Reason SSL Mixer Hardware Controller

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amcjen
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Post 21 Jun 2018

fieldframe wrote:
amcjen wrote:
18 Jun 2018
Also, I recently evaluated a new higher resolution 1.5" LCD display that will be at the top of each fader module (basically the colored-background-with-track-name), and this display looks REALLY NICE. Like, Maschine Pro nice. I'm super happy with it and am completely sold on it. Bad news is the driver I'm using for it only supports 64k colors, and when I started coding up the Reason track colors into it, I found they didn't look very close--as it was interpolating the actual color into the closest 64k slot. Booo.

I'll need to modify the driver to support 18 bit color so we can get 260k colors--hopefully that will be closer. If not, I'll do my best to get them close to our favorites, like Kelly Green, Slate Blue, and Asparagus. :)
Remote supports track color now? If so, that's great!

What is the stack like for getting text to these? Are you rendering on the host and sending raster over the bus, or are you running an embedded renderer to drive each screen?

Most importantly, do you have full control over fonts and can you do anti-aliasing? :)
Noooo, I wish it did. Remote doesn’t support track color at this time. But I’m not designing for Reason as it stands today—more for where I want it to go. Idealistic? Perhaps. But would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Set your intentions, as they say!

And yes. The fonts and anti-aliasing are both available in the display graphics library. It was awesome the font name that propellerheads use was posted recently. Then we can get reeeally close.

The way Tonic is set up is that each channel receives the Remote information for itself and the channel has a microcontroller that handles all display and control management for that channel—so on-channel rendering happens. (Technically it’s on-display rendering bc the graphics driver hardware is embedded in the display itself, but driven by the on-module MCU.)

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amcjen
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Post 21 Jun 2018

electrofux wrote:
amcjen wrote:
20 Jun 2018
Every rotary control will be an endless rotary encoder with 24 bi-color LEDs in a ring.

Most will also be a push button switch—for instance, to turn on/off an aux send.
:thumbs_up:

Do you have readily installable rings. Last time i looked for them i could only find some expensive ones.

And yeah, what is the remote item for the track color?
No, I wish there were cheap, correctly sized radius, bi-color LED rings. I could not find them. Instead I just laid them out on the circuit board directly. A massive pain to route the traces but it’s saved as a design block now and I can drop it in any module necessary now.

I’ll post a screenshot shortly.

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jetpilot00
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Post 21 Jun 2018

Just saw this thread as I've been away from Reason for a couple of years. Add me to the list that would pay for this. A controller of this magnitude for Reason has been a dream of mine for awhile and, quite honestly, something that should have rolled out within a year of Record being introduced and been on mkiii by now.

If this can be done, and the features that need to be added are added, the Reason experience would be beyond phenomenal.

Edit: Ok. I just got caught up with the whole thread. AMAZING creativity and concepts. I have one major concern; what if they change the mixer paradigm or add multiple mixer manufacturers in the future? A dedicated controller for how Reason looks today may not jive with future advancements.

IMHO, my vision of the next generation of Reason's mixer should be based on the SSL XL-Desk. Modular 500 series options at top, dedicated hardware at the bottom.

The way I look at this, Reason's mixer is basically a software version of current digital mixers without some of the features such as layers, etc. Every other DAW uses, pretty much, the same workflow from top down; inserts, sends, faders and then have open VST boxes right in the way when you need to edit. Again, IMHO, that blows.

My .02, what I would keep from the current mixer in Reason (from the bottom up) is the faders / meters (meters NEED to stay near the faders for so many reasons), Send / FX return logic (the best in the business), and whatever makes sense for a master section / transport section.

For the rest of the sections above the current Send / FX Return, I would have an area on the physical controller to put an Ipad to show the Series 500 modules that the user wants per each channel duplicated from the computer using Reason. I would plan simple midi buttons and rotary's to select and edit the Series 500 modules in a similar fashion that current digital mixers do.

.....or, we could simply crowdfund a Propellerhead Digital Mixer based on these concepts, get rid of the mixer ITB and be done with it. :)

In any manner, I'm in!


