MIDI controller data not passed through to Reason Rack VST

This forum is for discussing the Reason Rack Plugin, the version of the Reason rack that runs as a VST3, AU, AAX in other DAWs.
Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 30 Jan 2021

Hi,

I'm using R11 Suite in Ableton 10.

I have a couple of keyboards that I use for controllers.

Usually, in Reason standalone, the knobs on the controllers are mapped to some of the key paramaters (usually filter cutoff/res and Amp ADSR).

Using the rack VST in Ableton, it seems like only the keystrokes and the mod wheel / pitch wheel is receveid by the rack devices in Reason, unless I take the time to map paramaters to the live device shell.

Is there any way around this?

PhillipOrdonez
Posts: 2485
Joined: 20 Oct 2017
Location: Norway

Post 30 Jan 2021

I'm afraid not. Not sure if saving the device as a instrument rack with the parameters mapped would work πŸ€” be nice if you investigated that and let us know! πŸ˜€

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 31 Jan 2021

PhillipOrdonez wrote: ↑
30 Jan 2021
I'm afraid not. Not sure if saving the device as a instrument rack with the parameters mapped would work πŸ€” be nice if you investigated that and let us know! πŸ˜€
Yes it definitely works if you map the paramaters to an instrument rack in Live, and then use midi learn to map to a controller.

BUT.... I think that means that the controls are permanently mapped to that track then, so even if I start playing a device on a different track in Live, the knobs I assigned are to that device.

It's a pain. It means I can't just load up a device in the rack VST and try audition patches while tweaking parameters.

Should be an easy fix surely... just allow the midi data for to pass through from Live to Reason for all the parameters, like it does for keystrokes, velocity, aftertouch and mod/pitch wheels. Sure there's a tiny complication with the fact you can have more than one device in the rack responding to that data, but maybe a gobal or per device on/off switch for that behaviour would solve it.

oolaa
Posts: 12
Joined: 11 Jun 2015
Location: United Kingdom

Post 31 Jan 2021

Because of varying layouts of different instruments I have pretty much given up with having my controller mapped directly to them. The controller I use (Akai MPK Mini 2) can have multiple programs so I have configured a separate one for each DAW.

Program 1 I have mapped to the Reason combinator knobs and buttons
Program 2 I have mapped to Ableton instrument rack macro knobs

That way I can switch programs on the MPK to match the DAW I'm using at the time. Wouldn't help when browsing but once configured you can switch from track to track and control whatever you have mapped.
Reason 12, Ableton Live 11 Suite, MPC Beats, Windows 10

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 27 Feb 2021

oolaa wrote: ↑
31 Jan 2021
Because of varying layouts of different instruments I have pretty much given up with having my controller mapped directly to them. The controller I use (Akai MPK Mini 2) can have multiple programs so I have configured a separate one for each DAW.

Program 1 I have mapped to the Reason combinator knobs and buttons
Program 2 I have mapped to Ableton instrument rack macro knobs

That way I can switch programs on the MPK to match the DAW I'm using at the time. Wouldn't help when browsing but once configured you can switch from track to track and control whatever you have mapped.
Hi,

Sorry I missed this before. Does this work? How do you have your controller mapped to the Reason combintor knobs and buttons?? That doesn't work for me with the Reason Rack. I can *only* map to the ableton instrument rack it seems.

Can you talk me through how you do this?

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 27 Feb 2021

oh wait.. you are talking about using Reason standalone as a DAW there. No I'm fine with that. Basically the controller is fairly consistently mapped to volume , cutoff, res, ADSR etc for whatever track I have selected in the midi sequencer.

Using the rack plugin, I have to use my mouse to adjust stuff until I've decided what to map, which kind of breaks the workflow tbh.

