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Old 01-11-2020, 12:44 PM   #1
prlgmnr
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Default Beginner's/Idiot's Guide to using control surfaces with Reaper

Is there such a thing out there?

Which units work/work best?

I'm thinking something like the Faderport 8 plus the Midi Fighter Twister will cover what I'm wanting to do but I can't really get a handle on how well these things actually work with Reaper from Googling around or searching this forum (I'm getting the impression that nothing really works very well but that might just be because people who are having problems are more likely to post than those for whom everything just works).
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:13 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by prlgmnr View Post
Is there such a thing out there?.
Welcome to the Reaper forums, But...

Can't be.

Using some Control Surface hardware with a DAW needs a dedicated integration for any possible Control Surface device and for any possible workflow it might be intended to be used. -Michael
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prlgmnr View Post
Is there such a thing out there?

Which units work/work best?

I'm thinking something like the Faderport 8 plus the Midi Fighter Twister will cover what I'm wanting to do but I can't really get a handle on how well these things actually work with Reaper from Googling around or searching this forum (I'm getting the impression that nothing really works very well but that might just be because people who are having problems are more likely to post than those for whom everything just works).
The tricky part is the definition of "works well"

I might say "that's simple, it just has to do A, B, and C".

You might say "that's simple, it just has to do X, Y, and Z".

That's exactly what Control Surface Integrator (CSI) is all about.

The idea is to start with some stock setups, say Faderport 8 and Midi Fighter Twister , and then tweak them to your liking.

The CSI thread is endless, but you are here at a good time, CSI is close to beta, so you can jump in and join in the discussion, or just glance at it every now and then -- there are folks with Faderports and MFT's already, so you're in good shape.
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:46 AM   #4
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Thanks, I think that has adequately explained why I couldn't find an easy answer.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:21 AM   #5
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I've tried my FP8 with the various MCU settings using reapers integrated MCU support and it was a mess. CSI looks cool, but I'm waiting for a beta, and hopefully someday a GUI of some sort, because I'm easily discouraged when I have to take breaks to edit text files. I want a control surface to make my life easier, and at this point it seems like it would take a considerable amount of time reading through hundreds of pages of the CSI thread to figure out what I'm doing. Haha.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:05 AM   #6
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I've tried my FP8 with the various MCU settings using reapers integrated MCU support and it was a mess. CSI looks cool, but I'm waiting for a beta, and hopefully someday a GUI of some sort, because I'm easily discouraged when I have to take breaks to edit text files. I want a control surface to make my life easier, and at this point it seems like it would take a considerable amount of time reading through hundreds of pages of the CSI thread to figure out what I'm doing. Haha.
Yeah, one of Geoff's stated goals with CSI is to eventually get to the point where there are enough surfaces setup that out of the box, you can just select your device and you'll have good functionality out of the box with a basic mapping already done for you. Right now, you might have to roll your own if you want to go down that road.

If you're even remotely technically inclined, without being any kind of programmer, you can figure CSI with some patience, trial and error, and guidance. A few weeks ago it was too complicated for me to bother with, but for some reason [stubbornness perhaps] I kept coming back to it, and eventually got a simple device mapped and working (CMC-QC), then a larger surface (Remote Zero SL), then by the time I got to the third and most complex device (MIDI Fighter Twister), it was much easier. So it can be learned by non-programmers. It's just tedious and at times frustrating.
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Old 01-13-2020, 09:52 AM   #7
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I use three Midi Fighter Twisters, a Faderport 16, an Arturia Beatstep and an X-Touch Mini.

I too am waiting for a CSI beta before commiting a lot of time to putting something together for productive use, but you can use Reapers own stuff for starters.

Faderport 8 or 16 can be used as a MCU control surface.

The Midi Fighter Twister with its four banks is perfect for a lot of things, but you need to consider how you want to use it. Reaper has no midi feedback, but the ReaLearn project can provide that, so perhaps that's a good one to use with your Midi Fighter Twister.

https://www.helgoboss.org/projects/realearn/
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:48 AM   #8
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I use three Midi Fighter Twisters, a Faderport 16, an Arturia Beatstep and an X-Touch Mini.

I too am waiting for a CSI beta before commiting a lot of time to putting something together for productive use, but you can use Reapers own stuff for starters.

Faderport 8 or 16 can be used as a MCU control surface.

