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Novation Automap and Alchemy performance controls

Official support for: camelaudio.com

Moderator: Camel Audio Mods

AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:01 pm Novation Automap and Alchemy performance controls

Hi,

I'm a new Alchemy user AND a new Novation Impulse user so please....bear with me...

When I bring up Alchemy in Logic Pro (9.1.7) , I see that the first page in Automap 4.4 is already mapped to the 8 performance knobs in Alchemy. Very useful as I'm trying to create as many physical controls as I can right now. Automap created 53 pages to map all of the Alchemy controls.

When I began working with the 8 encoders on the Impulse I noticed that sometimes I was not able to fine tune the value of the performance control but rather the value jumped as soon as I started moving the physical knob - sometimes severely but not predictably so. Somtimes it appeared to work fine...

After a lot of experimentation, I observed the following:

MOST of the time, if the Automap view of the knob is at a different position compared with what Alchemy shows the knob to be, then Automap will immediately jump to where Alchemy "says " it aught to be. This is true for any knob not just performance ones and that's what I would expect, as a user. The Automap "view" of the knob can be differnet because you might have switched pages in Automap to change another parameter and when you switch back to the performance control "page", there is a discrepancy. Automap seems to handle this correctly.


HOWEVER - there is one case where it works differently:

If you change positions in the REMIX PADS, resulting in the performance knobs MOVING,

then

If there is a discrepancy between the position of the performance knob and the position of the Automap knob in the Automap edit winodw, the Alchemy performance knob position JUMPS to the value of the Automap knob when you start turning the Impluse knob!! That's reverse behavior and really bad for me.


Once I discovered this behavior, I was able to repeat it many times.

Somehow, there is something different about the user turning a knob in Alchemy and the RemixPad "turning" the knob in Alchemy.


If you were somehow able to follow my convoluted story (I apologize if too verbose), then can any of the Camel guys comment on it - or if anyone else has come up against this, I would like to know as well.

What this means to me right now is that I cannot go back and forth between the Remix Pads and the performance controls in a live performance situation. I have to pick one or the other - at least with Automap.

It is possible that my observation is wrong or incomplete - I would love to know

Thanks
Avi
AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:34 pm

After playing with it some more, I think that the problem happens with the performance controls not only after you move the remixpads but also when you change patches. [edit]: This jumping problem happens upon patch changes also inside the Advanced mode :( I'm totally confused now. I wonder if this is an Automap problem then. I was able to replicate this behavior on a nother plugin synth so I guess I'll have to take it up with Novation...definitely unexpected.

Avi
krankyone
KVRist
 
117 posts since 12 Oct, 2006

Postby krankyone; Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:16 pm

Avi-as soon as I saw you had an Impulse, I've been waiting to see if you found this same problem. So it doesn't look like it's just me. If you didn't, I was going to post a message about it myself.

I can't tell if it's an Automap problem, a Alchemy problem, or a problem in Ableton Live (or all of the above). I have definitely seen the same issues, and it is easily reproducible. I'm testing in Ableton Live 8.3.3 on a Mac running 10.6.8 and the latest version of Automap.

Other info: The VST acts more behaved than the AU version of Alchemy. The VST acts correctly with a program change, but if you move the performance pad (which I do a lot!), Automap and the Impulse hold on to the old values for the performance knob params, while they update and change in Alchemy. As soon as you move the encoder, Alchemy jumps from it's current value to the value that Automap thinks is one increment away from the old value, and this can be a big abrupt jump. You can definitely see the problem if you keep the Automap editor open while changing things in Alchemy.

By the way, some AU's work correctly - Absynth for example - and some don't such as Zebra. I had someone working on this from Novation, but I haven't heard anything for a while.

I like Automap since you don't have to store the mappings in the song file or set it up each time you create a new song. This problem makes it less usable, especially because Alchemy and Zebra are my main two synths.
User avatar
ZenPunkHippy
KVRAF
 
10453 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:28 pm

Hi,

This behaviour sounds familiar, and I think I know why it's happening but I'll need to re-test it before making any comments.

Can either of you post to let me know if you're using the automap wrapped version of Alchemy? I have automap installed for use with Logic so I can test today.

Peace,
Andy.
AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:31 pm

krankyone wrote:Avi-as soon as I saw you had an Impulse, I've been waiting to see if you found this same problem. So it doesn't look like it's just me. If you didn't, I was going to post a message about it myself.


Thank you so much for chiming in. I feel a little better about my sanity but a little discouraged too about the prospects.

krankyone wrote:I can't tell if it's an Automap problem, a Alchemy problem, or a problem in Ableton Live (or all of the above). I have definitely seen the same issues, and it is easily reproducible. I'm testing in Ableton Live 8.3.3 on a Mac running 10.6.8 and the latest version of Automap.