-JP
***If life is a song, I've just passed the guitar solo.***

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amcjen
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Post 21 Jun 2018

jetpilot00 wrote:
21 Jun 2018
Just saw this thread as I've been away from Reason for a couple of years. Add me to the list that would pay for this. A controller of this magnitude for Reason has been a dream of mine for awhile and, quite honestly, something that should have rolled out within a year of Record being introduced and been on mkiii by now.

If this can be done, and the features that need to be added are added, the Reason experience would be beyond phenomenal.
So so glad to hear it. I'm so pleased that I wasn't the only one thinking this would be such an amazing system to work on.
jetpilot00 wrote:
21 Jun 2018
Edit: Ok. I just got caught up with the whole thread. AMAZING creativity and concepts. I have one major concern; what if they change the mixer paradigm or add multiple mixer manufacturers in the future? A dedicated controller for how Reason looks today may not jive with future advancements.
That's true. This is the major drawback of hardware. Good news is that this whole system is modular--so if there's a major shift to another look or feel, then new modules could be made. Sure, have to buy new modules, but don't have to buy an entire new system, just the new modules and add them to your chassis.
jetpilot00 wrote:
21 Jun 2018
IMHO, my vision of the next generation of Reason's mixer should be based on the SSL XL-Desk. Modular 500 series options at top, dedicated hardware at the bottom.

The way I look at this, Reason's mixer is basically a software version of current digital mixers without some of the features such as layers, etc. Every other DAW uses, pretty much, the same workflow from top down; inserts, sends, faders and then have open VST boxes right in the way when you need to edit. Again, IMHO, that blows.
I like this setup. But are you talking about actual 500 series modules? If so, there is no audio happening on this controller board, so there'd have to be another separate audio in/out patchbay somewhere. And what sucks is that when you shift the channelstrips back and forth to scroll, the 500 series wouldn't come along with it.

Could be cool to add 500 series in the center console section, and let them be assigned to particular hard-inserts. Latency notwithstanding, I'd love to explore this more. (And again, best thing about this architecture is that it doesn't all have to be designed today. Could make this a later module, without throwing out your current investment.)
jetpilot00 wrote:
21 Jun 2018
My .02, what I would keep from the current mixer in Reason (from the bottom up) is the faders / meters (meters NEED to stay near the faders for so many reasons), Send / FX return logic (the best in the business), and whatever makes sense for a master section / transport section.

For the rest of the sections above the current Send / FX Return, I would have an area on the physical controller to put an Ipad to show the Series 500 modules that the user wants per each channel duplicated from the computer using Reason. I would plan simple midi buttons and rotary's to select and edit the Series 500 modules in a similar fashion that current digital mixers do.

.....or, we could simply crowdfund a Propellerhead Digital Mixer based on these concepts, get rid of the mixer ITB and be done with it. :)
I agree on the meters near the faders, though I know others disagree. I've split out the meter PCB to be on its own, so it can be included near fader, or in another module up top in a meter bay. Flexibility!

That's where I'm heading. Because of the potential cost of this thing to get an initial manufacture, I think crowdfunding will be the way to go. Still considering what the packages will be, but this is a solid approach (and one I'm familiar with, having shipped a successful campaign back in 2013).
jetpilot00 wrote:
21 Jun 2018
In any manner, I'm in!
Woo!

Allison

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jetpilot00
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Post 21 Jun 2018

Allison,

No physical 500 series units. If the props could give us a mixer where we could dictate, for example, UA's 610 B mic pre, API's 500 EQ's and SSL's Dynamics (all in 500 series graphics) in a single channel where the visuals make sense, then the hardware could be limited very similar to how digital mixers utilize their interface. Touch the screen (Ipad) on the module and feature you want to adjust and use a rotary knob, or button, to make the change.

I see the entire section above the current Sends / FX Return as a big virtual, vertical lunchbox. Give us the choice of what to put in the mixer and let the hardware do the adjustments.

-JP
***If life is a song, I've just passed the guitar solo.***

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amcjen
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Post 21 Jun 2018

jetpilot00 wrote:Allison,

No physical 500 series units. If the props could give us a mixer where we could dictate, for example, UA's 610 B mic pre, API's 500 EQ's and SSL's Dynamics (all in 500 series graphics) in a single channel where the visuals make sense, then the hardware could be limited very similar to how digital mixers utilize their interface. Touch the screen (Ipad) on the module and feature you want to adjust and use a rotary knob, or button, to make the change.