The Midi Fighter Twister with its four banks is perfect for a lot of things, but you need to consider how you want to use it. Reaper has no midi feedback, but the ReaLearn project can provide that, so perhaps that's a good one to use with your Midi Fighter Twister.

https://www.helgoboss.org/projects/realearn/
I saw your various posts about the MFT's and your setup which looks very impressive! As a new Reaper user I am currently looking into a MIDI Fighter Twister or a Faderfox EC-4.

If I understand the specs correctly the MFT only supports Notes and CC's so how do you get beyond 128 values for making fine adjustments to your plug-ins?

I love the LEDs on the MFT which the EC4 doesn't have - but the Faderfox has many more banks and a small display to read out parameters (but presumably it won't display a readout of the plug-in parameter?).

Right now I have an Akai MPD226 to experiment with and so far failed to get precise parameter control via MIDI CC. Inc/Dec works in only one direction which could be a hardware limitation of course.

I am pretty lost right now but willing to learn about 14-bit messages or NRPNs if it would help and I have an ancient PC1600x to test things with before taking the jump to either of these controllers.

My use case is simple: simply control whatever plug-in has focus, one plug-in at a time. Additionally I would like to set up some presets for hardware units and VSTi.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:56 AM   #9
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FWIW, one of the selling points of the Nektar controller keyboards is how easily they integrate with existing DAWS, including REAPER. I'm not sure how much of that is just ad hype. I don't think they have features or controls that others don't, they just seem to have put some effort into making the connection easier. $0.02
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:56 PM   #10
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FWIW, one of the selling points of the Nektar controller keyboards is how easily they integrate with existing DAWS, including REAPER. I'm not sure how much of that is just ad hype. I don't think they have features or controls that others don't, they just seem to have put some effort into making the connection easier. $0.02
I am looking at the Nektar P4/P6 as a controller keyboard. The integration with supported DAW is indeed very deep. However, the problem is that only VSTi are controlled via all available controls - regular inserts can only have a maximum of 2x4 encoders - the remaining eight faders, switches and encoders cannot be assigned.

Whether you are controlling an effects or instrument plug-in, the principal is the same. Only the amount of controls that can be assigned is different as an insert plug-in only utilizes the group of 2x4 encoders whereas and instrument can be controlled by the entire Panorama control surface. p13 user guide

So for my purposes a 4x4 knob controller would still be a good option - even though I might buy a Nektar P4/P6 as I am also in the market for a controller keyboard.
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Old 01-16-2020, 07:06 AM   #11
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I am looking at the Nektar P4/P6 as a controller keyboard. The integration with supported DAW is indeed very deep. However, the problem is that only VSTi are controlled via all available controls - regular inserts can only have a maximum of 2x4 encoders - the remaining eight faders, switches and encoders cannot be assigned.

Whether you are controlling an effects or instrument plug-in, the principal is the same. Only the amount of controls that can be assigned is different as an insert plug-in only utilizes the group of 2x4 encoders whereas and instrument can be controlled by the entire Panorama control surface. p13 user guide

So for my purposes a 4x4 knob controller would still be a good option - even though I might buy a Nektar P4/P6 as I am also in the market for a controller keyboard.
Have you looked at the Panorama T series? This may operate differently to the P series.
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Old 01-16-2020, 03:51 PM   #12
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i would suggest anyone looking at controllers to goto your local Guitar Center or other pro audio shop and get your hands on one. Feel what the keys/knobs/faders/buttons are like, imagine your workflow. Don't just take pictures or even reviews as your guide.

For instance, I was torn between the X-touch and the ProX. I "heard" that the X-touch was cheap and flimsy. I even got my hands one one, and what stuck out to me was all the plastic, and the buttons were soft instead of hard. But they were quiet. I ended up going with the ProX because "reviews" said it "felt" better, more sturdy, more metal. But, the buttons SUCK! Like, it's the absolute worst clicky dumb button type I've ever come across. And when you have to push them all day every day, you don't feel very good about it, let me just say.

And I'm stuck with it. I wish I would have gotten my hands on one before I made the purchase, I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten the ProX despite all the other good stuff it has going for it.
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Old 01-26-2020, 03:18 PM   #13
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The MFT is flexible.

Each knob can do absolute (7-bit resolution midi control), which works very well with these excellent knobs, or 3Fh/41h which is relative 63/65 control n Reaper. It can do this relative control fast or slow, set per knob and bank. That setting controls how many ticks the unit sends out with the same amount of movement.

Everything Faderfox makes is excellent as well. Try the. out for yourself.

CSI hasbren making good progress. Another MFT user has already put something useful together.
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