Program Change recognition - WHY NOT?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
mbenigni
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Program Change recognition - WHY NOT?

Post by mbenigni » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:31 pm

So here I go again... in my endless quest to come up with a simple solution to the MIDI floorboard thing, I bought myself a MIDI Moose. And yes I should have remembered that Live wouldn're recognize output from a Program Change device because I've been down this road before with a similar Digitech product.

So my question is this: WHY (why why why why) can't Ableton respond to Program Change messages in addition to note on/off and cc messages? If there is a good sound technical reason for this omission, then I will be off with my tail between my legs, but otherwise, to be frank, this is beginning to piss me off. There just aren't many options out there and for Live itself to narrow the playing field further is really quite unacceptable.

BTW I am aware that I can run a 3rd party app in the background eg. Bomes etc to convert PC to CC, for instance, but I am trying to get away from control solutions that require additional applications to launch, configure, get wrong occasionally, eat up CPU cycles, and generally give me more stuff to think about that isn't playing music. I've already got a lot of (too many) floorboards - homegrown and otherwise - that work but just require too much fussing about.

Please explain to me why this can't be as simple as cc/note support.

Machinate
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Post by Machinate » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:59 pm

i think ableton has been stuck on:
"IF we are EVER going to implement any sort of incoming PC, then it has to be functional as PC, too" (ie, change presets...)

that's probably part of the "never do anything half-assed" concept, but it's flawed, obviously. Enabling the parsing of PC into the NORMAL midi assignment system would be great for a lot of people, too. And a ton of older pedal boards would come to life.

Hoffman2k also once made the point that many master controllers have sort of dedicated PC transmission systems that it would be cool to harness in Live.
mbp 2.66, osx 10.6.8, 8GB ram.

guerillabass
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Post by guerillabass » Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:18 am

Machinate wrote:i think ableton has been stuck on:
"IF we are EVER going to implement any sort of incoming PC, then it has to be functional as PC, too" (ie, change presets...)

that's probably part of the "never do anything half-assed" concept, but it's flawed, obviously. Enabling the parsing of PC into the NORMAL midi assignment system would be great for a lot of people, too. And a ton of older pedal boards would come to life.

Hoffman2k also once made the point that many master controllers have sort of dedicated PC transmission systems that it would be cool to harness in Live.
This makes it hard to argue with people who use midi/hardware setups and want the Program changes. I always hear about how they just dont want to learn a whole new program to integrate with a live rig if it aint got easy to do program changes. So Its hard to support/suggest Live to people when they mention that issue...

But i like Live for what it does.

mbenigni
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Post by mbenigni » Mon Jun 30, 2008 1:20 pm

i think ableton has been stuck on:
"IF we are EVER going to implement any sort of incoming PC, then it has to be functional as PC, too" (ie, change presets...)
Is that a quote from an Ableton rep? I don't really follow the logic. First of all, making Live recognize PC messages doesn't preclude enabling MIDI learn in object controls that (eg. plugin preset selectors) that should respond to PC "traditionally". Their own convention of blocking CC's from VST recognition if and only if they are assigned to Live UI components would work fine for PC's as well. (Although - as a side note - I sometimes wish you could get a CC to go to Live and a VST simultaneously.)

The fact is that Live responds to PC messages when you engage MIDI learn, it just responds improperly - tagging everything with Pitchbend messages and ignoring these back in "runtime". It seems like there are some reasonable short term ways to fix this without compromising the existing design in any way.

Glennzone
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The question of Program Change in Ableton Live

Post by Glennzone » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:08 pm

Hello again everyone in-thread.

Yes, this is my biggest pet peeve with my Ableton Love, and it's a huge one for me. The way "PC" is implemented in Love is great for DJs, but I am a musician, and NOT a DJ . . .

Using program change to select clip slots seems so redundant given the beautiful implementation of key and MIDI note mapping already so well established by Ableton. Any MIDI note on any MIDI channel on any MIDI interface can be used to select a clip slot. So why Program Change ? A program change command was design for a very specific purpose, and is to aid in orchestrating changes.