I see the entire section above the current Sends / FX Return as a big virtual, vertical lunchbox. Give us the choice of what to put in the mixer and let the hardware do the adjustments.

-JP
Ahh, I see what you mean. That’d be pretty amazing. Right now you can get close by using per-channel inserts, (though admittedly not in 500 series format). I like it!


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jetpilot00
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Post 21 Jun 2018

amcjen wrote:
21 Jun 2018

Ahh, I see what you mean. That’d be pretty amazing. Right now you can get close by using per-channel inserts, (though admittedly not in 500 series format). I like it!
That's correct, and how I currently use the mixer. However, by doing that, it basically renders most of the current mixer features useless. I simply close those sections of the mixer and bring up the VST's like other DAW's. I don't want to work that way and don't think the Prop's want us working that way either. Thing is, with Reason's unparalleled visuals, if they went modular with the mixer and you / we / somebody matches that paradigm with hardware, can you imagine the opportunity?

I really think you guys are onto something with a modular chassis and Reason is the perfect match for that need.

-JP
***If life is a song, I've just passed the guitar solo.***

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selig
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Post 22 Jun 2018

amcjen wrote:
electrofux wrote: :thumbs_up:

Do you have readily installable rings. Last time i looked for them i could only find some expensive ones.

And yeah, what is the remote item for the track color?
No, I wish there were cheap, correctly sized radius, bi-color LED rings. I could not find them. Instead I just laid them out on the circuit board directly. A massive pain to route the traces but it’s saved as a design block now and I can drop it in any module necessary now.

I’ll post a screenshot shortly.
Did you check out the place in Taiwan I told you about (the folks I saw at the AES show)? Thing is, from what I recall you get a knob AND a ring together on most cases which may or may not be what you’re looking for.


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selig
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Post 22 Jun 2018

Meters near faders - I don’t get this. Could be because I come from SSL hardware E, G, and J series. So enlighten me!

Why do you need meters near faders?

Pros:
Anyone?
In software the pros are that you would never want to scroll to the top just to see the faders. BTW, shame that in Reason, when you mute a channel the meters stop working! :(
Hopefully this can be overridden with this controller.

Cons:
•This complicates the fader section, technically speaking, making them more expensive and requiring more data throughput (which may or may not be a limitation - Allison?).
•More complicated faders means more expensive faders, which either means more expensive total cost or fewer faders.
•Your hands cover the meters in many cases, somewhat defeating the purpose of having meters.
•Meters are prefader, so you don’t see changes when moving faders anyway. Associating them with the fader/output of a channel doesn’t make sense in that regard.

Finally…Most folks don’t want to tilt their heads down when mixing, preferring to look forward so that they are in optimal listening position. This is why meters are typically on the meter bridge, like a heads up display in a car. The whole idea of physical faders is so you DON’T have to look down at the faders - you go by feel and look straight ahead while listening/mixing. And moving faders is where some of the most intensive/important listening is done IMO.

I would think that in the case there is any demand for faders with meters, that they are an option. Simple faders should be the default and first module available since many users will want just a nice big fader bank of high quality faders. Again, adding meters adds to the cost (and data throughput), so IMO there needs to be a lower cost alternative that doesn’t skimp on the “star” of the module: the fader.

Luckily, users who demand meters can always “roll their own”, which is the reason for the open concept with this product, so maybe this whole conversation is moot?!?
:)



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selig
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Post 22 Jun 2018

jetpilot00 wrote:
amcjen wrote:
21 Jun 2018

Ahh, I see what you mean. That’d be pretty amazing. Right now you can get close by using per-channel inserts, (though admittedly not in 500 series format). I like it!
That's correct, and how I currently use the mixer. However, by doing that, it basically renders most of the current mixer features useless. I simply close those sections of the mixer and bring up the VST's like other DAW's. I don't want to work that way and don't think the Prop's want us working that way either. Thing is, with Reason's unparalleled visuals, if they went modular with the mixer and you / we / somebody matches that paradigm with hardware, can you imagine the opportunity?

