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Spitfire BBCSO control surface for DAWS using TouchOSC on IOS and Android devices

Graham Wayne

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UPDATE: NEW VERSION NOW AVAILABLE WHICH SUPPORTS BBCSO V1.20 TECHNIQUES (MUTED BRASS) - SEE THIS POST BELOW FOR DETAILS, DOWNLOAD LINKS AND INSTRUCTIONS ON USAGE

I recently invested in Spitfire’s BBCSO, and while it’s great to use, the interface isn't always as good to use as it is to look at. Some things – like tiny icons – I can’t do anything about, but I have addressed a few really common issues in a way that perhaps others might also find useful: the selection of articulations, and the real-time input of controller data - without having to have the VSTi interface open.

My solution is a simple set of pages hosted by TouchOSC (£5 to buy if you don’t have it) – it’s nothing fancy, just straightforward and self-explanatory, and should work in most DAWs including Cubase and Logic (the latter is untested as I don't have it), or directly with the BBCSO plugin if you have another way of running it e.g. the excellent Vienna Ensemble Pro, which I use on a slave PC with the entire orchestra loaded.

This interface doesn’t use OSC messages because the BBCSO plug-in doesn’t support them, so it’s purely a one-way MIDI system with no realtime visual feedback, but it makes it easy to change articulations on the fly, input performance data (expression, dynamics, vibrato, reverb etc), and modify the balances between all 20 (!) mics.

Here's what it looks like:

strings.jpg
String section articulations - tabs for each section appear across the top of the screen


Controllers.PNG
All the controllers are mapped - on this screen and the microphone tabs


xy pad.jpg
And this X-Y pad makes performance quite tactile with the X-axis for expression and Y-axis for dynamics


Microphones.PNG
...and a shocking number of microphones can be controlled here, assuming you have enough RAM.


Regarding cross-compatibility; I wrote this for my iPad, but I think it should work on Android devices too. However, as I don’t have one I can’t test it - do let me know if there are any problems on Android devices and I'll see if I can borrow one to find out why.

In use, selecting articulations is easier since all of them are available on one screen per section. Performance input can use either faders and rotary controllers, or the X-Y pad (x-axis is expression, y-axis is dynamics). All of the inputs can be recorded as automation data. The articulations are also consistent with the Cubase Expression Maps, part of the Cubase BBCSO templates available on the Spitfire site, although you don’t need to use them with this TouchOSC control surface.

Some things to be aware of: TouchOSC will work wirelessly if set up that way, and this works fine for articulation changes and most control data inputs, but when I used multi-touch with the faders (e.g. expression and dynamics together) or the X-Y pad, the data stream suffered unworkable latency – a few packets from one fader/axis gets sent, followed by updates to the other fader/axis. This does not occur if you plug the tablet into the computer running your DAW via USB – the setup page in TouchOSC shows which connection is being used. (This problem might also be an artifact of my rather old iPad mini - perhaps newer devices are more sensitive or handle wireless connections more efficiently).

You will also need to install the free TouchOSC editor to transfer the template into the app on your tablet, and the equally free TouchOSC bridge (actually the Bome Midi Translator) to create midi ports for the PC (although you don't need to bridge on Mac hosts as the midi interface is built in to the OS). To get Cubase to ‘see’ the input, first run the TouchOSC bridge (which runs in the background), load Cubase, create a new Generic Remote in the Studio Setup and assign the TouchOSC Bridge midi ports as the input and output. I'm sorry I can't offer any guidance on setting up TouchOSC on Logic as I don't have a copy (or a Mac to run it on).

Finally, I should mention that I’ve referred to tablets as being the input device, but you could use this template on any Apple laptop with a touch screen, and iPhones or Android phones too. I just think faders would be too small to be useful on a phone, although perhaps the articulation buttons would be manageable, as would the X-Y pad.

All the best,
Graham Wayne

The files:

Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C3 as middle C
Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C4 as middle C (as per Spitfire's keyswitches)

SEE POST BELOW FOR FURTHER DETAILS INCLUDING WHICH VERSION TO DOWNLOAD
 
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BassClef

Senior Member
Many thanks for this post. I do not have BBCSO but was going to investigate TouchOSC on my iPad for cc fader controls in various VIs.... possible XY pads as well. I use Logic and have the Logic remote app on my iPad and iPhone which is great as well, but does not have faders for cc sends.
 
