Cubase - transmit the state of several controllers

Discussion in 'Newbie Questions' started by EmmCeeSq, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Hi everyone,

    Cubase user - I'm finding myself (especially when working with the VSL libraries) manipulating several controllers at once, and also needing to go back in after recording and tweak things like attack, release etc, velocity x-fade etc etc.

    I'm running all my VST instruments in VEpro, and what would be helpful is if I could get my vsts to transmit their current values to Cubase. Let's say I've decided to record a section of a piece with the attack value of my flute (CC24 for the sake of this example) set to 30, but don't make any changes to it. There is no CC data recorded as there has been no change in value. Let's say I then record a later section of the piece and change the attack time (CC24) before recording to 1. Unless I make a change to a CC nothing is recorded into Cubase.

    Is there a way for Cubase to receive the state of all/some controllers and write them? I'm aware of MIDI chase, but it doesn't seem to do achieve this.

    Grateful for any tips.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  2. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

    1,775
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    Jun 13, 2011
    Welcome to the world of limitations in your DAW! Also a Cubase user here and in my mind, it is about time to think over the whole Midi CC editing and automation thing as far as virtual instruments are concerned.
    With today's technology, it would be a piece of cake to make it happen, just, none of the DAW developers care to do a serious makeover.
    What I would like to have is a customizable touchscreen surface that can be programmed to reflect any controllable aspects of every VST. It should be able to send values via controllers and reflect the values of my current position in the song of the VST that I currently perform or edit (midi feedback). Unfortunately, no DAW is really designed to make that happen easily. It always involves complicated setup procedures. I have successfully done it in Cubase with the help of midi sends and a complex routing with an additional program (max msp) plus The Lemur app on an iPad.
    What you want to achieve can only be done with automation in Cubase. There, a change inside the GUI of your VSTi will also be reflected in Cubase, as long as you set it up correctly, unfortunately, though, it will not be recorded, unless you put Cubase into write mode. If you want to change a setting for the full project from start to finish, you have to either save the VEpro project or write a node in the beginning of the automation track. None of this is intuitive in a way to work with instruments ... also, not every parameter is available to be controlled with automation.
    At this point in time, where there really is no ideal implementation of controlling instruments and a mess of different soups all the sample developers brew, I would recommend midi CC. Within the Cubase settings you can set up to chase midi CCs beyond regions. With that enabled, you can create a small region with all the CCs recorded inside with their standard values. Then you can record other values at different points in your song. The VSTi will always receive the last CC value.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Wow! Thanks for this extremely comprehensive reply. This forum has been an invaluable resource to me already (I'm an experienced musician/composer, but relatively new to this world of sample libraries/virtual composition etc).

    I did see the composer tools pro plugin for Lemur, so I'll check that out. I'm already finding it confusing to keep up with my different sample library control parameters, so I think I'm going to investigate this more. If I understood correctly, composer tools pro sends a 'current state' midi message which will achieve what I want to. I'll do some more homework, but in the meantime, thanks for letting me know that this isn't possible without some more tools.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  4. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

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    Jun 13, 2011
    I am not using composer tools pro. I made my own setup with max map and lemur, but I still need to revise it at some time. Here is a few things to check out:
    Max 8 is an extremely useful program that enables you to become a programmer regarding midi routing (and much more)
    https://cycling74.com/products/max/
    This is really flexible and the only limitations are those given by your sequencing software (as I mentioned earlier). The downside is, that you need to learn a lot, before you get useful results.
    Patchboard app is kind of interesting, as this is the first environment where the app is aware of the track you selected in your template (by transferring the track name from your DAW). That makes it possible to once setup a controller design on your tablet and it will always realize, when you select this track in your template. Just the name needs to be consistent. That is a big step forward IMO.
    https://patchboard.app
    At its currents state, the app is only available for a very high price, as you will see on the website. Also, there are great features, but some are missing, like implementation of midi feedback and more options for controllers. I might even drop the cash for an app like this, but not for the features it currently offers. I would have to offer everything I desire! ;)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Yeah, I know max-msp well - I use M4L as well with Ableton - I've done a fair bit of electro-acoustic stuff as a concert composer


    I reckon with MIRA you could even bypass the need for Lemur? However, I can't think of a way off the top of my head to achieve the seamless switching that patchboard has - I'll maybe do some digging. I've never tried to integrate MAX with Cubase - do you have to use rewire or build an external or something?