Sterioevo
Posts: 403
Joined: 02 Apr 2015

Post 27 Feb 2021

One workaround method is to use a Max device - https://maxforlive.com/library/device/2 ... idi-mapper. With this device you can map your standard midi mappings (not overrides) to Reason parameters. You can have multiple instances so you are not limited in the number of parameters you can map. You would need to setup and save a grouped instrument template for each device you would like to be able to control.

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 28 Feb 2021

Sterioevo wrote: ↑
27 Feb 2021
One workaround method is to use a Max device - https://maxforlive.com/library/device/2 ... idi-mapper. With this device you can map your standard midi mappings (not overrides) to Reason parameters. You can have multiple instances so you are not limited in the number of parameters you can map. You would need to setup and save a grouped instrument template for each device you would like to be able to control.
I am not sure I understand - can you explain how this would work?

How does the max device send MIDI messages to a specific device inside the Reason Rack VST, and what do you mean by being able to map standard midi mappings not overrides? If it still requires setting up in advance, and still uses Live's "remote" rather than "track" MIDI, then unfortunately I don't think this is a solution, unless I've understood.

There are two key things that I want to be able to do (and I can do with other VSTs in any DAW, and also in Reason Standalone):

1) Be able load up a Reason device & patch in the rack VST and be able to control a paramater, say filter cutoff, without firstly having to go through the step of mapping that parameter to Live's device rack.

2) Being able to move on to another device on another track in Live, and not have the knobs/sliders on my controller being stuck to something they were mapped to on another track.

Currently I can't do (1) - I have to spend the time mapping stuff first, which is a complete break of creative flow, and if I do spend the time mapping stuff I have problem (2) that if I move on to another part, my controls are tied up and locked to whatever I have just mapped. I can't switch focus.

This seems such a basic issue and probably quite easy to remedy, I don't understand why there isn't more noise about it.

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 28 Feb 2021

I have contacted Reason Studios support. This is my message:
When I create a track with Reason Rack Plugin VST within Ableton Live, and add a device to the rack, I can play the device with a midi controller keyboard; key presses, velocity, aftertouch, mod wheel and pitch bend data is received by the Reason rack device only.

The data from other control knobs and sliders is not received by the Reason rack device.

This means I cannot use the functionality of my controller keyboard to control things like filter cutoff, envelopes or other parameters, as I can with any other VST in Live, and also as I can with Reason devices in Reason Standalone.

It is possible to map the parameters from the Reason Rack Device to the "shell" device in Live's rack and then map my controllers to that, however this is a break in workflow and even more importantly, means any mapped controls are locked to that device/parameter even if I change focus to another track.

I find this to be a workflow breaking problem. If I want to have multiple tracks in my DAW and be able to change between them and play parts / tweak parameters on the fly, I can't.

I realise that for most "single device" VSTs this is a simple issue, they can just receive and process the midi controller data for relevant paramater, whereas for Reason Rack VST there could be multiple devices in the rack causing issues for the user if a knob was moved and changed a paramater on each device.

I do think there are some fairly simple ways of fixing this however and have two possible suggestions.

1) (see attached image) At the top of the rack plugin gui, have a small drop down menu for "midi control data passthrough". The options in the drop down could allow the user to not allow the data through (current behaviour), allow it to control all devices (as is the case with keystroke and expression data currently), or to check a device or combination of devices that would receive the data.

2) Create a Midi learn option within the Rack, so you can right click a parameter and assign a control to it from within Reason itself, rather than relying on the host DAW's mapping options. That way the hardware control would not be "locked" to the paramater when the user changes focus to another track in their DAW.

I hope I have explained the issue and suggestions so they can be understood. I do think this is quite important and probably relatively straightforward to implement a fix. I would be grateful for any update or feedback.
reason midi option 1.JPG
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Sterioevo
Posts: 403
Joined: 02 Apr 2015

Post 28 Feb 2021

The max device allows you to map standard midi messages directly to RRP parameters you have configured to be available In the RRP rack container. To save these mappings you would need to group these devices and save as an Ableton Rack.

