Using the Behringer XTouch Compact for patch select and transpose

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MSchnell
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Using the Behringer XTouch Compact for patch select and transpose

Post by MSchnell » Sun Sep 03, 2017 6:30 am

Maybe somebody (Kobi :) ) using a Laptop on stage is interested in improving the usability by adding a hardware controller to the setup instead of needing to fiddle around with the laptop screen and keys. (I in fact use a dedicated "embedded" computer built in a trunk with no visible controls. )

For this, the Behringer XTouch Compact motor-fader enabled controller seem perfectly suited.

Here is what I did (using Reaper as a basic engine) for my setup of two master keyboards and a Breath controller with multiple VST instrument including SWAM. But the thingy of course can be used with a Wind controller and maybe optimized for that.

An interesting further extension could be attaching a pedal switch to the Controller and use same in combinations with the "patch" Reaper plugin I did some time ago (Kobi does know what I mean), to step through a list of prepared "song positions" to change patches without taking the hands off the Wind instrument.

Of course also an analogue Pedal (e.g. for Volume) can be attached to the controller.

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I just use the Controller in "Mixer control" mode ("Layer A") right now, as it comes up in that mode after power on.

In fact there is no difference between "Layer A" and "Layer B" (aka "Instrument control") only an offset is applied to the CC numbers and note-numbers sent.

A small disadvantage is that my software does not see when pushing a layer button (no event is sent) but only the next user action would allow for seeing that the layer switch has happened. But as the layer switch automatically (just visually) restores the previous state of all controls in that layer, this can be handled appropriately. Unfortunately again, the controller does not seem to accept and store changes to the not active layer by incoming midi events.

With my JSFX software I create a completely "custom" layout for the device.

The current state is:

- The "press" function of 8 left rotaries and the 8 buttons below them create 16 "Patch select" buttons for the upper master keyboard (light weighted, 61 keys, perfectly usable for SWAM :) ). The latest of them is lit meaning "patch selected". In a future update, flashing will indicate a second set of patches for these buttons.

- The 2 rows of 8 buttons below that create 16 "Patch select" buttons for the lower keyboard (88 piano mechanics keys). The latest of them is lit meaning "patch selected". In future, flashing will indicate a second set of patches for these buttons.

- The 9 faders represent the state (stored for each patch (of the 32, future: 64) in the JSFX setup). They show the state for the latest pressed patch button, hence pressing an already lit patch button will not change the sound but move the faders accordingly for upper or lower keyboard. Obviously, moving a fader by hand will modify the appropriate parameter value in the appropriate patch.

- The leds of the said 8 rotaties are used like the lights of the said buttons.

- The 8 rotaries at the right side (supposedly) will be used in the same way as the 9 faders.

- The rotary function of the 8 left rotaries will handle global (not patch depending) sound parameters. Moving them (and supposedly touching one of the faders or whatever) will make them show the parameter state for some seconds, before returning to the "selected patch indicator" mode.

- The 6 "normal" buttons at the right side will be used for global functions. The bottom right of them might be assigned to preparing a patch select for the second (blinking) patch layer.

- Finally the row of 9 "normal" buttons at the bottom is dedicated to the transpose functionality. The middle one is for "no transpose, the others are for transpose by -5 (G), -4(Ab), -3(A), -2 (Bb), - , +2 (D), +4 (E), +5(F), +6(F#). (supposedly a Wind Player will want a different list with e.g. Eb instruments in mind. ) The last pressed transpose button is lit. A non zero transpose makes the middle and the selected button blink to draw attention to the transposing.

-Michael
Music examples -> http://www.boa-sorte.de

Kobir
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:20 pm

Re: Using the Behringer XTouch Compact for patch select and transpose

Post by Kobir » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:36 pm

Hi Michael,
This is an interesting project. It is not relevant for me at the moment because I'm trying to limit how much hardware I'm taking with me. I tried in the past to use iPad wireless midi control apps to do something similar, but in the end I went back to using the laptop keyboard, since it is simpler and I get instant visual feedback. If/when I expand my studio setup, this could be useful.
Thanks for the info.
Kobi

MSchnell
Posts: 501
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:06 pm
Location: Krefeld, Germany
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Re: Using the Behringer XTouch Compact for patch select and transpose

Post by MSchnell » Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:10 pm

I see.

In fact with the controller board you get the best possible visible feedback (as the software sends all states to it to have them displayed with LEDs (e.g. one LED for each "patch") and the motorized faders (e.g. one Fader for each manually modifiable parameter of a patch)) and the most easy way to "touch" your sound. You can place the computer in any place, as you will neither need to see it no to touch it.

But of course the controller board is another bulky thingy to carry around (some 30 *40 *10 cm).


Re: "Studio Setup": I did not try yet, but the X Touch should be very suitable for controlling Reaper while mixing a project. It provides a "Mackie" mode for this and Reaper is said to be able to do Mackie communication out of the box.

-Michael
Music examples -> http://www.boa-sorte.de

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