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Continuous MIDI controls

Connecting Hauptwerk to MIDI organs, sequencers, ...
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Continuous MIDI controls

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 7:17 pm

With the new mixer, the wet/dry faders in recent six-channel samplesets and the master reverb control in HW5 I can suddenly see that a few continuous MIDI controllers would be useful (and also as a master volume control). The only continuous controllers on my console are two swell pedals, and while HW lets me use them to control all of these functions, in truth I would prefer to dedicated the pedals to their traditional role. It is possible to buy a MIDI device with a few knobs or sliders that I can use to control these other settings? Preferably with a MIDI interface rather than USB as I am running out of USB sockets.

I had wondered about using a Launchpad (which I already have) and setting up a row of buttons to send preset values (e.g. 0, 20, 40, 60 and 100%), which would also give an instant visual readout. However, I can't see any way of doing this, as HW seems to expect a a controller with a continuously variable input.
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mnailor

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 7:59 pm

A number of MIDI pad controllers have sliders.

A powered USB hub will take care of the port shortage.
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 9:38 pm

Thank-you; once my new Dell arrives then I will experiment with various USB/hub configurations. Unfortunately at the moment my supply of USB ports is rather unsatisfactory, and HW does seem to require quite a lot of them.

Really I was wondering about MIDI controllers - something with dials, knobs or sliders, rather than breath- or foot-controlled, which is what they mainly seem to be. But this isn't an area that I am really very familiar with.
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kwbmusic

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 10:11 pm

I use Korg Nanokontrol2 for volume, crescendo, and the individual keyboard controllers. My Hammond organs expression pedals cannot be used under midi and I do not feel like doing a rebuild.

https://www.korg.com/au/products/comput ... okontrol2/

For my level of playing I find it a very useful controller. I also use a Launchpad S for voices and registrations.

Keith
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostSun Mar 15, 2020 10:26 pm

Keith,

Thank-you. This seems to be the sort of thing I am looking for, and it doesn't seem to be expensive, either. However, I am not very clear about what it actually does (the Korg Web site isn't very informative here and nor is the manual).

There seem to be a number of buttons and sliders. If they each send MIDI messages that HW is able to understand then that is probably all that is necessary, and there seem to be enough sliders to cover the uses I can think of for such a device.
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kwbmusic

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 16, 2020 12:28 am

I'm presuming they have inbuilt midi cc numbers.
All I do is right click the particular control on the screen, wiggle the fader on the nanokontrol2, and wow, it works and operates that controller, and is so visible on the screen.

I also use one of the buttons as a general cancel, setup in the same way.

Keith
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mdyde

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 16, 2020 5:57 am

Hello Julian,

[Topic moved here.]

To add to others' replies, there are quite a few inexpensive MIDI controller keyboards/devices that have a reasonable number of knobs that can transmit MIDI CC messages. E.g. try looking for MIDI controllers on a major musical equipment shop:
https://www.andertons.co.uk/keyboards-p ... geSize:96&

Arturia make several with 16 knobs, including:
https://www.arturia.com/products/hybrid ... ab/details
https://www.arturia.com/products/hybrid ... ep/details
(I haven't tried either of those myself, but their website says the knobs can transmit MIDI CCs or NRPNs, so I would expect them to be suitable.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 16, 2020 9:13 am

I've used Anderton's. They are in Guildford and I used to pop in from time to time when I was working there (I was a consultant at the Royal Surrey County Hospital). I have always found them very helpful.

Another company I have used is Thomann in Germany. They have a huge range, reasonably priced, and they are pretty efficient about delivering it to the UK.
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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 16, 2020 2:52 pm

Purchase a Teensy. I use the Teensy 3.6 a lot but any of them should work. They can handle more analog inputs than you will likely ever need. I haven't done more than 8 potentiometers but the Teensy 3.6 could do 20 or more. There's even an example program called AnalogControlChange that can serve as a starting point.
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostSat Mar 28, 2020 7:28 pm

I have now bought a Korg Nanokontrol2, which does exactly what I wanted, did not require installing any drivers and was really quite cheap. It has eight sliders, eight knobs, 24 buttons, and also a series of buttons arranged for controlling a recording system. Hauptwerk recognises the controls very easily. I now have a volume control, a way of adjusting the amount of reverb for a given mixer preset without having to reprogram the preset, and for the more recent 6-channel organs with wet and dry front channels as well as rear surround channels I can set up a simple slider to control the wet/dry mix and another one for the surround volume. This is much easier and more precise than using a touch screen.