Once saved, this template can then be reloaded and used without any further configuration. This also means you can change track and the controller will follow, as it uses track midi messages that are exposed and can be mapped directly to control the RRP.


There is initial setup required, that allows you to standardise a set of controls across devices if that is what you want. One word of advice would be to create each template from scratch as there seems to be no consistency between the parameters that the RRP exposes for different devices. By taking this approach you should then be able to hotswap templates with a consistent controller layout, as well as switch from track to track as required.

Dave Beep wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021


I am not sure I understand - can you explain how this would work?

How does the max device send MIDI messages to a specific device inside the Reason Rack VST, and what do you mean by being able to map standard midi mappings not overrides? If it still requires setting up in advance, and still uses Live's "remote" rather than "track" MIDI, then unfortunately I don't think this is a solution, unless I've understood.

There are two key things that I want to be able to do (and I can do with other VSTs in any DAW, and also in Reason Standalone):

1) Be able load up a Reason device & patch in the rack VST and be able to control a paramater, say filter cutoff, without firstly having to go through the step of mapping that parameter to Live's device rack.

2) Being able to move on to another device on another track in Live, and not have the knobs/sliders on my controller being stuck to something they were mapped to on another track.

Currently I can't do (1) - I have to spend the time mapping stuff first, which is a complete break of creative flow, and if I do spend the time mapping stuff I have problem (2) that if I move on to another part, my controls are tied up and locked to whatever I have just mapped. I can't switch focus.

This seems such a basic issue and probably quite easy to remedy, I don't understand why there isn't more noise about it.

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 28 Feb 2021

Sterioevo wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021
The max device allows you to map standard midi messages directly to RRP parameters you have configured to be available In the RRP rack container. To save these mappings you would need to group these devices and save as an Ableton Rack.

Once saved, this template can then be reloaded and used without any further configuration. This also means you can change track and the controller will follow, as it uses track midi messages that are exposed and can be mapped directly to control the RRP.
OK, so it sounds like it has the advantage of using the track midi rather than the remote MIDI in Live, so I am not locking controls to those parameters. It's still unfortunately a bit of an inspiration-breaking workflow for me, if I have to:
1) load devices / patches into RRP
2) map parameters into Live's device container
3) map the max device to those controls in the device container?
4) map my midi controls to the max device.
and then repeat for each track and if I change device in RRP....
there seems to be no consistency between the parameters that the RRP exposes for different devices
I'm not sure I follow this as for me *all* the parameters I'd expect in RRP are "exposed" as they are mappable to Live's device container.
Or did you mean there is no conistency between the numbers assigned to the parameter? I don't think there can be. You can have multiple devices in RRP. So if you have 6 subtractors, a NNXT, a player device, and some effects etc, then the filter cutoff for subtractor 5 cannot be the same parameter number in Live as subtractor 1 or 2 for example. RRP/Live needs to assign these paramater numbers in a bespoke fashion every time as each rack can be different.
By taking this approach you should then be able to hotswap templates with a consistent controller layout, as well as switch from track to track as required.
I don't think this can work, unless you have exactly the same rack configuration each time, in which case you can probably save a Live Instrument Rack without using the m4l device; even then I am not sure if the same parameter numbers would be assigned every time and if it could break the mapping if not - would need to check. I don't think it would be able to create "presets" for the m4l device that are going to work with whatever Rack you put together in RRP.

Appreciate the discussion and suggestion, please reply again if anything I have misunderstood, but I don't think this really solves the issue for me. I do think it would be quite easy for Reason Studios to provide this functionality. I made two suggestions in my message to them, but thinking it through my second suggestion makes most sense - for them to just implement right-click midi learn within the RRP.

Sterioevo
Posts: 403
Joined: 02 Apr 2015

Post 28 Feb 2021

Dave Beep wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021
Sterioevo wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021
The max device allows you to map standard midi messages directly to RRP parameters you have configured to be available In the RRP rack container. To save these mappings you would need to group these devices and save as an Ableton Rack.