I really think you guys are onto something with a modular chassis and Reason is the perfect match for that need.

-JP
I see a completely modular path for the Reason Mixer, at least at the channel level if not at the module level. Probably need to start a new thread to discuss all the ideas, since I’ve been making a ton of notes on what I see as the future of DAWs - most current popular DAWs are quite old in software terms, many not originally intended to support both audio AND MIDI (and touch screens, support apps, hardware integration, etc.).

So IMO it’s time for a new paradigm in the DAW world, or at least time to start talking about it!

Sorry for the tangent, carry on…


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amcjen
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Post 22 Jun 2018

selig wrote:
amcjen wrote: No, I wish there were cheap, correctly sized radius, bi-color LED rings. I could not find them. Instead I just laid them out on the circuit board directly. A massive pain to route the traces but it’s saved as a design block now and I can drop it in any module necessary now.

I’ll post a screenshot shortly.
Did you check out the place in Taiwan I told you about (the folks I saw at the AES show)? Thing is, from what I recall you get a knob AND a ring together on most cases which may or may not be what you’re looking for.


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I did! The size of the LEDs and the diameter of the ring were too large to fit in a compact channel strip form factor. Thank your for sending though!

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amcjen
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Post 22 Jun 2018

selig wrote:
jetpilot00 wrote: That's correct, and how I currently use the mixer. However, by doing that, it basically renders most of the current mixer features useless. I simply close those sections of the mixer and bring up the VST's like other DAW's. I don't want to work that way and don't think the Prop's want us working that way either. Thing is, with Reason's unparalleled visuals, if they went modular with the mixer and you / we / somebody matches that paradigm with hardware, can you imagine the opportunity?

I really think you guys are onto something with a modular chassis and Reason is the perfect match for that need.

-JP
I see a completely modular path for the Reason Mixer, at least at the channel level if not at the module level. Probably need to start a new thread to discuss all the ideas, since I’ve been making a ton of notes on what I see as the future of DAWs - most current popular DAWs are quite old in software terms, many not originally intended to support both audio AND MIDI (and touch screens, support apps, hardware integration, etc.).

So IMO it’s time for a new paradigm in the DAW world, or at least time to start talking about it!

Sorry for the tangent, carry on…


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Ooh do fire up a thread if you’re so inclined! I’m interested in your ideas in this space.

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wendylou
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Post 22 Jun 2018

selig wrote:
22 Jun 2018
I see a completely modular path for the Reason Mixer, at least at the channel level if not at the module level. Probably need to start a new thread to discuss all the ideas, since I’ve been making a ton of notes on what I see as the future of DAWs - most current popular DAWs are quite old in software terms, many not originally intended to support both audio AND MIDI (and touch screens, support apps, hardware integration, etc.).

So IMO it’s time for a new paradigm in the DAW world, or at least time to start talking about it!

Sorry for the tangent, carry on…
Well, I can imagine adding VR to Reason! X-Plane Flight Simulator just added VR to the sim, and I hear it's like being in the pilot seat of the aircraft of your choice, all while flipping 3D switches, turning knobs, changing your view at will, etc. Or could AR play some role in DAWs, perhaps with dummy physical controller and the real control based on your motion and interaction? Apple is apparently backing AR big time, believing that is the next big thing and not so much VR. Not to diminish Allison's efforts at a physical mixer, as I doubt Propellerheads will be releasing a VR version any time soon! But just imagine... could it be done? "Once upon a time, the future is today!" :puf_smile:
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QVprod
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Post 22 Jun 2018

wendylou wrote:
22 Jun 2018
selig wrote:
22 Jun 2018
I see a completely modular path for the Reason Mixer, at least at the channel level if not at the module level. Probably need to start a new thread to discuss all the ideas, since I’ve been making a ton of notes on what I see as the future of DAWs - most current popular DAWs are quite old in software terms, many not originally intended to support both audio AND MIDI (and touch screens, support apps, hardware integration, etc.).

So IMO it’s time for a new paradigm in the DAW world, or at least time to start talking about it!

