As I post about Studio one here or there, and use Amplitube quite heavily, I have gotten quite a few requests in regards to setting up Studio One with an external device to control the Plug-In. My most recent request was in a blog comment so I’ve decided to just create a post covering the bare minimum basics. The following example uses the latest version of Studio One (3), Amplitube 3, a Roland GR-55 guitar synth controller, and a MOTO Express interface. That said, the fundamentals will apply to any hardware as long as you have input/output capability within Studio One. So let’s dive in.
Step 1: Configure your Device
Launch into Studio One then navigate to the configure external devices. Here we will setup the GR-55/Controller to route from the MIDI interface into the Studio One environment.
The Options window will launch with External Devices selected. Click the Add button.
This is what throws most people. Studio One is a little different (at least in my experience) with past DAWs in that they make a clear distinction between devices in the form of Keyboards, Instruments, and Control Surfaces. While I’ve never really delved into the actual functional characteristics of these classifications, to me they are all still just MIDI based devices. In a nutshell, Studio One assumes Keyboards are for input … so a MIDI controller can fall under this category. Instruments are outboard gear, and control surfaces appear to be more for transport/mixer control. If your current device is in the list of manufacturer folders, select it. Otherwise select to Add a new keyboard then Enter the Man/Model and device name. In the lower panel select the MIDI input port where the device is connected then click OK.
This is the view of a device that was previously added. Note how the devices are grouped by manufacturer. Now close out of the Options/External Devices dialog.
Step 2: Setting Up Your Tracks
Things become very simple now.
Create an audio track for the guitar input then add AmpliTube to the insert route for the audio channel.
Now add an instrument track (this is the key part) and select the GR-55 input device we created. Next for Output you will want to select “Existing Instrument” followed by selecting the AmpliTube VST instance followed by the operating/intended channel for control. Click OK.
Now you can see both your audio channel, and the controller channel active in the interface. Within the controller channel you will note that the link to Amplitube3 and channel are visible.
Step 3: Map MIDI controllers to Amplitube
Launch into the Amplitube3 instance then drop a pedal on the floor. In this example I’ll use the staple Wah 46.
Right mouse click the element within the interface (switch, knob, pedal) and select Assign Midi -> Learn […]
The plug in is now awaiting input. Simply touch your external controller pedal and the dialog will close followed by the pedal responding to your external controller. Close the running Amplitube instance.
Step 4: Have Fun
That’s it! The only thing to point out is the record/monitor options in Studio One. You have two options here. You can either …
Leave both tracks Armed for record where the MIDI data will be laid down alongside the audio track (along with options for later editing). Or…
You can simply leave the controller in monitor mode while recording audio. This will allow you to go back and “draw” the control curves manually. Sometimes I have a very specific series of things I wish to accomplish that just aren’t practical with only two feet … this is an example of when I will just lay down the track then add the control data after the fact.
That’s it. Go forth and create.
Today I want to show you a cool gizmo I recently threw together. It’s not complete, but just close enough to show off a bit. As my studio has morphed over the years, I have finally settled on a “recording in the round” approach where my primary instruments surround me, mics are properly set, and I quickly switch between instruments using a mix of Whirlwind switchers and Focusrite soft mixer routing.
It’s not uncommon for me to record a short set of looping bars on guitar, then flip to a bass, or mandolin, lead, etc. This optimized writing/recording method has come at a cost though. I’m now farther away from the studio desk than I have ever been before. Trying to stop, start, rewind, or switch tracks is at best a form of studio yoga, especially if you are trying to keep an acoustic instrument in the mic sweet spot.
I realized I needed a true remote control for my DAW. I didn’t want to have to relocate my Faderport between recording and mixing sessions. I also didn’t want to use a mouse where I would be straining my eyes to see little buttons on the screen from halfway across the room. These are similar problems that drummers and vocalists have in their personal studios. When you are in a vocal booth, or behind the kit, how do you hit record, stop, etc from another room?
Looking around the Internet I found a common solution: remote desktop tools. Here’s a YouTube user showing this specifically with Studio One. These are all fine and good but you really need a decent sized screen since they often show the complete desktop. The larger the screen, the larger the device. The smaller the screen, the more zooming/panning you do than actual productive clicks. After some more digging I started finding that quite a few live mixers, and some DAWs, have apps to control their software functions. Presonus even has one… but it’s for their live mixer, not their DAW line. I had hit a dead end.
I decided to roll my own. That application ran on my Windows tablet and communicated with the DAW sending commands for the various functions. It worked well but was too inflexible and clunky.
This worked rather well but since this was a tablet running a full OS I had interference, tablet placement issues, and fan noise. I ultimately thought long and hard about what functionality I would need and decided to create my own remote control that I could access from any device, configure at will, and run on a solid state device. I knew that meant web based.
Here’s a screen grab of the result running on my Galaxy Note 3.
and an iPhone…
and a Chrome browser on a laptop just for kicks…
and the list goes on…
This is a pure HTML/CSS/JQuery solution. It loads in any device that has a web browser and communicates back to the DAW machine running Windows to issue commands to Studio One. I’ve mapped many of the functions and continue to tweak as I go. I can manage all the standard transport controls but I can also mute, solo, arm, and switch tracks. I can even issue viewport zoom controls if I need a closer look from across the room.
Here’s a quick video showing some of the remote features in action:
I’m still in the final development stages and am adding options to support additional DAWs along with editing capabilities for additional commands. Once I complete it I’ll have a little more to post on this great little utility!