Hint: Where there are separate on-screen sliders for wet and dry volume, you can assign both to the same physical slider using auto-detect, then by right-clicking on one of the sliders you can adjust the settings manually and you simply tick the box to reverse the response. That way as you move the physical slider forward and back you are turning the wet channel up and the dry one down simultaneously, or vice versa.

I have yet to work out the best use for most of the controls. Tuning and speed fo recorder playback immediately come to mind. They will also control a swell box or a crescendo pedal system if you don't have enough physical swell pedals on your console.

One further bonus is that in the course of researching these MIDI controllers on the Internet, I came across a completely unrelated use, which is editing photographs. Somebody has written some software to translate between a MIDI controller and Adobe Lightroom, which is a powerful photo editor that I use all the time (I have been taking photographs seriously for nearly 50 years), the idea being that having physical controls is much easier and more precise than clicking and dragging sliders on screen. The Korg device isn't optimal for this, but there is an even cheaper one by Behringer which suits Lightroom quite well, and there are overlays available with all the function assignments so that you can see at a glance which knob or button does what. I am looking forward to trying this out, and if it speeds up my workflow it will be the cheapest piece of photographic equipment I have ever bought.

So thank-you, Keith, for pointing me in the right direction.
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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 4:11 pm

Regarding the Korg Nanokontrol2, appears buttons are lighted. Are they? Where is English version of the User Manual available?

Rgds,
Ed
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 6:34 pm

My buttons haven't lit up, but I haven't specified any output from Hauptwerk to the Nanokontrol2, which might be the reason why.

I haven't got a manual, either. I just plugged it into a USB port and it simply worked, without even having to install any drivers. Right-click on an on-screen control, wiggle the slider or knob, or press the button, and Hauptwerk recognises it and sets up that control without requiring any other input.
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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostMon Mar 30, 2020 7:31 pm

The only reference that I've found so far mentions that the manual is written in Japanese. I'm used to there being a learning curve to most things that I do, but don't think I will attempt to learn Japanese in this case.

UPDATE: Found the operating manual (Parameter Guide) in English here:

https://i.korg.com/uploads/Support/nanoKONTROL2_PG_E1_634479709631760000.pdf

Lots of positive reviews:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/nanoKON2bk--korg-nanokontrol2-black/reviews

I was esp interested to have lighted buttons for the transport (recorder) functions. This unit looks to be good to control "extra" HW functions as I really don't have any more room for additional thumb pistons. Thinking of mounting it in a pullout drawer under the key desk along with a 10" touch screen monitor. Right now the t/s monitor lives on the music rack, not the best place for it..In the tuck away drawer it won't be seen generally keeping the classic look of the console. 8)

Rgds,
Ed
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JulianMoney-Kyrle

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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostTue Mar 31, 2020 12:02 pm

I have had another look at it. When I first plugged in the Nanokontrol2, Windows automatically found a driver for it. However, today I installed the Korg driver, and the result was that Hauptwerk couldn't see it any more. I had to roll back to the previous driver to get it working again.

From the illustrations I think that the various dials, sliders and buttons can illuminate in user-defined colours, but as far as I can tell Hauptwewrk doesn't know about this, so all the lights remain resolutely off. I suppose it is analogous to the Launchpad, which had to have Hauptwerk support in order for the lights to work. Perhaps this is something that could be logged as an enhancement request.

I don't know if there might be some workaround - maybe programming it manually to send specific MIDI messages, but that seems like a lot of work to me, especially as you would have to repeat it with each installed organ. On the other hand, just getting the buttons and sliders to operate Hauptwerk controls is very easy.

I haven't tried it with the recorder yet, but I would imagine that it would be equally straightforward, and that you could use one of the sliders or knobs to regualte the playback speed.

This device is very cheap, so even if it isn't exactly what you want you could perhaps try it and see if you find it useful.
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Re: Continuous MIDI controls

PostTue Mar 31, 2020 12:14 pm

Hello Julian,

JulianMoney-Kyrle wrote:From the illustrations I think that the various dials, sliders and buttons can illuminate in user-defined colours, but as far as I can tell Hauptwewrk doesn't know about this, so all the lights remain resolutely off. I suppose it is analogous to the Launchpad, which had to have Hauptwerk support in order for the lights to work. Perhaps this is something that could be logged as an enhancement request.


Adding (and subsequently maintaining) support for the Novation Launchpad's MIDI implementation was quite a lot of work. There are a many different MIDI controller keyboards/products available from various manufacturers, and they change frequently. Sorry -- I don't think we'd want to undertake adding custom support for another one (at least not in the medium-term).
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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