Using MIDI Designer Pro in the Background

In this video I demonstrate how to use the midiLFOs app to automate the “Dictator” control in Turnado. In order to achieve more rhythmic CC modulation, I sync midiLFOs to the clock on my BeatStep Pro, while using MIDI Designer Pro in the background to constrain the CC values coming from midiLFOs to 8 values instead of 128. The result is that the position of the Dictator changes every 2 beats in time with the sequencer.

For more info on the “number of ticks” option, check out the Working with Controls chapter in the manual!

 

Making a Shared Layout Work for You

There are tons of great layouts shared by the community, but let’s face it: everyone’s setup and workflow is just different enough to keep things from working perfectly every time. While importing a layout is pretty easy, you’re likely to run into issues if you’ve made changes to the default midi settings in your software, apps or hardware synths. Things also get a bit complicated when you’re sending MIDI notes and messages on multiple channels to different programs or devices.

There are a couple of great features available in MIDI Designer Pro that make it easy to adapt layouts shared by other users to fit your own needs, or to repurpose your own layouts when needed.

Renumbering Controls and Changing Channels

This is the tool I’ve personally found most useful in making layouts my own. In design mode, you can tap on a page tab to open the Page Properties tab, and then click on the Controls icon at the bottom to display some useful control actions. The top button allows you to renumber controls and/or change the channel associated with that page. If you just need to assign a different MIDI channel, you can simply select the new channel number and tap the “Channel Only” button. If you need to reassign the CC numbers for the page’s controls, you can do that as well by choosing a starting number and clicking “Unused Only” to avoid numbers already assigned elsewhere in the layout, or “Sequential” if you want to ignore existing assignments.

Check out the section on Page-Wide Control Actions in the manual for more info.

Color-Coding

If you are using multi-page layouts, choosing different colors to visually separate controls into groups can be useful or even necessary. Of course, a layout’s original creator may have sprinkled colors throughout a page’s controls that don’t really suit you, so luckily there’s the option to remove custom colors, also found on the Controls view of the Page Properties tab.

It’s easy to quickly define the look and feel of the controls in your layout using the Page Properties Pane, with options for choosing the background color and texture, LED color, and highlight color for each page.

Combining Layouts

When you open a layout from an external program or from the Config -> Actions panel, you are given the option to append the new layout to the one currently loaded. This is a great way to combine multiple shared layouts, or to build onto an existing layout. Just be sure to save the combined layout once you’ve made the necessary tweaks so that it can be recalled for later use.

Apple, what have you done!?

Introduction of Swift
On June 2, 2014, Apple announced a new programming language, Swift.

This is exciting news from a developer perspective. It means we’ll be able to add new features and functionality faster. In addition, new code will more bug-free and flexible going forward.

Obsolete Devices
Swift will only be supported from iOS 7 onwards. This means that you’ll have to upgrade to an iPhone 4S or better, an iPod touch 5G or better, or an iPad 2 or better.

iPad 1 users and others running iOS 5 and iOS 6 will continue to have unrestricted access to MIDI Designer 1.6, the most powerful MIDI controller for iOS.

Onwards, Upwards
This is a very exciting period for software development on iOS, and we’re looking forward to sharing what we’re able to do in Swift in Version 1.8 of MIDI Designer Pro*.


* MIDI Designer Lite and MIDI Designer 12 will continue to be updated for existing users.

MIDI Designer Lite on Vacation

Note from 2014-10-07: MIDI Designer Lite is back!


MIDI Designer Lite Icon

As of July 20, 2014, MIDI Designer Lite—the ad-supported version of the most powerful MIDI controller platform for iOS— is officially on vacation. The other light version, MIDI Designer 12, went on vacation a week earlier.

We’ve had overwhelmingly positive reviews for Lite (92% of 300 reviews are 4-stars or above). Our last review leaves off on a high note:

Last Review of Lite in Italian

Having multiple versions of the same App is confusing. Therefore, we will only be offering MIDI Designer Pro at this time.

Existing Users of MIDI Designer

MIDI Designer Lite has nearly 200,000 users who will continue to use the App, receive upgrades (simultaneously with MIDI Designer Pro), and be able to unlock to remove the Lite Bar. For existing users of Lite, your experience will not be altered in any way.

The same goes for existing users of MIDI Designer 12.

We think we’ve accommodated all of our users in this change, but you can always get in touch with us with questions, problems or encouragement.

