Wrapping plugins with Novation Automap is dangerous

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRian
1255 posts since 22 Aug, 2003

Post Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:19 am

I've been investigating Automap since I'm considering between a Novation ReMote SL 61 mkII and an X-station - this is scary stuff! Here's what happens:

Automap needs to create special wrapped versions of your plugins to be able control them (although there seems to be a mode that allows the controller to dynamically map to unwrapped plugins, which should be fine). It does this by creating a special version of the dll called "<name of original DLL> (automap).dll". In order to use Automap you need to load the special wrapped version. That's all fine, except what happens to your project files that use the special wrapped version if Automap isn't there?

Well, the wrapped plugins are deleted by the uninstaller, so they won't be found (unless your host performs some trickery and loads the unwrapped version - confirmed that Ableton does this). Even if you copy the original dll and rename it to match the expected filename ("<whatever> (automap).dll"), it will be recognized, but it will fail to load without Automap being installed. Problem, right? Here's the point:

Using the Automap-wrapped versions of the plugins in your projects makes Automap a complete dependency. That means, if at some time in the future you need to access the project, Automap needs to be installed - here are a couple of failure cases:
  • - Novation goes under and/or stops providing/maintaining it (this will happen at some point)
    - It doesn't run on the system you're using (incompatibility with OS/version or other software)
    - You don't want to have it installed
    - Novation decides to charge for versions of Automap that run on the next generation of Windows/OSX
If you want your projects to be accessible in the future, stay away from Automap. Sucks, because it seems really cool! I'd be all over it if Novation made the wrapped plugins degrade gracefully to their original functionality in the absence of Automap. But as it is now, I figured you guys should really be aware of this.
Last edited by Rellik on Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:56 am, edited 4 times in total.

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KVRAF
29975 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:25 am

I use Automap all the time, but I don't wrap my plugins. I use the Ableton Live template, which automaps whichever plugin the mouse is focused on, as well as mapping Live's faders, panpots, mutes, etc. I have my SL25 enabled as a remote in Live's preferences. If Automap is switched off the project still works as usual.

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KVRAF
1964 posts since 21 Sep, 2007 from The Infinite Void

Post Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:36 am

I don't know about other hosts but in Ableton, if the Automap version isn't there it just loads the normal version of the plugin with the same parameters, so no loss at all.

KVRian

Topic Starter

1255 posts since 22 Aug, 2003

Post Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:42 am

mutantdog, sounds like it behaves exactly as I'd want it to behave in Ableton - it must be performing some trickery.

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KVRAF
29975 posts since 27 Jul, 2005 from the wilds of wanny

Post Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:47 am

Automap is great ... you'll love it :)

KVRist
36 posts since 11 Nov, 2004 from Adelaide Australia

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:01 am

thecontrolcentre wrote:Automap is great ... you'll love it :)

Automap is complete rubbish and as has been mentioned here, it creates it's own dependency.

I am currently (while typing this) restoring my Pro Tools plugin folder from a backup, as it was hosed by the plugin Automap Plugin manager... with the exception of 3 or 4 plugins, ProTools cannot see any of them any more. This is the second time I've had to do this today.
If you are serious, or making a living out of this stuff, DONT USE IT!!! It's not ready for prime time.

KVRAF
4821 posts since 6 May, 2002

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:48 am

If automap is not installed, it automatically reverts to the non automap version, so its probably not changing plugin IDs.

The problem with Automap 3.1 is wrapped plugs crashing Steinberg Wavelab.
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KVRist
36 posts since 11 Nov, 2004 from Adelaide Australia

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:52 am

The problem occurs when I run the Aotmap plugin manager.

It will open normally with the list in tact, but as soon as I try to activate or de-activate a plugin (RTAS) for Auomap use, the list of available RTAS plugs shrinks from a hundred or so, to about twelve. Then all of those plugs that don't appear in the list will not be seen by Pro Tools on the next launch.

I have now de-installed everything and restored my plugin folder with Time machine to late last week, when it was all working.

No more Automap for me.... I have work to do.

KVRist
89 posts since 3 Jun, 2009

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:08 pm

If i understand correctly, Novation stuff can also be used as a generic MIDI controller, right? (in which case you have to make all the assignments yourself). So how does it work if for instance i automapped some plugins but not the others - can i still use it as a generic MIDI controller on those? What happens when i switch between automapped plugin and one that is not automapped but linked to Novation via DAW MIDI Learn?

KVRAF
9054 posts since 12 May, 2008

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 1:42 pm

You can always have the automap server on your machine, and if novation were to disappear from the planet, it would not matter to your automap software as there is no kind of copy protection to lock it up or anything. Even if you decided to get rid of novation automap or your SL controller, you can still use your automap versions in your older songs, and gradually swap them out if you wish.

Not a really big deal I don't think. Ableton does automatically revert it if it doesn't find the VST version. I wasn't aware that it maintained the settings though. That's cool! Makes me feel even safer. I'm going to test that when I get home.

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KVRAF
10988 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Mon Jul 06, 2009 2:12 pm

Rellik wrote: - Novation goes under and/or stops providing/maintaining it (this will happen at some point)
- It doesn't run on the system you're using (incompatibility with OS/version or other software)
- You don't want to have it installed
- Novation decides to charge for versions of Automap that run on the next generation of Windows/OSX
[/list]
The sun will also burn out eventually, but that doesn't keep me from doing stuff until that point.
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Beware the Quoth
29506 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Post Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:48 am

So Automap is 'dangerous' because you need Automap to use Automap?

Hmmmm.

Methinks the OP hasn't quite thought out all the logical extensions of his line of thinking: 'Help my DAW is dangerous because if I delete it, I can't open my projects that use it'.
John Titor died for your sins!

KVRAF
4071 posts since 4 Mar, 2008 from Near Pittsburgh

Post Tue Jul 07, 2009 5:33 am

The sky isn't falling after all. Automap works fine on Mac and PC, multiple hosts here but I didn't uninstall it and test because I don't wonder about things like "what if I suddenly throw my car into reverse while going 75 miles per hour" nor do I actually do things like that. Sounds like it works fine anyway (uninstalling Automap not the car thing), and other problems reported here might do with reporting to Novation as their support has always been top-notch in my experience.

At least nobody's griping about the $30 for Automap Pro ;) That's always a lot of fun to listen to.

KVRAF
9821 posts since 2 Sep, 2003 from Surrey, UK

Post Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:31 am

buscemi wrote:The sky isn't falling after all. Automap works fine on Mac and PC, multiple hosts here but I didn't uninstall it and test because I don't wonder about things like "what if I suddenly throw my car into reverse while going 75 miles per hour" nor do I actually do things like that.
You'd get Auto(mobile)mapped into the ER. At best :)
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KVRAF
8502 posts since 7 Apr, 2003

Post Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:48 am

whyterabbyt wrote:So Automap is 'dangerous' because you need Automap to use Automap?

Hmmmm.

Methinks the OP hasn't quite thought out all the logical extensions of his line of thinking: 'Help my DAW is dangerous because if I delete it, I can't open my projects that use it'.
:lol:

you said what i was thinking to say.

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