borfo

Novation Launchpad BLM features discussion thread

33 posts in this topic

Figured I'd start a separate thread so as not to crowd the SEQ firmware thread with too much Novation BLM discussion.  If you haven't been following that, TK introduced support for using two or four Novation Launchpads as a hardware BLM in the latest firmware. 

 

Here are setup instructions for the Novation Launchpad BLM.  Download the v. 87 pre1 firmware from (or a later version) to make the Launchpad BLM work.

 

To carry on the features/usability discussion from where it left off in that thread:

 

Is there any way to disable the start(play) and stop buttons in the BLM?  I'm finding that I sometimes accidentally hit those buttons while working with the BLM, unintentionally interfering with playback...  Are they really necessary on the BLM anyway?  They're available pretty easily on the frontpanel...  Dropping them from the BLM would free up a few buttons for other functions.

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's TK's last post re: BLM features from that thread.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can confirm that 4 x Launchpad Mini arranged in a 16x16 matrix works with 4.087 firmware.

One feature I think that could do with some tweaking is the way muting/umuting tracks is handled. The current solution where by you press the track select button twice isn't ideal, especially in a performance situation.

My current thoughts are that a new mode should be introduced for muting/unmuting. I haven't thought about how it should be implemented yet in any detail.

post-3551-0-01164000-1418888239_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Need more inspirations how it could look like.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Need more inspirations how it could look like.
My initial thoughts after spending some time using the BLM tonight would be to add a "mute mode" on the button above the "303" button in the Extra column on the right hand side.

When "mute mode" is active the left hand Extra column buttons become track mute buttons regardless of which mode is active.

To extend this idea further a "solo mode" button would also be useful.

Other useful options would be:

Alt+Mute Mode - Clear all active track mutes

Alt+Solo Mode - Clear all active track solos

Unmuted track - LED green

Muted track - LED off

Soloed track - LED red

Mute/Solo Sync "countdown" - LED flashing.

Cheers,

Rowan

Edited by Rowan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone use the BLM without a V4 or V4L frontpanel nearby?  If not, the play and stop buttons could be removed from the launchpad BLM interface to make room in the right column of buttons for more functions.

 

I sometimes accidentally hit those buttons while BLMing and mess the song up.  I'd rather they weren't there, and just use the V4 itself to start and stop playback.  Do other people find the play/stop buttons useful on the BLM?

 

 

...I suppose a second alt button could be added - ALT1 and ALT2 - to make a lot of extra room for future functionality - that would give four "ALT" states that could be used: no-ALT + button; ALT1 + button; ALT2 + button; and ALT1 + ALT2 + button

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To elaborate your ideas a bit further: replace PLAY and STOP button by MUTE and SOLO on/off buttons would work, right?

I can't flash the LEDs, this would be too much Launchpad specific, or would generate some (unwanted) MIDI traffic.

 

But we've three colours, therefore I would propose:

  • Mute and Solo off: no colour
  • Mute on, Solo off: green
  • Mute off, Solo on: yellow
  • Mute and Solo on: red (because the muted soloed track won't output MIDI messages)

Ok for ALT+MUTE/SOLO combinations.

 

But I don't want to add more ALT functions. Nobody will remember them in 1..2 months.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another idea:

 

Use the round step buttons along the top of the launchpad:  Get rid of PLAY and STOP.  Add MUTE and SOLO buttons.  While MUTE is held, the top row of 16 buttons represent the 16 tracks, Muted tracks appear as red.  Press MUTE+step button to mute or unmute a track.  While SOLO is held, the top row of 16 buttons represent the 16 tracks, Soloed tracks appear as green.  Press SOLO+step button to solo or unsolo a track.

 

ALT+MUTE could clear all mutes

ALT+SOLO could clear all soloes

SOLO+MUTE could Mute All Tracks

 

pros:

- even if you're using only 2 launchpads, you'll have access to all 16 tracks at the same time

- the mute and solo buttons could be used with buttons other than the step buttons to add future functions later on

 

cons:

- tracks are normally on the right column of buttons so it's a bit counterintuitive

 

################################

 

I'd also vote for moving the track select button (the button that toggles display of tracks 1-8 or 9-16) up to the top of the column, because it's a special function button... and for moving the MUTE and SOLO buttons to the bottom, just above the ALT button (because they would have the same press and hold behaviour as the ALT button does, while all the other buttons are toggles.)  So, I'd vote for the following button order:

 

TRACK SELECT

KEYBOARD

PATTERN

TRACK

GRID

MUTE

SOLO

ALT

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To elaborate your ideas a bit further: replace PLAY and STOP button by MUTE and SOLO on/off buttons would work, right?