I'm in Logic Pro but good to know about your setup.

krankyone wrote: Other info: The VST acts more behaved than the AU version of Alchemy. The VST acts correctly with a program change


I'll have to test it in another host. Good info.


krankyone wrote: , but if you move the performance pad (which I do a lot!), Automap and the Impulse hold on to the old values for the performance knob params, while they update and change in Alchemy. As soon as you move the encoder, Alchemy jumps from it's current value to the value that Automap thinks is one increment away from the old value, and this can be a big abrupt jump. You can definitely see the problem if you keep the Automap editor open while changing things in Alchemy.


Yup. That's what I see too.

krankyone wrote: By the way, some AU's work correctly - Absynth for example - and some don't such as Zebra. I had someone working on this from Novation, but I haven't heard anything for a while..


Funny - the other synth I tried was Zerbralette and it also showed the same problem.

I may open a case with Novation, but please post something or send me a pm if you hear anything back. This is really not good at the moment.

Thanks a lot
Avi
AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:35 pm

ZenPunkHippy wrote:Hi,

This behaviour sounds familiar, and I think I know why it's happening but I'll need to re-test it before making any comments.

Can either of you post to let me know if you're using the automap wrapped version of Alchemy? I have automap installed for use with Logic so I can test today.

Peace,
Andy.


Andy - I was hoping you would join in the conversation since I think you have an Impulse as well. I am using an Automapped version of Alchemy. I think that's required in order to use Automap to control a plugin.

To summarize - upon either a patch change, or a move in the remix pads, Automap will make your control jump to the last value stored in the Automap "memory" (you can see it visually in the edit window) rather than catch up with the value of the knob in Alchemy. That happens as soon as you start turning the knob. In other cases, it seems to catch up ok.

Thanks
Avi
krankyone
KVRist
 
117 posts since 12 Oct, 2006

Postby krankyone; Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:26 pm

Yes, it's the automap wrapped version of Alchemy.
User avatar
ZenPunkHippy
KVRAF
 
10453 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:12 pm

I have now tested this with Automap 4.4.0 and can reproduce the behaviour. The different problems described are not 100% related, but I'll do my best to explain what's going on.

First, the 2 plugin formats we are dealing with (AU & VST) handle automation differently. Adjusting the remix pad and then changing preset using the VST version behaves correctly with regard to updating the values of the individual automap controls, but the Audio Unit specification does not provide a mechanism to do this.

The reason this happens with Alchemy but not other plugins is because the remix pad is able to send automation data to the host for X Y movement, but is also responsible for updating the performance controls on the GUI - and the performance controls are also sending automation values to the host.

When Alchemy was first released this caused a bug where recording remix pad automation would also cause the host to record the morphing values of the performance controls, resulting in remix pad automation (2 values) + automation lanes the 16 performance controls. On playback, the host would be send all 18 automation values to Alchemy where only 2 are required (the remix pad). Total chaos!

This has been known to Kore 2 users for some time because it prevents Kore from knowing about performance control updates when using the remix pad ... and Kore 2 is working in a very similar way to Automap, kind of like a mini-host that reads and writes the automation parameters of a plugin.

Unless we can work out a solution for this directly with Novation, the most likely fix from us will involve 2 sets of controls - one that the user manipulates directly and another set that is invisible but exposed to the host for automation. This would allow us greater control over how and when the values are updated, but it's a fair bit of work and won't happen until Alchemy 2.0.

Not strictly related to the above, but we can confirm some of the behaviour you've seen by following these instructions:

Record some notes + remix pad automation in Logic (or any other host using the Audio Unit). During playback change presets and you'l see exactly the same behaviour: as each preset loads, the remix pad value is reset to position 1, but when the host encounters a new automation value it sends an update to Alchemy causing the remix pad to jump to the old position, which obviously affects the sound.

So unfortunately I don't have an answer for you in terms of fixing the problem, but I hope the explanation helps you understand why it's happening and allows you to work around the problem.

Peace,
Andy.
Oceanviewstudio
KVRist
 
308 posts since 27 Feb, 2009

Postby Oceanviewstudio; Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:48 pm

On a side note ...while I can confirm this behaviour in AU, and as this makes me wonder, I never was too happy with Novation / Auomap, is there any other more reliable controller option out there that is known to work flawlessly with Camel Audio?

I am just asking because I find the whole Novation thing to be a pain in the neck, Omnisphere, Kore, and now Alchemy, and well, others gave me troubles too.