Once saved, this template can then be reloaded and used without any further configuration. This also means you can change track and the controller will follow, as it uses track midi messages that are exposed and can be mapped directly to control the RRP.
OK, so it sounds like it has the advantage of using the track midi rather than the remote MIDI in Live, so I am not locking controls to those parameters. It's still unfortunately a bit of an inspiration-breaking workflow for me, if I have to:
1) load devices / patches into RRP
2) map parameters into Live's device container
3) map the max device to those controls in the device container?
4) map my midi controls to the max device.
and then repeat for each track and if I change device in RRP....


Yes, but only the first time and then you save a template for that device (or patch). And then any time you want to work on that device you open up the relevant instrument template.
You wouldn't change the device in the RRP, you would create a new track with the required device template. I will add that in the m4l device you can select the required midi cc's that can be saved as a patch - so this can be copied and pasted as required (step 4 only required once).

there seems to be no consistency between the parameters that the RRP exposes for different devices
I'm not sure I follow this as for me *all* the parameters I'd expect in RRP are "exposed" as they are mappable to Live's device container.
Or did you mean there is no conistency between the numbers assigned to the parameter? I don't think there can be. You can have multiple devices in RRP. So if you have 6 subtractors, a NNXT, a player device, and some effects etc, then the filter cutoff for subtractor 5 cannot be the same parameter number in Live as subtractor 1 or 2 for example. RRP/Live needs to assign these paramater numbers in a bespoke fashion every time as each rack can be different.

If you create a Subtractor, map a number of parameters and then change that device the configured parameters in the Ableton rack will not necessarily be the same.
Adding more devices obviously adds another layer of complexity. Changing the type of device after setting up the configuration is likely to break the desired mappings.

By taking this approach you should then be able to hotswap templates with a consistent controller layout, as well as switch from track to track as required.
I don't think this can work, unless you have exactly the same rack configuration each time, in which case you can probably save a Live Instrument Rack without using the m4l device; even then I am not sure if the same parameter numbers would be assigned every time and if it could break the mapping if not - would need to check. I don't think it would be able to create "presets" for the m4l device that are going to work with whatever Rack you put together in RRP.

Yes you can save a live instrument rack without the m4l device of course. The difference being that the midi cc's will not be mapped as is possible with the m4l device. To clarify you would be hotswapping the saved instrument group patch that includes the m4l device and the RRP, and not the RRP alone.

Appreciate the discussion and suggestion, please reply again if anything I have misunderstood, but I don't think this really solves the issue for me. I do think it would be quite easy for Reason Studios to provide this functionality. I made two suggestions in my message to them, but thinking it through my second suggestion makes most sense - for them to just implement right-click midi learn within the RRP.


A more elegant solution would be be better for sure. In the meantime this method will work, just takes a bit of initial setting up and understanding that changing devices can break mappings.

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 28 Feb 2021

Sterioevo wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021
Dave Beep wrote: ↑
28 Feb 2021

OK, so it sounds like it has the advantage of using the track midi rather than the remote MIDI in Live, so I am not locking controls to those parameters. It's still unfortunately a bit of an inspiration-breaking workflow for me, if I have to:
1) load devices / patches into RRP
2) map parameters into Live's device container
3) map the max device to those controls in the device container?
4) map my midi controls to the max device.
and then repeat for each track and if I change device in RRP....


Yes, but only the first time and then you save a template for that device (or patch). And then any time you want to work on that device you open up the relevant instrument template.
Thanks, for me though the key point is that it's during the experimentation / inspiration stage that I am missing having quicker hardware access to a few parameters. When I am trying out different patches, designing a sound, playing around with things, to land on something that is going to go in the song but probably discard the majority etc after 5 mins and rinse/repeat. (By the time I've got to a point where I have something I know is going to stay in the song, I can use Live's macro device to map the parameters I want access to when I am jamming, and I use an APC40 MkII which enables me to switch which track I am controlling the parameters on that).

