll "OSC"

What exactly is that?
  • OSC, in brief...

    OSC is a development of the "Center for New Music and Audio Technologies" (CNMAT) at the University of Berkeley, California". It is an open protocol, a kind of addressing kit.


    The most important character is the slash (/), which divides addresses into different areas. First, there is usually a number for the indexed or outgoing tab, e.g. "/ 1" for the first tab. The name of the object follows, for example "Slider1", ie "/1/Slider1". Names can be chosen freely, so it could also be called "/A/Hermann" or "/Purg/Nudel". The value of the slider appears after the address and a space, that is, e.g. "/1/Slider1 0.76". The slashes are to compile the address without spaces - the value follows after a space. If the slider is now moved on the pad/phone, the message (for example "/ 1 / Slider1 0.76") is sent to the computer. When the message "/ 1 / Slider1 0.76" is sent from the computer, the corresponding slider is moved to the position 0.76 regardless of whether the tab on which the slider is located is currently visible or not.

    In Max, messages can be exploited economically thanks to special routing objects. Thus, the first division would be e.g. "/ 1/2/3/4". Now all the data in the first tab would be at /1, the second at /2, etc. (of course only the "remainder" addresses, ie "/1/Slider1 0.76". Another normal route object from Max, with the attribute "Slider1" could now supply a number box with the corresponding values.

  • FOR AND AGAINST

    Actually no relevant question - it is a UDP protocol and rather about whether you want to use WiFi as a controller data highway, or not. Almost all OSC apps also send MIDI.

    Very simple, very effective, very fast! Especially for Max-ists a great protocol. 14 bit resolution and the fast protocoll ensure perfect use. If OSC is used as an exclusive protocol, a large batch of addresses is created, which occasionally also carries orgian traits - if, for example, in addition to the slider values, color and text changes, peak meters and more is sent.

    Of course one has to deal with a little bit of network technology to set the addressing of the different OSC stations securely - but this is relatively simple and becomes more "normal".

  • COMPARISON OSC - MIDI

    Clock-sync accuracy, theoretical limit:

    OSC: Pikosecond (via NTP/IEEE 1588 Sync) - MIDI: 20833 Microsekonds

    Transmission speed:

    OSC: >800M bits/sec - MIDI: 31,250 bits/sec

  • OSC - Examples in Max

    Clock-sync accuracy, theoretical limit.