Through The Fog: A and B

I’m working on rig design tonight for my own drum rig, which includes MIDI Designer (of course), Maschine, Ableton, and Guitar Rig. What I’m trying to do with my rig isn’t hit all the possibilities. In fact, I’m trying to find “a way through the fog” by simplifying.

For instance, I can apply effects to each drum, to each kit or to the whole mix. The first two of these options are too fine for me (since I play 8 kits at once) and the last one is too coarse. What I want is to be able to control what goes through which effects, but without getting lost in a sea of different effects chains.

The answer, for me, is one that I’ve come back to over the last two years a lot. It’s always the same: “Copy from DJs.” So I make A and B effects chains (which actually get joined later on and put through a Korg Kaoss pad), and routing matrix with buttons to route the drum kits to one, the other, or both.

This is exciting because it means that I can get back to some of the features I most love about MIDI Designer: those that refer to an A-B rig.

Copy A to B/B to A

In MIDI Designer, you can copy values from one set of controls to another. What this means is that if you’ve got your A chain set up with distortion on, and reverb configured in a particular way, you can COPY that to your B chain, and then change reverb and add, say, beat delay. And now you can crossfade between two effects chains that are similar, but different.

There are two relevant controls for this. One to define the B control of a control (must be on the same page, but only to set it).

And the buttons that push A values to B and vice versa.



Crossfaders are very particular, because they move two knobs. In the simplest case (linear, which is all we do for now) one of the knobs goes from min to max at the halfway point and stays there. The other one goes from max to min, but doesn’t start until you reach mid-turn. MIDI Designer allows you to do with any two knobs.

Now to be fair, every DAW (or at least Ableton, which I know best, and Reaper) will allow you to do some kind of crossfade. But this is a unique thing, because you’re actually building a crossfader out of parts… which you can use for other things.

I’ll need to do a video on how to set up a crossfader very soon. (In the meantime, the answer is: make the two knobs subcontrols of a third control, make one of them subtype “inverted” and make them both crossfader pieces. )

Concluding Remarks

Anyway, my original point was that in my rig I’m not trying to have all possibilities. Many times I’m trying to limit how many controls I can adjust, so that My rig is playable. This is not the only aesthetic with which you can use MIDI Designer, and I’ll do an article on User #1’s vision of MIDI Designer sometime soon.

Thanks for reading and thanks for checking out MIDI Designer!


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