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Has anyone created a PC-based editor for classic rack units (PCM81, DL8000R, Eclipse, etc.)?

Lavely

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,629
I realize many of the classic rack units were created before iPads and ubiquitous computer control of everything, but I would KILL for a PC-based or iPad-based editor to create presets for some of these units...has anyone created such a beast?

Or, do any of the current crop of complicated processors come with one? I believe the Fractal stuff does?

I just can't get past programming on a tiny screen when there are dozens of interactive parameters....
 

Gone Fission

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
562
There is an iPad app for the Eclipse and it works with the VSIG units, too. Given the hassle of being wired up (I think the expectation is that a computer connected to the serial port mediate the iPad), it doesn't seem like a worlds-better option than editing on the machine and using VSIG to store, backup, and reload patches.
 

jaykay73

Member
Messages
770
Not likely going to happen - minimal financial incentive for anyone who would want to do it. Making one for PCM8x would be very difficult as the sysex strings change per algorithm, ie the sysex command to change reverb diffusion on concert hall is different to quad>hall.

I spent 10 minutes the other day entering in 36 pivot points for pitch voices the other day for a new preset I'll be posting soon. Wish I'd had a computer editor to do that a bit quicker.

However, things need to be put into perspective... For me making a new preset is a three step process, the last and easiest by far is twidling the knobs on the machine, viewing the little blue screen. Also that might take 5-15 minutes total if you have used the unit for a while and are familiar with it.

The first step is UNDERSTANDING what you're trying to set out to achieve. For this a deep understanding of how effects are made is required and this takes a long time, experimentation and a critical ear. If you want to 'build' any effect from scratch you must know what building blocks are required. Then on the PCM8x for example you need to choose an algorithm template that would best suit your requirements for 'adjuncts', ie do you build a circular delay on CHORUS+RVB so you can use voice 4-6 to add a chorus in parallel or do you build it on M-BAND+RVB so you can use the filters and diffusion in the feedback path?

The second step is IMPLEMENTATION. Once you know what you want to achieve, how do you go about setting it up. Choosing the algorithm template, managing the modulation sources and destinations, setting up controls like the soft row, pedals & external modulators and often working within the limitations of the unit and thinking about ways to work around and exploit these.

So this week I've created a 16 step sequencer / arpeggiator using quad>hall. Probably has taken me 30 years of listening to music with a critical ear, 3-4 years of reading HRI / TGP / gearslutz / reddit / etc posts, studying many of the factory presets to understand how they have been constructed and many many hours of direct conversation with people who know the unit like the back of their hand. Then I've spent a week thinking how I'm going to make it work with hours of discussion over Skype with @AnalogKid85. We both tried multiple ways how to do it - failed / troubleshooted / succeeded AND discovered some new ideas and tips on the machine in the process.

To spend 15 minutes hunched over to see that little blue screen & twiddle knobs was the easy part and therefore very well tolerated.

There is a slightly easier route to go if you like. Find yourself a desktop midi controller that can send advanced sysex with variable bits in the string, eg Peavey PC1600(x). Most decent fx units can receive sysex and have a MIDI implementation guide. Map a variable sysex string to each of the 16 sliders to control a parameter so you can tweak settings a bit easier in real time. You'll need to carefully consider which parameters to map to sliders and also will need to make separate maps for each algorithm you want to use. Takes time but can be rewarding. Makes editing of an existing preset easier and could be used in a live scenario as an alternative to multiple pedals. It does not however replace the mental time and energy it takes to 'build' a preset of your own.

JK
 

italo de angelis

Senior Member
Messages
4,786
Editors are so boring!
I had many back in the '80s... when it was their age.
You can't beat the realtime feedback of working on the unit itself. Nope.
My only wish is only all products should present 4 ot more parameters on a display... but obviously that is a problem.
Eclipse is a good one at that. The big Eventides show 8 (and Vsig can be used as an editor if youare experienced enough and get into the habit of assembling presets UI in a smart way such as FIRST Menupage on top followed by its objects/2nd menupage followed by ots objects.... and so on).

But anyway...
if you think somebody is going to embark on such a heavy job to create dedicated editors for those machines for the "sharing joy" or pennies...
 

italo de angelis

Senior Member
Messages
4,786
^^ Thanks, but mine isn't a 2.
Well...
get a "2"! Should be a better and cheap choice anyway.
Nevertheless I would try this editor because the SysEx code should be pretty much the same for most effects. Be sure to make a backup of your presets BEFORE you even launch it on your computer... and see what happens.
 