I can't flash the LEDs, this would be too much Launchpad specific, or would generate some (unwanted) MIDI traffic.

 

But we've three colours, therefore I would propose:

  • Mute and Solo off: no colour

  • Mute on, Solo off: green

  • Mute off, Solo on: yellow

  • Mute and Solo on: red (because the muted soloed track won't output MIDI messages)
Ok for ALT+MUTE/SOLO combinations.

 

But I don't want to add more ALT functions. Nobody will remember them in 1..2 months.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

My initial thoughts are based around a 16x16 matrix so there are 8 unsed buttons between the 303 button and stop button.

I understand to make this scalable to a 8x16 matrix only 8 Extra column buttons are available which are all currently in use.

The suggestion of replacing the Start and Stop buttons solves this problem rather neatly. I've got an idea as to how full transport functionality could be added at a later stage, but let's not confuse things and deal with one idea at a time.

One LED state suggested seems illiogical to me.... I may be missing something here but I can't think of a use case.

Mute and Solo On - LED Red

Funtionally this is the same as Mute Off Solo Off (while another track is Solo'ed).

Solo's should also be additive I.e. More than one track can be sole'ed simultaneously. I haven't tried Soloing tracks on the MBSEQV4 itself yet so I don't know if that's the default behaviour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here's another idea:

 

Use the round step buttons along the top of the launchpad:  Get rid of PLAY and STOP.  Add MUTE and SOLO buttons.  While MUTE is held, the top row of 16 buttons represent the 16 tracks, Muted tracks appear as red.  Press MUTE+step button to mute or unmute a track.  While SOLO is held, the top row of 16 buttons represent the 16 tracks, Soloed tracks appear as green.  Press SOLO+step button to solo or unsolo a track.

 

ALT+MUTE could clear all mutes

ALT+SOLO could clear all soloes

SOLO+MUTE could Mute All Tracks

 

pros:

- even if you're using only 2 launchpads, you'll have access to all 16 tracks at the same time

- the mute and solo buttons could be used with buttons other than the step buttons to add future functions later on

 

cons:

- tracks are normally on the right column of buttons so it's a bit counterintuitive

 

################################

 

I'd also vote for moving the track select button (the button that toggles display of tracks 1-8 or 9-16) up to the top of the column, because it's a special function button... and for moving the MUTE and SOLO buttons to the bottom, just above the ALT button (because they would have the same press and hold behaviour as the ALT button does, while all the other buttons are toggles.)  So, I'd vote for the following button order:

 

TRACK SELECT

KEYBOARD

PATTERN

TRACK

GRID

MUTE

SOLO

ALT

 

 

I think the Mute/Solo mode should be on the left hand Extra column replacing the "Track Select" Buttons when active.

 

It would be counter intuitive to have the Mute/Solo buttons on the Extra Row at the top I think.

 

Muting/Soloing should NOT require two simultaneous button presses to activate. If two simultaneous button press are required you would need to use two hands to active the function which wouldn't be ideal in a performance situation.

 

I like the "Mute+Solo - Mute all tracks" idea.

 

Your suggested rearrangement of the button order also makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing with adding two dedicated muting "views" is that there are basically only 8 function keys on the right side, since not everyone will be using 4 launchpads...  So, the question is is muting and soloing important enough to tie up the last two remaining buttons, or should they be implemented in a way that leaves space for future features?

 

Also, there are a lot of functions already assigned to the right side track buttons, and a lot of LED indicator states are already required there.  Those buttons are already pretty "busy".

 

Here are two more ideas:

 

Add a "button mode" button:  Get rid of PLAY and STOP.  Add a "BUTTON MODE" button, which has four possible states:

off = left buttons select the active track (the current functionality)

red = left buttons MUTE tracks

green = left buttons SOLO tracks

yellow = [currently not used, could add something here later...  leave it out of the toggle cycle for now]

 

Press BUTTON MODE repeatedly to cycle through these states. 

 

Pros:

- uses only one button on right side

- "yellow" state is unused, can be used for future function

 

 

######OR######

 

Add a "Track Settings View" mode:  Well, there's already a track view mode...  Maybe call the new view "Settings View". 

