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Thread: Dedicated controller for soft synth that also reflects current settings

  1. #1
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    Dedicated controller for soft synth that also reflects current settings

    Hi, I am new to teensy development, so before I start any project, I first want to check if it is possible to achieve what I want with Teensy.

    Here is what I would like to create:
    a dedicated midi controller for soft synths (plug-ins). However, it should not just be able to sent values, but also receive and reflect current settings. So, when a different preset is selected, the new values should automatically be updated and shown on the midi controller.

    This is how I would like to do it:
    I want to use endless encoders with led rings or bars. The leds reflect the value of the current setting. Furthermore motorised faders, that also are automatically updated when a different setting is chosen.

    This will be the environment: Logic as vst host on a Macbook.

    The first question I have, is:
    Is it possible with teensy to receive settings from a soft-synth (plugin) running in Logic (current selected plug-in). If so, where can I find any documentation or examples regarding which information is sent by Logic and how it can be processed with Teensy.

    To be clear: it is not about controlling Logic nor its smart controls. I just want to control the plug-in itself. Logic is only the host.

    Thank you in advance for your comments.

  2. #2
    Senior Member oddson's Avatar
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    It's possible a soft-synth could be designed to send sysex or other midi messages to update a controller when a patch is selected; to which a Teensy could be programmed to respond.

    The problem getting the desired behaviour from any soft synth is that there is typically no information for the Teensy to read when a patch changes.

    But there may be soft synths designed to support hardware controller interaction and whatever mechanism it uses to synch with a dedicated controller could be interpreted by your Teensy instead.

  3. #3
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    Thank you. The reason why I think it should be possible, is that controllers like Nektar Panorama and Behringer BCR 2000, are capable of doing this, no matter which plug-in is loaded in Logic. So if they can do it, we should be able to do it too. However, I don't have any idea how and was hoping that someone had already some experience. The only thing I can find up till now is something with Mackie control, but that is focused on controlling the DAW instead of the plug-ins.
    Last edited by postman; 12-07-2017 at 09:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member oddson's Avatar
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    Whatever it is you can use it to do the same thing with a Teensy provided you can read the messages. It sounds like there are files with markup language used to describe the parameters of each instrument and the big ones are available pre-configured and you can write files for others.

    This might be very tricky to parse in your program and perhaps this is one area where an operating system platform like Raspberry Pi might have an advantage.

    But to advise the controller when a new patch loads a daw could burst parameter value messages and that would be simple to support.

    But a bit of realism.... even once you fully understand the midi (or other) messaging you still have a pretty advanced midi project on your hands supporting encoders and led rings and possibly motorised faders....

    You have to pay your dues to get there. Build simpler examples first. If you've never programmed Arduino or Teensyduino then you should run thru the tutorials before starting in on midi projects.

    Best of luck to you if you do choose to pursue this.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, I am going for a simple project (tutorial projects) first anyway. This was more to check how far the possibilities stretch.

    Logic updates the mapped midi information as soon as you change a track, so I don't think that this will be the biggest challenge. In Logic you can als choose to sent text information to the midi controller. However, I am not sure what protocol is used. May be Mackie. At the PJRC forum there is some mentioning about Mackie, but not much. If someone could point me in the right direction, that would be really helpful.

    Anyway, first things first: I will start at the bottom.

    By the way, I am familiar with programming in C. Should I try to start developing in C or stick to teensyduino?

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