AnalogKid85

Member
Messages
1,361
^^ Thanks, but mine isn't a 2.
There actually is a 3rd party editor for the first one though! Couldn't tell you exactly where to find it, but I have seen screenshots before and I've heard good things about it. I also remember hearing there were some minor bugs, but nothing too bad (hopefully like the Intellifex editor, which only had a handful of bugs--all of which were easy to work around).
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
3,631
There is this for Lexicon MPX-1
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MIDIWizard-BREATHE-NEW-LIFE-INTO-YOUR-LEXICON-MPX1-MPX-1-/291812426709

I'm just getting started on using Midi Designer Pro to control PCM-81 with ipad. I just got a PCM81, so learning that first will clearly take some time. Every manufacturer with somewhat different terminology is part of the learning curve...and various users with different terminologies can blur the lines, too.

There are a lot of possible controls per algorithm, so there will be more than one page per algorithm. Separate Midi Designer Pro layouts will be required per algorithm creating further cumbersome complications. Custom algorithms wouldn't be covered, either; algorithm specific layouts would need to be created to handle custom algos. I don't have a Pitch FX card; I only find one for sale on Reverb...So I wouldn't know how to design for those Pitch FX algos...yet.

Input fields would be nice, I don't know if it'll be possible. I won't include feedback to ipad from the PCM81 to display parameter status back over on the ipad...maybe later, if it is possible. Reading the Midi Implementation Details doc, some feedback should be possible...dunno. To start off this will just be remote control using buttons, faders maybe some knobs. A front panel controller should be possible, but not as important to me as making front panel menu diving required much less often; therefore allowing tweaking from a fair distance away from the unit's front panel.

So, maybe I should start a new thread with poll for which algo to design a layout for first. Suggestions welcome beforehand, I don't know the unit, yet :)
 
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uraniumwilly

Member
Messages
765
I don't know if there are any editors, but there are librarians for: MPX-1, PCM-70,80,90 and others at MIDI Quest. The package is $150. I occasionally consider buying it because I own all of them, but I've never used this particular software.

However, with regard to the quality of old real-time editors, especially from Emagic, that controls PCM-70 and maybe 80 and others, was really cool. Too bad Apple wouldn't support it. I suppose it was a massive headache. I recall when I first got everything working and started fooling around with the envelopes, it was fun.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
3,631
I started working with Midi Designer Pro 2 today. My first task is to port over the TouchOSC layouts I made last summer to control Fender CyberTwins and DigiTech GSP-2101.

To say DESIGN mode on Midi Designer is cumbersome is a huge understatement! TouchOSC has its tedious tasks, too...the tradeoff with MDP2's much deeper functionality should make the headache worthwhile. With TouchOSC there is a separate editing software that runs on a computer which is typical fare...the hard part with TouchOSC is uploading the layouts to a tablet.

MDP2 has no separate editor; layouts are created by drag and drop with touch within the MDP2 app itself :thud.

Using TouchOSC Editor is easy to copy, paste, select multiple elements at once, type values into input fields, group elements and nudge with up/down/L/R arrows and create nested panels. ALL of that "design" work is a complete pita using a tablet with your fingers...and without any size or position input fields. It is workarounds galore, ugh

The way I have found it efficient to use Midi Designer is to create template widgets first; essentially groups of panels, labels and controls. Then MDP2's copy/create similar comes to the rescue because the midi functionality remains intact when creating copies of layout elements.

I made a single page in MDP2 in about 5 hrs today, pretty much copying a layout I had already created in TouchOSC Editor and that is without yet adding midi functionality to the MDP2 layout. That same work would have been accomplished in an exponentially faster time using TouchOSC editor.

Hopefully I can get something going for the PCM81 before end of Jan2018...
 
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Hallogallo

Senior Member
Messages
6,477
I started working with Midi Designer Pro 2 today. My first task is to port over the TouchOSC layouts I made last summer to control Fender CyberTwins and DigiTech GSP-2101.

To say DESIGN mode on Midi Designer is cumbersome is a huge understatement! TouchOSC has its tedious tasks, too...the tradeoff with MDP2's much deeper functionality should make the headache worthwhile. With TouchOSC there is a separate editing software that runs on a computer which is typical fare...the hard part with TouchOSC is uploading the layouts to a tablet.