I use a Remote SL, and consider dumping it if there is something known to work better.
Best wishes
OVS
User avatar
ZenPunkHippy
KVRAF
 
10453 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:19 pm

... if there is something known to work better.

Nothing that I know of, unfortunately. There are some limitations with the automap system - but this is the nature of attempting to provide a generic control surface for a decent price. On the whole it is a vast improvement over automap v3, and in the price range it's one of the better solutions (IMO).

This generic controller problem is one reason we developed Alchemy Mobile. While it won't work as a universal controller it is able to send and receive control updates to Alchemy, allows preset selection, and the iPad screen will follow host automation data. The touch screen keyboard will never replace a proper keyboard, but I find using them together a good balance for control and convenience.

Peace,
Andy.
AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:49 am

HI Andy,

Thank you very much for taking the time to replicate this problem in the midst of helping us all get on board the new Alchemy release. It seems that my options are :

1. Use the mouse rather than a knob. This may be ok for sound design work but not ok for performance.
2. Change from Logic to a VST host at least for performance. I need to explore this option and see what works and what doesnt . It sounds like it's still not 100% correct thought. I have an old version of Cubase around here so I'll give it a try
3. Try an iPad and see how it feels. I've been using my iPhone for the two x/y controllers and it works well but there isn't enough real estate for knobs as well, at the same time. I don't know yet how it would feel to have to focus on a touch screen in performance, rather than be looking at another musician while having my fingers on a knob. May be a shift in thinking for me coming up.

Any other options someone can think of?

I was very hopeful about he prospects of using the 8 knobs on the Impulse as the performance knobs as it seems so logical and convenient so that's a disappointment. But there was no way for me to know this problem before purchasing.

I sent a message to Novation through their user Forum since I saw another person had posted there about the same problem although with Zebra. Interesting how the best soft synths out there are somewhat incompatible with Automap.

But I *really* appreciate your quick response and complete descrption of the problem. I'm an acoustic musician for many many years dipping my toes in the world of electronic music and this is a reality check for me about problems of the nature I never had to deal with in the world of wood and metal machines LOL. I am an engineer by trade though, so detailed explanations are very helpful for me.

Cheers
Avi
Oceanviewstudio
KVRist
 
308 posts since 27 Feb, 2009

Postby Oceanviewstudio; Tue Sep 25, 2012 4:54 am

ZenPunkHippy wrote:
... if there is something known to work better.

Nothing that I know of, unfortunately. There are some limitations with the automap system - but this is the nature of attempting to provide a generic control surface for a decent price. On the whole it is a vast improvement over automap v3, and in the price range it's one of the better solutions (IMO).

This generic controller problem is one reason we developed Alchemy Mobile. While it won't work as a universal controller it is able to send and receive control updates to Alchemy, allows preset selection, and the iPad screen will follow host automation data. The touch screen keyboard will never replace a proper keyboard, but I find using them together a good balance for control and convenience.

Peace,
Andy.


Selling Remote SL 37 limited edition, including Apple Logo centered in the green luminescent vortex graphics gracing the board, the "rare" to find Apple Sticker at no additional cost :lol: then purchasing iPad, now that Daw Control, Omnisphere and Alchemy mobile exist.

Thanks man!
Best wishes
OVS
krankyone
KVRist
 
117 posts since 12 Oct, 2006

Postby krankyone; Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:10 am

Thanks for the explanation Andy. It makes more sense now. It seems like Alchemy needs to distinguish changes to the performance knobs made by turning them or by changing presets from changes to the performance knobs as a side effect of moving the performance pad. Otherwise you get what you want but way too many automation values recorded into the DAW. So for now I can stick to the VST version which works pretty well for program change issues, but just know that if I use the performance pad, the encoders on my Impulse will become out of sync with Alchemy.

Also, so now I don't see this as an Automap or Live remote script problem. It's a design decision in Alchemy that makes sense, but does not yet offer the kind of control that I'd really like. So please consider addressing this in Alchemy 2.0.
krankyone
KVRist
 
117 posts since 12 Oct, 2006

Postby krankyone; Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:20 am

Also, just to confirm, I took the VST version and manually mapped the performance knobs using the configuration button and midi mapping in Live, so that I'm doing this without an Automap wrapped version of Alchemy. I get the same results as the Automap wrapped version. Things work as expected until I move the performance pad. So this makes more sense.
AviZiv
KVRist
 
54 posts since 9 Oct, 2011

Postby AviZiv; Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:51 pm

I can also now confirm that the VST version works correctly in the case of program changes - at least in LIVE. My main daw is Logic so I'm not sure yet what it means for me, but at least I can confirm the feedback I see here. The remix pad problem is still there.

Avi
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