Sorry for the tangent, carry on…
Well, I can imagine adding VR to Reason! X-Plane Flight Simulator just added VR to the sim, and I hear it's like being in the pilot seat of the aircraft of your choice, all while flipping 3D switches, turning knobs, changing your view at will, etc. Or could AR play some role in DAWs, perhaps with dummy physical controller and the real control based on your motion and interaction? Apple is apparently backing AR big time, believing that is the next big thing and not so much VR. Not to diminish Allison's efforts at a physical mixer, as I doubt Propellerheads will be releasing a VR version any time soon! But just imagine... could it be done? "Once upon a time, the future is today!" :puf_smile:
Perhaps but I think the fact that AR and VR would require a quite capable video card and potentially also cpu power that would be better allocated to simply running the audio component of the program itself. In that regard I don't see it becoming a huge thing ever for music. There is a company that is working on something like this though fairly similar to Reason, though I forgot their name.

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amcjen
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Post 23 Jun 2018

selig wrote: Pros:
Anyone?
In software the pros are that you would never want to scroll to the top just to see the faders. BTW, shame that in Reason, when you mute a channel the meters stop working! :(
Hopefully this can be overridden with this controller.
To set the record straight, I’ve only mixed professionally a handful of times, so I’m by no means an expert at where they should be.

That said, for me, it comes down to the following. One, I always have to look down at the fader I’m about to touch to find the right one. So my head must tilt down regularly during a mix to look for the channelstrip marker so I grab the right one.

Now, whether or not I check the level there at that time visually while I change the level of the fader, or look back up with finger on fader to look for a level meter while changing it, I think I honestly prefer to check level while looking down. I recognize this sounds silly bc you’re not facing the speakers when doing so. But instead of find-fader-look-up-adjust-fader-check-meter, I prefer find-fader-check-meter-look-up-adjust-fader. I then use my ears Tom get it in the right spot sonically, and then would look down to ensure no reds on the fader.

(This also helps when scanning for an offending channel volume, look for the high meters and put your hand on the fader right next to it.)

For me I feel there’s a cognitive overhead of looking down for the meter to change, then looking up and scanning the meter bridge for the channel I’m adjusting. I would need to look down, look for the channel to change by looking at the scribble strip, put my finger on that fader, then look back up and scan again for the meter bridge meter that represents that channel, and only then, make the move.

Personally, I don’t know if I actually want the distraction of all the meter LEDs flashing when my head is up and listening. This may sound naive and ignorant, I know.

This also happens to provide for a more compact fader chassis (because the meters fit next to the faders in our module size), though that’s a much less priority than quality and flexibility are.


However, I recognize that this is different than almost all mixers today—especially large frame ones. So, the meter board as designed in the fader module is physically separate and joined to the main fader module via a small plugged wire. Thus, there will likely be two versions available of the fader module—with meters and without meters. They’re identical except for the aluminum panel won’t have a cutout for the non-metered one, whereas the metered faders will.

I could see a two-unit chassis just to hold meters, acting as a meter bridge. Hell, I may even decide that I do want that too someday and expand my own personal setup.

Oh, and to address the question you had Selig about bandwidth overhead of meters in the fader modules—it’s not an issue because in this protocol architecture, every module gets every message sent. It’s just that modules can hardware-filter out messages not addressed to them.

In a way, Tonic’s protocol works very similarly to MIDI (though much faster), in that every module receives every message (like MIDI Omni mode) or can receive only for its channel. (Except Tonic’s protocol isn’t bound to 16 channels, but something like millions bc it uses a 29 bit message identifier instead of 4 bits like MIDI.)

