MIDI Control & Templates
Using MIDI controllers to trigger plugin instruments and hardware synthesisers is common, but using MIDI controllers to control effects in real-time is another story entirely. Of course, most producers do use automation lanes to control aspects of effects, but having hands-on control via a controller is really satisfying. The interaction makes it feel intuitive and personal. I will cover the automation aspect of using a controller towards end of this chapter, after you have got to grips with templates and triggers. For now, we will concentrate on static events, using a controller as a snapshot for an event.
I will run through an example, and this time I will use the Novation SLMK2 controller keyboard, with my own edited Automap template, to control one of the parameters in Drumagog drum replacement software. The example displays the huge potential in using templates with controllers. (I will cover Drumagog in more detail in later chapters.)
Automap, like so many other controller templates, is wonderful software that enables the assignment of MIDI controller data (in this instance via the SLMK2) to any available parameter. The GUI is sensibly laid out and allows for acres of customisation. You can automate via the software or the hardware controller. You can create custom templates and save them for future recall. I have created templates for controlling plugin effects and instruments, the DAW mix functions, channel effects, and so on.
Another aspect of Automap that is so useful is the ability to assign CC values for real-time control.
CC stands for continuous controllers
MIDI controllers fall into two categories; those that are variable (Continuous), such as a knob or a fader, and those that are switchable (on or off), such as a sustain pedal.
A Mod Wheel, then, would be a variable (or Continuous) controller, whereas a sustain pedal can be only on or off, so is switchable.
There are, in effect, 128 different controllers (0-127), which break down (basically) as follows:
0 to 63 are assigned to Continuous Controllers (cc)
64 to 95 are for Switch Controllers
96 to 121 are undefined and can be assigned to other parameters
122 to127 are assigned to MIDI Modes (Local ON/Off, Omni Off, and so on)
In the chapter on Dynamics, we used controller lanes to create curves for specific parameters, with velocity and pan being the most common. Pan, as an example, is cc10, continuous controller 10 (image below). I have clicked on the controller lane and a dropdown menu has appeared, showing available continuous controllers. Pan is ticked as cc10:
Excerpt taken from Beat Construction book.