Logic Pro (X) Controlling logic track volumes from controller

LogicJam

Logician
I am using LPx as a sound module, with four tracks . Triggered from midi keyboard …..all tracks have recording enabled.
With high/low key limits I can divide the keyboard to play different sounds .
Wondering about using a midi controller ( ie Kong nanoKontrol2 ) to adjust volumes , to avoid reaching over to slide track volumes with mouse .
Easier during live play to move a slider, or twist a knob.
Put another way….are the track volumes considered an effect, like a filter, that can be controlled ?
How about the tempo…used with arppegiator. Set up with a slider ?
Not sure how to do this.
thx for any answer
Bud
 
Volume Sliders

Yes you can use a nanoKontrol. Instead of mapping manually you can also install the "Control Surface" for it, which is available in Logic. This would automatically map volume, pan etc. in groups, like other control surfaces. But if you also want to control plugins, you rather do NOT want this option because the functions are fixed and not easy to change. In this case better assign the faders/knobs manually.

But be aware that the nanoKontrol and similar devices (also many keyboards) have tiny faders and the knobs are potentiometers. One little push or turn and your parameter is somewhere you don't want it to be. And second, these controllers don't process feedback from the DAW. This means, that the faders and knobs on the controller are not necessarily in the same position as the DAW’s faders and knobs. If you move something on the controller, the controlled parameter may suddenly jump or you have to move the element until Logic catches the controller roughly around the current value.

If you want more precise control, you may consider to spend more money and get a Faderfox EC4 which is a kind of standard. It has only knobs, is solidly built and configurable in various ways. For Logic volume faders you could use 14Bit (high resolution) or stick to 7Bit (0-127) and (for example) set the volume fader to 0 dB by pressing the same knob. And it gets feedback from the DAW. MIDI goes over USB and via direct output and input. For live applications such functions and a solid device are better than wobbly little plastic sliders.


Remote Tempo Control

In the Logic MIDI Environment is a "Tempo Slider" available which you can map to an external controller. It works quite roughly from 50-177 BPM. But again, you won’t be happy with the Tempo Slider and a nanoKontrol fader. It is practically impossible to set a certain tempo this way. It isn’t funny with a Faderfox either, but better. If your music allows it, you can configure some push buttons for a couple of tempi to get them exactly on demand. To describe the "precision": With a fader you cannot go reliably from 78 BPM to 142 BPM and back again, unless you map the two values, which is possible. With a "free" fader you would go from ≈80 to ≈140 and back to somewhere around 80 BPM. 70 BPM? 90 BPM? Bad luck ...

The tap tempo function is too unreliable. You can try it, though.

We also have "Smart Tempo" in Logic, which claims to be able to adjust the tempo. I've never used it and I don't understand the short explanation either. You'd have to take a closer look.

———

Faderfox are not the only good controllers. Apart from the bigger and more expensive devices with several motorised faders such as Mackie or FaderPort, a few good small controllers are also popular at the moment. The MIDI Fighter Twister is one example. Depending on genre and style of your performane the Novation Launchpad Pro could also be suitable. It is relatively easy to configure, in the custom modes it has assignable buttons and can combine rows of 8 buttons to form faders. This works surprisingly well and smoothly if you don't put much emphasis on fine gradation.

Yes, what I'm suggesting is much more expensive than what you have in mind at the moment. You don't have to follow me :) But I've seen a lot of MIDI controllers on my way and I've also used them live. So I'm cheeky enough to establish two rules for live usage:
  1. If knobs, then they should be endless encoders and process (and preferably display) feedback from the DAW.
  2. If faders, then either motorised faders or touch faders.
Anything else will always lead to operating errors. As long as you only have one fader and two buttons, almost any controller will work. But with 4 faders (presumably more, with plugins?) and a handful of buttons, you can easily make mistakes on stage. At least if the controller is not the main instrument, but is used only for control. Then it is allowed to be a little more complicated to configure, but you have to be able to operate it reliably on the side, without focussing on it all the time.
 
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Wow. Thx for this involved comprehensive answer. It’s very appreciated , by me, when someone takes the time to understand the complexity of the question, and answer with lots of useful data. Hats off to Peter Ostry.