I have some house work to do this weekend and then I hope to export the latest fader PCBs to Fusion360 and show some rendering of how this all works. Perhaps that will make it more clear what I’m describing. Show and tell. :)
•Meters are prefader, so you don’t see changes when moving faders anyway. Associating them with the fader/output of a channel doesn’t make sense in that regard.
This might be the strongest reason for me not to include meters near the faders. Though from a cost standpoint, I don’t think I’d want meters at all, maybe just a few LEDs that show if you’re getting close to overload, like the sends/returns do.
Finally…Most folks don’t want to tilt their heads down when mixing, preferring to look forward so that they are in optimal listening position. This is why meters are typically on the meter bridge, like a heads up display in a car. The whole idea of physical faders is so you DON’T have to look down at the faders - you go by feel and look straight ahead while listening/mixing. And moving faders is where some of the most intensive/important listening is done IMO.
Agree, though I may have responded to this perspective too early up above—but I feel ya. I’m just not sure I would work that way because of the distraction of the double-eye-search of fader and then for the meter too. But I’m atypical I recognize. :)
I would think that in the case there is any demand for faders with meters, that they are an option. Simple faders should be the default and first module available since many users will want just a nice big fader bank of high quality faders. Again, adding meters adds to the cost (and data throughput), so IMO there needs to be a lower cost alternative that doesn’t skimp on the “star” of the module: the fader.
There will be two options. And the two will be identical in every way except for the meters left off of one. I have to keep them identical for cost reasons—cost reduction through volume purchases is a big deal. :)

Unfortunately at the moment the cost of the meters is about 1/10th the cost of the motorized fader, so it may actually be easier to only make one version of the fader and then have the option to turn fader meters off.

(I think I read somewhere that Behringer started making their own motorized faders—they’re expensive!)
Luckily, users who demand meters can always “roll their own”, which is the reason for the open concept with this product, so maybe this whole conversation is moot?!?
:)
Definitely they can! I’m personally much more excited to have a Big Meter in the center section—much higher resolution (but only for hardware ins/outs, boo) so perhaps this per-fader meter business really is moot. :)

As always, appreciate your perspective Giles!

-Allison

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dioxide
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Post 28 Jul 2018

Hope all is going well! Just a quick request if it hasn't been mentioned already. Some option to have this installed in a 19 inch rack format would be good. It is amazing how few MIDI controllers fit this format now.

violent grey
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Post 18 Aug 2018

wow, this is cool.

my template for the screen, would love to have this in hardware, with a right side control for the input, inserts and master/transport controls. I would be encouraged to the feel of a real ssl look and feel.

Image

This is my hardware setup to add

Image

Image

mcatalao
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Post 19 Aug 2018

selig wrote:
22 Jun 2018
Meters near faders - I don’t get this. Could be because I come from SSL hardware E, G, and J series. So enlighten me!

Why do you need meters near faders?
Agreed. They're important at software level but not at the controller. Imho, it's more important to have a good positioning and identification strategy (name strips are of utmost importance and i think they haven't been discussed enough).
Also, but this might be more related to Reason's mixer focus more than the controller per se, is that the focus of the mixer window is not related to your controller position on the mixer. This is specially maddening if you have a small controller (ie 8 chan) vs a big project, for example with 30 channels.

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Re8et
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Post 20 Aug 2018


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geremix
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Post 04 Oct 2018

🦗🦗🦗🦗


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amcjen
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Post 04 Oct 2018

Image

mcatalao
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Post 05 Oct 2018

Amcjen, I'd loose the pan pot as is, and put an infinite knob with leds. And the fader leds are not necessary. They will increase the device's price and are not very needed imho.
Good call on the screen!

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amcjen
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Post 06 Oct 2018

mcatalao wrote:Amcjen, I'd loose the pan pot as is, and put an infinite knob with leds. And the fader leds are not necessary. They will increase the device's price and are not very needed imho.
Good call on the screen!
The pan knob is on a rotary encoder, that knob just has a line on it as it came from the SSL replacement parts grab bag. The final will have no line (but will be the same size/color).

And you can’t see it, but there are LED pads surrounding the pan knob but are too close, I need to expand them out for the larger knob diameter. (The pads fit great for the smaller diameter knobs for aux/comp/etc).

And the LED meters are contentious. Which is why it’s a separate board and can be included or excluded. Up to you!

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normen
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Post 06 Oct 2018

amcjen wrote:
04 Oct 2018
Image
Whoa, nice. And yeah, OLEDs are SO MUCH cheaper than an LED ring - crazy but true :/

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Jagwah
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Post 06 Oct 2018

Looks pretty amazing!! :thumbup:

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