MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion

Which MIDI learn system do you prefer?

Host MIDI learn system (like Control Link in Studio One, or Remote Control Editor in Cubase)
9
29%
Manufacturer specific MIDI learn for your device (like Automap, DirectLink, VIP, Komplete Kontrol and likes)
3
10%
The MIDI learn system the VST(i) provides
13
42%
I don't use or need MIDI learn at all
6
19%
 
Total votes: 31

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:17 am

Hey,

on my never ending quest to get used to handling MIDI keyboards, and controlling soft synths with them :ud:, i thought i'd do a little poll to see which MIDI learn system people prefer, and what they especially like about it. And, if you don't feel like controlling your soft synths via a MIDI interface at all, and rather use mouse/keyboard, please feel free to state so as well.

IMO, all those options have advantages or disadvantages. For example, on my Novation Impulse using Automap, Automap must create a new plugin DLL so that i can use Automap with it, which obviously clusters up the plugin folder, and, when you decide to switch back to using host or plugin controlled MIDI learn, you might have projects where you used the automap DLL's, rendering them useless (i believe). Or, when you decide NOT to use Automap or something similar, you won't be able to have several pages of controls for your often limited physical controls on the controller.

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
2808 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:21 am

Uhm, nope. I use pre-mapped VIP controls for browsing presets, but when I actually get to work, I always load everythig into Ableton Instrument Rack so I have exactly same 8 knobs for any sound I use, mapped to Push.

I do that even for LuSH-101, which requires each target parameter to be configured separately. It is however even more difficult to do for Harmor with its odd XYZ parameters, that's probably I use Harmor rarely and it's always cumbersome.

Also plan to get Machine with NKS.
Last edited by DJ Warmonger on Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Acid Mitch
KVRAF
1864 posts since 5 Oct, 2005

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:22 am

I don't use MIDI learn. I make custom templates for my controllers using thier editors that send the required cc’s or sysex.

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beely
KVRAF
1570 posts since 6 Jul, 2013

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:24 am

Note: Those poll options don't cover all the options for controlling plugins via hardware controllers.

I've recently (finally) been able to implement the control system of instruments and effects plugins in Logic that I've wanted for years (bespoke hardware aside), it works great, and there is no (or very little) MIDI learn involved at all...

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:36 am

beely wrote:Note: Those poll options don't cover all the options for controlling plugins via hardware controllers.
I only listed the ones i'm aware of. You're of course free to describe how you "solved" it. :)

The optimal solution for me would be to have severl pages of controls, like i have with Automap for the 8 encoders, and 9 faders on my Impulse, without actually having to have to use dusplicates of my plugin DLL's. I think stuff like VIP and Komplete Kontrol work as a plugin host. But, having multiple pages with assignments surely only works for supported controllers.

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:47 am

Hm... i just read that you actually can save up to 4 banks/pages of controls in the AKAI VIP software. Does anyone know whether that is only possible for the supported controllers, or if that is possible for ALL controllers?

EnGee
KVRAF
4772 posts since 7 Oct, 2005 from New Zealand

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:52 am

I use midi learn when 'tweaking that parameter' is a part of my playing (and then recording). I use it all the time so I only need those specific parameters to be mapped and controlled. Some Parameters I use lfo/env to modulate them of course, but usually I find it easier and more musical if I control that parameter according to the feel.

That makes VST/i "midi learn" an essential part of my workflow. It is also the deciding factor to what VST/i I prefer. If there is no way to map that parameter easily (like in some synths or effects), I just drop that plugin from my list. It also makes my choices of hardware. I don't prefer DAW's midi, although Studio One is nice in this regard and might be the only one I could use, but anyway, I'm not using S1 now.

So, in short I want to do it fast because I want to play with it while recording it now. Things might change from preset to preset though, so I tend to concentrate on the current project only :)
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chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:58 am

I used to prefer VST MIDI learn as well, but, one of my favorite soft synths (Largo) doesn't provide it, unfortunately. Obviously, they use fixed MIDI CC's, to make it possible to control Largo with a Blofeld, which, as far as i know, has matched MIDI CC's with Largo. So, i either need to create a preset for Largo on my MIDI controller (did that with Cubase), or i use Control Link in Studio One.

EnGee
KVRAF
4772 posts since 7 Oct, 2005 from New Zealand

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 5:19 am

Well, I have checked all my instruments and I couldn't figure how to midi learn these directly:
- Heartbeat
- Softube Modular
- Europa
- Largo
- Aalto
- FM8

I might need to use Cubase VST quick controls (which I don't prefer at all!) or possibly just using the mouse and record an automation lane. These are essential plugs for me, so I forgive them :D
Last edited by EnGee on Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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jancivil
KVRAF
15332 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:21 am

I need it only very rarely. I remember having to with Reaktor ensembles, I used its learn. I think looking at Kontour I will use VE Pro's learn.

The things I use frequently have an easy mapping for it in the instrument. I use more Host Automation than MIDI by far, and it's the VE Pro automation mapper which puts it all in the one interface, either way. The VSL Vienna Instrument uses MIDI CC in its interface; Sonic Couture auto-maps Host Automation. BFD3, host automation except for 'variable' hihat which is CC. Actually for the BFD3 mixer, broken in VE Pro 6 for a while so it's opening up outputs which is obvious Host Automation. Absynth is all CC, internal assignments, no learn necessary.