In my case, I have not received the Nano controller yet. so cannot test the slider response, or knobs, but I don't need super accuracy. Tho the jumping to full, or O, might be a problem,. To be determined. Also, if the tempo slider does some effect, that's ok. Not trying to match a tune/tempo, just create a groovy effect at end of tune.......arpegg sequence sort of fading away.
May have more tech questions when whole thing is working, or not. I realize sometimes if a live setup gets to complex, ie, too much to think about other than the groove, then best to go back to simple. Acoustic piano, hand claps.
I had trouble finding the "Midi Environment". Thru some online tech help, found the Key Commands/Edit/Global Commands midi section, with many options. Nothing that literally says. "Midi Environment". I'm assuming that's the correct area to begin experimenting. To be verified when gear is in place.
Thx again
bud
 
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I had trouble finding the "Midi Environment".
They have hidden it. Hold the option key at the main menu "Window" and you’ll see "Open MIDI Environment" in the lower part of the menu. Or simply hit cmd-0 (zero). But if you’ve never been there, leave that out for now. We can talk about the Tempo Fader later, after you got your controller.
 
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Thx once again, but I have a stuck issue. Thru a lot of hunt and peck, I find that Midi Environment only is avail in LPx 10.5 and later.
I have 10.4. , and am stuck with OS 10.13.6. on comp. (yea, old by todays standard) Not upgradable.
Meantime, I found all this : under Key commands. (screen shot attached). Something to work with?
Maybe someone has a "hack " type way to upgrade LPx , up one number. My App Store won't process. I am willing to spend some $ for this if something works.
 

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Thru a lot of hunt and peck, I find that Midi Environment only is avail in LPx 10.5 and later.
Ah, I see.
We are at the gateway to an alternative reality.
:abduct:

Your sources of information are a little bit dodgy, to put it mildly.
They will probably also tell you that Joe Biden ist the son of Taylor Swift.

The environment IS Logic. It was there before anything else. It didn't used to be called "MIDI Environment", but just "Environment". It doesn't work as well for us as it used to and it looks like we will be denied access at some point, but there is still no Logic without the Environment. You will certainly find it in Logic 10.4.
 
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Yea, now that I figure a couple of things out.......you're right.
Had to: first ignore bad advice, go to Prefs/Adv tools/ turned on everything, .....and THEN, go to Window w/optionkey etc. . and environment opens. ....not called Midi Environment, but who's on first?.
Still waiting for a Nano kontak2 to try my theories. Been wrong before.
Never forget: Music is just a theory, never been proven.

Thx for help
 
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update on this issue.
I have successfully got a nanokontrol2 set up to control the volume smoothly on 4 tracks, (could be more). , and it works when I highlight each track. What I'm really trying to do is use Logic x as a sound module, ie, play the sounds with a midi keyboard on all tracks thru the output to a speaker sys. Ideally, I could have (example) 4 tracks highlighted, all outputting their respective patches, but separated via key #'s. (. C4...C8. etc). and track volumes controlled by the Nano. Live. Sample set-up, bass C0-D3. Elec piano. Eb3..C8. and other sounds. (pads) playing on other tracks. with same key #'s , mixed in as needed with volume control. (Nano).
But I can't get all 4 tracks to "play" at same time, despite making all tracks midi1. Maybe not possible.
Good explanation? My control keyboard is a Casio, works well so far. It's splittable L/R, with seemingly separate midi output. ( 1 and 3....not 1 and 2 weirdly). but that really does not help with initial issue. If the keyboard sends all as midi 1. (no split). and I can control the mix of sounds with volume (Nano), seems workable to me. ]
As stated above....maybe I'm asking something that Logic won't do.
Any help appreciated.
 

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Have you tried putting the tracks hosting the instruments you wish to play simultaneously into a track stack? That works here just fine.

kind regards

Mark
 
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I have successfully got a nanokontrol2 set up to control the volume smoothly on 4 tracks, (could be more). , and it works when I highlight each track.
This is because of the setting "Selected Track" in Logic’s Controller Assignments (expert mode).
There are three basic settings:
Selected Track​
Fader Bank​
Index​
With "Selected Track" a fader or knob works on (surprise!) the selected track. "Fader Bank" is a common mode for control surfaces. It bundles 8 faders to 8 channels lying next to each other. For that you need a function to shift those banks by 8 channels and, preferably, also by single channels. The third basic mode is "Index", a kind of hard link. You got to find each channel by number, which may take a while. Then you have linked the fader(s) by index number. Glued to the channelstrip, so to say.

In your case, for a live application, I would think about a fixed layout and the "Index" setting. Do not do this while you are still building your setup by creating and deleting channelstrips! "Index" mode is cumbersome to setup but then it is solid and you don’t have to think about track selection or a fader bank position.

But I can't get all 4 tracks to "play" at same time, despite making all tracks midi1.
As Mark said: Try summing stacks. They work great.
Right now I am not sure if controlling by faders depends on the open/close state of a stack but you can easily find that out or Mark tells it here.

The other method would be direct cabling in Logic’s MIDI environment which is rock solid for live playing but needs planning, is a lot of work and has a couple of disadvantages.
 
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