To my thinking, clip slots (either audio or MIDI) are designed for a completely different purpose. It seems to me with the advent of racks and all, that with everything potentially located in memory, PC would be a relatively simple thing to implement, except perhaps that there's something else stepping on its toes.

I apologize if I'm redundant in explaining my vision. I have submitted something to the forum on Program Change sporadically over several years. Live is such a unique and excellent application. As performance musicians, I think it's a reasonable expectation that something in the MIDI standard be implemented in its standard form. Have we musicians been marginalized in deference to DJs ? (Not to be taken too seriously. :-P )

If under Preferences though, there were a radio button to select between using Program Change for DJ or Musician Performance mode, that could be the bridge between the functionality that we all (and many others) need.

Perhaps someday . . .

Thanks,
Glennzone
HW : MacMini (OSX, 16GB),
HP ZBbook 15 (W7 64-bit, 32GB RAM)

Various musical\non-musical MIDI controllers

SW : Ableton Live 8.4.2 Suite (using MIDI only), M4L, Max6, Custom Max app
Cubase Elements 7, VEP5, Komplete9, SD2.2

hoffman2k
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Post by hoffman2k » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:38 pm

Hehe, like clockwork. Is it that time again? Beware, I feel a level 10 hissy fit coming up around NAMM when automap 3 or something similarly halfassed is introduced.

This subject doesn't even warrant a lot of words.

Print this: "MIDI Controllers and MIDI Synths have had Program Changes for over 25 years. In some cases, hardware manufacturers have gone out of their way to make it easy for users to select a specific PC message. Not including Program Changes as accepted messages from the Remote Input is ****tarded!! They can't conflict with Program Changes in clips or VSTi's because those are on the Track Input."

Now staple this to the forehead of every Ableton Employee you see.

Sounds a bit drastic, but I bet they'll get the point when they arrive at the office one morning to find 10 people armed with staplers, waiting till every employee has arrived.
In the spring I may chain myself to their entrance gate, until they make a MIDI implementation chart for each and every single device.

4.33
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Post by 4.33 » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:11 pm

yeah!

i got a discontinued Digitech Control 8, a very nice, tidy, compact and logical little box perfect for gigging, except for the fact that it's focused on Prog Change. it has 6 CCs which is why i got it anyway

most foot controllers mostly send program changes, or, there is a bulky Behringer fcb1010 alternative, bulky, bulky!

Glennzone
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Post by Glennzone » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:43 pm

Lovely reply H2K,

You really know how to deliver them ! Perhaps a simple modification : instead of stapling it to their foreheads, perhaps their butts ? This way, the sharp ends of the staples would drive the reminder closer to home throughout the day. :-P

Nothing against the residents of Abletonia. Often, as in life, it is the leaders who are responsible and not the masses, and after all, things exported from Abletonia are quite wonderful and unique on the whole.

Anyway, this may be the year justice is done, though it may not given the state of the world economy, but who knows ? Maybe the government of Abletonia has this very concern at the center of its thoughts and has elevated it to a New Years resolution.

A pleasure to see you again H2K. It's been quite some time.

:-)

Thanks,
Glennzone
HW : MacMini (OSX, 16GB),
HP ZBbook 15 (W7 64-bit, 32GB RAM)

Various musical\non-musical MIDI controllers

SW : Ableton Live 8.4.2 Suite (using MIDI only), M4L, Max6, Custom Max app
Cubase Elements 7, VEP5, Komplete9, SD2.2

mbenigni
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Post by mbenigni » Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:04 pm

i got a discontinued Digitech Control 8, a very nice, tidy, compact and logical little box perfect for gigging, except for the fact that it's focused on Prog Change.
Same here. I've got that one, a Tech 21 MIDI Moose... a whole #@^&*& pile of pedals that I find, feel optimistic about, purchase, and run into the same problem with. This weird ommission in the Live MIDI implementation has probably cost me a couple of grand by now, easy. If they ever fix it, I'll have enough floorboards to pick one based on the day of the week or the color of my shirt. (OK, my shirts are all black, but nevertheless.)

tracy
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Post by tracy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:57 am

I just bought a Roland Foot Controller RC-200. Its a great pedal board, but due to the lack of Prog Change detection in Live it is almost worthless. I just discovered this tonight, and am very, very disappointed.

