Best Controller?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
luddy
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by luddy » Thu May 26, 2011 5:40 pm

I think for sheer control stuff (i.e., knobs and xy pads etc.), the ipad is the way to go. TouchOSC is great with Live, it's so flexible and extensible, and it has the huge advantage over ordinary control surfaces that you can label it so that it's easy to remember and understand. It also takes feedback from Live so that for many controls (but not all, some Live doesn't sound out :( ) the ipad is always up to date with Live. On top of that you have things like touchAble that are also amazing in their own way. Lots and lots of options.

In terms of keyboard controllers, I recently picked up a Roland/Cakewalk A-800 Pro that I like a lot. It's very easy to edit the presets on it. It doesn't come with any kind of automapping thing (fine for me because I'm not really into automap) so if you want that capability it's not the right thing. But as a keyboard MIDI controller in general it's pretty nice. Decent keyboard action, not very big, etc.

The Akai MPK's have nice nice build quality and pretty good features, but I find the keyboard of the MPK49 anyway (the only one I've used) to be unplayable. The velocity sensitivity on it is wacked.

Personally I think that Live makes drum machines obsolete. I had an MPC4000 which I was crazy about but I find drum racks and Live's features generally to be better in every single way. There's no way at this point that I'd return to a conventional drum machine.

-Luddy

Tone Deft
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu May 26, 2011 6:03 pm

luddy wrote:I think for sheer control stuff (i.e., knobs and xy pads etc.), the ipad is the way to go.
except that you HAVE TO keep your eyes on the controller to use it. often it's best to disassociate a control's setting from how it's affecting the sound.
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kneptosan
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by kneptosan » Thu May 26, 2011 7:21 pm

At first I wouldn't be using it for live shows, just want to get the flow of ideas down, build songs, etc. so maybe Launchpad would be ok to start with.

For users of the mkii who have also used other controllers, do you find that it does what Novation says it does and well? The automapping function, the knobs and faders light up, etc.?
I've been browsing other controllers that support abelton, but novation seems to have designed their products specifically for Abelton which is appealing to a noob like me.

Would I need a mixing board along with the mkii or other controller or could I use some of the funtions on the keyboard to operate abelton functions at first? (ie, do I need LP right away to get started?)

poisoned
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by poisoned » Thu May 26, 2011 7:44 pm

mkII does what it's said if you have Live version>8.1.3 I think. Automap is not used for Live, you can use it for VSTs, for Live you have a special template which does the job great. If you're planning to buy mkII be prepared to organize all your chains into racks (you should do that anyways), but when you do that, you'll find it perfect.

Dayaoute
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by Dayaoute » Fri May 27, 2011 7:55 am

The best controller I've seen so far is an iPad with Touchable. It's more expensive than a Launchpad but much more polyvalent. I have both and do not use the Launchpad anymore since I have Touchable.

Cheers!

luddy
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by luddy » Fri May 27, 2011 8:22 am

Tone Deft wrote:
luddy wrote:I think for sheer control stuff (i.e., knobs and xy pads etc.), the ipad is the way to go.
except that you HAVE TO keep your eyes on the controller to use it. often it's best to disassociate a control's setting from how it's affecting the sound.
That's an interesting point, I see what you mean. I have a bunch of knobby/buttony controllers and I like them, but for live performance, the problem I've always run into is that I have so many things to control that I can't remember what's mapped to what. The BCF2000 is one of my favorites, it has good feedback and is very easy to program, but danged if I can remember the mappings unless I keep them quite simple. With touchOSC it's a lot easier to pull off because I can label the pages of the layout...

-Luddy

hoffman2k
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by hoffman2k » Fri May 27, 2011 8:57 am

luddy wrote:
Tone Deft wrote:
luddy wrote:I think for sheer control stuff (i.e., knobs and xy pads etc.), the ipad is the way to go.
except that you HAVE TO keep your eyes on the controller to use it. often it's best to disassociate a control's setting from how it's affecting the sound.
That's an interesting point, I see what you mean. I have a bunch of knobby/buttony controllers and I like them, but for live performance, the problem I've always run into is that I have so many things to control that I can't remember what's mapped to what. The BCF2000 is one of my favorites, it has good feedback and is very easy to program, but danged if I can remember the mappings unless I keep them quite simple. With touchOSC it's a lot easier to pull off because I can label the pages of the layout...