There is still a benefit though, if I can use track Midi with this M4L device, but I don't think it's enough benefit to warrant purchasing m4l for me.

Sterioevo
Posts: 403
Joined: 02 Apr 2015

Post 28 Feb 2021

Ahh ok I misread Reason 11 Suite for live 10 (I thought suite). Personally I head back into reason for this level of remote control or make use of the combinator. Having m4l definitely opens up the options available but is not ideal. I have a push that also streamlines the whole process.

electrofux
Posts: 796
Joined: 21 Jan 2015

Post 10 Mar 2021

Normally in Ableton when you load a VST you click on the configure button and wiggle all paramaters in the VST and they then show up as remotable parameters. You then save them as an Instrument Rack for later reloading. I dont know what happens if you change devices within that rack though. I guess it gets all mixed up.

Now i am not 100% sure this is the same with the Reason Rack. I sure know that RRP does not expose the same amount of parameters for remote controlling as it does in Reason. It also doesnt transfer the name of the parameters to Ableton just a Number. There is alot to do in that area and i sometimes wish they just had Remote activated fot the RRP as an alternative.

Dave Beep
Posts: 47
Joined: 16 May 2020

Post 10 Mar 2021

electrofux wrote: ↑
10 Mar 2021
It also doesnt transfer the name of the parameters to Ableton just a Number.
It does, just doesn't do it reliably. Here is evidence of it working.
para.JPG
I dont know what happens if you change devices within that rack though. I guess it gets all mixed up.
If you remove a device in the rack any mapped parameters disappear from the Ableton device. Then you map new ones for a new device.
If you change the device by browsing patches then it breaks the link, you still have the parameters listed in the ABleton device, but they revert to a number and it doesn't correspond to anything in the Reason Rack



Having thought about the way this is implemented, I can see that RRP assigns an individual number to every parameter on every device and makes that number visible to Live for mapping.

It would be good to additionally have Reason be able to implement midi learn within the RRP. I don't see any reason why that isn't possible. The logic would be:
Keypress, velocity, aftertouch, MW, PW -> passthrough to all rack devices as per current behaviour.
All over midi control data -> (currently blocked and not passed through) filter to a MIDI learn function where user can map right click on a parameter in the rack and link the control to it.

I would have thought that would be quite simple to implement. I haven't heard from RS yet re my suggestion. If anybody has a contact I'd be happy to explain in more detail.
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Sterioevo
Posts: 403
Joined: 02 Apr 2015

Post 10 Mar 2021

Accurate naming of parameters would be a significant improvement.

electrofux
Posts: 796
Joined: 21 Jan 2015

Post 11 Mar 2021

Ok, i actually only tried it out in Bitwig and there i only got Numbers transferred not the Parameternames at the time i tried. Cool that Ableton does it right.

I assume, that when you have an Instrument Rack for every Reason Synth and you add more devices (eg Effects) then the premapped Parameters dont get mixed up if you add devices below the Synth because the additional parameters would come in after the already mapped ones, right? Probelms could arise though when patches are changed and suddenly there is eg no Synced LFO rate anymore but instead the free LFO rate.

That would at least be something.

Midi learn would be ok for ad hoc controlling but is alot of effort when you have to do it everytime.

In the Bitwig API i searched for something that can be used as a unique device identifier so that the mapping could be automated on a per device basis. So that the script scans the Rack and maps the parameters to the Instrument rack in a preprogrammed fashion. Would be alot of work but worth it and even better than what you can do with Remote currently -kindof because in Remote you have alot more parameters that can be controlled BUT you can only map one device at a time.

I didnt really get far but i assume with some hacking it would be possible both Bitwig and Ableton have pretty big APIs.

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