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Graham Wayne

Graham Wayne

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Many thanks for this post. I do not have BBCSO but was going to investigate TouchOSC on my iPad for cc fader controls in various VIs.... possible XY pads as well. I use Logic and have the Logic remote app on my iPad and iPhone which is great as well, but does not have faders for cc sends.

Well, you start from a better position actually, because Logic does have OSC implemented and there's a good Logic template supplied with TouchOSC (well, it looks good - can't say how well it works) -with banks of faders, as I recall - although these will be channel faders I expect. You could mod the supplied template as an option, or build one pretty quickly. I'd be very interested to know if Logic returns OSC messages for plug-ins - that would be rather cool, actually.

I have to say the PC editor is rather crude, but considering how little it costs perhaps that's not a fair criticism. Anyway, it's possible the Mac version is better - the whole thing smacks of being written by Mac users for OSC apps, with the PC/MIDI version grudgingly added on as an afterthought by someone unfamiliar with PC application standards.
 

shayne.oneill

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Just bumping this old thread to add that I got this template to work for Studio One, but first I had to shift all the keywitches down an octive. But after that , and adding a few little changes to my own likeing, it works great. Just remember on your midi lanes to set midi input to "all" so it can recieve info from both TouchOSC and your keyboard of choice.
 
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Graham Wayne

Graham Wayne

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Just bumping this old thread to add that I got this template to work for Studio One, but first I had to shift all the keywitches down an octive. But after that , and adding a few little changes to my own likeing, it works great. Just remember on your midi lanes to set midi input to "all" so it can recieve info from both TouchOSC and your keyboard of choice.
Hi Shayne - sorry about the octave shift, but there's a conflict in midi note nomenclature, where Yamaha/Steinberg refer to MIDI note 60 (middle C) as C3, while Roland and others refer to this note as C4.

In fact, if you had downloaded the Cubase version (I assume you started with the Logic version) you could probably have saved some time, since the only difference between the Cubase and Logic versions are the note names i.e. the Cubase version starts at C-0, while the Logic version starts at C-1, shifting all the articulation commands up one octave.
 
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Graham Wayne

Graham Wayne

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NEW VERSION NOW AVAILABLE WHICH SUPPORTS BBCSO V1.20 TECHNIQUES (MUTED BRASS)

I've created new versions of the two templates (and renamed them - I'll explain in a moment) to which I've added the new muted brass articulations (techniques). There's a small modification needed to the default trombones to get them to switch correctly, which I'll also explain here.

First of all, the new names: I inadvertently created some confusion (sorry Shayne) in calling the first templates "Cubase" and "Logic". I guess this suggested some technical difference between them but in fact the only difference is the keyswitch data they send out. Spitfire have adopted a naming convention where middle C is called C4 - the Roland nomenclature. I use Cubase, which uses the Yamaha convention of naming middle C as C3. This results in the wrong note name being sent to the BBCSO if I use the same names Spitfire made as defaults.

So there are now two new versions which I've called the C3 and the C4 version. If your DAW uses C3 for middle C, download that version - and vice versa. (A note for Logic users - I have read that you can change the middle C designation in the preferences, shifting the note names an octave in either direction). Anyway, that's the only difference between the two file versions, which are here:

Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C3 as middle C
Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C4 as middle C (as per Spitfire's keyswitches)

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: The muted trombones use different keyswitches from the horns and trumpets. There isn't room in the template to create a different page for the trombones, so I simply changed the key designations in the Spitfire BBCSO interface. It's quite quick: just click on the articulation for any of the trombones e.g. 'LONG (MUTED), then click on the keyswitch widget arrow (circled) to pop up a list of all the keys:

change keyswitch.jpg

In the trombones, the default setting for the 'Long (Muted)' articulation is G♯-1 - just change it to A♯-1 to work with the template as shown in the screenshot above - the selected note gets a red dot beside it. Similarly, change Staccatissimo (Muted) from A-1 to B-1, and Marcato (muted) from A♯-1 to C0. You need to do this for three instruments: Tenor Trombone, Trombones A3 and Bass Trombones A2, saving each one before moving to the next. To save them, click on the rather quaint little floppy disk icon:

save keyswitch.jpg

Leave the name the same, click on save and overwrite the default preset - which doesn't overwrite the original instrument, but creates or overwrites the user preset if you have one. If you are creating a new DAW project, remember to load the user versions of the trombones rather than the default instruments, or the keyswitches will not work for the trombones.

