4.2 Assigning and resetting MIDI controls


MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that describes a protocol, digital interface and connectors and allows a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect and communicate with one another.

MIDI has been around since the early 1980’s and is still the most commonly used communication port found in musical controllers. For the purposes of this tutorial we are using the entry level, USB equipped small form MIDI controller Korg nanoKontrol 2. While this particular controller contains a nice mix of sliders, knobs and buttons, any MIDI controller that you can get your hands on and which you can get connected to your computer should work.

After making sure that your cable is attached, go in to Z Vector I/O tab under preferences and click refresh under MIDI input/output. Then enable your newly found controller and close the preferences by clicking OK.

Now go to the mapping menu by clicking Map. Create a new control mapping under any name you like and save it.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be mapping the A/B mixer. After making sure that your control mapping is enabled (by making sure the radio button is on), click on the controller that you’d like to map. A question mark will appear on the controller, indicating that Z Vector is waiting for an example MIDI input for that particular controller. In this example I will be mapping the first rotating knob on my Korg nanoKontrol2, which just happens to be assigned to Channel 1, Control Change 16.

Pro tip: most small form USB MIDI controllers come with a software that allows you to do your own MIDI message assignments to the different types of controllers available on the device).

As long as your controller (or controllers) doesn’t have overlapping MIDI assignments (two knobs or other controllers that send the same exact message type on the same channel), it doesn’t really matter which MIDI message type is used. After doing the assignment, close the mapping menu.

After doing the assignment and making sure the control mapping scheme it was done for is enabled, you should be able to control the A/B mixer using your MIDI controller. Most of Z Vector can be mapped in a similar fashion, making use of the software in a live situation much more intuitive.

For a more controlled style of mapping, right click on a mappable controller while in mapping mode. From the opening menu you can also choose to invert the mapping (meaning that as your controller’s value goes up, Z Vector’s will go down or vice versa. The menu is also the only way to reset (release) individual controller mappings.

Just as they can be enabled, complete control mappings can be fully reset and deleted via the mapping menu.

Important: At the time of writing the latest release for Z Vector is V1.12, which is affected by two known mapping related bugs. 1) If you have multiple control mappings, the texts for unassigned controllers are not updated correctly when switching between them, for a workaround, choose the mapping you’d like to work on, close and reopen the mapping menu. The same issue arises when deleting mappings; while the actual mappings are deleted the texts for particular controls don’t get updated properly. Close and reopen the mapping menu to clear. 2) Some controls for input 2 as well as the link buttons are not mappable. Both issues will be fixed in V1.13.

Continue to the next part in this tutorial series:

4.0 Intermediate: Key maps, MIDI, OSC and meta controllers
4.1 Assigning key maps