    Cheers!

    Mike
     
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  6. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

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    Nice! I would always like to do some new music, combining electronics and acoustic instruments. Didn't get the chance for a big project so far, but this year there might be a chance ...
    I do not use max' audio part for my template. It would be great to host your VSTs, but it doesn't work as reliable as dedicated hosts like VEpro or Cubase. In my template, I only use max as a midi router. It receives midi from all controllers (hardware and lemur). It sends midi to cubase and also receives midi from Cubase to give feedback to the lemur controls. I have a lot of ideas for the next version of my system, but it is a big task and I need a few weeks off to start with it.
    What the Patchboard App enables you to do cannot be done without some serious programming skill and I lack these. It is done by using the EUCON protocol. You need to be able to decipher the network messages from a EUCON controller and reverse engineer those. I recently wrote a message to Steinberg support, if something like that could be done easier in a future update. But - as usual - my messages to Steinberg support take months to be answered and in the end I get a generic message, that is not really helpful ... my only hope at this point to make the template control I dream of possible is making some videos about what could be done and create a petition towards Steinberg! :)
     
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  7. Divico

    Divico Active Member

    Some midi controllers have a function sendin the actual state of all controllers. Thats not triggered by th DAW though.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    It's hard work, and takes a loooooong time to write that kind of music. That piece is all about signal processing, so the electronics all happen live. I used a load of existing M4L objects and designed some of my own, in order to transform the sound as the cellist plays. Tbh, while I could program something using Max, it seems as though composer tools pro wil do 90% of what I want, and for the price it seems worth it for me. I have two old ipads, one running metagrid and the other I'm going to give over to VST instrument control - there's the opportunity cost of spending ages setting up custom controls, and I don't have the time right now - I've just spent a week building a new template!
     
  9. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

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    Absolutely makes sense to buy an existing product if it almost does what you want! Building your own stuff with Max is really a time consuming endeavor. In fact, it is not worth the time you put into it, if you don't enjoy that kind of work.
    I am absolutely fascinated by your city by the way. Especially the aspect that the citizens have decided to dump car driving and prefer bicycles in traffic rules. I think that (and more) should be done in every big city on this world and I'd love them to do that here I need Munich! Just so many car-loving folks here, I am afraid ...
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Maybe - I've only been here a short while (absolutely loving it though!) I'd say the city centre is a lot better for bikes than the suburbs - it can still feel a bit scary on the bike once you get out of the centre. And people do get hit all the time, it's not 100% perfect, but it is amazing - very different from London as well.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Your demo reel sounds great as well! I keep my 'media' stuff on a separate playlist, but should you have the time/inclination I've just copied you and put my media soundcloud stuff in my signature!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
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  12. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

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    Very nice! I can definitively hear your serious study of contemporary music in your tracks - even the media tracks. Yet, you manage to write without overwhelming the average audience with to much complexity. Something, I yet have to learn ... :) When I try to be easy on the listener, I always fail in concentrating on texture and want to do more melody and harmony. I like that, but it is not always what is expected of you these days.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    EmmCeeSq

    EmmCeeSq Member

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    Nov 11, 2018
    Copenhagen
    Thanks man, that's very kind of you to say, although I disagree that you overwhelm with complexity - wasn't my impression at all, and you have a real gift for memorable melodies and careful/deft orchestration. I agree it's slightly out of fashion though. I'm fascinated by that space that's occupied by those of us who are in the contemporary classical world, especially when using electronics, as there's so much crossover - there's sometimes not much difference between what's called 'classical' and what's called 'electronica' - Aphex Twin has been just as big an influence on me as Bach. I think the late, great Johan Johansson was really onto something, the Arrival score absolutely blew me away, and I rave about it to anyone who will listen. And he got lots of those ideas from listening to Joan labarbara, and I'm fascinated by this 'in-between' world where the two meet. I hope to do some interesting things in this area over the coming years...
     
  14. FriFlo

    FriFlo Senior Member

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    Jun 13, 2011
    Yeah, I'm a big fan of Johansson's work on Arrival, as well. As far as complexity of my music goes: sure, it is certainly under-complex compared to contemporary music. I just meant harmonically "rich" and often to busy compared to what people expect today in media music. I actually try to make it simpler these days, but always end up in adding more in the process. ;)
    Thanks for pointing out Joan LaBarbara to me.
     
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