Reaper presets on 2x16 LCD - is it possible?

...and how to do so...
116 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:02 am


I'd like to use Reaper presets (snapshots of VSTi's presets) with external LCD 2x16. I know Reaper can be extended through ReaScripts - I'm not programmer myself, but a friend of mine knows thing or two about it ;). Is it possible to send presets names (defined in Reaper) to this LCD and - if possible - VSTi's name or some additional data?

I'm planning to build-in nano motherboard or SBC with fanless CPU to old MIDI controller, with everything pre-configured. I thinked about 5" LCD, but I don't need it - I just need something to show me presets' names. Everything else should be controlled through MIDI.
Do I need SBC or any mobo will do? How can I connect it to build-in computer - do I need special connectors SBC or Arduino-based computers have, or plain USB will do?

I plan to do it as a proof of concept on cheap Atom-based 64bit CPU with 2 GB RAM or something similiar. If it will work, I want to put inside something like 6100U with 8GB RAM. I'm tired of using laptop with interface - I want to use 2x16 LCD with smaller device, and if it willr work, there are CME UF8 for 120$+ with enough space inside to put small motherboard with cooling and simple digital display outside AND 5-7" LCD for video output.

Thanks for ANY advice in my pursuit for built-in PC inside MIDI controller :)!

28 posts since 21 Jan, 2019

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:18 am

Allthough this is an old question, I would like to reply.
Hopefully it helps... It will be quite a long answer.

So, before answering, let me tell you I just did what you are planning.
I had a PC build in my WS1200 Casio keyboard (which I bought for 50 Euro)
and had a touchscreen controlling it. Unfortunately it didn't work out too
well. basically because the laptop was too old.
So I now switched to an external laptop, but I also have a Graphite keyboard
in which I build an LCD screen, with about 5 lines of data available.
So, the laptop is out of the way and I just look at the little screen on my Graphite...
Now to your question: Is it possible to readout the preset names from Reaper.
The answer: Yes and No...
Before diving into this, let me tell you I am working on my system for quite a few
years, I am a professional programmer and I love Reaper. To start, I build a special
control surface in Reaper (c++), so that I can get out all parameter changes on any plugin.
You can see my system at

Unfortunately, that does NOT include preset names.
Why is that? Well it just depends on the plugin... Many old plugins obey to the
VST spec and notify the host that a program name has changed. But there are also a lot
of plugins, which don't do that. They have there own browsing sytem or just don't notify.
So than you are stuck, a bit. There are two solutions to this problem, one being easier than the other...
The first is, create presets manually in Reaper, corresponding with a preset of the plugin.
Reaper makes this available and yes, than it is possible to query the preset names from a
surface control or with EEL. You have to do this for every preset and every plugin you want to use.
Not easy and you still have to know which plugin on which track changed and you have to read it back, e.g. by UDP or Midi out.

For my new 'small system' I opted for a much easier solution, which might be sufficient for you. Note that in your 'live' situation you probably initiate the command to change a preset, e.g. by a button on your keyboard. In my situation: That is the way I change presets (I have 4 groups of 8 presets).
Now, since you KNOW you are changing a preset, on a certain channel, to a certain number, I just maintain a fixed list from presetnames in a config file and send that information to my LCDs (and in fact, I also have a webinterface and send it to my Android tablet, where I can also change presets).
Not the most perfect solution, but since the 'univeral problem' is not solvable in any DAW, it might be sufficient for you and really simple implementable. I think MIDI 2.0 and other NI extentions may solve the universal problem, but not now and certainly not in an easy way. Hope this helps!

User avatar
3085 posts since 19 Apr, 2002 from Utah

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:56 am

One possible solution that has its own pros and cons is to build a Zynthian:

Open Source - has powerful SFZ sampler, Yamaha DX7 clone, multi architecture synths, etc.
The hard work is already done and you can even buy a kit or turn-key
Works great and is almost exactly what you describe
Runs on Raspberry Pi -- easy to buy/replace/upgrade, uses very little power
inexpensive yet very high quality


Runs on Raspberry Pi -- ARM architecture means that any VSTs you want aside from what exists must be compiled for ARM. Windows VSTs won't work.
C/R, dongles & other intrusive copy protection equals less-control & more-hassle for consumers. Company gone-can’t authorize. Limit to # of auths. Instability-ie PACE. Forced internet auths. THE HONEST ARE HASSLED, NOT THE PIRATES.


Topic Starter

116 posts since 9 Mar, 2012

Post Mon Oct 18, 2021 12:51 am

I just read the thread again and - poof - some answers :D.

@audiojunkie: Zynthian - it seems quite interesting. But as I calculated cost - 300-400 $ for full experience is quite a lot, AND I still don't have most interesting synths. But there's one thing that's quite interesting - Rapsberry Pi 3 B/B+ or Pi 4B (older ones seems not to work with current build) and using it through WiFi as headless solution. I have Zoom UAC2 which should work as Class-compilant DAC and audio interface, or buying older DAC for Pi is not that expensive.

@Eduur: could You share some photos how it works and give some tips? I'm thinking about building my own case - considering available options it could be thin client with fanless AMD CPU (T56N or better) - most important thing is to support 64-bit OS. The second option is to use something like Lenovo M72e with the CPU like 3220T or 3470T. The third - build-in notebook but the screen is problematic - it will need external display with at least 800x600 resolution.

As for preset names - I think there's a solution to make Reaper's own "snapshots" of every plugin. As I learned through hard way, some VSTi (from Roland, to be exact) don't support PC messages at all! There's only one solution, and it's using above functionality from the DAW. I think with SWS Extensions there's a way to send those snapshots' names to external display - thus removing the need for external display.

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