Automating the Solaris using cubase?

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Zahush76
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Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Zahush76 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:38 am

Hi everyone.
I'm trying to figure out how to automate Solaris using my DAW, which is cubase 5.1
I've never worked with NRPN's and i haven't got a clue how to do that step by step. I looked up the cubase manual - and NRPN's aren't even metioned on the index. On some other forum, someone wasn't even sure if cubase is capable of sending NRPN messages.
Another guy wrote about, perhaps, the need of some kind of template to mediate between cubase and external hardware synths.
On a side note i'll say that i'm used to automating external synths using CC messages. So simple. Controls have common numbers. Cutoff has a number. You assign automation to that destination, and start drawing.
I'm not sure why doing this with Solaris has to be such a challenge. After having it for two weeks i think it's a brilliant synth, sounds wonderful, the best out there - as a "standalone" synth. But when it comes to DAW integration, it's a bit confusing. I'm sure i'll get the hang of it eventually. Ironcally,programming complex sounds on it feels easier :lol:

So if anyone has any experience automating Solaris using cubase and NRPN's - i'd really appreciate some help. :wink:

John Bowen
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by John Bowen » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:46 am

The problem with using CC numbers was that there's not enough (0-127) to handle the 1250+ parameters in the Solaris.
I'm not sure if we could implement a double layer of commands - use the standard CCs for the basic things, as well as NRPNs at the same time, but you would think it should be possible. CC values are also less resolution, but seem to be sufficient for some people.

Zahush76
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:33 am

Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Zahush76 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:09 am

John Bowen wrote:The problem with using CC numbers was that there's not enough (0-127) to handle the 1250+ parameters in the Solaris.
I'm not sure if we could implement a double layer of commands - use the standard CCs for the basic things, as well as NRPNs at the same time, but you would think it should be possible. CC values are also less resolution, but seem to be sufficient for some people.
Yeah, i understood that.
But the thing is - i'm still not sure how does this supposed to work, what do i have to do step by step, what definition do i have to set in Solaris (what do i have to check in addition to Tx-NRPN "on" and Rx-NRPN "on"?), etc.
On other forums (not specifically about Solaris) some users asked me if i disabled sysex on the synth. Others said i might need a special template-controller if i wanted to automate a synth that uses NRPN.
Someone asked me to enable read\write automation, and move one of the encoders while i record. I tried this, but the movement wasn't recognized by cubase.
In cubase, if i for example record a vst, enable read\write automation, and move the virtual cutoff knob - than cubase detects it, and adds it to the list.
I also tried something else that usually works with my GRP. This might give an indication.
The GRP is connected to the Solaris. A cable from the Solaris midi thru - into the GRP's midi in.
On the GRP i set the modwheel as a mod source for the filter, so when i move the modwheel (cc-1) than it opens or closes the cutoff.
I then record with automation on, and move the Solaris modwheel. Cubase recognizes, adds it to the list, and then i can just draw automation with the mouse and cubase will automate the GRP's filter thru Solaris' modwheel.
This, however, doesn't happen on the Solaris. If i set modwheel as a mod source set to cutoff - the filter indeed responds when i move the modwheel. But i repeat the same steps i did with the GRP, enable read\wrte automation, start recording and move the modwheel. Cubase detects nothing.

All and all i get the un-pleasant feeling it is very hard to get information regarding what i need to do. I only get half answers and snippets of info, and it seems like i have to "milk" the informtion where ever i go.

John Bowen
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by John Bowen » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:24 am

...I then record with automation on, and move the Solaris modwheel. Cubase recognizes, adds it to the list, and then i can just draw automation with the mouse and cubase will automate the GRP's filter thru Solaris' modwheel.
This, however, doesn't happen on the Solaris. If i set modwheel as a mod source set to cutoff - the filter indeed responds when i move the modwheel. But i repeat the same steps i did with the GRP, enable read\write automation, start recording and move the modwheel. Cubase detects nothing.
Interesting, as the Mod Wheel should be responding to CC1...that and Pitch Bend are pretty much locked in as far as I know. I'll have to ask why the Solaris is not responding to CC 1 - if it has to be either NRPG or CCs enabled, as I was saying.