Anyway, that's it for the new versions - hope you enjoy using them and of course if there are any issues just let me know.

Cheers,

Graham
 
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Markrs

Complete Beginner
NEW VERSION NOW AVAILABLE WHICH SUPPORTS BBCSO V1.20 TECHNIQUES (MUTED BRASS)

I've created new versions of the two templates (and renamed them - I'll explain in a moment) to which I've added the new muted brass articulations (techniques). There's a small modification needed to the default trombones to get them to switch correctly, which I'll also explain here.

First of all, the new names: I inadvertently created some confusion (sorry Shayne) in calling the first templates "Cubase" and "Logic". I guess this suggested some technical difference between them but in fact the only difference is the keyswitch data they send out. Spitfire have adopted a naming convention where middle C is called C4 - the Roland nomenclature. I use Cubase, which uses the Yamaha convention of naming middle C as C3. This results in the wrong note name being sent to the BBCSO if I use the same names Spitfire made as defaults.

So there are now two new versions which I've called the C3 and the C4 version. If your DAW uses C3 for middle C, download that version - and vice versa. (A note for Logic users - I have read that you can change the middle C designation in the preferences, shifting the note names an octave in either direction). Anyway, that's the only difference between the two file versions, which are here:

Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C3 as middle C
Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C4 as middle C (as per Spitfire's keyswitches)

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: The muted trombones use different keyswitches from the horns and trumpets. There isn't room in the template to create a different page for the trombones, so I simply changed the key designations in the Spitfire BBCSO interface. It's quite quick: just click on the articulation for any of the trombones e.g. 'LONG (MUTED), then click on the keyswitch widget arrow (circled) to pop up a list of all the keys:

View attachment 45478

In the trombones, the default setting for the 'Long (Muted)' articulation is G♯-1 - just change it to A♯-1 to work with the template. Similarly, change Staccatissimo (Muted) from A-1 to B-1, and Marcato (muted) from A♯-1 to C0. You need to do this for three instruments: Tenor Trombone, Trombones A3 and Bass Trombones A2, saving each one before moving to the next. To save them, click on the little floppy disk icon:

View attachment 45479

Leave the name the same, click on save and overwrite the default preset - which doesn't overwrite the original instrument, but creates or overwrites the user preset if you have one. If you are creating a new DAW project, remember to load the user versions of the trombones rather than the default instruments, or the keyswitches will not work for the trombones.

Anyway, that's it for the new versions - hope you enjoy using them and of course if there are any issues just let me know.

Cheers,

Graham
This looks fantastic. I had a go at connecting TouchOSC via WiFi to Reaper but gave up. I will try it via USB cable, I also have Cubase so I will try it with that as well.
 
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Graham Wayne

Graham Wayne

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This looks fantastic. I had a go at connecting TouchOSC via WiFi to Reaper but gave up. I will try it via USB cable, I also have Cubase so I will try it with that as well.
Hi Mark - I have no experience with Reaper, but in Cubase the connection was pretty straightforward. You just need to install the TouchOSC bridge on your computer (assuming it's a PC - a Mac doesn't need it but this is helpful: https://hexler.net/docs/touchosc-configuration-connections-osc), run it by clicking on it, and then create a Generic Remote device in the Studio Setup, with the bridge as both in the input and output. Also if you're on a PC, make sure you right-click on the B icon in the system tray (down by the clock)...
b.jpg
...and turn on "enable USB connections". Once I had completed this setup, things started working straight away, without any hassle, so good luck...
 
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octave music

New Member
NEW VERSION NOW AVAILABLE WHICH SUPPORTS BBCSO V1.20 TECHNIQUES (MUTED BRASS)

I've created new versions of the two templates (and renamed them - I'll explain in a moment) to which I've added the new muted brass articulations (techniques). There's a small modification needed to the default trombones to get them to switch correctly, which I'll also explain here.

First of all, the new names: I inadvertently created some confusion (sorry Shayne) in calling the first templates "Cubase" and "Logic". I guess this suggested some technical difference between them but in fact the only difference is the keyswitch data they send out. Spitfire have adopted a naming convention where middle C is called C4 - the Roland nomenclature. I use Cubase, which uses the Yamaha convention of naming middle C as C3. This results in the wrong note name being sent to the BBCSO if I use the same names Spitfire made as defaults.

