Undoubtedly, Novation 49SL MkII is a decent MIDI controller. It comes in three variants: 25, 49 and 61-key (all semi-weighted), plus the version without a keyboard, named Zero SL. All variants, however, share a common feature: they are equipped with a great suite of nifty controls: 56 knobs, faders and buttons in total.
The controller also comes with a custom software, named Automap, which — while not obligatory to install — unleashes a full potential of the beast. The only thing that sucks, is that Automap fully supports only the major DAWs (Ableton, Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools) out-of-the-box. In case of Renoise, there’s no official support, thus it’s a little bit more tricky – but doable!
If you ask me, a single most significant feature that Automap provides is bi-directional MIDI control. Thanks to it, you may not only control your DAW and plugins using a controller, but also the other way round: the DAW and plugins state is being feed back to it. While it is not that important during music production, it is almost a necessity for a serious live-performing. If a combination of terms “Renoise” and “live-performing” sounds suspicious to you, then — well, you are all wrong:
VST/AU/RTAS plugins control
It’s dead easy. First, launch the Applications » AutomapServer:
Then, choose the plugin(s) you wish you have auto mapped:
It’s worth to understand what happens behind the scenes here. There is no magic: in order to make the plugin more cooperative ;-), Automap creates a kind of “wrapped” VST/AU/… file, which is, from now on, seen as a separate entry in your DAW:
Before loading such plugin, please make yourself sure: 1) the AutomapServer application is running 2) the “Automap” button on your keyboard is lit. If you did everything correctly, you should now be able to control your plugin parameters, without making any prior MIDI-mappings – they will be setup for you automatically:
As you could see, setting up plugins control is straightforward. Controlling the DAW is a bit more hassle, and — while not providing the same, excellent level of support like in other DAWs — I think it’s worth it.
First, we need to run Automap Server again. Then, go to Preferences » Software setup, and setup it like this:
Second, we need to learn Renoise the meaning of word bi-directional. In order to do it, we need to install an extension called Duplex. Done? Great. Fire up your Renoise copy, open Preferences window and add both SL’s Automap and standard MIDI devices:
Next, choose Tools » Duplex » Show Duplex Browser… and set it up like this:
Now, press View button on your Novation controller. It will launch a mapping configurator window:
Click the Open icon, and locate a Remote-SL-MKII.automap file. In my case, it was located in this directory:
Select the file and click Choose.
Go back to Renoise. From now on, the bi-directional control should work flawlessly:
Now, hover over the Duplex controls to familiarize yourself with their functionality:
That’s all! Enjoy your knobs, buttons and endless rotary encoders 100% working! 🙂
There will be no conclusion, but instead a word of warning here. So: I strongly suggest you to not use these Automap-wrapped versions of plugins in your DAW for the music production; if you save your tune with such plugin used, the only possibility to reopen it is to have the Automap software installed, running and the wrapped version of a plugin being present. From the DAW perspective, a non-wrapped and wrapped version of the plugins are two separate beings.
However, if you already hit such situation, chin up! In my next blog post, I will describe how to recover your precious XRNS file in such case (also, how to successfully open in OS X your Renoise files made on Windows). Cheers!