Record Sysex in track

Official support for: bitwig.com
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Ghislain2b
KVRist
38 posts since 23 Nov, 2014 from France

Post Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:46 pm

A module for sending or receiving a Sysex Dump will be a great feature for all users which have midi synths without Vst ! :wink:
In the meantime, I found this http://ctrlr.org/forums/topic/generic-s ... -and-send/

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3624 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:26 am

dom@bitwig wrote: We think recording SyEx into a track is more of a workaround in old sequencers and does not make sense in Bitwig if there's no editor for this data you recorded.
I cannot oppose this way of thinking strongly enough. This is exactly why Bitwig is moving me away from the hope that it will ever be a UNIVERSAL DAW.
A universal DAW simply needs to record any information it is delivered. It is much easier to record all what is getting in than filter out information which, as that requested case shows clearly, is CRUCIAL INFORMATION.
Just do not filter anything when you record. If you later filter whatever you don't want to use, no problem, you could bypass a filter easily...

The "if there's no editor for this data you recorded" does not make sense here, as for that use case there is no need at all for an editor, the synth sends syex, the sequencer sends it back - no change, no editing required. It is not a workaround unless you define any outboard gear as workaround.
Nothing is worse than preventing workarounds, because the workaround gets work done. If you block the workaround you are forced to use something else than Bitwig... (Happens to me still too often...)
I came across the same non valid arguments regarding my personal biggest problem with Bitwig (drives me away too often): It does not record Midi channels, and because of that it cannot record overlapping notes of the same pitch (I have an MPE controller). The argument was, that the midi editor would then need some way to deal with layers. No I have no problem with missing editing features, but I have a big problem with the fact, that Bitwig censores my input for no good reason!!!

I hope you get here that I love Bitwig, I wish it will move to more universality and not stick with the same attitude as Ableton (ignoring the needs of those who do not follow the mainstream moneycow)
I want Bitwig to turn into my main sequencer, the potential is there, but it lacks some very easy to achieve principles...

hockinsk3
KVRer
20 posts since 28 Nov, 2009

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:53 am

Has anything changed since these discussions in regards to to native sysex support at the track/instrument level? Supporting it at the controller level is largely useless if you have various outboard equipment that extends midi and so midi CC level control is not enough. I need to be able to attach sysex to a midi track and send it to the synth to set patches up, or perhaps even control parameters of e.g an XG/DX/TS type of synth where midi is extended beyond CC and so can only be controlled using sysex messages.
What would really help is if there could be a Bitwig Sysex device (like the Midi CC & Midi Program Change devices), so you could just send sysex out to the hardware playing on that midi channel. Allow the sysex to be loaded/saved to a *.syx file with the project would really open up Bitwig to Cubase & Logic users.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3624 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:14 pm

All the Midi channel problems have been solved long ago. I did not test system exclusive, as I don‘t need it at the moment. I can imagine, that this has to be dealt on the script level. I would write to support and ask.

stepb
KVRer
2 posts since 16 Jan, 2020

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:42 pm

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This feature is still needed. I own a Nord Drum 3P for which I need this feature to smoothly integrate this drum synth into my Bitwig workflow.
Reading through this thread, what people really want is this:
Support for hardware MIDI instruments that are able to send and receive patches as sysex.

Workaround:
A workaround is to use the Ctrlr VST plugin (mentioned previously in this thread).
  • You can download it for Mac and Windows from here: http://ctrlr.org/ (http://ctrlr.org/) (if you are using Chrome browser it may show an error saying your connection is not private, this is due to Chrome insisting on https, but Ctrlr is free so they don't pay for that, just click the 'Advanced' button and then 'Proceed to ctrlr.org')
  • The folder you install Ctrlr to will contain Ctrlr.vst (on Mac at least), which you'll need to manually copy into your VST folder (located at Mac HD/Library/Audio/Plugins/VST/ on a Mac)
  • You then need to download a prebuilt 'panel' for Ctrlr which provides the sysex saving ability, this can be found here: http://ctrlr.org/forums/topic/generic-s ... -and-send/ (http://ctrlr.org/forums/topic/generic-sysex-record-and-send/) (you'll need to create an account on the forum to download it)
  • Load the Ctrlr VST in Bitwig and open the panel in Ctrlr, it will show an error about Prophet 5 but you can safely ignore this.
  • In Ctrlr go to the MIDI menu and choose Settings, then choose your hardware's MIDI device as both 'Input device' and 'Output device', then close the Settings window.
  • The 'Record Sysex and Send Sysex buttons should now work. The great thing about this plugin is the recorded Sysex is saved with the VST instance in the Bitwig project, so when re-enabling a MIDI track for your hardware synth you can easily load the patch. I use this plugin just after Bitwig's HW Instrument device in each track. (the plugin swallows all MIDI by default, but I think you can change that in the MIDI menu)
  • If you now save this Ctrlr VST instance as a Bitwig preset, it's quick to use in future projects.
Feature request:
It would be awesome if Bitwig's HW Instrument device had the ability to record and send a sysex dump just like this Ctrlr panel. It would be a simple feature that would save all the hassle of having to set up Ctrlr to do it. There's no need to provide anything fancy like sysex editing, because the hardware itself provides a great interface to write patches, we just need a way to save a patch with a MIDI track in Bitwig!