I was accustomed to certain assignments for CC every time, it's all done inside Kontakt, learn isn't necessary.
Now the VSL Synchron series uses an internal mixer so that's Host Automation assignments. The single exception to VE Pro mapping is I use Reaktor Skanner in Cubendo and it's all host automation, using Write and mouse or trackpad.

I'm a Cubendo user who has never actually used the Quick Controls, although I learned how it works.
What I don't do is make MIDI CC an automation lane in the project view. I make presets for CC and other MIDI control lanes in Key Editor per certain parts. I'm into the 140s for Host Automation in one instance of this project already, I'm sure not doing 100-some lanes in Key Editor, is the thing.
Last edited by jancivil on Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:26 am

EnGee wrote: I might need to use Cubase VST quick controls (which I don't prefer at all!) or possibly just using the mouse and record an automation lane.
Yeah, i didn't like the quick controls either. I mean, just 8 controls, seriously?

There's also the Remote Control Editor, but, i never really fiddled with that one much, as it seemed complicated on first look. Maybe it isn't.

zzz00m
KVRian
1293 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:03 am

I suppose I use a combination of all 3 methods in the survey.

I like the controller mapping in Studio One, because for example, once you have the eight knobs on your external controller mapped to Studio One, then any plugin parameter that shows up can be mapped in the external device widget. It changes with the context of the specific plugin in focus, so you can assign the same knobs to various plugins, and it remembers the settings for each plugin. It works very well, so you only have to map them once.

I also have VIP, and that is very handy as well. But that gets confusing if you are using VIP as a plugin, and already have mapped the learn for a plugin in your DAW. At least I have found this to be true with a VIP enabled controller, if there are pre-mapped VIP controls for the same plugin in VIP, they will override your native DAW control surface settings once the VIP-keyboard and VIP connect. I have not tried this yet with a non-VIP keyboard, so cannot say exactly how that would go, but I assume your non-VIP keyboard would retain its control surface identity in the DAW.

Regardless of the usefulness of the previous two methods, I would still prefer that ALL plugins provided some MIDI learn in the plugin UI. Some do, and some don't. But I like it when I am just auditioning sounds, especially in a new or rarely used plugin, and just want to grab a knob, click learn, and twist it, without digging into control surface maps.

Mouse and computer keyboard are useless if you are actually trying to play an instrument from your MIDI controller.
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chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:10 am

zzz00m wrote: Regardless of the usefulness of the previous two methods, I would still prefer that ALL plugins provided some MIDI learn in the plugin UI. Some do, and some don't. But I like it when I am just auditioning sounds, especially in a new or rarely used plugin, and just want to grab a knob, click learn, and twist it, without digging into control surface maps.

Mouse and computer keyboard are useless if you are actually trying to play an instrument from your MIDI controller.
True, but, no MIDI controller in the world can map all plugin parameters. Often, i find myself playing the MIDI keyboard with one hand, and using the mouse to change stuff on the fly really.

That's why i wondered if VIP allows for different pages of controller mapping, also for non-officially-VIP supported controllers.

zzz00m
KVRian
1293 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:22 am

chk071 wrote: True, but, no MIDI controller in the world can map all plugin parameters. Often, i find myself playing the MIDI keyboard with one hand, and using the mouse to change stuff on the fly really.

That's why i wondered if VIP allows for different pages of controller mapping, also for non-officially-VIP supported controllers.
Agree, but I would consider my use of a controller limited to but a handful of the most important synth parameters for performance, rather than general programming or sound design. I just don't feel that I need access to ALL of my synth parameters for playing a sound. It would be nice, but isn't that what hardware synths are made for? :D

To provide all controls with plugins would approach needing a hardware control surface designed specifically for the plugin. I'm not sure that is feasible, but I'm sure someone will attempt that.

I have not used a non-VIP keyboard with VIP yet, but I am pretty sure there are 4 pages (Banks) available of 8 knobs and eight buttons (switches) regardless of the keyboard used.
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chk071
KVRAF
17017 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: MIDI keyboards - Which MIDI learn system do you use/prefer?

Post Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:46 am

Alright, that's nice. :) Unfortunately, i can't demo it anymore, because i already demo'd it for 7 days.

And, i also agree that you just can't map all controls of every soft synth, and would need a dedicated controller for each. Kind of the issue when controlling soft synths. Also, let's say you have multiple pages of controls. At least with 3 or 4 pages of controls for 8 encoders or faders, it will get confusing, and you'll be like "Huh... what did i map on page 4 now??". Already had that with Automap. Then you either have to have exactly the same mapping for all soft synths (which will be difficult, as, for example, on Largo, i will want to control the wavetable index first and foremost, and, on Spire, i'd like to have the macro controls), or you will just use 2 or 3 pages effectively. Actually, i think the latter would probably be the best. Then you just have to use the mouse occasionally, to change some not-so-often used parameters on the plugin GUI.

Of course, that's not an issue with controllers like Komplete Kontrol, when you see the mapped parameters on the controller's screen.

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