4.3 Soft limits, takeover modes and MIDI feedback


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This part of the tutorial series will cover advanced control related functionality such as setting soft minimum and maximum values for controllers, using takeover modes as well as making use of MIDI feedback (though the last part will be added later).

The Z Vector UI enables setting a soft minimum and maximum for any controller. Soft limits apply to but are not limited to: audio signals, beat synch and MIDI input. They also affect OSC controls although these can be overridden by using values beyond the expected limit. Meta controls are also affected, but can be optioned to break the limit (this feature will be added in V1.13). Basically anything apart from the user actually left clicking and dragging the controller above or under the set soft limit will be limited.

Choose a controller you’d like to limit. On MacOS, the minimum threshold for a controller is set by pressing down the cmd (⌘) key and left clicking on the controller, while the maximum threshold is set by doing the same while pressing alt (option) key. On Windows, the minimum threshold for a controller is set by pressing down control (ctrl) and left clicking on the controller, while the maximum threshold is set by doing the same while pressing the alt key.

Takeover modes are a concept especially familiar to Ableton Live users. They dictate how a particular control mapping behaves when the external MIDI controller inputs a smaller or larger value (MIDI values are given on the scale of 0-127) than the currently active controller holds. Takeover modes are useful when MIDI controls that send absolute values (such as faders) are used in a bank-switching setup, where they address a different destination parameter with each controller bank.

Takeover defaults to none, which means that any mapped values will be updated 1:1 to the controller at any time the controller’s value is updated. Two alternative takeover modes are supported: pick-up and value scaling. In pick-up mode, any MIDI controller (for example a knob or a slider) will only start to work when the existing value for the controller is first matched 1:1. As soon as the controller input matches the value, the controller will be freed and the value will start to be constantly updated as in normal mode.

Value scaling will result in an immediate update of the controlled value, but unlike in normal mode, unless the value initially perfectly matches the controller’s, it will be scaled relative to the position of actual controller (meaning the position of the controller in the Z Vector UI) until synchronised by moving the slider to one of the extremes (0 or 127). At this point the controller will once again be 1:1 with the actual value for the mapped control in Z Vector. Again this mode is useful for similar purposes as pick-up.

Editor’s note: A section on MIDI controller feedback will be added to this tutorial later.

Continue to the next part in this tutorial series:


4.2 Assigning and resetting MIDI controls
4.0 Intermediate: Key maps, MIDI, OSC and meta controllers