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Logic Pro 8 Using an MCU to generate Expression

Eli

Logician
#1
This is a question that goes out to all the power MCU users.

Can I set up some kind of user assignment to use one of the faders to record MIDI expression on any selected track? Can I set up my MCU in such a way so that maybe by pressing the User mode button (never figured out exactly how to use this) I can temporarily put it in a state where a fader can be used to write MIDI expression? And then easily toggle it back to it's regular mode?

Would I use controller assignments in Logic for this? I've never quite gotten my head around using controller assignments with an MCU while still preserving it's default programming.

Any insights or thoughts are appreciated.
 
#2
I can temporarily put it in a state where a fader can be used to write MIDI expression? And then easily toggle it back to it's regular mode?

Would I use controller assignments in Logic for this?
Hi Eli,

it's not possible to create Expression (Controller 11) events directly from the MCU faders as long as the unit is used as control surface unit. So controller assignments are no solution.

However you can temporarily bypass the MCU as control surface unit. You may want to assign a key command for "Bypass All Control Surfaces". With CS bypass enabled the MIDI data of the unit will appear at the Physical Input in Environment, so you can convert them to any data type desired using a Transformer.
Note: The Logic/Mackie Control faders do send Pitch Bend data on channels 1-9 (channel strip 1-8 and Master channel strip).

See attached screenshot for a setup I used to convert the Pitch Bend data of the MCU Master fader into Expression data. Note that in my setup the MCU is connected to input 3 of the AMT8. The input 3 of the Physical Input is connected directly to the Transformer. This means as long as the CS bypass is disabled (the MCU is working as CS unit) the Transformer will do simply nothing, as all data on input 3 are occupied by the Logic CS implementation. Only in case you enable the CS bypass the Transformer will start working and transform incoming data from the MCU. I recommend to draw the Environment cables in your Logic project accordingly.

Note 2: The mode of the Transformer is set to "Apply operation and filter non-matching events". This is necessary because the MCU will send Note events from simply touching the faders, which is probably not desirable.

Hope this helps.

Best...

Manfred
 

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Eli

Logician
#3
Hi Manfred,

Thanks for the insights. Does the bypass all controller surfaces key command work like a toggle? In other words, can I then just use this key command to turn the control surface "on" again? I suspect not :(

I'm anxious to check out your suggestions. I may not have time to get to it for a day or two - but am looking forward to experimenting.
 
#4
Does the bypass all controller surfaces key command work like a toggle?
Hi Eli,

yes, the "Bypass All Control Surfaces" command works like a toggle. You can switch the MCU between normal CS operation and MIDI input device operation using the same key command repeatedly.

Best...

Manfred
 

Eli

Logician
#6
Hey Manfred,

Just tried it and this works great!! Thanks. I also tried leaving the channel parameter in the operations section at "thru" and that worked as well - and so I could use any of the 9 faders to generate the expression data, not just the "master" fader.
 
#7
Just tried it and this works great!!
Hi Eli,

I'm glad to hear that this works for you :) The dedicated channel setting in the transformer conditions was meant for the case you may want to use other faders of the MCU as additional modulation sources, e.g. Breath Control, Foot Control or Channel Pressure.

Best...

Manfred

PS: If you want to baffle guests in your studio, you can use the MCU as "New generation Master Keyboard":)
Just bypass the CS function, and feed the MCU data to a MIDI or Software Instrument track without filtering. Pressing any button and touching the faders will create notes. I once did that in a big music store. Connected a MCU to a Nord Lead Rack, and started playing. In a few minutes I had a crowd around me, and told them this was a brand new type of master keyboard, meant to play new age music... :eeek: Probably the guys from the store haven't found out until present day what the hell I was doing there :D
 

Eli

Logician
#8
LOL, that's great! I'll have to try it :D

Manfred, I hope you don't mind my asking but, are you the same Manfred that was involved in Emagic development for many years?
 
#11
My apologies for resurrecting (and hijacking) this old thread, but, it gets very close to my question. I hope Manfred is still around, as he clearly knows his way around the MCU.

I just bought a Jomox Airbase99 rack module and want to program it via my MCU. Can I assume that, to do this, I can follow essentially the same instructions you gave Eli? That is, put the MCU into bypass mode, wire the MUC's physical MIDI input to the transformer and then edit the controller values as appropriate for the Airbase?

Thanks very much,
IB
 
#12
Yes, this should work. However you may get in trouble with the V-Pots (encoders), as they are sending relative controllers, that need some attention when converted into absolute MIDI data. I'm currently away from my Logic system, but can give you some advice later this day when needed.

Best...

Manfred
 
#13
Thanks Manfred.

If using the V-Pots adds unecessary complexity, then I'm content to use only the MCU faders.

I haven't received the Airbase yet, but when I do, I'm sure I'll have more specific questions. Glad to know you're here.

Thanks again,
IB
 
#14
Hey Manfred,

You seem to be the local MCU guru (along with John Pitcairn of course!) - I'm having an odd problem that maybe you can help shed some light on.

My MCU passes calibration at start up without problem. Yet two, and now three of the faders don't seem to work in Logic. Or at least they work very irregularly. I've tried moving them up and down really fast to sort of "clean" them. And there sometimes is some sporadic movement of the Logic faders; but it's definitely not working properly.

I've tried rebuiling defaults and that doesn't seem to work like it should. In the past, when I've rebuilt the defaults; all the faders sort of snap to a unity position as a result. It's not happening like that currently.

I've tried trashing my .cs prefs. And I've tried deleting it from my setup window and having it rebuilt on restart. Nothing seems to get those problematic faders to behave properly.

Do you have any idea what might be going on? FTR, there is somewhat of a heat wave where I am right now. Could something in the humidity be affecting their responsiveness to this kind of degree?
 
#15
Do you have any idea what might be going on? FTR, there is somewhat of a heat wave where I am right now. Could something in the humidity be affecting their responsiveness to this kind of degree?
Hi Eli,

warmth and humidity can cause such faults in certain cases. The connectors on the MCU mainboard may expand slightly when the unit is stored in a very warm environment, and this can cause loose connections.

However I often experienced that dust and dirt causes malfunctions on Mackie Control faders.

MCU fader with metal cover:



MCU fader with cover removed:



The stepper motor has a little disk with holes in it on the narrow bottom end of the fader:



This disk is optically sampled. If dust comes into the fader (which is almost unavoidable) and covers the holes of the disk, the fader will no longer do accurate movements.

You can try to blow out the dust with a can of compressed air. The most efficient way to get rid of the malfunctions would be to remove the metal cover from the fader and clean it thoroughly. If one does so, he should work very carefully, the inner parts of the faders are somewhat touchy to people with two left hands :) (like me...)

Never spray lubricants into the fader slot from top! This may damage the plastics in the fader, especially that plastic wire that moves the fader handle. And it will glue the dust permanently without making anything better.

MCU fader top end rollers:



MCU fader bottom end rollers:



Best...

Manfred
 
#16
Thanks Manfred; you really know your MCU! I guess my next step is to get a can of compressed air and try and blow it in from the top. Hopefully that will help.
 
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