So there are now two new versions which I've called the C3 and the C4 version. If your DAW uses C3 for middle C, download that version - and vice versa. (A note for Logic users - I have read that you can change the middle C designation in the preferences, shifting the note names an octave in either direction). Anyway, that's the only difference between the two file versions, which are here:

Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C3 as middle C
Spitfire Audio BBCSO control surface for DAWS with C4 as middle C (as per Spitfire's keyswitches)

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: The muted trombones use different keyswitches from the horns and trumpets. There isn't room in the template to create a different page for the trombones, so I simply changed the key designations in the Spitfire BBCSO interface. It's quite quick: just click on the articulation for any of the trombones e.g. 'LONG (MUTED), then click on the keyswitch widget arrow (circled) to pop up a list of all the keys:

View attachment 45478

In the trombones, the default setting for the 'Long (Muted)' articulation is G♯-1 - just change it to A♯-1 to work with the template as shown in the screenshot above - the selected note gets a red dot beside it. Similarly, change Staccatissimo (Muted) from A-1 to B-1, and Marcato (muted) from A♯-1 to C0. You need to do this for three instruments: Tenor Trombone, Trombones A3 and Bass Trombones A2, saving each one before moving to the next. To save them, click on the rather quaint little floppy disk icon:

View attachment 45479

Leave the name the same, click on save and overwrite the default preset - which doesn't overwrite the original instrument, but creates or overwrites the user preset if you have one. If you are creating a new DAW project, remember to load the user versions of the trombones rather than the default instruments, or the keyswitches will not work for the trombones.

Anyway, that's it for the new versions - hope you enjoy using them and of course if there are any issues just let me know.

Cheers,

Graham
HI Graham-
Great job with this template. I'm curious, is there a functional reason you utilized the keyswitches via MIDI notes as opposed to the channel 32 UACC data?
Thank you.
 
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Graham Wayne

Graham Wayne

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HI Graham-
Great job with this template. I'm curious, is there a functional reason you utilized the keyswitches via MIDI notes as opposed to the channel 32 UACC data?
Thank you.
As far as I'm aware, UACC has never been properly implemented in the BBCSO. There is no mention of it in the manual at all, there are no default UACC mappings, and people who have tried to use it and set up custom mappings appear to have had problems with it - see https://spitfireaudio.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360010869198-UACC-with-New-Player-BBCSO- or this https://spitfireaudio.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360014274217-BBCSO-Core-UACC

I do not believe it would have been practical to suggest that people had to set up their own CC mappings for all the articulations to use TouchOSC, when they can use a keyswitch-mapped template straight out of the box.
 
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octave music

New Member
As far as I'm aware, UACC has never been properly implemented in the BBCSO. There is no mention of it in the manual at all, there are no default UACC mappings, and people who have tried to use it and set up custom mappings appear to have had problems with it - see https://spitfireaudio.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360010869198-UACC-with-New-Player-BBCSO- or this https://spitfireaudio.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360014274217-BBCSO-Core-UACC

I do not believe it would have been practical to suggest that people had to set up their own CC mappings for all the articulations to use TouchOSC, when they can use a keyswitch-mapped template straight out of the box.
Yes! That's right! Thank you for reminding me. I too contacted Spitfire about this...I had forgotten about this....and told them it was ridiculous that I had to go through EVERY preset and setup UACC with the correct assignment [using spitfire's UACC chart] and then RESAVE every preset as a "user preset". Well...I did that. Didn't take quite as long as I thought it would. I prefer UACC so much more than keyboard assigned because they are immune to transposing on the midi track. But, yes, I totally understand why you went with the default keyswitch assignments...since that is how they ship it. How LONG could it possibly take for spitfire to have done the work that I did to make BBCSO UACC ready [see screenshot]? I love love love Spitfire...but this was a head scratcher. I also had to do this with Abbey Road One.
 

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wsimpson

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I am pretty new to all of this but HOLY COW! $5 and about an hour later and I can adjust articulations and expression, dynamics, and vibrato on my entire BBC Pro Orchestra using an old Android tablet? Really? I can't thank you enough!!!
 
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