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Brainspawn User Community • Great confusion about Forte and Automap
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Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 4:49 pm
by liveplayer
Hello,

I am planning to buy the controller "Novation Remote 61 SL MKII" tomorrow and have therefore some questions. I have read several threads about what Automap can or can't do. Before spending a lot of money on the controller, some clarification would be nice. Automap seems to be the only way of getting parameter feedback in "Forte".

Two or three basic questions:

- Is it possible to control an opened VST-plugin via the controller and at the same time define buttons for e.g. the next scene in "Forte"? So that I can control VST-plugins and also global MIDI-messages (scene change, general volume, ...) at one time with one controller?

- I have read several times that Automap can't control a VST-instrument in a rack if its gui is not opened. This means that I load a rack with several VST-instruments but have to use the computer-mouse to open the gui of the VST-plugin so that Automap detects the opened VST-instrument to be controlled? Isn't there a simple other way?

My intention is - shortly spoken: I have a rack with different instruments loaded. In the rack are different scenes. There is one or two buttons on my controller to move forward and back through the scenes - globally, in every scene. In each scene I have maximum 1 VST-instrument controlled by Automap (the other VST is then controlled by another controller, so Automap should have no problem to choose between the loaded VST-instruments). And Automap detects exactly this VST and tells the controller the exact values of the parameters I have saved the last time (parameter-feedback). In the next scene, there are other instruments etc. Then the show continues. Just a big wish or reality?

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:49 am
by evilantal

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:31 am
by liveplayer
Thank you so much for your answer. I totally (*g*) understood your reply, showing that my "fears" are somewhat true (except for the Bluecat thing, which would solve the problem, though having two middle-men in this setup between vst and controller).

This leads to one single question. I somehow got stuck with the Novation controllers since the software "Automap" seems to be the only way to support bidirectional communication between Forte and the controller (MIDI-feedback from plugins, ...). If I bought another controller tomorrow, would there be an alternative for Novation-propducts and their automap-software? Is there a way to have MIDI-feedback also with other controllers (and their software)? If no, my decision to buy Novation would be cemented now. But if also other controllers or other software as "middle man" offers this feedback-opportunity, I could base my shopping-decision on other criteria, for examle feeling of the keys etc. :-)

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:50 am
by evilantal
No problem, happy to help...

At this point you indeed need middle-man software as forte doesn't support parameter feedback from plugins, only for the control surface part.

Automap works around this by using a shell around the plugin that does the communicating. For an alternative to work, it would need to have a similar way of getting plugin parameter information from the plugin to the controller.
Akai has something called VIP in their Advance line of controllers, maybe that's something. I haven't seen it in action or know how it works, but might be worth investigating .

If it makes you feel any better, I chose the Novation line specifically for the feel of the keybed and the selection of knobs and faders ;) But your mileage may vary, of course.

I used a Novation ReMOTE SL 61 MkI live, but replaced it with a Novation X-Station 61 recently because I wanted something with built-in sounds as backup in case of catastrophe. Still a Novation, though. Same keybed.
I use the SL at home in the studio now and the X-Station on the road.

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:11 am
by liveplayer
Looks as if the market for such "vst-shells" isn't that large. The Akai thing looks interesting, but with 2 controllers connected to the setup, integration would be difficult. The Automap-thing with its "VST-core" seems to be more flexible.

What is your opinion about the Novation Remote 61 SL MK-Series? Are you satisfied with the quality, based on your experiences with Novation?

Using Automap and its bidirectional communication, I need a MIDI-Interface with both MIDI-Input and Output to the Novation-controller, right?

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:50 pm
by evilantal
Personally, I love the Novations...
Build quality is good enough for plastic controllers. Before the Novations I used a CME UF series keyboard, which has a metal body but is much heavier.
Knobs and faders are great and I love the XY Pad (big bonus with controlling Zebra and Alchemy).

Keybed is responsive and suits my playing style. Not too stiff and springy. I wouldn't use it for piano playing though, I have a DP for that. I find the Akais a bit stiff for my playing style, but that's all personal preference.

Automap doesn't communicate over MIDI, that's just the thing. It is it's own communication protocol that uses MIDI messages. You have to connect the SL with an USB cable to use Automap. The one USB cable provides bidirectional control.

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:46 pm
by liveplayer
Wow, this information was so important. This means I can delete the 2x2 MIDI-Interface from my shopping list. Connection via USB ... okay. I hope that the energy-needs of the controller don't crash the mainboard of my laptop :-)

So, decision made: I will check out the Novation-controllers tomorrow (Impulse or Remote).

So ... just to made this clear for me ... with a "Novation Remote", "Brainspawn Forte 4" and "Blue Cat's Remote Control", I can:

- Define one or two buttons on the MIDI-Controller to navigate throught the different scenes
- Control the loaded VST-plugin at the same time with the Novation device reacting accordingly and giving feedback of the saved parameter-values
- Don't need to manually assign the VST-instrument I want to control in a certain scene each time because Blue Cat helps that the right or desired VST-instrument is controlled

Those would be the last questions, but this is what I concluded from our conversation. Right?

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 1:52 am
by evilantal

Re: Great confusion about Forte and Automap

Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:15 pm
by liveplayer
Huuu ... back after a loooong shopping day in a way too large music store :-)

Result? I have a Novation Remote and other nice devices to play with. Time to turn theory into praxis :-)

If you could check if it works to switch scenes using a button with an activated Automap at the same time would be great. With my knowledge-level at the time about all the controller stuff - and also forte - it would take ages for me to find this out. I'm just starting my journey *g*. Thank you very much, in advance. Good to know I am not alone with all the confusing MIDI-CCs and sparkling red lights of the controller :-)