Sure the pedal can send notes, but only one per pedal. If you want more, get this. Roland recommends attaching an external pedal to switch to a new scale!?! While it has 12 banks of Program Changes that are easily switched with the up and down pedals.

Argh!

Machinesworking
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Post by Machinesworking » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:12 am

Not that everybody wants to spend what ever amount it's going to cost just for this, but Max for Live should take care of this, at least for those that buy it. :?

Often hating on Behringer, but the FCB1010 is still kicking, and the tech support person I talked to decided to donate the rubber feet they had lying around to me as three of mine are missing! Decent device for this, and dirt cheap.

landrvr1
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Post by landrvr1 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:31 am

I've missed this place.

chrysalis33rpm
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Re: The question of Program Change in Ableton Live

Post by chrysalis33rpm » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:59 am

Glennzone wrote:Hello again everyone in-thread.

Yes, this is my biggest pet peeve with my Ableton Love, and it's a huge one for me. The way "PC" is implemented in Love is great for DJs, but I am a musician, and NOT a DJ . . .

Using program change to select clip slots seems so redundant given the beautiful implementation of key and MIDI note mapping already so well established by Ableton. Any MIDI note on any MIDI channel on any MIDI interface can be used to select a clip slot. So why Program Change ? A program change command was design for a very specific purpose, and is to aid in orchestrating changes.

To my thinking, clip slots (either audio or MIDI) are designed for a completely different purpose. It seems to me with the advent of racks and all, that with everything potentially located in memory, PC would be a relatively simple thing to implement, except perhaps that there's something else stepping on its toes.

I apologize if I'm redundant in explaining my vision. I have submitted something to the forum on Program Change sporadically over several years. Live is such a unique and excellent application. As performance musicians, I think it's a reasonable expectation that something in the MIDI standard be implemented in its standard form. Have we musicians been marginalized in deference to DJs ? (Not to be taken too seriously. :-P )

If under Preferences though, there were a radio button to select between using Program Change for DJ or Musician Performance mode, that could be the bridge between the functionality that we all (and many others) need.

Perhaps someday . . .

Thanks,
Glennzone
Can we separate out 2 things here:

1) Your need and desire for the implementation of Program Changes in Live.

2) Your disdain for DJs.

N°1 doesn't necessarily imply N°2, does it? I am unaware of how Live's implementation of Program Change messages is DJ friendly- it'd be pretty ridiculous if they designed it that way, since DJs hardly ever use PC messages.

mbenigni
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Post by mbenigni » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:01 pm

Anyway... Here's version 8 on the horizon and a great opportunity to make this more flexible. I can't imagine that it would be all that difficult to integrate an option for PC mapping into Live. In fact, I've been wondering whether they haven't already, but can't seem to get an answer out of the beta testers. Anyone???

LoopStationZebra
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Post by LoopStationZebra » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:01 pm

tracy wrote:I just bought a Roland Foot Controller RC-200. Its a great pedal board, but due to the lack of Prog Change detection in Live it is almost worthless. I just discovered this tonight, and am very, very disappointed.

Sure the pedal can send notes, but only one per pedal. If you want more, get this. Roland recommends attaching an external pedal to switch to a new scale!?! While it has 12 banks of Program Changes that are easily switched with the up and down pedals.

Argh!
What program change are you trying to initiate? A soft synth or hard synth? Ableton can send them if your device can receive. If you map your RC to dummy clips in a MIDI track, have the dummy clips send the program changes for you. It's a detour, but one that should work just as smoothly. I just set this up tonight in a free bank that I had on my FCB1010. I'm able to fire up a dummy clip and BAM my hardware synth does a patch change.

And Machinesworking is right, the FCB is the best $100 I ever spent.

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