New Users of MIDI Designer

Except by special arrangement (e.g., press inquiries, App giveaways), we will only be offering MIDI Designer Pro to new users at this time.


MIDI Designer Pro has received glowing reviews from leading industry publications (including DJ Tech Tools, Recording Magazine and Sound on Sound) and is used on stage and in the studio by professional and amateur music-makers as varied as Todd Rundgren and Shadow Child. Our first-rate Community shares layouts for top-flight gear from Roland, Yamaha, Korg, Line6 and many more.



MIDI Designer Pro

dream | create | play

Why do you force us to buy an iPad!?

MIDI Designer XW Fantasy

We posted a fantasy version of our MIDI Designer XW layout on the MatrixSynth lounge the other day (link to Facebook post | link to repost on the blog).

IPAD ONLY: SO SAD!

One potential user from the Netherlands wrote, “Why always iPad only. So sad” and then, later, “I simply like multiplatform. So programmers not forcing people to use a specific device/brand. There are a lot tools which are able to output ‘any’ OS.”

WHY NOT JUST MAKE IT MULTIPLATFORM?

Here’s how you imagine the development process:

If cross-platform development were this simple

SOME HISTORY

MIDI Designer development started in 2010, about two months before the first Android tablet was released (the Samsung Galaxy). It was a sunny Summer day, and I remember taking my mountain bike to Best Buy in New Jersey where I picked up my first iPad 1.

MIDI Designer was originally written in Java (cross-platform) and called “VirtualThang” (see this article which shows images of VirtualThang in Java on OSX). The movement to iPad was gradual and development was slow as I learned Objective-C to make MIDI Designer for iPad. There were no other tabs at this time, and serious cross-platform frameworks like Titanium Appcelerator didn’t come to focus on mobile until 2012!

I was using early versions of MIDI Designer in my personal drum rig by February 2011. User #1 didn’t begin to take MD seriously until about September of 2011, and suggested that we launch for NAMM 2012.

CROSS-PLATFORM AT NAMM 2012?

User #1 and I headed out to NAMM 2012 expecting people to object to MIDI Designer on three grounds:

  1. MIDI Designer talks MIDI only, and doesn’t use OSC
  2. MIDI Designer doesn’t do “automap” — it’s a traditional MIDI controller
  3. MIDI Designer isn’t cross-platform

OSC vs. MIDI—On the first point, it turns out that adoption rates of OSC are not what we imagined. For smaller companies, it’s hard to find the development time and spare the cost to implement OSC. For larger companies, having hundreds of products to add OSC to is a huge cost as well. As we learned at the 30th Year Anniversary of MIDI, and continue to see every year at NAMM, <opinion>MIDI will not be supplanted by OSC any time soon.</opinion>

No Automap?!—Automap and related concepts are huge in the MIDI world. Our competitors at Touchable, LiveControl 2 (requires Lemur) and many other players use concepts that we refer to as “automap”. Automap is awesome and they seem to be doing quite well. However, there’s still a huge market for a “generic” (or “modular”) MIDI controller platform like MD, both for custom rigs and for creating “editors” for MIDI-enabled hardware and software.

No Android?!—We were shocked see ONLY iPads at NAMM 2012, and again in 2013. This year (2014), there were some Android Tablets, but excluding those that were integrated into a device, they were few and far between. Professional music manufacturers were still focusing on iOS. This will change over time, of course, but in 2014, iOS still dominates for Pro Music applications.

So what!? Make me a version for Android, now!

This Doesn’t Really Exist

MIDI Designer is written 100% in Objective-C, which means that it’s written exclusively for Apple devices. For this to change we would need to rewrite MIDI Designer, essentially from scratch, either:

  • In a cross-platform language like C++, using a cross-platform toolkit
  • For a cross-platform framework, like Titanium
  • Just make an Android version! How hard is this!?

None of these options are easy to do, and all would require a lot of development time. There are some technical difficulties to consider, relating to UI API differences, CoreMIDI/rtpMIDI availability on other platforms, and screen sizes on non-iOS devices (there are four general screen sizes for Android, and many more real sizes).

WILL WE RELEASE AN ANDROID/WINDOWS VERSION? Yes! We are confident that one or more of these three options is viable, and we’re currently exploring how best to translate the experience of MIDI Designer to other platforms. In the meantime, if you want MIDI Designer, an iPad 1 costs $99 on eBay. That’s cheaper than ANY Android tablet on the market. So there’s that…

For now, our main focus is on adding features to MIDI Designer for iOS. We’re expanding the platform that our users love and have dedicated hundreds of thousands of hours to. Will MIDI Designer be multi-platform in the future? YES!