MDP2 has no separate editor; layouts are created by drag and drop with touch within the MDP2 app itself :thud.

Using TouchOSC Editor is easy to copy, paste, select multiple elements at once, type values into input fields, group elements and nudge with up/down/L/R arrows and create nested panels. ALL of that "design" work is a complete pita using a tablet with your fingers...and without any size or position input fields. It is workarounds galore, ugh

The way I have found it efficient to use Midi Designer is to create template widgets first; essentially groups of panels, labels and controls. Then MDP2's copy/create similar comes to the rescue because the midi functionality remains intact when creating copies of layout elements.

I made a single page in MDP2 in about 5 hrs today, pretty much copying a layout I had already created in TouchOSC Editor and that is without yet adding midi functionality to the MDP2 layout. That same work would have been accomplished in an exponentially faster time using TouchOSC editor.

Hopefully I can get something going for the PCM81 before end of Jan2018...


I was gonna suggest MidiDesigner too although I actually found it easy to use than TouchOSC.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
3,631
I was gonna suggest MidiDesigner too although I actually found it easy to use than TouchOSC.
You did suggest MDP2 a while back :)

I wish MDP2 had several things that TouchOSC Editor has. The main thing for me currently is how MDP2 looks. Compared to TouchOSC layouts I have made, the Midi Designer Pro 2 color schemes are tough to work with as are the overly busy graphics of things like the faders. I'll share images of what I mean when I get more MDP2 layouts finished.

On the surface, it appears that MDP2 has more color options than TouchOSC. In use, the lack of any grayscale means you cannot create any brown or Maroon or greys...it is all 100% saturated. With buttons set as I need them (Momemtary/Always Lit), neither black not white will work as a background or panel color (I wouldn't use light backgrounds. There is no functionality in MDP2 to set font color...fonts are only black or white depending upon their focus status.

I can see why users would want custom graphics input...I am not sure I want to do that tho....

@Hallogallo , have you made any layouts for your PCM(s)? I'd love to see them if so :)
 

Hallogallo

Senior Member
Messages
6,477
You did suggest MDP2 a while back :)

I wish MDP2 had several things that TouchOSC Editor has. The main thing for me currently is how MDP2 looks. Compared to TouchOSC layouts I have made, the Midi Designer Pro 2 color schemes are tough to work with as are the overly busy graphics of things like the faders. I'll share images of what I mean when I get more MDP2 layouts finished.

On the surface, it appears that MDP2 has more color options than TouchOSC. In use, the lack of any grayscale means you cannot create any brown or Maroon or greys...it is all 100% saturated. With buttons set as I need them (Momemtary/Always Lit), neither black not white will work as a background or panel color (I wouldn't use light backgrounds. There is no functionality in MDP2 to set font color...fonts are only black or white depending upon their focus status.

I can see why users would want custom graphics input...I am not sure I want to do that tho....

@Hallogallo , have you made any layouts for your PCM(s)? I'd love to see them if so :)


Hahahahahahahaha!:beer
Sometimes i forget which threads I've been in! Must not have seen my avatar either!

I actually don't have a PCM, although, oddly enough, I've been pricing used ones today since I can't find a price I like on the preamp I want.
I use MDP2 for my Meris pedals and for when I get an Empress Trem2.

I wonder how I'd feel about TouchOsc now that I have a (slightly better) grip on Midi that I did not have before MDP2. There was something about the MDP2 process that taught me a decent amount about Midi.
 

ctreitzell

Member
Messages
3,631
Hahahahahahahaha!:beer
Sometimes i forget which threads I've been in! Must not have seen my avatar either!

I actually don't have a PCM, although, oddly enough, I've been pricing used ones today since I can't find a price I like on the preamp I want.
I use MDP2 for my Meris pedals and for when I get an Empress Trem2.

I wonder how I'd feel about TouchOsc now that I have a (slightly better) grip on Midi that I did not have before MDP2. There was something about the MDP2 process that taught me a decent amount about Midi.
TouchOSC has less midi functionality, no super controllers and buttons don't have labels. The main reason I wanted MDP2 was the labelled buttons. With my TouchOSC layouts the only way I could get reliable performance was with labels next to buttons...in use, though, I would naturally "press" the labelso_O. I just need to work with the MDP2 colors to try to get an less cluttered layout.

MDP2 would be greatly improved with just a couple more design functions. I feel like there are only 5 colors with MDP2.

Which PCM are you looking at?
 






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