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3624 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:08 am

Great idea, did you send it to support@bitwig.com ?
I think they will have less problems with gathering sysex within the HW Instrument device than with recording plain Midi (which I still think would be the best idea! Damnit! Just record it...!)

stepb
KVRer
2 posts since 16 Jan, 2020

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:32 am

Sent!
I'm not sure that recording it is the best option, 'cos it would make it too easy to accidentally load a patch (which may mean you lose a patch you've just written and haven't saved yet). The nice thing about Ctrlr or my HW Instrument suggestion, is that you load a patch by tapping the 'Send Sysex' button, so you can't do it accidentally just by playing a MIDI track. (I guess if they implemented it in HW Instrument, you could automate that button if you did want it to load during playback)

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pdxindy
KVRAF
16253 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:55 am

+1

good idea

Yokai
KVRian
687 posts since 7 Nov, 2017

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:52 pm

Honestly, it's never going to happen. SysEx is a fairly dense data stream. I wanted this in Ableton Live as far back as Live 6, because I had a Korg M3 at the time, and all the KARMA engine data was done in SysEx on the M3. No ability to record the SysEx in Live meant my M3 was next to useless for production projects.

Seeing how Bitwig is (essentially) an evolution of Live, I'd be surprised if the devs add this. But you never know! ;)

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pdxindy
KVRAF
16253 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:58 pm

Yokai wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:52 pm
Honestly, it's never going to happen. SysEx is a fairly dense data stream. I wanted this in Ableton Live as far back as Live 6, because I had a Korg M3 at the time, and all the KARMA engine data was done in SysEx on the M3. No ability to record the SysEx in Live meant my M3 was next to useless for production projects.

Seeing how Bitwig is (essentially) an evolution of Live, I'd be surprised if the devs add this. But you never know! ;)
If one can already do this with a plugin, then there should be no problem with the data stream.

Yokai
KVRian
687 posts since 7 Nov, 2017

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:47 pm

Let me try a different way. SysEx is essentially a single long hexadecimal number sent one number at a time. It can tell a synth engine (or VST, whatever) to perform a very specific action that falls completely outside of the MIDI spec and its relatively simple Note Numbers, CC messages and so on.

If your DAW supports recording SysEx messages from the hardware synth (or whatever) to the MIDI tracks, and also sending those recorded SysEx messages back out during playback of a recorded track, you are dramatically increasing the traffic of messages at any given point in time.

So it's a simple performance quality problem. More message density means more potential for things to miss their timing or slip a bit. Or fill up a buffer too fast, or be affected even more by system latency issues, etc.

Yes, some DAWs (Cubase, Logic, etc.) can support SysEx to some extent, but look at how simplistic those DAWs are compared to all the stuff going on in Bitwig or Live at any given time....

Perhaps useful:
https://answers.bitwig.com/questions/51 ... tes&page=2

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pdxindy
KVRAF
16253 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:47 pm

Yokai wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:47 pm
Let me try a different way. SysEx is essentially a single long hexadecimal number sent one number at a time. It can tell a synth engine (or VST, whatever) to perform a very specific action that falls completely outside of the MIDI spec and its relatively simple Note Numbers, CC messages and so on.

If your DAW supports recording SysEx messages from the hardware synth (or whatever) to the MIDI tracks, and also sending those recorded SysEx messages back out during playback of a recorded track, you are dramatically increasing the traffic of messages at any given point in time.

So it's a simple performance quality problem. More message density means more potential for things to miss their timing or slip a bit. Or fill up a buffer too fast, or be affected even more by system latency issues, etc.

Yes, some DAWs (Cubase, Logic, etc.) can support SysEx to some extent, but look at how simplistic those DAWs are compared to all the stuff going on in Bitwig or Live at any given time....

Perhaps useful:
https://answers.bitwig.com/questions/51 ... tes&page=2
There are lots of features and options in Bitwig where the user can make trouble for themselves. Set your audio to 192khz and 32 samples and see how that goes... or max out all your track faders. This suggestion is no different.

And again, if it is working for basic use cases with a plugin, then it can work just the same as a Bitwig function (and be a lot more user friendly).

It is up to the user to make good use of stuff. For example, send the SysEx before everything else starts. Most hardware synths do not sound good changing presets mid stream anyway. Used intelligently, it would be very useful for those using hardware synths that require SysEx. It allows the hardware synths presets to be stored in the project which is a big advantage for housekeeping!

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3624 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Record Sysex in track

Post Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:00 am

Yokai wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:47 pm
Let me try a different way. SysEx is essentially a single long hexadecimal number sent one number at a time. It can tell a synth engine (or VST, whatever) to perform a very specific action that falls completely outside of the MIDI spec and its relatively simple Note Numbers, CC messages and so on.

If your DAW supports recording SysEx messages from the hardware synth (or whatever) to the MIDI tracks, and also sending those recorded SysEx messages back out during playback of a recorded track, you are dramatically increasing the traffic of messages at any given point in time.

So it's a simple performance quality problem. More message density means more potential for things to miss their timing or slip a bit. Or fill up a buffer too fast, or be affected even more by system latency issues, etc.

Yes, some DAWs (Cubase, Logic, etc.) can support SysEx to some extent, but look at how simplistic those DAWs are compared to all the stuff going on in Bitwig or Live at any given time....
Hey, sequencers in the late nineties had no performance problem with this at all (and why should they?) A lot of hardware synths are connected via USB. Even USB 1.1 would be faster than Midi!
It is as simple as collecting each byte (8-bit) with its time stamp and send it out again when required. Maybe some logic to prevent to send sysex out if the header would be missing (the opposite of Midi chase, which obviously was not trivial to implement, only the opposite worked until recently...)
Compared to audio Midi is dead simple and needs almost no resources, especially if you do not want to edit it anyway. Just record it - just it playback. Even my mighty old Apple ][ clone was able to do that on a 6502 processor running at 1 MHz!

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