 

In this new "Settings View" mode, tracks are represented horizontally (track 1 is the first row, track 2 is the second, etc. - just as it is now).  Each column of square buttons represents one setting that applies to the whole track:

column 1: MUTE (red=on, no color=off)

column 2: SOLO (green=on, no color=off)

 

Other columns could be added in the future, as needed...  For example: FORCE TO SCALE on/off, FX Delay on/off, HOLD on/off, SUSTAIN on/off, SYNC TO MEASURE on/off, etc.  16 columns of settings would be available.

 

The top row of round buttons (step indicator buttons) could be used to perform bulk actions on the column below - eg: press top button to mute all tracks, ALT+top button to unmute all tracks.

 

Pros:

- only needs one button on the right column

- both MUTE and SOLO would be accessible at the same time

- 14 extra columns for other settings to add in the future

- doesn't interfere with the way the left track buttons are currently implemented

 

I think I like this last option, because it's not just "all about muting" - it creates a new view which could be useful for 14 other functions in the future... 

 

Maybe the "Loop mode" functionality discussed in TK's BLM manual page could also be added here eventually (one column of buttons could be LOOP START, another column could be LOOP END, press LOOP START+Step Button to set loop for a track...)

 

I think it would also be useful to be able to set track length from the BLM - maybe this could be done in this Settings Mode as well:  One column could be TRACK_LEN - press TRACK_LEN + top row Step buttons to define the track length (16, 32, 48, 64, etc.)

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Solo's should also be additive I.e. More than one track can be sole'ed simultaneously. I haven't tried Soloing tracks on the MBSEQV4 itself yet so I don't know if that's the default behaviour.

 

Soloing is additive.

 

When I use the BLM, my SEQ is always close, and I use the frontpanel of the SEQ to do some things (like muting), and the BLM to do other things.  If you're not currently using both together, you should try it - there's a lot that you might not realize that the BLM can do...  For example, try switching parameter layers on the SEQ frontpanel while you're in grid view on the BLM...  Or switch trigger layers on the SEQ while you're in Track View on the BLM (you can also switch trigger layers directly from the BLM in track view with ALT+track buttons).

 

The BLM also makes using the SEQ frontpanel easier in certain ways - eg: using the top buttons to switch step views is a lot easier and more intuitive than using the STEP button on the SEQ frontpanel.  Switching the displayed steps on the BLM will also switch the SEQ display.

 

The SEQ frontpanel (especially now after the most recent firmware upgrade, which adds new sync mute to measure functionality) offers a lot more muting and solo functionality than the BLM does.

 

Not everything needs to be on the BLM (I'm thinking transport controls probably don't, for example)...  The frontpanel is a great interface once you get used to it, and using the frontpanel and the BLM together is very feature-rich.

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm...

 

one day ago I thought that I could add a Mute/Solo feature in maybe 1..2 hours.

But the additional feature requests sound like I've to work on this for several days - not at least to satisfy your ideas, get feedback, iterate.

So, how can we come to a conclusion? ;-)

 

The proposed "track settings view" mode sounds powerful, but the information which needs to be displayed (such as several track configuration flags) isn't stored in RAM in a way which makes it possible to pass it to the BLM without loosing a lot of CPU time to fetch the different flags from different variables.

Mute and Solo are available as 16bit variables, and can be directly passed without re-arrangements.

That's another reason why I would like to focus Solo/Mute.

 

The proposed "button mode" which cycles between 4 states has the disadvantage, that it isn't suitable for live situations where you may want to control the device "blindly" (the big advantage of the tactile feel of a BLM in distance to touchscreens)

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha...  I didn't mean the list of stuff in the "Settings View" description to be feature requests to implement now, I just meant them as examples of how that view could be expanded in the future.  I meant that for now, just two columns (MUTE and SOLO) could be set up, but that that implementation might be better than the others because it leaves a lot of room for more features to be added later.

 

I do all my muting and soloing on the frontpanel right now anyway, so implementing it on the BLM isn't particularly important to me.  I was just putting a few ideas out there because I think this could probably be implemented without using up two right-side control buttons just for the mute and solo functions...

Edited by borfo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's just keep this simple, TK only has so many hours in the day....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I've no time to add this feature before christmas (even the simple implementation).

