Control Surface and midi hardware - even possible?

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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:22 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Control Surface and midi hardware - even possible?

Post by Proof » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:08 am

Getting more frustrating really..

Is it possible to use a control surface - APC, Launchpad etc with Ableton?

I have detailed my issue before - but looking for potential workarounds..

I have Ableton 8 running my midi sequences and also working as a digital mix environment.

The mixing side of it is controlled by a VCM600 in remote mode, hard mapped to the controls I would like.

The midi sequences are output through a Fireface400 and feed a DSI evolver, Lead 2 and Dark Energy.

Sync comes in from the MachineDrum - which Ableton slaves to for tempo and start/stop..

When running, everything is fine - can trigger, use the VCM600 to scroll up and down, trigger, no worries..

However. As soon as I set up a Control Surface, APC40, then Launchpad (thought it might work better) I come across a major issue.

Again, just running normally, no worries - the Launchpad triggers fine, everything stays in time.

However. The moment I try to navigate the project - either on the Launchpad, the Laptop Keyboard, or even scrolling via the VCM600, the midi output to the hardware synths seem to get progressively more delayed - I move around the project slowly, it lags a little, then catches up when I stop moving around, if I hit the button a lot - quickly try to scroll up or down the project, the midi output all but stops - again catching up when I stop navigation.

My understanding is that the control surface is generating a pile of 'midi' information - required to update the control surface when I am changing 'focused' track - enough to choke up the midi output of the system.

It was suggested that I try filtering all output, between Ableton and the VCM - but that makes no difference.. the other suggestion that I disable the remote output of the VCM600 - firstly rending the VCM600 relativity pointless (no visual feedback) - but not actually helping anyway.

I just tried disabling the VCM600 - and found I still get a bit of a problem with just the Launchpad and the Midi Devices - but the VCM600 certainly increases the problem..

So - essentially, at the moment, my only real solution is to disable the Launchpad and just navigate the 'traditional' way of scrolling up and down and triggering per clip or scene - which I could live with - but would obviously like the navigation options the Launchpad gives me.

I could potentially manually map the launchpad to trigger the clips in a set 8 x 8 grid - but the is limiting, and I am not sure that I could get the feedback working as well as it does 'natively'..

Any ideas? Or is it just the case the at new 'control surfaces' make midi unusable?

I realise I might be pushing what the software was designed to do - but I don't think having everything working together (without resorting to Bome's or under the hood modifications) is too much to ask?

Any suggestions? I can make it work (navigate slowly, grin and bear the occasional hick-ups) but would prefer not to have limitations. I like Abletons Session 'matrix' and that is what is keeping me from going back to a hardware sequencer as well, but, well, yeah..


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