Neil
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Location: Germany

Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Neil » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:29 am

I am in exactly the same situation!
I haven't managed to get this to work at all yet either with Cubase 7.
I was wondering about using 'Lemur' on the iPad as a solution?
But even better would be a VST plugin virtual instrument as Moog have done with the Voyager SE editor/Librarian.This is just a 'go-between' for the DAW & Hardware making all those hexadecimal things happen quietly in the background while one gets lost in music.....

Neil
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Neil » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:59 am

This discussion already exists actually as 'NRPN & Cubase' which I started a while back...

Neil
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Neil » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:27 am

Zahush - I think we might need to install the 'Generic Remote Device' in the device setup dialog (maybe?)
It looks like this might enable us to setup a template of all the NRPNs?

Neil
Posts: 49
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Location: Germany

Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Neil » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:46 am

http://www.cubase.net/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=129545

This discussion seems to imply that the Generic remote doesn't work unless you have a clue how to edit XML files...
I don't!

John Bowen
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by John Bowen » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:51 am

Looks like there might be a couple of issues all specific to Cubase & the Solaris. I will have to get it and see what is wrong.
What version seems to be THE version to run? One of you has v5.1, the other v7...

John b.

Neil
Posts: 49
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Location: Germany

Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Neil » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:05 am

7 is the latest version....

Zahush76
Posts: 108
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Zahush76 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm

John Bowen wrote:Looks like there might be a couple of issues all specific to Cubase & the Solaris. I will have to get it and see what is wrong.
What version seems to be THE version to run? One of you has v5.1, the other v7...

John b.
Hi John. I think that as with the midi issues that i had before (and were resolved), it's a combination of both the DAW and the Solaris.
In the meantime i had a partial "success", automating only one parameter at a time. Maybe this has to do with setting up cubase prefferences, but in any case the very need for trying to understand how this works is because NRPN's work in a very complicated manner.
I set cubse to filter sysEX (only after filtering sysEx anything worked at all). I then enabled both Tx-NRPN and Rx-NRPN, enabled automation read & write on cubase, hit RECORD, and begun moving the encoder which was controlling cutoff. Cubase detected that and gave me 2 results:
1) ALL CC - CC6 DataEnt (msb)
2) ALL CC - CC38 (lsb)
I had no idea which one to pick, so i tried once with one, and than the other. I think "msb\lsb" has to do something with "most significant" and "least significant", though i don't know what that means - nor why i should have a PHD in midi to operate what seems to me as basic stuff.
Anyway, having cubase detected the movemnt - i could now erase the automation and draw my own. Solaris responds accordingly.
However - if i'm opening a new automation channel for another parameter and moving another encoder - it takes all the automation i did for the cutoff - and puts it on the new parameter. Now the new parameter changes according to the automation i drew for the cutoff,and the cutoff itself isn't automated anymore.

As for the Solaris itself, it also behaves funny. When the Tx-NRPN is ON, then the encoders react funny. They become more "sluggish". When i move an encoder (doesn't matter which one), the values change slower (btw, no track is playing. everything in cubase is at "stop"), sometimes they stay the same even though i'm turning the encoders, and sometime the values go backwards.
I set Tx-NRPN back to OFF - and everything goes back to normal.
I think this has nothing to do with my DAW. Only how the Solris behaves.

I don't want to find myself in a situation where i scratch my head for 2 weeks trying to find what's the problem - only to find out that all i had to do is disable the "SendArp" or something similar, which is not written in the manual (nowhere in the manual is it expressed that you have to disable SendArp if you want midi to work properly).
So if there are any parameters, settings and definitions i should look for in Solaris in this regard - i think now would be a good time to say what those are.