I will come back to this topic in 1..2 weeks - stay tuned! :)

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here something for testing:

http://www.ucapps.de/mios32/midibox_seq_v4_088_pre3.zip

 

From the ChangeLog:

   o BLM16x16+X support for Mute and Solo
     The new functions are available at Extra Row Button #3 and #4
     (if a BLM16x8+X is connected, they replace Start/Stop at Extra Row Button #1 and #2)

     If Mute active: the extra column buttons mute/unmute tracks
     If Solo active: the extra column buttons solo/unsolo tracks

     LED Colour coding:
     - LED off: Track won't play (due to Mute or Solo)
     - LED green: Solo not active and track not muted
     - LED yellow: Track soloed

     Special Key combinations:
     - ALT+Mute clears all mutes
     - ALT+Solo clears all solos

 

Updated emulation app (V1.4) can be downloaded from:

http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_seq_manual_blm.html

 

Documentation hasn't been updated yet...

 

Note that the Solo function wasn't available this way before.

The legacy Solo function only soloes the selected tracks.

The new Solo function (which is only accessible via the BLM) soloes the tracks independent from the track selection.

It also has a higher priority than Mute

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here something for testing: http://www.ucapps.de/mios32/midibox_seq_v4_088_pre3.zip'>http://www.ucapps.de/mios32/midibox_seq_v4_088_pre3.zip   From the ChangeLog:
o BLM16x16+X support for Mute and Solo
     The new functions are available at Extra Row Button #3 and #4
     (if a BLM16x8+X is connected, they replace Start/Stop at Extra Row Button #1 and #2)

     If Mute active: the extra column buttons mute/unmute tracks
     If Solo active: the extra column buttons solo/unsolo tracks

     LED Colour coding:
     - LED off: Track won't play (due to Mute or Solo)
     - LED green: Solo not active and track not muted
     - LED yellow: Track soloed

     Special Key combinations:
     - ALT+Mute clears all mutes
     - ALT+Solo clears all solos

  Updated emulation app (V1.4) can be downloaded from: http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_seq_manual_blm.html'>http://www.ucapps.de/midibox_seq_manual_blm.html   Documentation hasn't been updated yet...   Note that the Solo function wasn't available this way before. The legacy Solo function only soloes the selected tracks. The new Solo function (which is only accessible via the BLM) soloes the tracks independent from the track selection. It also has a higher priority than Mute   Best Regards, Thorsten.

Excellent! I'll try this out tonight. Thanks TK!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried out the new V4.088 pre3 firmware are BLM V1.4 app and everything seems to be working as expected.

Great idea to keep the play and stop buttons when a 16x16+X configuration is used.

One thing I've noticed that now strikes me as a little odd is that the SEQ hardware panel shows muted tracks with the LED below the corresponding encoder lit green while the LED on the BLM is off. Would it not make more sense for the LEDs on the SEQ hardware panel and the BLM to behave the same way as to avoid confusion?

Thanks again...... Great work!

Edited by Rowan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, it was a bad decision to invert the mute LED behaviour.

 

Please try v4_088_pre4:

http://www.ucapps.de/mios32/midibox_seq_v4_088_pre4.zip

 

     LED Colour coding:
     - LED off: Track neither muted nor soloed
     - LED green: Track muted
     - LED yellow: Track soloed
     - LED red: Track muted and soloed - solo has higher priority, therefore track will be played

As you can see, the red colour makes it easier to identify muted tracks in solo mode.

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll try the new firmware in the morning.

 

I've made a basic frame today to hold the 4 x launchpads in with a USB hub screwed on to the bottom.

 

post-3551-0-25337900-1420328399_thumb.jp

post-3551-0-70289400-1420328407_thumb.jp

post-3551-0-55975000-1420328416_thumb.jp

post-3551-0-02254600-1420328427_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done  :thumbsup:

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would it be possible/not-too-hard to add the following indicators:

 

- round step buttons along the top light in dim yellow to indicate which steps in the currently visible measure have notes set? and

- when ALT is held (to switch octaves), round track buttons on the right side light to indicate which octaves have notes set?

 

If they wouldn't be too hard to implement, I think both of these indicators would be pretty useful to help you remember where notes are set that are not visible on the currently displayed steps...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Should be possible without too much effort.

I added this to the wish list

 

Best Regards, Thorsten.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a heads up here that will make the Launchpad option a bit more popular..... expect a retail price drop of about 20% in the EU on the 22nd of January 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now