-Luddy
And why not take the best of both worlds? Currently I'm using the Pocket Dial which is just 16 encoders without an indicator. I'm using TouchOSC as that indicator and as a means to move to another set of controls.
So I have all the labels and all the control in a little package.
The iPad already replaced the LaunchPad and the BCR. There's a custom controller in the works to replace the Pocket Dial with an even more compact controller.
The only things I'm missing now are some velocity pads and maybe a ribbon for expression.

Back in the Lemur days, I could hardly argue that combining the Lemur with a controller made for an elegant setup.
Because it all had to be done outside of Live and back then, API access was done via Sysex (oh the madness).
But these days with MFL, I'm in groovebox heaven...

luddy
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by luddy » Fri May 27, 2011 10:29 am

hoffman2k wrote:And why not take the best of both worlds? Currently I'm using the Pocket Dial which is just 16 encoders without an indicator. I'm using TouchOSC as that indicator and as a means to move to another set of controls.
Right, I'm basically doing something like that with the knobs and controllers on my MIDI keyboards, which I use for controlling sounds I'm playing, and the iPad for everything else. I'm still working through the best way to integrate all this stuff into our show. M4L gives a number of nice possibilities. One of things I'm toying with now is sending an OSC message from M4L to touchOSC to pull up the right page in a layout (say, as part of a scene being triggered), so that I can have a large number of pages in a layout and keep them all relatively simple with big controls.

Are you talking to M4L with OSC or do you connect to live via CoreMIDI, or both?

thx,

-Luddy

hoffman2k
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by hoffman2k » Fri May 27, 2011 10:40 am

luddy wrote:
hoffman2k wrote:And why not take the best of both worlds? Currently I'm using the Pocket Dial which is just 16 encoders without an indicator. I'm using TouchOSC as that indicator and as a means to move to another set of controls.
Right, I'm basically doing something like that with the knobs and controllers on my MIDI keyboards, which I use for controlling sounds I'm playing, and the iPad for everything else. I'm still working through the best way to integrate all this stuff into our show. M4L gives a number of nice possibilities. One of things I'm toying with now is sending an OSC message from M4L to touchOSC to pull up the right page in a layout (say, as part of a scene being triggered), so that I can have a large number of pages in a layout and keep them all relatively simple with big controls.

Are you talking to M4L with OSC or do you connect to live via CoreMIDI, or both?

thx,

-Luddy
Just OSC. Its faster and has a better resolution than MIDI.

luddy
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by luddy » Fri May 27, 2011 10:49 am

hoffman2k wrote: Just OSC. Its faster and has a better resolution than MIDI.
you madman. :lol: but you must end up mapping the OSC to a lot of Live's controls. Do you do that by converting the OSC to MIDI and sending it into a Remote-enabled MIDI input in Live somehow, or do you frob the controls via the M4L-Live API? Since the latter thing is a bigger programming challenge, I guess you do it that way whenever possible, right? :lol:

-Luddy

hoffman2k
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by hoffman2k » Fri May 27, 2011 11:14 am

I wrote this collection of devices: http://www.thecovertoperators.org/Live- ... collection
The Sixteen Macros device does OSC. I control the dials with MIDI from my controller and OSC from the ipad. And I have the labels and values displayed on the iPad.

Been messing with this sort of stuff for years. Because I too mapped a lot of things and kept forgetting what was mapped. With Live 8.2.2 it finally all came together. Now I'm hoping for another little bugfix so there isn't a flood of Undo history anymore.

luddy
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Re: Best Controller?

Post by luddy » Fri May 27, 2011 11:52 am

Wow, great stuff. Sixteen macros == 16 knobs on the pocket dial. :D So far I've not been able to connect it to touchOSC via OSC though. hmm. touchOSC doesn't want to configure itself unless the host advertises itself via bonjour or somesuch. I think. I'll keep fooling with it. [edit: got it now, didn't understand the format of the OSC messages the device was expecting.]

Funny how lots of us run into the same issues doing shows. The "global preset recall" thing has been tackled a bunch of different ways by different folks. I have a 16-MIDI-track beast that feeds and is fed by IAC buses, that I use to record MIDI-mapped parameters by entering and leaving MIDI-map mode and toggling remote/track settings in preferences. :oops: it works haha. It's about as clunky as a thing can be though. The nice thing about your device is that there's no need to manage/allocate MIDI CC ids.

-Luddy

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