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Help and hints for MOTU Digital Performer

automating volume and pan on a midi VI track

In order to send volume and pan changes to your midi VI track, you need to send CC7 for volume and CC10 for pan.
Sure, everyone knows that.

But if you’re not careful in DP, you may notice that the track does NOT respond to the CC7 and CC10 data you have entered in the Midi Editor or Sequencer Editor window!
What causes this?

In DP midi tracks, the midi CC data for pan, volume and track mute is still referred to as ‘automation’ data, the same way that ‘automation’ classically refers to things like audio track volume/pan/send levels.
And this is managed from the Mixing Board for the tracks involved.

Let’s see how this works.
In this simple example, I have a DP7 project with only 2 active tracks.
One is the Instrument Track which has Kontakt 3.5 inserted. The other is a midi track assigned to a Clave instrument on channel 5 of the Kontakt instance.

  1. CC 10 Pan data is present at the wiper position of Bar 4, but the Pan knob is not responding. It’s stuck at the center position: [Figure 1]
    Track not responding to CC 10 pan data.
  2. To fix this, we need to check the Automation setup for the clave midi track.
    Click and hold in the white rectangle above the pan pot which currently reads ‘latch’ and at the bottom of the resulting menu choose ‘Setup’ : [Figure 2]

    Revealing the Automation Setup menu...

    Revealing the Automation Setup menu...

  3. A box opens up showing that global midi automation for Volume/Pan is currently disabled. [Figure 3]

    Pan is not selected=

  4. Go ahead and select midi pan and close that window.
  5. Next click on the Automation Play button in the mixer channel strip for the midi clave track so that it turns green: [Figure 4]

    The last step-turn on Play Automation for the midi clave track.

    The last step-turn on Play Automation for the midi clave track.

  6. Now when you playback the track, the pan knob for the midi clave track correctly responds to the incoming cc#10 pan data.
    Notice how the pan knob correctly shows pan left, corresponding directly to the cc#10 data in the track:

    Midi pan working now...

    Midi pan working now...

    Some other things to consider:

    • Volume [cc#7] works in exactly the same fashion as Pan was described here. Just choose Volume in the above settings windows.

    • You might never experience this issue as you work with midi VI’s.
      Sometimes just turning on the Automation Play button is enough to make all the proper settings occur behind the scenes.

    • Notice that nothing needed to be done with the actual Instrument track containing Kontakt 3.5.
      That track is essentially an audio monitoring track, which happens to be the place where the instance of Kontakt sends its final audio signal.

    • Most midi VI’s are ‘hard wired’ to respond to cc#10 for pan changes, but there are some rare ones which need to have that assignment done manually within the VI interface.
      Most VI’s can ‘remap’ midi CC’s so that you could assign non-standard CC’s for various controls [pan/vol/expression, etc] if you so choose.

    • If you did not want to deal with midi CC#10 for pan in this example, you could simply enable Automation for audio pan in Figure 3 above.
    • Then enable automation playback for the Kontakt Instrument track and draw pan automation curves for that track in the Sequence Edit window.

  7. This would of course be very limiting, since the Pan choice would apply to all other midi tracks currently being used inside that single instance of Kontakt

    In this simplistic example, I only have one midi track, which is quite unrealistic.

    So in essence, there are ‘dual options’ for automating volume and pan for midi VI tracks.Either do it all at the midi track level with CC data, or do it at the level of the VI Instrument audio track, especially if your VI offers a multiple audio outputs option.Both have advantages and disadvantages, but that’s a discussion for a future DP tip…

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