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Control layer on/off with midi CC

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mschiff
(@mschiff)
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Is there a way to control layers in a set of patches using midi CC?

I have 8 layers that I want to turn on and off at different places in my piece. Is there a way to do that from my DAW (Cakewalk).?

I can do it manually with the mouse while it is playing, but to export it, I don't have that option.


   
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Robert.P
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Hi, this can be done by mapping Macro Knobs to "MIDI Enable" parameter and assigning CC to that macro Knob


   
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(@getdunne)
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@mschiff

Have a look at https://pluginguru.net/unify/manual/doku.php?id=param-paths#layer-specific_paths

@robert-p is correct in suggesting midiEnable, but depending on the type of controller messages your device sends, you may want to use midiToggle instead. That one is better for button-type controls which send MIDI CC with value 127 when the button goes down, and the same with value 0 when it goes back up.

This kind of thing might be better managed using MIDI Controller Files ( https://pluginguru.net/unify/manual/doku.php?id=midi-controller-files) which provide the option to trigger on MIDI note-on messages (see the Akai MPD218 example on that manual page).


   
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mschiff
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Maybe I wasn't clear in my message. I had seen how to do this with a midi controller device. What I need is to use midi CC automation in Cakewalk to control layer on and layer off, as though I was clicking the on/off button on the left of the layer with my mouse or controlling it with a knob. 

I want to be able to use a midi CC automation lane and set it to certain values to enable each layer's on and off state.

When I do an export in Cakewalk, or a bounce, I do not have access to the Unify interface, but the automation will be used.


   
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mschiff
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I think I see what @robert-p meant. If I use his method and assign a different CC to each layer, would I then be able to control that with automation?


   
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(@getdunne)
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Posted by: @mschiff

I think I see what @robert-p meant. If I use his method and assign a different CC to each layer, would I then be able to control that with automation?

Yes.


   
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(@getdunne)
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Posted by: @mschiff

What I need is to use midi CC automation in Cakewalk..

Unless there's something specific to Cakewalk I'm not aware of, there is no such thing as "MIDI CC automation". "Automation" in a DAW normally refers to the DAW sending parameter changes to a plug-in using function-calls; it has nothing to do with MIDI.

Many plug-ins have some kind of "MIDI learn" or "MIDI CC binding" features, to allow parameters to be set using MIDI CC messages, but this is not required for DAW automation.

When a plug-in supports both DAW automation and MIDI CCs for a given parameter, there is a risk that if both automation-data and CC-data are recorded into the same track, the two may "fight" to control that parameter. Eliminating this risk is one of the big things Steinberg tried to do with their VST3 standard; the initial versions basically had no MIDI CC support. (Predictably, this infuriated everyone, and Steinberg was forced to relent, undermining part of the justification for VST3.)


   
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Robert.P
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There might be an advantage of using CC messages over automation - CCs can be saved within the MIDI file and loaded to the MIDIBox or to any other Player/DAW to recreate our performance. 


   
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mschiff
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The attached JPG shows what I am referring to as midi CC automation. I can change the value anywhere in the track for any CC.

While bringing up this image, I noticed that I can control Unify's macros with automation as well. That may be the solution to my issue.


   
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Robert.P
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Posted by: @mschiff

The attached JPG shows what I am referring to as midi CC automation.

That is the automation lane on your jpg, it will also work for you. I don't have a Cakewalk on this computer right now, but this screen I found on web shows automation lanes at the top and CC lanes at the bottom. As Shane said, try not to use both methods at the same time.


   
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(@getdunne)
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Posted by: @mschiff

The attached JPG shows what I am referring to as midi CC automation.

Ah! It seems Cakewalk does indeed have a "CC automation" feature, which is not found in other DAWs. See @robert-p's comments about using either MIDI or automation, but not both for the same parameter. Otherwise it should be fine.


   
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(@getdunne)
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Posted by: @robert-p

There might be an advantage of using CC messages over automation - CCs can be saved within the MIDI file and loaded to the MIDIBox or to any other Player/DAW to recreate our performance. 

MIDI CC's have excellent time-resolution (potentially sample-accurate, depending on the DAW), but poor value-resolution (7 bits only). Automation is the opposite: poor time-resolution (as low as one update per buffer), excellent value-resolution (full floating point).

I'd like to see non-MIDI automation wither and die when MIDI 2.0 brings full floating-point value capability.


   
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mschiff
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@getdunne 

Dorico also has the same capability. It's really necessary for controlling CC 11 in the Spitfire libraries.


   
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mschiff
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@getdunne 

I seem to have found a bug in Unify when used in Cakewalk. If you have Unify on a track and open it, then show the macro knobs, right click one and select Linked Parameters, the parameter dialog disappears behind the Cakewalk window. If you minimize the Cakewalk window you can see the parameter dialog, but it would be very confusing if you didn't figure out what happened.


   
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mschiff
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Thanks for the ideas. I was able to automate this to work beautifully in Cakewalk using @robert-p 's suggestion.

I used Macro 25-29 and added lanes in Cakewalk for each of them and set up midi-enable for each macro. They then appeared as available automation lanes in Cakewalk and I set them to 0 value until I wanted the instrument to play, and then set it to full level just before the next midi note was played.

I have attached a JPG showing how I set up each of the macro parameters.

Here is a dropbox link to a video showing it in action:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fk2ngxxrjbe4bbu/CakewalkAutomation.mp4?dl=0

The track labeled Record15 is the automated track. It has a yellow volume envelope right beneath it, and then the 5 lanes below the volume envelope control instruments 3 through 8 in the Unify instance.

Thanks very much for the help, Robert and Shane. 

It's a great day! I learned something new.


   
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mschiff
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Here is the song that I was working on. Activating the instruments with automation starts at 1:14 through the end.

I will post more details in the music sharing section.

https://www.soundclick.com/music/songInfo.cfm?songID=14383382


   
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mschiff
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It just occurred to me that this would work really well on classical string parts to switch articulations, using only a single Unify patch for all the string articulations for a particular instrument (i.e. cello).


   
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Robert.P
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Posted by: @mschiff

It just occurred to me that this would work really well on classical string parts to switch articulations, using only a single Unify patch for all the string articulations for a particular instrument (i.e. cello).

Oh yes, that works for me as well.


   
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