In the meantime i'll dig deeper on my PHD about NRPN's. Have some more experimets, and see what works.

If anyone has any experience with NRPN's - i'd really appreciate some help.
Thanks!

John Bowen
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by John Bowen » Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:03 pm

I'm guessing the 'sluggishness' you are seeing is another MIDI Loop problem, but with the NRPNs now.
Tx means Transmit
Rx means Receive

Try turning off Rx when you want to Transmit only. See if it's still strange.

As for the 2 results - you need both msb and lsb (most significant byte and least significant byte) to communicate a NRPN. Please read the wiki page about NRPN, for your PhD assignment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRPN

From this, you will see that you are only recording the value of the encoder (CC6 and CC38), not the actual parameter you want to control (you are missing CC98 & 99), so probably what's happening is that whatever parameter you selected last will be the one that gets the value changes.

Additional reading:
http://home.roadrunner.com/~jgglatt/tutr/rpn.htm
http://www.philrees.co.uk/nrpnq.htm

And lastly...I am not real familiar with how to do this either, having never tried...and looking at our chart in the User Guide, it's not really clear to me the way they are listed, so I've asked the guy who coded it for clarification.

Zahush76
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:33 am

Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by Zahush76 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:23 pm

I've read this, and i sort of can't believe my eyes. Is this what i need to do now if i want to do something basic like automate the filter cutoff? Start calculating numbers, and then converting them from decimal to binary and then to Hexadecimal?

looking at our chart in the User Guide, it's not really clear to me the way they are listed
I guess that makes the two of us...

Anyway, i think it could\would be extremely helpful and fruitful if someone else tries to automate his Solaris from whatever DAW he's using, or even from cubase - just to know if this is DAW related or Solaris related. Also, to test the abilty to automate the Solaris as it should - it's best to try and automate several parameters at the same time. Lets say - try to automate filter1 cutoff (tuning), filter1 eg1 modulation amount, eg1 attack, eg1 decay, osc1 pitch. At the same time.

Perhaps the guy who coded it could test the Solaris to see if NRPN's work properly, or wether there's something more that should be done?

Since i'm trying to gather as much information as possible, i'm also consulting with users on other forums. Here's what another guy told me concerning his experience with cubase and NRPN's, while working with the Alesis Andromeda A6:
There is something going on in the Solaris, because EACH parameter MUST have its own address and value.

While recording to Cubase, if you are modifying two different parameters in Solaris BUT Cubase is only registering 1 parameter (as you seem to imply) then it IS the Solaris settings (or bugs) what you need to address.

I am sort of familiar with Cubase and NRPNs because my A6 uses these

John Bowen
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by John Bowen » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Yes, as I mentioned, each parameter has to be identified before the value is sent. If you didn't see a CC99 or CC98, then no parameter was being defined, and therefore, the incoming data is affecting the most recent parameter. There's actually 4 entries we seem to be needing: the parameter identifier (CC99 & 98), and the value (CC6 & 38).

inaheartbeat
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Re: Automating the Solaris using cubase?

Post by inaheartbeat » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:06 pm

I can verify that NRPN's are working properly. I use Sonar X2a Producer edition. Sonar has a feature called automation lanes that allow you to specify any parameter and automate it. Here is what I did to prove that Solaris definitely does NRPN remote control correctly:

I created a midi track and mapped it to the Solaris for midi in and out

I created an automation lane on the midi track for the filter 1 tune NRPN (cutoff of filter 1) In Sonar this is easy. All you do is give it the decimal value of the NRPN and it maps it for you no problem.

I did the same thing for Filter 1 resonance. Thus I had two separate automation lanes with two separate curves.

I drew automation curves for filter 1 cutoff and filter 1 resonance and then played the automation back. I could see the values changing on the Solaris display for both parameters and it was tracking the curves that I drew.

So....I believe this works properly. Sorry Cubase is so difficult to get this right with. It took me literally 60 seconds to create this stuff in Sonar and another minute or so to prove to myself it was working.

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