Presets for Groups of Controls in MIDI Designer 1.6

New!—The manual entry on Presets!

Global (layout-wide) presets have been a part of MIDI Designer since the very beginning. In Version 1.5, we allowed you to assign global presets to buttons.

Layout-wide presets are great, but sometimes you want just a certain group of controls to snap to preset values.

This video covers all aspects of presets for groups of controls.



Some notes:

  • Channel Changers with Presets work just like Preset knobs, but they also change the channel of the subcontrol
  • Store Button Possibilities
    • No Store Button—The preset super automatically stores subcontrols’ values when the super changes values
    • Store Button Is Toggle—When the button is pressed, the preset super automatically stores subcontrols’ values when the super changes values. When the toggle is not pressed, no values are stored
    • Store Button Is Momentary—When the button is pressed, the preset super stores subcontrols’ values in the current slot
  • Recall Button Possibilities
    • No Recall Button—The preset super automatically recalls subcontrols’ values when the super changes values
    • Recall Button Is Toggle—When the button is pressed, the preset super automatically recalls subcontrols’ values when the super changes values. When the toggle is not pressed, no values are recalled
    • Recall Button Is Momentary—When the button is pressed, the preset super snaps the subcontrols to the values stored in the current slot

Note: Bug in layouts saving and mailing, see here, will be fixed in 1.6.2+.

If you’ve got questions that you think other people want to know the answers to, please ask in the Q&A forums.

If you’ve got other questions, please get in touch via Config → Actions → Email us or use the Contact Form.

Which Devices Are Left Behind by iOS 7?

MIDI Designer Pro and Lite are ready for iOS 7 as of version 1.5.6 (released yesterday, September 17, 2013). Version 1.5.5 will work on iOS 7 and continue to look like it did on iOS 6. If you have any problems, please upgrade to MIDI Designer 1.5.6 and get in touch. [2014-06-03 Update Confirmed: Users experiences NO problems with our iOS 7 Upgrade]

But enough about MIDI Designer! What about iOS? Which devices get left behind?


Up to iOS 6 Only

iPhone 3GS
4th generation iPod touch


Up to iOS 5 Only

iPad
3rd generation iPod touch

Up to iOS 7 Only

iPhone 4 (not great with iOS 7, apparently)


Sources

Business Insider on iOS 8 Compatability
iOS 7 Compatibility
iOS 6 Compatibility
iOS 5 Compatibility

Bounce Back (2nd Press Action for Button Groups)

NOTE: Bounce Back was released in version 1.5.3 [see Change Log], available on the App Store since June 28, 2013

Bounce Back covers two quite different feature requests for buttons groups.

One was to have the option to disallow shutting off the last button, or cause the last button to resend. This is seen here in this user suggestion.

The other was a suggestion from User #1 (Mike Rosenstark) to have to return to the previous on last button press. Apparently, this was a feature on the Digitech PMC 10, although that’s hard to confirm right now (no longer in production).

The feature is called Bounce Back because of this suggestion (and it sounds cool, too). Instructions below.

English

Spanish

Set It Up

  1. Create a dynamic control (knob, slider, crossfader or the axis of an X/Y pad)
  2. Make it a supercontrol
  3. Add all the buttons of interest as subcontrols. Now you have a button group.
  4. Now use Relationships → Options as Super → Button Group 2nd Press

Options

  • Button Shuts Off — second tap turns the selected button off. Now all the buttons are off.
  • No Action (Exclusive) — second tap does nothing. After initial press, one button is always on
  • Resend (Exclusive 2) — second tap resends on value. After initial press, one button is always on
  • Bounce Back to Previous Button — second tap selects previously selected button. After initial press, one button is always on
  • Bounce Back to First Button — second tap selects first button in button group. After initial press, one button is always on
  • Bounce Back to Last Button — second tap selects last button in button group. After initial press, one button is always on

Control Copies

Control Copies

  • Make multiple instances of a control (Actions -> Copy)
  • Move them to different pages
  • Size and shape them as you need them, including the labels
  • Use Relationships -> Other Instances to find copies

Use Super- and Subcontrols

  • This is another way to do it, allow for different control types
  • The knob is a supercontrol of the slider… as long as the knob has only one subcontrol, the relationship is bidirectional